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The Bizarre World of Cruising's Johns

Truth is almost always stranger than fiction. John Heald, who can be so outrageously funny that some may accuse him of thriving on fiction, has had a big-time dose of reality-cum-fiction this month.

Now this information comes from another John (Honeywell), aka Captain Greybeard. Since there have to be some privileges in being a greybeard, even if I’m neither a Captain nor a John, using the popular cruisaholic from The Mirror in London as a source is surely acceptable.

Captain Greybeard was feeling sorry for Carnival’s chief cruise director, who’s also a regular cruise blogger. Here are some of the reasons John Heald was deserving of a little sympathy…

Case No. 1:
A passenger was upset with Carnival because the ship she was on did not dock in Rome, and she was told it would be within walking distance of the Vatican. Rome’s cruise-ship terminal is in Civitavecchia, about 50 miles away. It’s a long walk. She wanted to know what Mr. Heald was going to do about it. Really?

Case No. 2:
An irate guest blamed John Heald because he said to be aware of pick pockets in Rome. As a result, she and her son took no cash ashore and were surprised to find they had to pay to get into the Colosseum and the Vatican. Having taken a Rome On Your Own tour, they saw nothing and demanded compensation from Carnival. Or Heald. Really?

Case No. 3:
A female passenger complained when she found herself on the Carnival Magic after her travel agent sold her the wrong information by telling her she would be on a Celebrity ship. She wanted to disembark from the Magic in Monaco and receive a full refund from the Cruise Director. Really?

Yes, really.

Cruising Notes on the Boats

The Right Price………..$979
Ship: Celebrity Equinox,
11 nights, Fort Lauderdale (return)
Departures: April 11
Ports:
Cozumel (Mexico), Roatan (Honduras), Puerto Limon (Costa Rica), Colon (Panama), Cartagena (Colombia), George Town (Grand Cayman)
Bonus: Veranda $1,209
Contact: Celebrity Cruises

* * *
File this one under “What took so long?”…Princess Cruise Lines announced it will be televising the Royal Wedding on all 22 of its ships…On April 29, Prince William and Kate Middleton will be married, and that will make her a Princess…So why wouldn’t it be televised on the cruise line?…Princess Cruise Line, that is…The delay — Cunard announced it would be on their ship TVs weeks ago — must have had something to do with making a deal with the BBC, the official wedding broadcaster, which has exclusive access to Westminster Abbey…Satellite co-operation willing, that is… Princess will also have a Kate and William look-a-like contest on board…William’s mother, Princess Diana, christened the original Royal Princess in 1984 …In this age of peaceful protests (aka Egypt), one in Southampton caught the attention of the cruise world…City council from the British port wanted to charge £10 ($16) per passenger to pay for road improvements in the area, until Carnival’s head honcho in Britain, David Dingle, headed a committee of interventionists…They might have mentioned the problems a “head tax” created in Alaska, and they had one local politician who voiced concern pertaining to “killing the goose” but whatever they did worked…In the words of blogger Captain Greybeard John Honeywell, “the idea has been quietly shelved.”

* * *
If there’s a more appropriate destination to have a photo workshop — and in the cruise world there are countless photo-ops — than Alaska, where would it be?…Aperture Academy from California has a class for photo students also interested in spending a week sailing from Seattle to Juneau and back, in August…Three professional award-winning photographers will be conducting classes on Holland America’s ms Oosterdam, which will call at Sitka, Ketchikan and Victoria, the obligatory non-USA port necessary to conform with the Jones Act…The photo itinerary’s on AA’s website (not that AA)…And what departure port do you think sends the most big-time spenders out to sea?…Carnival told a ports administration that the most money it reaps from cruisers is on ships leaving — are you ready for this? — Baltimore!…Needless to say, the city’s cruise business has been booming.

* * *
River cruising is big news in Europe these days, but has anybody noticed it’s happening in America, too…American Cruise Lines, with five ships, will soon have six…Traditionally known for itineraries in the eastern half of the U.S., American last year expanded with cruises on the Columbia and Snake Rivers in the West and, with that success, has ordered a new riverboat for arrival in 2012…The Queen of the West, built in 1995 and acquired last year, is being refurbished and will take its 120-passenger loads on the two western rivers from April to November this year and next, at least…The Norwegian Sun is out of dry-dock, where it spent a dozen days being upgraded…Most significant change is the addition of the Moderno Churrascaria, the Brazilian steakhouse that was introduced on NCL’s flagship, the Epic…The Sun is currently running Caribbean itineraries and will again spend the summer in the Baltics, returning to Florida in late September…Finally, Valentine’s Day became a chance to renew wedding vows for passengers who were so inclined and who were on the Crown Princess on Monday…The captain performed the ceremony and some of the participants wore veils and bow ties…Yes, clothes, too.

* * *
That’s it, we’re done.

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