Harold

March 14, 2009 -

John Heald

Bugger………….I am really late writing this today and please forgive me as it’s not as big as it should be……….where have I heard that before………..I mean the blog isn’t as big as usual………………it’s been a very busy day.

Let’s start though at home.

Heidi is doing well but informed me that when I get home there is lots of work to be done around the house and in the garden.

And she is using her being pregnant as an excuse to not do it herself……..what a liberty. As we live in the country Heidi decided it was the law to plant vegetables and fruity stuff and now we are buggered as it all needs tending to.

As I have mentioned before I am crap at ………….. well ………………. everything …………… except maybe being a cruise director and holding my farts in for such a long time that when I finally release one it could blow Don King’s hair straight.

I guess I should have paid more attention to my Dad when I was growing up who could do everything around the house. Why did he grow the tomatoes out of polythene bags? How do you make a potato? What sort of fuel does the trimmer use?

I planted some bulbs before I came back to work. But I fear I may have put them in upside down. So, realistically, I’m going to have to find a gardener.

This is what we do. When the lavatory explodes, we call a plumber. When the car needs servicing, we take it to a garage. We let the experts do what they do best. And yet everyone thinks that when it comes to the tricky and specialized job of telling a story or public speaking, they can manage on their own.

Not necessarily. This morning I was called by the Guest Services Pursers Information Officers Associates Desk who said they had a guest “demanding to see me now” and that he would not leave until he had……..it was 8:45 am. And so as I had 30 minutes before my 9:15 am senior officers meeting I minced off to the lobby. I was introduced to a man who said he had commanded the forces that repelled the American invasion at the Bay of Pigs and wanted to have a lounge so he could “teach these young college people a lesson in history.”

I had to admit to him first of all that my American/Cuban history was pretty poor so I asked him what he would talk about and he said……..and I quote………“When the Americans came,” he said, “we fired at them and they fired back at us. Later Fidel arrived.

He stayed for a bit then he went away again. In the afternoon, he came back with a tank, so we moved the one we had a bit.” I know this quote is correct because he had it written out ready to tell the youth of today and gave me a copy of his intended speech ……………..obviously it was an important moment in history and one that meant a lot to so many but the way he was talking to me ………………well , lets just say it wasn’t riveting

What was I to do?

This older gentlemen really wanted to tell his story but I knew on this the last day of the cruise that nobody would come. All I could do was give him a chance. Now, I must say that usualy we require all would-be speakers to be pre-approved by Chris Prideaux in the Miami office. It’s not just the content we look at but if the speaker can hold and captivate an audience. Someone who’s capable of taking an enemy machine gun nest armed only with a coat hanger is not likely to be an entertaining speaker as well.

I have seen this at dinner parties before. Someone can have the table in stitches for an hour with stories that are generally funny Then someone else says: “Mmmm. That reminds me of the time when I was working as a simultaneous translator for special ops in Sierra Leone and I had to disarm the trembler switch on the nuclear bomb just after the terrorist had put a bucket load of man-eating ants down the back of my shirt.”

Eagerly we all gather ’round but by the time he’s finished, three of the party are asleep and six, to escape the tedium, have committed suicide by stabbing themselves with the steak knife.

Happily, however, I have an idea that can solve all this. You employ a personal trainer at home and a personal assistant at work.

So why not turn up at dinner parties with a personal anecdote-teller? This doesn’t need to be expensive. Call me or my friends Al Ernst or Lewis Nixon or any of the Carnival comedians. I’d bet they would be more than happy to be your storyteller at dinner for perhaps as little as $40……….Al would probably do it for a big bowl of grits and a Twinkie.

Anyway, I gave the guest a small lounge and at the debarkation talk mentioned he would be doing his lecture. I was a little concerned as I know there is a lot of mixed emotion involving Cuba and my biggest fear was that he would say something political that would upset another guest. This fear was unfounded though as he only had 11 people show up and the staff member who checked on the event told me that by the time his 40-minute lecture was over only 8 remained. I called him afterwards and he was thankful and happy but disappointed the audience was so small……I sent him some wine at dinner to say thank you.

My point is that lectures have their place on a ship on the right cruise and on the right subject……….what would you if we had them like to hear about. I await your kind advice.

Here’s Jaime

March 12, 2009

Dear John,

On board we have truly gotten to know a great deal of our guests after sailing together for such an extended period of time. This cruise is like no other. The guests on board the Splendor did something so incredibly special in celebration of Lauren and Owen’s birthday today. Upon their own volition, they chose to throw these two members of the entertainment staff an unforgettable birthday party. However this party was a complete surprise to the two celebrating individuals. Plus, it was so incredibly special that it could only happen toward to the conclusion of this type of 49-day adventure.

Dave, the Aussie, organized the whole thing. He gathered questions about himself and his fellow guests and when Lauren and Owen arrived at the trivia competition that they assumed they were hosting Dave took the microphone, dressed in his own cruise staff uniform and proceeded to ask them trivia questions that pertained to the lives of himself, his lovely wife Maureen as week as many of the other guests that are the “trivia groupies” of the cruise. There was only one team involved in the trivia – Lauren and Owen, and yes, spelling did count ::smile:: Lauren was almost in tears by the end of the trivia, when the bonus question finally arose. Question 21 as emceed by Dave was, “what is the most commonly sung song in the world?” The guests broke out into Happy Birthday (the American version) as they presented the delicious carrot cake from the coffee shop and merrily wished Lauren a happy 25th birthday and Owen a happy 30th.

Later in the evening the birthday festivities continued when Lauren was presented with her very favorite meal – barbeque chicken pizza (she is crazy, I realize.) My former roommate has a tendency to give bonus questions about herself during each of the trivias that she hosts, therefore allowing the guests to know about her favorites just enough so that they do have the ability to throw her the perfect birthday celebration! Therefore, making both Owen and herself feel loved, cared for and special when it is so incredibly difficult to be working on a ship, away from immediate family members during such a momentous occasion as a landmark birthday. On the Splendor, during this 49-day adventure, we have created a new family. Many of the guests on board at this time, are professional cruisers and I am confident that Lauren, Owen, Myself as well as so many of the other crew members will remember these faces and stories for years to come. We plan on creating so many new memories on future Carnival Cruises.

Another highlight of this beautiful day at sea was my opportunity to sit down with Susan, a member of the blogging family who sporadically posts as Kersplott. “Kersplott” allowed me to ask her about her recent life altering visit to one of the newly acclaimed wonders of the world Maccu Picchu. After hearing her stories about this amazing excursion, I know exactly how all of you feel living this South American adventure vicariously through my stories: simply longing for the opportunity to visit yourself =)!

Here is Susan’s recollection of her amazing trip:

“The tour was simply unforgettable. There were 36 guests who had the incredible opportunity to go on this excursion, as well as one guide from the ship – Emma, who had just as much fun as we did! We disembarked in Lima before the sun came up. Breakfast first, and then we were taken to the airport and flew straight to Cusco where we arrived slightly before 10 am. When we were taken down the terminal and met by our guides everyone was deeply sucking wind (I won’t go there…) We were at 11,000 feet when we landed. Although I didn’t feel light-headed! They immediately took us to our hotels which were simply gorgeous! After our hour and a half rest and a delicious lunch at the hotel the tour then began! Tours started off at the Bath of the Incas at a mere 13,000 feet above sea level!

The first stop was Sacsayhuaman – referred to by the naturalist Dirk as “Sexy Woman.” This is a large complex that the Incas built. They built everything out of stones, almost nothing out of mortar. The stones fit so carefully together that you can not even slip a piece of paper through them. The tour guide instructed us that we needed a virgin to sacrifice at Sexy Woman – unfortunately no one qualified so unfortunately, we did not have a sacrifice for the Gods.

After being at that elevation – we came back down into Cusco and toured the cathedrals. One place we visited was the Temple of the Sun which is actually within the Cathedral – Plaza de Armas.

The next morning, we left hotel at 6 am and drove 20 minutes to the train. We took a 3.5-hour train ride to the small town of Quillabamba. At this time, we traveled down in elevation from 11,000 to 8,000 feet. This train is part of the Orient Express trains and provided first class service all the way. The train included a Vista dome car so you could look out as you were going through this valley. The people who surrounded the train provided an opportunity to see authentic Peruvian dress – this is not just for show, they were hauling animals out to the fields with the same clothes on that one would typically expect. It was total emersion into the Peruvian culture! During our tour we realized that the authorities control how many people have the amazing opportunity of visiting Maccu Picchu. These buses, with a 30-person capacity, travel down a dirt rode that weaves back and forth for a five- to seven-mile winding trip to the top to this beautiful mountain.

It was scary but also so terribly exciting that I didn’t remember to get scared that I don’t like heights. You get off the bus at the visitors center, walk up the trail. Start walking up an awful lot of stairs. You climb up the stairs and you don’t ever think you are going to get to the top… you get up and look up above seeing the people so far ahead who have not even come close to reaching their final destination.

By the time you reach the top, you finally realize that the view is the exact same that you expect to see on in movies, post cards and magnets. All of a sudden… lose your breath again and can not help but smile!

Before we left, we were advised that only two days per week can you expect clear weather in Cusco. If you are fortunate enough to get to Maccu Picchu you are lucky if the clouds clear for even a short period of time… From the time we left the ship to the time we returned in Manta – there was nothing but sunshine. No clouds. Perfectly clear skies throughout each minute of this amazing experience.

Before the trip was cancelled and rescheduled we would have been there on Sunday. From what we understand, on Sunday the clouds were low and it rained all day. The day we had the chance to visit, the weather could not have been more perfect. Since we have completed this excursion, we have all come to the conclusion that no one needs a stress test to find out if their hearts are OK! We all feel wonderful! Our knees might be a little bit sore, but our hearts are just fine. It can only be described as an experience of a lifetime. We can all go home and brag that we had our passports stamped at Maccu Picchu.

The next morning, we faced another 5 am wake up call. We flew from Cusco to Lima, then Lima to Quito (2.75-hour flight). During our long layover in Quito – the company was amazing enough to arrange another tour. We had a very nice lunch, and went to the equator. We stood on either side of the equator at the same time! After receiving certificates to remember this experience and another unique passport stamp it was finally time to return to the airport and catch the flight to Manta. By this time it was already dark. As we walked along the terminal and looked over in the harbor and we could see the Carnival Splendor gleaming in the moonlight. All of us applauded when they landed in Manta. This was undoubtedly the most fantastic shore tour I have ever been on.”

Thank you to Susan… I wish I could have been there too! Susan was kind enough to bring me a magnet, so it is practically like I went!! Is there anyone else in favor of organizing a trip?

beautiful-view-of-the-mountainside
Beautiful view of the mountainside

lauren-and-owens-surprise-birthday-trivia
Lauren and Owens surprise birthday trivia

she-was-right-it-is-just-like-the-postcard
She was right, it’s just like the postcard!

cusco-wow-thank-you-susan
Cusco wow thank you Susan
at-the-equator-the-water-isnt-sure-which-way-to-drain-silly-water
At the equator, the water isn’t sure which way to drain silly water

All the best to you,
Jaime =)

Hopefully one day you will get to see Massapeachchew and thanks Jaime………….we owe you a big vote of gratitude ………..but no money.

As Carnival’s fleet sails the seas and the every day life of this wonderful company is laid bare on web sites and in the press, quietly behind the scenes the executives and employees have been and continue to work diligently to help those less fortunate. Finally, we have decided to tell everyone all about that exceptional work and that is done through the following website which I hope you take the time to read.

Read the story here

Now, for those who have offered to host a Carnival Funday Sunday party here is the welcome video shot post haste by yours truly

http://www.houseparty.com/carnival

Here is today’s photo from Geo………..further words are not necessary.

oceano_october_2008_1

So, it’s been a hectic and busy day. I made sure the rematch of our University Challenged match went well and I am happy to say that Student Brainbox and his team…………..lost by five points and so far apart from looking like someone had pissed in his cornflakes ………….. I have heard nothing further. I also held the debarkation talk during which the staff and crew received a standing ovation and as you will read later I performed the marriage show which was very funny.

Tonight I will hand the department over to the new Cruise Director David ………. sorry …………Charlie…………..and that will be that. Oh by the way……….there will be no blog on Sunday if that’s OK but Stephanie is coming to visit and bringing the flip video thing so I will record a quick video message which hopefully she will slap on the blog late Sunday. Even though I will not be CD I will be posting everyday next week as I watch David ……. sorry……..Charlie and continue to talk about life onboard. Then on Thursday I catch a tender from the ship to Belize City, a taxi to the airport and then a flight to Houston. I have a one hour 30 minute lay over and then it’s of to San Francisco. I have a day of rest and then a radio interview at 6 am……..oh joy.

Anyway, here is a photo of David………….sorry…….Charlie……….the CD as of tomorrow here on the Carnival Valor

charlie-on-vacation-for-2-hours

Oh, talking of cruise directors my pal Wee Jimmy is now on the Carnival Victory and here is the latest photo he sent me which shows him pulling a slightly worried smile ………….. that’s probably because a rabbit is nibbling on his Thingy

5p001

Anyway, let’s talk about the Marriage Show.

Sometimes there are people who make your day just by being themselves. I had such a person on stage with me for the Marriage Show this afternoon. I asked her where she was from and she told myself and the audience she was from “Thunder Bay” Canada.

“Sounds a romantic and mysterious place to live,” I said

“No, I hate it,” she replied

“Well, why don’t you live somewhere else?” I asked.

“My house is there,” was her completely serious reply.

Now at this point the audience is laughing and I could have kept going but considering she honestly look bewildered at why the audience was laughing and considering the color of her hair ………………….I left her alone and moved on.

And what a funny show it was……………not because of me but because of the people I had on stage. Something new I have started is halfway through the Marriage Show I take a break and invite any guest to tell us over the microphone a funny, special or embarrassing moment from this cruise. These usually range from stories about marriage proposals, getting lost and the usual suspects. I already knew that this week was going to be good. I mean………..we have had people miss the ship, people missing from their cabins all night (soon to be appearing on Divorce Court) and a lot of great characters have graced us here on the Carnival Valor.

Anyway, I said I would take three stories and the first was a nice one about a couple who had met some people at dinner who used to live opposite them when they used to live in Arizona. The couple moved to Chicago 18 years ago and here they are not only on the same ship but sitting with each other at dinner.

However………..as wonderful as that story was nothing could top the story 81 year old Harold Chambers from Flint, Michigan, told.

I wish I could have taken a photo of him. Harold is five foot and a bit and has bright white shiny hair. Harold said that he had gone into Costa Maya with his daughter and son-in-law and they had eaten Mexican food for lunch. Well, later that night during dinner Harold said, “The Mexican food had gone straight through him” so he walked as quick as he could to the toilets just outside the Washington dining room……….the audience of 600 are already giggling and some, including myself, had started to look worried as to just how descriptive old Harold was going to be.

He continued by saying he locked himself in a cubicle, but in the unseemly haste to pull his pants down, a load of coins, his pipe cleaning tool and his spare hearing aid batteries fell out of his pockets and clattered on the floor, causing a right old racket followed by a resounding silence, which in turn was broken said Harold by a voice from the next cubicle saying. “Good heavens, man! What have you been eating?”

The audience and I are now in hysterics and Harold received a standing ovation. Was it a true story……………..who cares?

This weeks blog’s have been dominated by spring breakers yet it is fitting that we end the week talking about an 81-year-old man whose story brought the house down …….. that’s Carnival…………and as I finish my last day of being a cruise director for a while I remind myself yet again that I have the BEST job………….in the world …………… Apart from the man who test drives all the new Aston Martins………….. and the chief photographer for Playboy Magazine…………and oh yes…………..and the judge who got to sentence that greedy bastard Bernard Madoff to 150 years in prison ……….. apart from them………..I have the best job…………in the world…….and I shall miss it very much.

Goodnight
Your friends
John, Heidi and The Thingy

Comment Policy

Look, friends — there are a few things you should remember before you comment. The space below is for you to post your comments about the post I've just written above. If it is something that's unrelated, please use the Ask John tab above. Now, while I may not be able to reply to your comment below, I do sit in my underpants almost every morning and read everything that is here. So feel free to comment on the comments and then if someone wants to comment on the comment to the comment then go ahead as well. Please be courteous unless the poster is French...........then you can say whatever you want.

28 Responses to Harold

  1. Dear John
    Harold’s story HAD to be true NO ONE could make that up!
    Good to see “Wee Jimmy” in his “dress up” outfit..
    and Jamies blog, sad to have her cruise and your current cruise come to an end..
    Take Care
    Hugs to Heidi and Thingy
    The Tuckers
    Elizabeth Missing Arnold

  2. dwa76 says:

    Hi John!
    Great story from Harold. Its great that he (and not the spring breakers) are the takeaway memory.
    I’m glad the university trivia challenge went well (again) and no problems with the guest lecture.
    I can’t believe how fast time passed since you were onboard. Sounds like you have a crazy schedule ahead.
    Thanks for Jaime’s letter. The excursion to Maccu Picchu sounds like a truly memorable experience. Wow!
    Thanks for another great blog and enjoy the day off.
    Take care and hi to Heidi/Thingy!
    David

  3. Mark Chambliss says:

    John, **please Reply**
    Looks like I might miss you in Miami or Fort Lauderdale April 2nd-6th for Cruise3sixty at the convention center and shipboard too….Well if I don’t get to see you we would like to wish you and Heidi our best wishes for a smooth delivery and for a beautiful baby. Catelyn would love to babysit someday and we will look forward to your schedule afterwards and book a trip to see you.
    We live 20 miles from the Alabama shooting that took place last week…what a bonehead !! I’m checking the HEAT schedule to see if they are playing April 2nd-6th while I’m down there.Any ticket conections down there?

    Mark,Amanda and Catelyn

  4. Jeanette says:

    John, I do hope you’ll jump on board the Splendor for September and help me celebrate my 40th birthday! Bring Heidi and the wee one!

    As for the best jobs, well, the best jobs for women are being a taster for a gourmet chocolate company (like Godiva, Purdy’s, and Bernard Callebaut). Also, a model for shoes of clothing cuz then you get free stuff for being the size model!

    I moved from a house that I had to help with yardwork to a condo where the management company pays someone to tend to the yardwork!!!! I gleefully watch the lawn being mown every week in the summer and I don’t have to lift a finger to help other than offer the lawn maintainer a refill of cold water on a hot summer day.

  5. Hope you enjoyed the Valor,

  6. nanetteali says:

    ME Jaime!! I want to go too!! Thanks Susan for sharing your once in a lifetime experience.

  7. Princess Susan says:

    John,
    May I just take a moment and tell Princess Linda how sorry I am the way I attacked her response about fat people. That is not at all like me, and I have many excuses for it, but I’m just going to say I am really sorry and I’m going to send you a private email Linda.

    I’m keeping Dave in my thoughts and prayers for strength in the loss of his father. I too came very close to losing my father this last week or so.

    I LOVED the story Harold told! First good laugh I have had in a long time!
    Sending Heidi and thingy my love!

  8. Kathy says:

    HouseParty “. . . and don’t forget to click on the link to enter for a free cruise . . . ” Exactly where is that link John?

  9. Alex says:

    Dear John,

    I am glad that you were able to appease the guest who wanted to give a lecture on the ship. Perhaps he has a future on Cunard where his lecture might be more appreciated?

    Anyway, I recently had a guest ask me about the availability of a conference room on Carnival ships. I have never personally seen a dedicated conference room on a Carnival ship, so I was wondering if the ships are equipped with a conference room, or if you simply use a lounge for small group gatherings or meetings.

    Regards,

    Alex

  10. Dave Myerly says:

    The photo of Wee Jimmy in a PURPLE Scotsmans Kilt and Tartan is rather scary.

    My scottish ancestors would think that outfit is NOT befitting a scot to wear.

    Dave

  11. CruisinSue says:

    Hi John

    Thanks for Harold’s story..it just has to be true.

    I am sending my condolences to JetSkier on the loss of his father. I can certainly understand since I lost my father just 2 weeks ago today. It is a difficult thing to face. I guess I just assumed that he would always be there and I have now found how lonely I am without him. So to JetSkier…my deepest sympathies and prayers are with you and yours during this time. Please take care of yourself and the family.

    Give my best to Heidi and thingy. Hopefully we will see you again on a cruise soon!!

    Gloria aka Sue

  12. Linda (Mom of DJ) says:

    John:

    I have already told Princess Susan that no apology is necessary. We are sisters and all that is part of being a family. I know she never intended any ill intent. We have her father in our hearts and prayers for a full recovery….and we have Dave in our prayers for his sad loss.

    John, you were kind to provide the “professor” with a place to give his lecture. I do hate it though when people get their way by acting improperly.
    He should be ashamed for being so demanding.
    I am someone who would enjoy a good speaker if is a subject I am interested in. I understand many cruise lines have guest lecturers….so this simply added another “activity” for Carnival guests to enjoy.

    Princess Elaine and Squire DJ are thrilled to hear that the “bully Bulldog (Georgia)” lost. As true Gators fans….the loss could not have happened to a better team.

    Our thanks to Jaime and guest Susan for another brilliant glimpse into the world around us. And Geo’s pictures are simply leave no words to description their scope.

    Thanks to Stephanie, Tom and Tony who work so hard every day to bring us this Blog.

    Linda (Mom of your friend DJ)

  13. Dan Robertson says:

    Great stories, John, on your blog which I only recently discovered.
    Are you just taking a vacation from your job, or are you retiring?
    Dan

  14. monica says:

    Just have to say how great it is to see Wee Jimmy’s smiling face. We were able to have him as a “fill in” cruise director on the Glory a few years ago when our official CD became ill and lost his voice. I have to say that with our 5 Carnival cruises & 3 “others”, he has by far been our favorite CD and we still talk about him!!! (of course I’m sure this is b/c we haven’t cruised with you yet ;) We’d LOVE to cruise with him again!! He is absolutely hilarious, warm and inviting and we loved his constant “chattering” over the PA!!

  15. Host Mach from Cruise Critic says:

    For Rositer11-Carnival lifer regarding your ‘family’ question… We here at Cruise Critic put together a group cruise on the Carnival Fantasy for the Blogger’s cruise. Anyone is free to join us on these junkets! Please drop me an email at hostmach@cruisecritic.com and I can try to answer any questions you might have!!

    Looking forward to hearing from you!!!

    Host Mach

  16. John please reply:

    Hi John!!

    I will be on the Valor in about a month for a back to back cruise and am turning Platinum on the second leg!!! Can’t wait! I’ve never been a VIP anywhere for anything so I am really excited.

    I do have a question though. Why doesn’t Carnival’s other companies recognize my status? Holland American has some great European itineraries but I’d miss my VIP status. Since they won’t/can’t I won’t be sailing with them.

    What I think would be a nice practice is when someone reaches VIP status with Carnival or one of its sister cruise lines, that VIP staus be recognized from cruise line to cruise line,

    Thanks. Take care of yourself, Heidi and the Thingy!

    Judy

  17. Phil & Liz says:

    Hello John, Heidi and Stephanie,

    We just loved the “Guest Services Pursers Information Officers Associates Desk ” bit. What, shall we call the restrooms “evacuation headquarters” now!?

    We had hoped to be able to meet you at Shrub…err I mean Bush Intercontinental airport in Houston but, alas, we will be on the Carnival Ecstasy Thursday.

    We were thinking about being able to check the blog while aboard. Have you sorted out the Internet cafe charging to visit the blog? Perhaps a separate computer terminal that can only access Carnival.com and your blog and nothing else? That way no one has to log in and use their minutes.

    Have a safe and uneventfull trip.

    Phil & Liz

  18. Elaine says:

    Please reply…

    Just a couple of things before you leave the Valor..

    1st and most important… You made my Mom & Dad (Naomi & Marty) the happiest people on earth!!! They were shocked that you actually took the time to answer them on your blog and couldn’t believe it. If my dad was impressed, thats a huge thing!!! Thank you very much….

    2nd.. I believe somewhere on your blog I read that the Rocky Horror Picture Show movie will be onboard the Valor. Do you know if it will be there in time for the March 29th sailing?

    3rd… Is there anyway that you can tell us or even know the kid count for the above sailing? Or the # of Platinum cruisers on the sailing.

    4th… We have finally decided to have our Meet n Greet on the 1st day at sea 2PM in the Lindy Hop (Piano Bar) and would like for you to please invite the new Cruise Director David ………. sorry …………Charlie…………..(quoted from your blog!!!) and any other staff member to join us. We’d love to have them there and meet them.

    5th… Are we going to get the new UGLY Sign n Sail cards on our cruise or the old NICE Sign n Sail cards????

    And lastly, I wish you a good night and good luck in your new travels.

  19. Andrew Clark says:

    Please reply and feel free to post.

    John,

    I just finished up the 7 day Valor sailing with you and I have several comments that I would like to share.

    Firstly, I had been looking forward to having you as the CD since I discovered this blog about a month ago in preparation for the trip. However, I did not attend a single of your shows….I was too busy having an unbelievably fun time with Melvin in the Karaoke lounge every night. I did see the replays of your shows in the room and enjoyed them, but I did feel like I let you down in some strange way.

    I have a couple of very minor complaints that I want to pass on and then several positive comments. 1- please consider raising the temp. in the hot tubs. they are at the very best luke warm and if it’s sunny but very windy, you’re actually colder in the hot tubs than if you were sitting in a lounge chair. 2- I found all your in room PA announcements perfectly acceptable, even when I was hung over and wished they weren’t there, however, the volume of the PA in the hallway is so loud, (maybe just my cabin) that there was no need for an in room speaker. I noticed that the hall noise was more noticeable than on previous cruises so this could have just been my individual stateroom as well 8370.

    On to the positives. Allison, Matt, Danny, and Gio were all wonderful. I was the first person Danny met on the cruise during embarkation and she was the last staff person I said goodbye to on the way out the door, and that little personal contact meant alot. My group was 4 fairly crazy 29 year old guys partying it up with the younger crowd before we hit the big 30. We went to pretty much every trivia, bean bag, win lose or draw, etc. that your staff put on. (and won so many that we took to wearing ships on a stick around our necks on the last day) Your staff was exceptional to us, got to know our names, our strange nick names, our team names and so on. When we were the only 4 to show up for the first win lose or draw Allison encouraged us to battle it out amongst ourselves, laughed along with us, and didn’t even get mad when i punched her easel whilst drawing “bloody nose”. These 4 were just great, if i haven’t made that point clearly enough. However, one more thing i must mention is about karaoke on the last night. I went to guest services, waited in line for 30 min, talked to them and was essentially told that nothing could be done and the the capers was final. I was able to sweet talk the nice lady at the desk into humoring me and writing you an email, but I did not think anything would come of it. So i moved on to the aforementioned cruise staff. At WLD part 3 I asked Gio about it, and he said he’s get onto it, at bean bag an hour later I asked Danny about it, and by the time my team was sent packing in the quarterfinals of the tournament Danny let me know that we had our Karaoke again. I cannot explain how cool this was to me, that we were able to get the agenda adjusted to accomodate us at the last minute, and the persistence and willingness to help that Gio and Danny showed me. Obviously, you made the decision, and I thank you for that as well, but these folks really went above and beyond.
    Re:Karaoke: Melvin is a wonderful asset and by far the best Karaoke host I’ve seen (which is out of a considerable number)

    This is already an extraordinarily long letter, but as I had an extraordinarily good time, i’m going to continue.

    As I said, i’m 29, but i’ve been on at least 20 cruises, many as a teenager, through college, law school and now as a professional. This was my third carnival cruise, but i have 9 on royal caribbean and had been looking forward to going diamond over there. my last with them was in dec. My first carnival cruise was at about age 15 and I was unimpressed with the “cheesy flashiness” of the fantasy (i believe) and I definitely was in the ‘carnival is the cheap, crappy line’ camp for quite a while.

    This cruise (and the aforementioned RCL sailing in dec.) has converted me. I found the food to be considerably better, although I am definitely no expert in this regard. But what I am in expert in is fun. No cruise has ever had more games, trivia, activities, shows, karaoke, live music, etc. than this one. We played in at least 15 trivia games throughout the week. at least. we did karaoke every single night (even when it wasn’t scheduled) we won 5 ships on a stick and 12 medals, sang our asses off, and had a spectacular time. Every single bar, casino, staff, waiter, etc. always had a smile and gave off an impression of fun. We had the guy working at the counter across from the piano by the java hut yelling out requests for my friend to play as we did an impromptu jam session. That is what i’m talking about! Bravo Carnival!

    One last quick story about the very beginning of the cruise. As we walked into the terminal and handed our funpass slip to the first carnival employee we encountered, the ‘very flamboyant seeming’ older gentleman said to me, “have a great time, just remember, they all have fathers.” to which i responded with irony, “i won’t do anything you wouldn’t do.”

    Thank you sir. I’ll be ccl platinum in no time.

  20. John I sure hope Wee Jimmy doesn’t wear that outfir during hunting (rabbit) season
    Tell him I’ll hide Don’s hunting rifles. :-)
    Countess Carolyn

  21. Mike & Lori says:

    John,

    Please reply!

    We are sailing on the Sensation on Apr. 2 for three nights. Will there be a formal night on a three night cruise? Just wondering. Sure wish you were going to be on the ship with us but maybe one day we will be fortunate enough to sail with you.

    Loved Harold’s story. Great pictures from the Splendor.

    Mike & Lori

  22. Amanda Huber says:

    PLEASE REPLY

    I am a Carnival fan and a member of the cruise critic community. I have only been on two Carnival cruises so far but I loved them and have another one booked for April 2010 (or will have it booked by the 20th!!!). I’ll also be on the Triumph when she gets back to New Orleans.

    Now to my problem. I had a cruise booked on the Legend for October 18, 2009 but decided I needed to cancel it. I moved from Arizona to New Orleans in the fall of 2008 and could no longer afford a vacation this year. I had to cancel my Bank of America account since they do not have branches in New Orleans. Now my refund form Carnival seems to be floating around in cyber space. Bank of America says there has been no account activity since I closed the account in Aug 08. They said they never recieved a refund from Carnival and that since they acccount was closed they would have not accepted it and it would have been returned to Carnival. My rep at crucon says that Carnival says they refunded my deposit to my account. I need some help. Anything you can do would be a big help. With the economy they way it is $250 is a big amount to just let go. I’d be happy to just put it towards the cruise I am booking for April 09. Again, anything you can do would be great.

    If you need my past guest number or any other info to help me resolve this then please just email me.

    Amanda J. Huber

  23. Cruzin2some says:

    John,
    Great Blog and the I’m sure Heidi has told you many times that size doesn’t matter.
    James & Nancy
    The Cruzin2some

  24. FLIP FLOP CRUISE QUEEN says:

    JOHN, PLEASE REPLY,
    Do you know yet where you are staying when you come to SanFrancisco on Thursday? We would love to meet up with you for coffee or cocktails, etc. Please let all of us on the west coast know. Can’t wait to see you and share a few laughs!
    THANKS,
    Sheryl

  25. Peg Dunbar says:

    Dear John,

    I have been AWOL for so long, I feel I need a note.

    Mike and I had been in Texas for the winter when my Mother became gravely ill. We rushed back to Iowa to be with her and she passed away on March 9th. She was 95 and was loved by all that knew her. I miss her very much but am grateful that she is no longer suffering.

    I have missed you and your stories of the sea. I see that not to much has changed as far as your guests are concerned :D.

    It is nice to see that Jaime is still posting, she always has the nicest things to say.

    I am glad that Heidi is doing well as well as the baby. Time is getting shorter for the two you.

    I hope that now that I am once again home I will be able to post on your blog more often. We are planning on a cruise to Alaska next year.

    Keep smiling John,

    Peg

  26. Amy says:

    hi John,

    My sisters and I just got off the Carnival Valor with you and were witness to the wonderful crowd that was onboard last week (Jimmy Lee, Mr. Atlanta, and all the others). I have a couple questions I was hoping you could answer… First, what ever happened to the honeymoon couple that decided to drive from Costa Maya to Cancun for the day??? Did they ever make it back to our ship in Belize?? The 8 spring breakers that decided they needed “a little extra time” in Cozumel – were there cabins available for them on the Inspiration? or where did they stay for the night onboard? (Just curious about this one!!) And would you be able to tell me how the lady is that needed to be taken off the ship in Costa Maya due to the medical emergency? We were actually on the excursion with her when the accident happened and had been hoping you would update us during the cruise about her condition as we were all worried how she was. I kept watching for her son(s) while onboard but never saw them again to ask.

    Thank you for a wonderful cruise that was filled with nonstop laughter!

  27. Pingback: Top Posts « WordPress.com

  28. Charleton goodwin says:

    John,

    I wanted to say thank you for your wealth of knowledge if only shared in tidbits via stories from abroad. I am a fan of stories told far and wide, and the snippet that I am allowed to see of someone else’s life via any story is almost always intriguing if told correctly. I have really enjoyed reading your blogs lately, and it is true that I have just discovered them within the past month.
    I will be traveling in June on my first real voyage out (other than military voyages as a young Sea Cadet, and my mini-voyage to the Bahamas a couple of years ago. I will be traveling on the 6th on board the Carnival Liberty, and I am so excited! I will be traveling with co-workers as I was so fortunate to have had my name drawn and win this chance of a lifetime. I am a fairly new father with to much unfortunate loss in life, and I am looking forward to rejuvenating my mind, body, and soul aboard the Liberty. I will definatly be reading your blogs, and hope that one day I might meet the man behind the words. I’m sure you have a few more stories to share.

    Thanks,
    Charleton

Copyright 2011 John Heald. All Rights Reserved

css.php