STANLEY, FOUR EYES AND NAKED GERMANS

June 24, 2013 -

John Heald

 

So here I am after 12 days of traveling, flying and farting back with you on the blog. In fact, here I am in my cabin on the Carnival Legend this morning.

 

john missing kye

 

Notice anything different? Yep, I am wearing glasses. For some time now, I’ve suspected my eyes were tired from all these days at the computer and that some spectacles might be a good idea. But I’ve always been nervous about coming out because of a simple truism…..while I have no fear of blood, detached limbs or anything that is associated with blood and gore….the thought of anything to do with eyes makes me physically sick. I can’t use eye drops, and I feel physically sick at the thought of having a retinal scan. I can’t even watch a close-up of someone’s eyes on hospital shows. So, given the choice of putting in a pair of contact lenses or having H82SEAUGO paint an RCI anchor symbol on my buttocks, I’d have my underpants down pretty dam quickly.  This comes from the last eye test I had. Obviously, I am well aware that having type 2 diabetes means I must be very careful about my eyes and, therefore, last year I went to my optician…..and it was a dreadful, agonizing experience. Maybe it was the freezing liquid in my eye, maybe it was the stinging sensation that felt like my eyes were on fire or maybe it was the fact that for hours after the test, my eyes were weeping so much I looked like I had missed a call from Megan Fox who was asking to have lashings of rumpy pumpy with her or it could have been the optician was inches from my face and he had breath that came straight from a skunk’s bottom.

 

But Heidi insisted I had an eye test and while the optician told me that I had good eyesight, etc., he said I would need glasses for close up reading and computer work. I have to say he was right because reading small print has become harder and so I took his advice. At first, he suggested contact lenses…………..and I suggested he sod off. If your eyesight is broken, how are you supposed to find them when you drop them on one of brightly coloured Carnival Legend carpets? I’ve seen too many guests on their hands and knees shouting “Nobody move.”

 

If buying spectacles is as ridiculous as buying sunglasses, then I don’t think I will bother.

Could someone please explain why today’s choice of glasses is so universally cool? I wanted something from the 80′s, an aviator, perhaps, but all I was offered was the sort of stuff worn by metrosexuals and Johnny Depp. I remember a few years ago that if you wanted to buy sun glasses, there was a men’s and a ladies section. Now, everything is unisex and I am always concerned that I will leave the shop wearing the same sun glasses that Lady Ga Ga or Beeoncea would wear.  Also, how the heck are you supposed to know how you look in a pair of glasses with all the advertising paraphernalia and health and safety bollocks hanging like bunting in front of the lenses, which to make things even worse, is covered in stickers?

 

But I have a pair of glasses. A simple pair of black rimmed glasses that were not made in an Italian fashion house and didn’t cost more than my car. But I will tell you something. I hated that eye exam. Give me the choice of a rectal examination or having someone play with my eyes for an hour……..well…….you had better get the camera greased up.  The optician was rather curt with me and seemed to enjoy my discomfort during the eye test and, for some reason, he seemed to feel it was OK for him…..an eye doctor…..to talk about my weight.

 

I hope then that he didn’t mind the next day when I returned to see him with a massive stool sample which I had produced that morning after eating a chicken vindaloo Indian curry the night before. I presented him this and the smell was so bad, he fainted. When he regained consciousness he asked me why I had brought this to him and not a doctor. I replied, “Every time

I do one of these my eyes water.”

 

Anyway. I wear glasses now. I am officially old.

 

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

 

Kyle Wallop asks:

John, as a Platinum VIP, I feel that what you offer me to continue to cruise with Carnival is a disgrace. I read another similar comment by Grace today about this and I agree with her that you need to offer more. Here is my wish list that is the bare minimum of what we VIPs should receive for spending so much money on our cruises. We SHOULD GET unlimited free Internet, reserved seating at all shows – we should have priority seating and be able to walk into the theatre and be seated by the ship staff, free meal at the steakhouse or, at the very least, free wine, upgrades on cabins, etc. These considerations will for sure have people like me stay loyal to Carnival but if not then you may find us spreading our wings!!!!!
Kyle Wallop

 

John says:

Hello Kyle Wallop,

I thank you for taking the time to write and I thank you mostly for your loyalty. I know that you have many vacation choices and while we won’t be adding any of your suggestions to the program at the moment I can tell you that the whole loyalty program will be reviewed later this year. I also hope that the main reason you continue to sail with us for the fun times you have always had on board. Thanks again for your loyalty and long may that continue.

Best wishes.

John

 

Sandi Kulig asks:

Good evening.  We are cruising on the Freedom in October. My husband and I have reservations at the steakhouse, which we made when we booked the cruise. In the meantime, we have joined “Party with Marty” Piano Bar group, great people, and a few of them would like to go to the steakhouse with us. Question is how do I change reservations from two to six? I tried on line with Carnival, and got nowhere. Should I call my PVP or do you know of a number that I can call. Our printout doesn’t have a number on it, and when I tried to go back and change, I got again nowhere. Thanks for your help. You are awesome!

 

John says: 

Hello Sandi Kulig,

Please do not worry. I have sent this to the steakhouse and they will change your reservation for you. I wish you a wonderful cruise and please let me know if there is anything else I can do for you.

Best wishes.

John

 

Karla Polter asks:

Hello John. I need to tell you about a young man called Ernesto who is a cabin steward on the Carnival Conquest on Deck 2. We cruised last week and have just gotten back and I wanted to tell you just how fantastic he was to me and my husband. Both of us are in wheelchairs and the challenges that come with that are at times overwhelming. But Ernesto made sure we had everything we needed and more and his constant care and friendly conversation was a blessing to us both. Can you make sure he sees this please, John?

Thank you.

Karla and Steve Polter

 

John says:

Hello Karla Porter,

Thanks so very much for taking the time to write and I will make sure that Ernesto sees this as indeed will the senior management on board the ship. I am so glad he took good care of you and that you had fun and if you decide to cruise with us again I will be here for you should you need anything. I wish you both all the very best.

Best wishes.

John

 

Roger Goldman asks:

Hi John:
I just learned that the Faster to the Fun has been added to the ship Victory from SAN JUAN!!! How has the Carnival Splendor here in New York been overlooked and the passengers who are on the Carnival Victory get this before New Yorkers do? I am astonished by this lousy decision.

 

John says:

Hello Roger Goldman,

The Faster to the Fun program is slowly making its way around the fleet and hopefully it will be the Carnival Splendor’s turn soon. As and when that happens, I will let you know and I hope it will be in place before you cruise again. Please let me know if you have any further questions.

Best wishes.

John

 

Keith Feemster asks:

I am booked on the Carnival Breeze for the Feb 1, 2014 cruise, and I just heard that the Super Bowl will be played on February 2, 2014.  My question is will the Super Bowl be shown on the poolside big screen? Thank you in advance for your response.

John says:

Hello Keith Feemster,

Yes, indeed. There will be a huge party to watch the big game on the Lido Deck with the game shown live and a lot of fun and food served up as well. I will have more details closer to the time and I wish you a brilliant cruise.  

Best wishes.

John

 

Lorraine Conlon asks:

Is it possible to have an all vegetarian meal if we participate at The Chef’s Table? I need to know sooner rather than later!!

 

John says:

Hello Lorraine Conlon,

I had to ask the chef here on the Carnival Legend because, honestly, I didn’t know but the answer, I am happy to report is yes, you can. The chef will produce six main courses and a dessert just for you and I am sure it will be a tremendous experience for you. I am sorry for the late reply and please let me know if you have any other questions.

Best wishes.

John

Russell Kelley asks:

Why have they discontinued the sushi bar on the Carnival Magic? This is a big disappointment as I talk to other passengers.

 

John says:

Hello Russell Kelley,

The sushi bar has been replaced with the fantastic Taste Bar which features a daily taste of special appetisers. Sushi is still available nightly in the Lido restaurant from 5:30pm – 9:30pm for you. I hope this helps answer your questions and please let me know if there is anything else I can do for you.

Best wishes.

John

 

Rose asks:

John,
I am planning a cruise with my kids and some friends and would love to try out some of Guy’s burgers. The cruise I want to try for is an eight-day on the Carnival Freedom (because I get an extra day of cruise fun!) We are planning for February. Will the Freedom have the 2.0 upgrades by then?  Thank you so much for your help!

Rose

 

John says:

Hello Rose,

This sounds like a great plan and I hope you get to cruise on a ship that serves those amazing Guy’s burgers. The whole dry dock schedule for 2014 hasn’t been announced so I don’t have details therefore of what upgrades each ship will receive just yet but as and when I do I promise to let everyone know here and on my Facebook page. I hope you and the family cruise with us soon and if there is anything I can do for you, please do let me know.

Best wishes.

John

 

Sam Buckton asks:

My daughter age seven and my son aged nine cruised with me and my DH on the Carnival Liberty. We had a nice time but, John, why is Camp Carnival based solely on silly kids games and watching movies. I was so surprised and as a parent so disappointed that there were no educational classes. There should have been maps so the children could learn about the ports of call and the languages spoken there. I also want to mention that I was uncomfortable leaving them with non-American staff and again John I am surprised that with an all American ship that you employed foreign speaking staff in such a sensitive area like a kids camp. On another subject John I also want to tell you that non-drinkers and Christian folk as we are that there is limited entertainment at night. The shows were mostly of an adult theme and the bars only catered for drinkers. You may want to consider having a bar or meeting area where no alcohol is served because I am sure there are lots of others who don’t drink who would like a place to meet away from the passengers who do. We made our own fun but would like to suggest you think of the many families like us who would like a more family oriented place to spend our evenings. Thank you for your time and consideration

 

John says:

Hello Sam Buckton,

I want to thank you for taking the time to write to me and I am sorry that you felt that the evening’s entertainment was not for you. Space is very limited on the ships and I do not see us being able to dedicate one bar to serve only sodas, etc. However, I am sure there are many areas on the ship where you and the family can rest and relax together and, before you cruise again, I would ask that you contact me and let me chat with you about these areas and see what we can do for you. Please know that our youth staff are all vetted and all have excellent qualifications to look after children from all over the world which they do each and every cruise. While Camp Carnival is based on fun I like the map idea very much and will send this on to the ladies in charge of the program. I do hope we will see you again and please talk to me before you cruise. 

Best wishes to all.

John

 

That’s all for today and I will be back with more questions answered later in the week.

 

So a very good morning from beautiful Warnemunde, Germany. It was a very early start with our excursions leaving at 6:45am.We had 600 booked on our private train for the journey to Berlin and, as always, our staff did a brilliant job in making sure all of them were well taken care of and that the train left on time of course. Most of the 600 will be taking the Berlin Top Ten excursion which takes in all the major sites in the city, including the Brandenburg Gate, the new Parliament building, the remaining sections of the Berlin Wall and much, much more. They will also be seeing something called Check Point Charlie. This was the third of the check points along with Alpha, Bravo and then the most famous. Before I first visited Berlin some years ago during the set up for the Carnival Splendor’s season in the Baltic all I really thought about when I heard the words Check Point Charlie were the movies featuring Michael Caine as spy Harry Palmer and the John Le Carre novel Tinker, Taylor, Soldier Spy.

 

However, standing there with our guide listening to the stories of the 500-plus people who were shot on site trying to escape to the west and those hundreds more who were captured and never seen again……well, the movies become real life and life for the people in the east was full of despair. From Check Point Charlie the guests will head to see the last pieces of the Berlin Wall. You do not need me to tell you the significance of its collapse and the sections that are still standing have been painted by young artists with reminders and memories of what was. The Berlin Top 10 is one of our very best excursions and I am sure it will be something the Carnival Legend guests will also never forget.

 

Tonight we will have a big party on the Lido Deck with the chefs cooking German sausages, the bar staff serving German beer, all to the sounds of the The ‘Deich Tiroler’ Oompah Band. They will entertain our guests in the style of the Alpine music that you would hear at the world famous Munich Beer Festival.  The atmosphere I am hoping to recreate on Lido is that of a typical German “Bierfest” (literally Beer Festival). In Germany at certain times of the year, notably in October in Munich, a brewery will open its doors, a band plays, the audience sings and claps, and several hundred barrels of beer are consumed. So I have invited guests up to the Lido deck tonight to experience a breath of the ‘Oktoberfest’ here on the Carnival Legend. It should be loads of fun and I will post some photos soon.

 

And now let’s talk Hockey

 

From: LEGEND GUEST SERVICES
Sent: Saturday, June 22, 2013 1:41 PM
To: LEGEND CRUISE DIRECTOR

Cc: LEGEND GUEST SERVICES; LEGEND GUEST SERVICES SUPERVISOR; LEGEND GUEST SERVICES MANAGER;
Subject: Hockey Game request

 

Good Afternoon,

 

Mr____of cabin_______- called the desk asking why the hockey game finals were not being shown. After speaking with CD, I informed the guest that we would not be receiving it. Mr___ became very angry and demanded to meet with someone. John, can you call him please.

Thank you & kind regards,

Guest Services Associate, Carnival Legend

 

I feel really bad for this guest. He is so upset because his Black Hawk team from Chicago is in the finals and I wish there was something I could do. You see, we are using the Sky package here which is UK based and covers BBC stations as well as Sky sports. And while they will show soccer and cricket and even the NBA finals, they don’t cover ice hockey at all. It seems that while basketball and American football have made an impression in the UK and other parts of Western Europe, ice hockey has not. I explained this to the guest and yet he remained furious at me and the end of our telephone conversation was abrupt as he slammed the phone down telling me a phrase that I have heard often over the years and that is, “This has ruined my cruise.”

 

As I mentioned though there is bugger all I can do as there is no coverage on the TV channels we have here. We Brits have never quite understood hockey and I admit to never actually sitting through an entire match. Let me see if I have this right. It appears to be a game between two teams attempting to score goals by driving a tin of tuna into the opposition’s goal with the use of curved sticks, shoes with knives on them while protective padding. Then why is it the games I have seen involve a bunch of huge men called Wayne and Chuck punching the crap out of each other while the crowd wait for a hockey match to break out.

 

Can someone, preferably a Canadian, explain to me why the fight is allowed to continue? Are the referees scared? Is betting done in the stadium to see whose nose will get broken first?

Anyway, one unhappy guest but hopefully a wonderful day in Germany will cheer him up and I have printed out a recap of the game from the Internet and placed it in his cabin and I see his team won so let’s hope that puts a smile on his face.

 

Back to Germany where we are today, of course, and what a fantastic little town Warnemunde truly is. Just down the road from here is the town of Rostock where you will find the headquarters of our sister line AIDA Cruises. I love their ships and they remain one of the best cruise lines in the world. They cater to the German market, of course, and they do everything right, I love their ships. Some of their newer ships cater to a specific genre of German people …………….nudists. Yep, they have a nude deck and that’s because Germans are lovers of being naked and not just on cruises, as well. There is a beach here in Warnemunde where you will no doubt see many naked people and I always warn our guests that this may be the case.

 

Yep, nudity it seems, is a German way of life and I was talking to a German guest services associate here on the Carnival Legend and she was telling me that her family and friends are nudists and walk around the house naked, sit watching TV naked and cook and clean the house ………naked. Hold on……..cook………….naked? Are you serious, you mean with knives and a hot stove?  “Are they not worried?” I asked.  I mean life-changing injuries could occur with a slip of a cheese grater. I am sure that they are lovely people but if you’re ever invited to dinner at a German nudist’s house and there’s an inadvertent hair on your bratwurst … I’d make your excuses and bugger off.

 

Gutten nacht.

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.