To boldly Go….Nope, It's TOO Dangerous

September 4, 2009 -

John Heald

Tomorrow night we are going to a dinner party………………………..bugger.

I have never understood dinner parties…………I know I hate them……………but also ….I just don’t see the point of them. You get dressed up to eat in your own home and you lay the table with things you would never use if it were just the two of you.

I never understand people who go to big parties for fun. I suppose if I drank I’d look forward to an open bar. But I don’t. Sometimes watching people get drunk can be fun — but there’s only so long you can stand alone before someone comes over and tries to talk and spits on you when they do.

Of course when I am onboard I go to quite a few parties and one of those is the Captain’s Cocktail Party. This has changed a lot down the years. I remember serving the drinks as a bar waiter and watching Captain Sbisa and Cruise Director Gary Hunter shake hands with the passengers and before too long…..I was Gary Hunter. I don’t mean I became a brilliant ventriloquist and spoke with a Southern American accent………….I mean before too long I was standing at the door with the Captain shaking hands with the passengers. Back then we had the Carnivale, Mardi Gras, Tropicale, Holiday, Jubilee, Celebration and the Fantasy. All of the Captain’s parties were held in the main theatres and a ship’s photographer would stand at the entrance and take photos of guests as they shook hands with the Captain.

Now back then some Captains were truly welcoming and enjoyed the social aspect of their jobs. However, there were one or two Captains who us Cruise Directors would dread having to do these parties with. There were two Captains who I am sure were superb navigators yet both had the social skills of a turd in a swimming pool. We will call them Captain Piofanri. Anyway, they did not suffer fools gladly and they would make it pretty clear who they thought were fools. Let me explain.

If there is one question that has been consistently asked over the years it is one addressed to the Captain and it goes like this ………”If you are here………who is driving the boat?” This question is usually followed by a laugh as though they are the first person ever …….. in the entire history of cruising…………….to ask that question. Now, these days our Captain’s usually answer it with a pretend laugh or the answer of “my chauffeur”….or the more serious Captain’s will give them the professional answer of “Well, there are two officers on the bridge at all times. Right now we have Marco Spaghetti and Sal Pesto who are on the bridge along with two sailors. The ship is on auto pilot a system developed by the Fincantieri shipyard in Italy where the ship was built in 2007 at a cost of $600 million. The auto pilot system uses a double capacitor warpness cell based on the Jean Luc Picard scale and……”………by then the passenger has probably died and the line to get in the lounge is the length of the ship.
Anyway, regardless of what answer the Captain’s give they certainly would never ……… ever………say what Captain Piofanari used to……………which went something like this ……………oh and yes…………I swear this is absolutely true.

PASSENGER – HELLO CAPTAIN……..IF Y’ALL ARE HERE…………WHO IS DRIVING THE BOAT

CAPTAIN PIOFANARI ANSWER 1…………………..WHATA STUPIDO QUESTION ………….YOU AMERICANS THINKA THAT IS FUNNY…………..HA!

CAPTAIN PIOFANARI ANSWER 2………………WHY YOU ARE SO STUPIDO , DOA YA THINKA THATA THE SHIP HAS A NOBODY ON DA BRIDGE……….NO WASTA MY TIME!

And then under his breath (porca Madonna masaria testa da minkya)

Honestly, I used to cringe and do my best to find the guests in the lounge after the hand shaking bit was finished and apologize to the guests. Some thought that Captain Piofanari was being funny……….some were truly offended. Oh, and God help any man who tried to introduce himself to the Captain before his wife………..he would then receive both barrels from the Master “You Americans needa to lerna that de man introduce the lady to the Capitano firsta”………and this time not under his breath…………..”porca Madonna masaria testa da minkya”………….which by the way is not Italian for “have a nice day. ”

Captains Piofanari are no longer with us and one thing that has also disappeared is the photographer taking pictures of you and the Captain. This is a real shame and there are two reasons this happened. One is the sheer numbers of people. When we did these parties on the smaller ships we had 600 – 2,000 people. Now we have 3,500 people and the sheer logistics of getting the guests where they need to be, next to the Captain, smile, oh you blinked etc., etc., means that it would take forever and less people would actually get to shake his hand.

Obviously if someone asks to take a photo with their own camera, well that’s fine but gone are the days of the ship’s photographers standing there shouting “hold it, hold it hold it……..squeeze together.”………by the way, Happy Cole our top comedian does a hilarious bit about that in his show. The other reason the Captains do not take hundreds of photos is of course the damage the flash does to their eyes.

Well, we have seen many changes over the years from the music which used to be provided by the orchestra and featured Glen Millers “In the Mood” as the finale as well as the location of the party itself. Now of course on Carnival Destiny, Carnival Conquest and Carnival Splendor class ships and indeed on your Carnival Dream the parties have been changed to the aft lounges………and of course we now call them elegant night affairs rather than the old fashioned word “formal.”

Getting back to my hatred of dinner parties which feature things like specialist butter knives, more glasses than you have hands and napkin rings that look like a cat’s arse.
It’s a dinner party if you write the names of people you know perfectly well on little cards (like you’re going to forget)……. It’s a dinner party if you’re cooking something for the first time — and if you’re doing it in high heels……….and so is your wife. And it’s a dinner party if you arrange the food on the plates before serving rather than just put it haphazardly on the plate as you normally would.

It’s not a dinner party if it’s a couple of mates joining you for supper, and if Kye and other kids are there and the only think on the table is the KFC bucket and the remote control.

Parties change as you get older. They start off with ice cream and the hired novelty clown who makes balloon animals all of which look like a dog with three legs and whose scary make up and huge oversized feet gives you nightmares for weeks afterwards.

Then in your teens parties become more difficult to get invited to. When you are young you get invited even if you are so ugly that you make the other kids vomit but when you are a teen you have to be cool and good looking and that’s why my invitation was usually lost in the mail. And if by chance I did ever get invited I would spend the whole time being ignored by Sally Poole and her beautiful breasts.

These days because I travel so much and my circle of friends has grown as small as an ant’s penis requests for me to attend parties have all but disappeared…………..and when we do get invited I end up having a miserable time. I hate networking. I don’t want to be that person scanning the party for people I should talk to. And I’m terrible at it anyway. If there’s one person in the room who is annoying or spits when they talk……..then that’s the person I tend to gravitate towards at a party.

I’ll be sure to wear a raincoat tomorrow.

OK, let’s crack on with today’s questions that need answering………….here we go.

Dorothy Asked:
John,
Please reply
Thanks, I got BIG ED email addy from Stephanie. I have not had a chance to email him yet, but will soon.
I have been busy with Gene lately; he has not been feeling well the last few weeks.

I love reading your blog, it makes me cry when I see pictures of the Carnival Dream, she is superb. Ever since I had to cancel my cruise aboard her on December 3, I get to thinking about that cruise and the tears start flowing again, oh well that’s life.

We just celebrated our 33 anniversary on the 14th and the cruise was suppose to be our belated gift to each other, but with the economy like it is, we had to cancel it, but enough of that. I was reading your take on marriage, and this is what we do. We eat in front of the TV; he falls asleep in front of TV. I don’t talk very much or nag at him, learned a long time ago that it is easier for me to do it myself, I love watching football, he don’t, I love cruising, he don’t but will go. He loves fishing, camping and hunting and I will say go and have fun. No wonder that I’m lonely, I don’t have any one to really talk to, as soon as hubby gets home, he eats dinner than falls asleep in front of TV, and Gene can’t talk except to say every now and then, go, or go car. Well it time for a good cry again, I been doing that a lot lately, especially when I see the pictures of the Carnival Dream. Hope you are with your girls soon, I know that they miss you very much, can’t wait for Kye next blog.

John Says:
Hello Dorothy
I hope you do get a chance to e-mail Big Ed. His group and that of Host Mach at Cruise Critic are made up of the nicest friendliest people who like you love cruising and I know you will be made to feel very welcome.

I know how difficult it was for you to see the photos of the ship and I hope that one day you will be able to join us all onboard. I was so sad to read your post and I wish I could reach down the computer and give you a big hug. Please get involved with Big Ed and his krewe. They write to each other every day and I am sure that they will help brighten your day. And I will continue to do my best through this blog thingy to make you laugh and smile as often as I can. No crying…………that’s illegal on my blog…………think of me in a pink tutu………..there……………you see…………..that’s better.
Thinking of you
John

Beentravelin Asked:
John (Please Respond),
Could you have one of the Stephanies put up a link to where I can find the wedding packages. I can’t seem to find them on the site myself.
P.S. I heart Carnival!!!
Rob

John Says:
Hello Rob
Here is the link thingy
http://www.carnival.com/cms/fun/weddings/weddings.aspx?icid=CC_Footer_68
I heart you and Megan Fox’s bottom
Let me know if there is anything else I can do for you.
Best wishes
John

Cassandra Asked:
Dear John (please reply),
First I want to thank you for your wonderfully entertaining blog! I love the daily dose of humor you share with us here! I had the pleasure to meet you briefly in March at a deck party aboard Splendor, which I was lucky to attend as the guest of a TA friend & I hope to make your acquaintance again onboard in the future! I am excited to be taking my first Platinum cruise in just under two weeks!
I have a bit of a quandary I hope you might be able to help me with. I will be sailing with my children (16 & 5yo boys) and a longtime friend onboard the Spirit for Thanksgiving on Nov 20th. When I originally booked, there were no adjoining cabins available on deck 5 (near Camp Carnival); so decided we would make do with adjoining 7A balconies. As it turns out, there is one adjoining 7A cabin now available – but not the one it connects to is occupied. I have been working with my TA to see if there is a way to contact the occupants of that room & ask if they might mind moving down one or two cabins… in my estimation, they may not even be aware they are booked into an adjoining cabin &/or don’t need the one next door as it’s currently available for booking. (And I certainly would not expect them to move if they did not want to!) Unfortunately, we have not been able to make any headway to even have someone ask the question of them. While we will have a wonderful time either way, I would be much more comfortable with an adjoining cabin… having my friend share a room & a bathroom with a 16yo or 5yo boy may not be the nicest thing to ask of her (thought she would never even complain). ;-) I’m hoping you may know if there is any way possible to simply ask the question?
Best Regards to you, Heidi & Kye!
Cassandra

John Says:
Hello Cassandra
Thanks for the kind words about the blog and I hope we can sail together soon and enjoy a full Fun Ship cruise together. I now have a team of wonderful ladies at my disposal ….. all called Stephanie ……….because that’s the law. They checked on your question and this is what they told me.

The Carnival Spirit sailing of 11/19/2009 isn’t showing any connecting staterooms available at the moment in category 7A. I was not able to locate their reservation so not sure if they have already found a fix for this or not.

Have you sorted this out already and I am just late in responding? Please let me know and if not then please send in your booking number so that we can investigate further and try all we can to help you out. Maybe you can remind me two weeks before you sail so I can send the kids something.
Write if you need further help please
Best wishes to you all
John

Kimberly Pocchio Asked:
Dear John, (please respond)
Your blog is so amazing and packed with information that I am going through it a little at a time. We are sailing in the Carnival Holiday on one of her final voyages Sept. 21. Every year my son who will be turning 8 on September 19 gets to go on a cruise for his birthday. This will be our 4th Carnival trip. This year he helped us choose the Holiday as the ship he wanted to go on before she was gone.

It has been 3 years since our last birthday trip on Carnival and I am sure lots has changed. I see birthday cakes are no longer free on board which is not a bad thing since there are always so many deserts to choose from anyway. I also did not want to pay all the money to have the cabin decorated by Carnival due to the cost. I usually bring my own things to do it with more of a child’s theme anyway. When I booked, I told the reservation agent that we were celebrating his birthday and wanted to do something on the Formal night since he loves to do it when he looks in his words “handsome”. I asked the agent if that was possible and she said she could request it but I needed to talk to them when I got on board. I also asked her what they might do since cake were now a fee and all she knew is that they would do something but could not be more specific. So my question is, do you have any idea what they currently do for birthdays?

Due to a work schedule, his father will not be traveling with us this trip, it will just be the kids and I and I am trying to make up for that and make his birthday as special as possible. He also gets the cruise instead of a party with his friends so it has to be a little special. The more I know now, the better prepared I can come.
Thank you in advance for your response
Kimberly Pocchio

John Says:
Hello Kimberley
Every year for my birthday I used to get a pair of socks from my Mum and Dad and a great big kiss from Aunty Flori who smelt of gin and moth balls. Your son gets a cruise! Yes, we do now have a charge for cakes but if you don’t want one just tell your waiter and he will arrange to sing happy birthday with some of his colleagues at the table during dessert service. The cakes are still excellent value by the way should you want to buy one and the chocolate one in particular is very popular.

I am sure you will have a great time despite Dad not being there and look out for a little gift for your son from me.
Best wishes to all
John

Stef aka hockey addict Asked:
Hi John!!
(Please reply if you want- NO RUSH)
We loved our stateroom steward we had on the Carnival Fascination in November, Arnel. My hubby swore he was going into our room as soon as we left. He was always in the hall and always greeted us by name! If he wasn’t in the hall, hubby would say that Arnel had a hidden camera in the hallway and came running when we left the stateroom!

Arnel, Charnel & Samson in the dining room, our cocktail waitress in the dining room, and the waitress in the casino all knew us by name right away! My question is…. how does Carnival do it? How do you train everyone to remember our names????? It’s a mystery to me!

Have a safe trip home to your girls! I hope Murphy isn’t on the same flight with you this time!

Thank you for all that you do! Again, I love the blog and you always brighten my day!

John Says:
Hello Stef
I just wanted to write to say a big thank you for sending in these words of praise which I have now forwarded to the Hotel Director on the Carnival Fascination. It is always a thrill to read that our crew did such a wonderful job and as for the secret in remembering everyone’s names……well it’s a secret recipe just like what the Colonel puts in his chicken ………….and we can’t divulge it here in case somebody from the I wannabelikecarnival of the seas is reading. Seriously though, our onboard training staff are committed to a new project that has the entire ship recognizing people by name….we think that makes such a difference and obviously there hard work is paying off. I am sure all of our guests will see this when they cruise and I hope many more will let me know when they do ………….. it’s music to ears and once again proves just how iconic our crew are.

I will forward this news to our head of corporate training J.C. Trubeercanonthefloorofhiscarski who is never recognized by his full name and is known simply as………………Bob.
Thank you once again for brightening my day
Best wishes
John

BarbaraKing Asked:
John, (PLEASE REPLY)
Any news about the Elation’s itinerary for dates after April 30, 2010? We have all been patiently waiting for August 17th as mentioned in your blog and now it’s the 21st and still nothing! Can you update us on it? Thanks again for this bloggy thing, it’s the first place I check every day.
Barbara

John Says:
Hello Barbara.
And you are correct. I just checked carnival.com and I discovered that yes, you can’t book past April 2010. I was told that this would be rectified by August 17th and I sincerely apologize that this information was obviously not correct. I am sure there must be some reason for this and I have just sent an e mail to Terry our senior vice president for his kind advice. I hope to have an answer by the time this blog is posted and if not then please keep reading and I will let you have the information as soon as I can……….in fact I just received word from Terry our SVP. There has been a delay in putting bookings online for the Carnival Elation and he advised me that things should be updated and ready by September 18th…………once again…………sorry for the delay as I know you and many others are anxious to book.
Best wishes
John

Justine Asked:
Hi John
Please Reply
Hi John, hope you are keeping well, and looking forward to being home soon!

I hope you can answer a couple of concerns for me please. We are travelling on the Splendor on the 20th of September, and are continuing our holiday by going to Las Vegas after the cruise. When I booked our flights, I checked out what the earliest recommended time for flights was (2pm) so booked my flight for around this time. Since then my flight has been moved forward, not by much -but I have been reading horror stories on cruise critic around how long it takes to disembark from Splendor, I am now really worried that I will not get to LAX in time and miss the flight to Vegas. Can you please give me an idea of how long disembarkation takes – or if there is any way that we can get off the ship earlier to make sure we get to the airport on time?

Second question (sorry this post is so long) is about dining. I have not had confirmation through of our dining seating – we have requested late sitting, but while reading your blog I have seen comments about anytime dining – I have enjoyed this before on P&O and Princess, but thought it was not being rolled out to the Splendor until next year. Has this now changed, will anytime dining be available on Splendor this September?

I have never cruised before with Carnival, but have read lots of comments about the marriage game – is this something that happens on every Carnival Cruise? If it is our friends who are travelling with us, John and Dawn Newbiggin, have been married for 20 years this year, and it would be really great if they could be chosen to take part in the game (and maybe be good for our US friends to get a Northern Brits blokey perspective on marriage!!!) – could you put in a good word please?

The blog is really great, and I catch up on all your posts at the weekends – keep up the good work and thanks in advance for your help!
Justine

John Says:
Hello Justine
During your cruise stop by the Guest Services Desk and advise them that you have early flights; you will have to show them your flight tickets for their verification, they will provide you vouchers that will allow you to be among first off the ship. How long debarkation takes will vary depending on several factors, not the least being, when the ship clears U.S. Customs; no one can leave the ship until that happens. However, having checked with the ship today they informed me that we have guests currently making noon flights so yours should not be a problem. Please do though stop by the desk and let them know so they can look after you.

Anytime or “Your Time” open seating dining is scheduled to roll out on Carnival Splendor by summer 2010. If you would like me to ask my friend Miguel the Maitre D to help you with your dining room reservation please let me know and I will do my best to help you……..actually I just saw that your cruise is only a few weeks away so I took the liberty of asking Miguel to see if we can get you into late sitting so I hope this is possible.

The “Newly and Not so Newlywed” game is held on every ship and may I suggest you write a quick note to Goose the CD and leave it for his attention at the Guest Services Desk. This way he will be able to do his best to get them in the game.

I hope you have lots of fun and best wishes to you all
John

Randall Ponik Asked:
Hi John, please respond. Thanks for the recipe for Chocolate Melting Cake…. However, it says to mix in the flour – but the recipe doesn’t list flour (or most importantly – how much) in the ingredients.

John Says:
Dear Randall
What the F**K ! This is a load of S**T…..how dare you come into my kitchen and tell me the FU**ING recipe is wrong……go on get out…before I cut your thingy off with a steak knife.

Sorry………………I turned into Gordon Ramsey then………….don’t know what happened ………………anyway…………….here is the correct recipe.

Chocolate Melting cake
Recipe By : Carnival Cruise Lines
Serving Size : 25 Preparation Time :0:00
Categories : Desserts
Amount Measure Ingredient — Preparation Method
——– ———— ——————————–
2 pounds semisweet chocolate
2 pounds butter
19 1/2 each fresh eggs
1/2 pound sugar
2/3 pound flour
Melt Chocolate & Butter
Mix half egg & Sugar and whisk for few minutes & add flour. Then add the balance egg.
Add egg mixture to the melted chocolate mixture.
Pour the mixture in the ramekin cups.
Bake directly in the oven at 200 C° for 15 to 20 minutes.
Dust with powdered sugar and serve with vanilla ice cream in 2 oz ramekin cups.

Bon appetito
Best wishes
Gordon

Cheryl K Asked:
JOHN, PLEASE REPLY
This recipe for the Warm Chocolate Melting Cake discusses adding the melted chocolate and butter to the sugar and flour mixture…flour is not on the ingredient list. Can you help? I don’t want my first try at this wonderful dessert to be a flop. Thanks for all you do!
Cheryl

John Says:
Hello Cheryl
What the F**K ! This is a load of S**T…..how dare you come into my kitchen and tell me the FU**ING receive is wrong……go on get out…before I give you the recipe for my Underpants Pie.

Sorry………..I turned into Gordon Ramsey ………………….again………….don’t know what happened………………anyway…………….here is the correct recipe.
Here is the correct recipe.
Chocolate Melting cake
Recipe By: Carnival Cruise Lines
Serving Size: 25 Preparation Time: 0:00
Categories: Desserts
Amount Measure Ingredient — Preparation Method
——– ———— ——————————–
2 pounds semisweet chocolate
2 pounds butter
19 1/2 each fresh eggs
1/2 pound sugar
2/3 pound flour
Melt Chocolate & Butter
Mix half egg & Sugar and whisk for few minutes & add flour. Then add the balance egg.
Add egg mixture to the melted chocolate mixture.
Pour the mixture in the ramekin cups.
Bake directly in the oven at 200 C° for 15 to 20 minutes.
Dust with powdered sugar and serve with vanilla ice cream in 2 oz ramekin cups.

Bon appetito
Best wishes
Gordon

Mickeyspal Asked:
John, PLEASE REPLY.
The Chocolate Melting Cake recipe says “sieve flour with sugar” but it doesn’t say how much flour. Could you reprint the recipe with that information?
Thanks,
Your Pal, Myra

John Says:
Hello Myra
What the F**K ! This is a load of S**T…..how dare you come into my kitchen and tell me the FU**ING recipe is wrong……go on get out…before I make you eat some Ratovan ……which is of course a rat….that has been run over by a van.

Sorry………………I turned into Gordon Ramsey then………….don’t know what happened ……………… anyway…………….here is the correct recipe.
Here is the correct recipe.
Chocolate Melting Cake
Recipe By: Carnival Cruise Lines
Serving Size: 25 Preparation Time: 0:00
Categories: Desserts
Amount Measure Ingredient — Preparation Method
——– ———— ——————————–
2 pounds semisweet chocolate
2 pounds butter
19 1/2 each fresh eggs
1/2 pound sugar
2/3 pound flour
Melt Chocolate & Butter
Mix half egg & Sugar and whisk for few minutes & add flour. Then add the balance egg.
Add egg mixture to the melted chocolate mixture.
Pour the mixture in the ramekin cups.
Bake directly in the oven at 200 C° for 15 to 20 minutes.
Dust with powdered sugar and serve with vanilla ice cream in 2 oz ramekin cups.
Best wishes and Bon appetito
Gordon

Sam G Asked:
PLEASE REPLY!!!!!!
John,
Thanks for the Melting Chocolate Cake recipe. That cake was THE culinary highlight of our cruise (well, also the meal we had at the Sun King steakhouse).

However, the recipe DOES NOT indicate how much flour to add. Can you find this out for me and reply?

I would love to make this delicious dessert at home. You are the best!
Thanks,
Sam G

John Says:
Hello Sam
What the F**K ! This is a load of S**T…..how dare you come into my kitchen and tell me the FU**ING recipe is wrong……go on get out…before I my thingy off and serve it to you as Spotted Dick!

Sorry………………I turned into Gordon Ramsey then………….don’t know what happened ……………… anyway…………….here is the correct recipe.
Here is the correct recipe.
Chocolate Melting cake
Recipe By: Carnival Cruise Lines
Serving Size: 25 Preparation Time: 0:00
Categories: Desserts
Amount Measure Ingredient — Preparation Method
——– ———— ——————————–
2 pounds semisweet chocolate
2 pounds butter
19 1/2 each fresh eggs
1/2 pound sugar
2/3 pound flour
Melt Chocolate & Butter
Mix half egg & Sugar and whisk for few minutes & add flour. Then add the balance egg.
Add egg mixture to the melted chocolate mixture.
Pour the mixture in the ramekin cups.
Bake directly in the oven at 200 C° for 15 to 20 minutes.
Dust with powdered sugar and serve with vanilla ice cream in 2 oz ramekin cups.
Best wishes and bon appetito
Gordon
Justine

That’s all for today and I have more of course to answer tomorrow. I know at this point I usually apologize for being so behind with my answers and today is going to be no different ……………sorry.

OK, time for today’s photos featuring of course your Carnival Dream and her forward main pool area and Seaside Theatre Big Screen.

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I am truly excited about going to the ship again on the 16th. I will be joined by Stephanie (one of them) and Peter the Hair and his video camera so look out for some virtual tours of the ship………….have you booked yet?
You never know who is reading the blog.

Heidi and I received a gift in the mail yesterday……a beautiful cashmere jumper for Kye. The card with it astounded me…..it was from a young lady called Tracy……. my ex fiancé.

We haven’t spoken to each other for……..well………let’s just say the last time we did I was wearing a Calvin Klein G-string and the Pet Shop Boys were number one in the charts.

We didn’t leave on the best of terms……….my fault……not hers. I really was an idiot and I think seeing me naked scarred her for life. However………obviously she recovered from that trauma. When we were dating (holding hands, etc) she was a dancer and boy oh boy what a dancer she was. I always knew though that she would be successful in whatever she did and of course I was right………because she is a vice president of a massively successful fashion company and is married to a wonderful chap who doesn’t make her vomit when he walks down the stairs in his underwear.

Heidi wrote her a thank you e-mail yesterday and has a mailed a card to her as well. That feels a little strange and I just hope they don’t get to talking about me too much.

It’s a funny shape isn’t it?
Oh yes, you’re right ………it is
How about his farts?
Yes, stink don’t they?
Did you try shoving a cork up there?
No, thanks for the tip.

Anyway, Tracy………if you are reading this my thanks to you and Ed for the beautiful gift and I need a favour. Back in 1993 I left a pair of my underwear on your bathroom floor. They were a white pair with the words The Best Seat in the House written on the front ……………can I have them back please?

Let’s meet today’s Cruise Director my fellow Brit and good pal Mr. Chris Jefferson.

CD Photo

1. Please tell us about yourself and your journey to the Cruise Director chair:

Ooooo I could go on for hours. What I am about to write is something that I am sure most CD’s would also tell you… my journey to the CD chair and even ships for that matter was an unexpected and unplanned one. Being an actor/singer/dancer in London before coming to Carnival meant I was utterly dedicated to my ‘craft’ and God forbid any struggling actor set foot outside London for fear they would miss that important casting call which would make then a super star… a contradiction in terms really… I am dedicated to my craft, yet wanted to be famous… mmm… anyway… After performing in 2 West End Musicals (Broadway Musicals!) I decided I needed to get out of London for a while and I was offered a dancing job on the Tropicale (what a great ship!). I had never heard of Carnival at that point, had no idea they had more than just the little Trop to their name… I quickly fell in love with ship life and realized I wanted to be a CD… 4yrs after joining the Trop I was offered my first full time gig in the chair… here’s how the conversation went when Chris Prideaux called me…
CP: So, you want to be a CD?
CJ: Yup
CP: Ok, Well, I am gonna give you your shot. Do you speak Spanish?
CJ: No
CP: OK, Good Luck on the Jubilee sailing from San Juan…

The rest is history… 6 years later and every day is a new challenge.

2. What ship are you currently serving on.

Carnival Conquest

3. Before we talk about you let’s talk about the ship. What are you favorite areas of the vessel and what is it that makes your ship the best in the Carnival fleet.

The Conquest has some great memories for me. I was on the inaugural team as Assistant Cruise Director back in 2002. I hadn’t stepped foot on her since then when I joined in March 2009… The best things about the ship? Definitely the wine bar… we have a bartender there named Jannena who is the nicest bartender I have ever come across. She is simply a super star and she makes an awesome Chocolatini… alas she goes on vacation soon and won’t be there when I come back. Other great things? Sailing from Galveston. What a pleasure that is. Very, very friendly guests who are a lot of fun!

4. Can you tell us about your itinerary and please pick your favorite shore excursion from each port and tell us why you like it so much:

Grand Cayman: any stingray tour is good fun. I have been there over 20 times (as it’s a place I always take family when they sail) and it never gets tiring!
Jamaica: a couple of tours spring to mind… of course the Dunn’s River Falls but also a place called the ‘Croydon Plantation’. A nice relaxing way to spend the day if you want to do some sightseeing. I took my mum there and we had a lovely time checking out the sights of Jamaica and then wandering around a lovely Pineapple Plantation…. everyone at some point in their lives must, simply must, try some pineapple that has literally been harvested… it’s nothing like what you taste from your local super market! Trust me on this!

Cozumel: The best jeep tour ever: Cavern’s and Beach by Jeep. Over on main land Mexico. Excellent fun day out. My favorite of all jeep tours I have done.

5. If someone were to ask you “what does a Carnival Cruise Director do” how would you reply:

I would say we are a jack of all trades, master of none!

6. What is your most favorite part of the job:

Has to be the challenges that come along day to day. I love the stage work, but I also thrive on problem solving. I like to deal with the problems that come up and look for the solutions along with my team.

7. If we were to sail on a ship where you are the CD what would be the must not miss activity or show that you host.

Without a doubt the Carnival Conquest Magic show. Produced by Kevin & Caruso and starring Lady Hellevie. Both the show and her are amazing. She is stunningly athletic and talented.

8. What is the hardest and or most challenging part of the job of Carnival CD:

Managing people… Everyone is different and you have to deal with everyone differently. When I first took the chair I treated and dealt with everyone in the same way… I quickly realized that I would fail in my managerial duties if I did this… I love being a manager of a big department… it’s frustrating and rewarding. A friend of mine who runs a dept of 500 on board said there is no way he would swap his 500 for my 50… Try managing entertainers… it’s a whole different kettle of fish… and I am one, so I know!

9. If you could sail on any other cruise ship (not Carnival) what ship would you like to sail on as a guest and why:

I would love to sail on AIDA… I would love to see how the entertainment team deals with the shows and activities in 7 different languages. I heard someone say of this line when I asked how the cruise went… they said ‘take a pen & paper and start again with a cruise ship and company’… it sounds intriguing.

Finally – please fill in the blanks

YOUR FAVOURITE ACTOR:

Steve Martin

YOUR FAVOURITE ACTRESS:

Kate Beckinsale – the MOST BEAUTIFUL WOMAN IN THE WORLD – 2nd to my wife of course!

WHATS ON YOUR EYE POD:

lots of ROCK music! Not metal… just good Rock tunes… ps. Did you mean iPod?????

YOUR FAVOURITE MOVIE:

there a few at the top… the Star Wars films, the Matrix films and the first Highlander Film.

WHO MAKES YOU LAUGH:

John Heald… the best and funniest cruise director in the world!

YOUR FAVOURITE CARNIVAL CRUISE DIRECTOR EXCLUDING YOURSELF AND ME (JOHN) AND WHY:

This is not a fair question… as we will all end up reading these bios. Everyone is special and unique and has a lot to offer… some are simply more special others!

IF YOU WERE INVISIBLE FOR A DAY WHAT WOULD YOU DO:

Sail on a ship with John Heald and steal all his material… oh, no… hang on… already done that… OK… sail on a ship with Ralph and stea… oh no…hang on… I would probably pop over to number 10 and see what the PM talks about over dinner with the family… do you think they talk shop? or have other things to chat about …. ????

You know, if there was a model cruise director, someone others should look up to or down on as he is very short……it is Chris. He is one of those guys who loves every second of what he does and when he comes out on stage it’s like your best friend is there …….he really is the boy next door and if you have never had the chance of sailing with him……do…….he is truly a professional and right at the top of the CD tree……..or small shrub in his case.

We still have many more CD’s and acting CD’s to feature and I hope you are enjoying these interviews with the best CD’s in the business.

I feel very sad today because I was just watching the news and an interview with someone from NASA………the space agency ………….not the hair braiding capital of the Caribbean.

Anyway, a chap called Charles Braden (who has a beard) said that we would hopefully see a man or woman on Mars by 2050……….that’s me buggered then. No, folks, I just don’t think it is going to happen. I fully intend to live well into the middle of this century, but I am afraid I won’t see a man…….or woman on the red planet. I will never get to hear or see how they explored the Martian canals, or made their Crapafrapacino with melted Martian ice, or see if there is more life in my underpants than on Mars.
We will never conquer the Red Planet. Yep……..will flunk the next great test not because we lack the technology, nor even because we lack the money. We will fail, because – 40 years after a man walked on the moon ………… it is increasingly clear that we lack the willingness to…………..well……………..just do it.

Imagine if this was the case in the cruise industry. I am told that when our founder Ted Arison told the travel industry that he intended to build a brand new purpose built cruise vessel that that some members of CLIA fainted while some soiled their underpants. Imagine if Mr. Arison had not done that………I wonder …………..would cruising still only be available to people with double barrel names and lapdogs?

There should be a huge towering statue of Ted Arison as you drive into the port of Miami ……….he pushed the cruising boundaries and your Carnival Dream is testament to that.

Now obviously, I am not comparing the building of a new ship and going to Mars ………. OK……….I am a little bit……..It’s just that hearing that it may and I quote “be too dangerous at this time to attempt” really got me thinking. It was a huge gamble for Mr. Ted Arison to build a new ship and open the cruising door to everyone so imagine how past astronauts felt when they heard this. Some can’t hear it because they died in fires and crashes. They used sextants and slide-rules and bits of paper to navigate space, and when the Eagle finally landed………… it did so with bugger all fuel left.

The whole thing was so touch and go that it simply wouldn’t be allowed today. The insurers wouldn’t go near it. The risk assessments would be fatal to any such venture. The rockets would remain on the launch pad, choked and smothered by the bollocks of health and safety.

Let’s prove that the human race still has the robustness……… the devil may care spirit to say bugger off to then men in high visibility jackets and use some of the fighting spirit that took us to the Moon…….and one day……….maybe Kye’s children will be taking a cruise to Mars on the Carnival Enterprise……followed and copied of course by the Uranus of the Seas.

Goodnight
Your friends
John, Heidi and Kye

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.

32 Responses to To boldly Go….Nope, It's TOO Dangerous

  1. Elaine says:

    It’s KyeDay but no picture…. :(

    Although I read your blog every single day, Friday is now my favorite day and now I’m not a happy camper…What’s up John? Where’s Kye?

    WE WANT KYE!!!

  2. dwa76 says:

    Hi John!
    I enjoyed the interview with Chris today. He has a lot of charisma.
    I can’t stand dinner parties as well so I empathize with you.
    Good luck with the you have to go to today.
    Have fun and enjoy the weekend.
    Take care!
    David

  3. aprilh99 says:

    Hi John,

    As always, your blog today made me laugh hysterically! It’s the one thing I know I can look forward to every weekday! ;)

    I wanted to thank you for the interview with CD Chris. He was the CD on my very first cruise, and is my favorite! However, I am sure that will change once I finally get to sail with you!

    Love the blog! I hope you are enjoying your time at home with your girls!

  4. Linda (Mom of DJ) says:

    John:

    I remember sailing with Chris Jefferson and Todd Wittmer as ACDs on the Conquest when she first sailed.

    I predicted they would both do very well….and they have.

    I have watched the raise of several of the current Cruise Directors, like Tex (when he was a Social Host on the Holiday) and Noonan. It is wonderful to see them “grow up” through the ranks.

    We look forward to seeing the “Dream Team” strut their stuff this December!!

    Linda (Mom of your friend DJ)

  5. texaskit says:

    Dear John (please reply)

    In regard to the recipe for the warm melting cake:

    I’m confused. Please clarify whether it is the right half or the left half of the 19 eggs.

    Or 19 and 1/2 eggs. Same thing. The right half or the left half?

    Hugs to you, Heidi and Kye
    texaskit (head smarta$$)

  6. Chris C says:

    JOHN PLEASE REPLY – SAILING 9/7/09
    Hi John, I think my last 2 requests for a reply went into cyber space! I hope this one doesn’t. A couple of months ago you told me to remind you when my husband and I were sailing on the Carnival Destiny to request a table for 2. We appreciate all you do for Carnival and us bloggers. You’re one of a kind. In sailing with you as CD twice in the past, we’ve not found a CD we like better. We’re looking forward to you posting your future schedule to see if we can book a cruise with you as CD! you’re enjoying time at home with Heidi and Kye. You have a beautiful family. Again, thanks for all you do!

  7. Alan says:

    John,

    I’m traveling with a group of families that have an Autistic family member. We cruised last year on Royal Carribean and they helped our group by providing special accomodations like private seating at dinner, ship tours and private time at the kid camp.

    Is Carnival willing to do anything to help us? We are in the process of booking on the Conquest for April 4th, 2010. As of today, we have six rooms booked and have 2 more that should book any day now. There are 5 autistic kids booked currently. They age from 10-17 years of age and are all severely Autistic.

  8. Greg says:

    Sir John,
    Awesome post today. Can’t wait to cruise with Chris Jefferson next month…and bully for you calling it like you see it with NASA!

  9. Stacey says:

    John,
    Hilarious blog. And how awkward (but nice) to have your ex send a baby gift to you, LOL.

    As for the dinner parties…I can see how, because your profession requires you to be social, that being pushed into a social setting like that would try your patience. If I were you, I’d probably hibernate with the family during my time at home.

    Keep up the good work!
    Stacey

  10. Mary M. says:

    Hi John, (Please respond)

    As always…loved the blog…but the blog today about the Captain’s party made me a bit sad.

    We sailed with you on the Freedom on the July 4th cruise. The night of the Captain’s party we ended up in the elevator with ACD Jaimie and had a chat about the blog, etc. I mentioned to her that I was anxious to meet you and she assured me that you would be there. Well..when we got off the aft elevators we were actually in the front of the line for the party and were ushered into the lounge…but it was before you arrived. So…unfortunately (for me) we didn’t get to shake hands and say “hi”. Our paths did cross one other windy day on deck 3. I assumed you were headed to your office and didn’t want to detain you to so just said “hi” and kept going. (You are such a busy man!) Perhaps some day we will sail together again and I will make sure to meet you!

    But…my question for today does not have anything to do with the Captain’s party. Is there some sort of list that shows which musical productions are being performed on each ship? We are considering the Carnival Legend for our next cruise and it seems that “The Big Easy” is one of their big production shows which we just saw on the Freedom. This is not a big deal to me…but I just was wondering how many shows are performed on multiple ships…and how long is a typical show performed before being replaced? Also…does a ship get all new shows at the same time…or do they stagger them so that only one is changed at a time?

    I love the entertainment on Carnival ships…great music, talented singers, wonderful costumes, etc. Heck…just knowing how many times those kids change clothes in one show is pretty amazing! I can’t even imagine how much space it takes to store those costumes on the ship.

    Thanks again for the time you spend on this blog.

    Mary

    P.S. I don’t think you should settle for just a 52 inch TV. As important as you are to Carnival…they should give you one of those big screen TV’s like in your Carnival Dream photos on today’s blog. (I can’t quite figure out the statue on the ladder in the last photo…it looks as if she is doing some work on the TV or something!)

  11. Angela says:

    Hello John,

    Please reply (thank you!)

    LOVED the last picture of Kye. She really is a beautiful child… Heidi does good work!

    I ordered some gift certificates through Carnival.com to give to a friend for their cruise. I wanted to surprise them on the day the were leaving for the cruise but when I got the gift certificates in the mail, they say on the back that they must be mailed in 15 days before the cruise. Is this correct?

    I am cruising on the 17th of October on the Ecstasy (the maiden voyage of the Evolutions of Fun dry dock!), so I have time to mail them in and use them myself but I really wanted to surprise my friends with them as a thank you for all they have done for us this year.

    I appreciate your help and your blog, as always.
    -Angela

    PS. Thanks for the correct recipe for the melting cake.

  12. joyce geraci says:

    John,
    WHERE’S KYE??? I believe today is Kye Friday!
    disappointed Joyce

  13. Cruzin2some says:

    Dear Gordon……..or John,
    Thanks for the pictures of our lady. She looks great and you can see that with each new picture that she is almost ready for the first lucky guests. After looking at the Virtual Tour that is on the Carnival.com homepage I must say, the Carnival DREAM is going to be the best of the Funships! If you haven’t taken the time to do so I suggest that everyone do so now. There is not one area of this ship that doesn’t look spectacular.
    James & Nancy
    The Cruzin2some

  14. Bobbi says:

    John,

    I am sorry to say I will be missing your blogs this week. Why, you might ask? I am board the beautiful Carnival Conquest on Sunday. We have a really active, crazy CC group and I can’t wait to meet them all. You might want to warn the crew on board…haha.

    Thanks again for all you do. My best to you and your girls.

    Boobi

  15. Linda Hernacki says:

    Well John, perhaps if you hadn’t answered 4 times to the same comment about chocolate melting cake you could have answered more questions. Also, if you are leaving in less than 2 weeks, we all want a video of Kye before you leave, and today is Friday, where is KYE? No picture! So, is Key invited to the dinner party too? Have a nice weekend. In the states we have a nice long 3 day Labor Day weekend! Woo! Hoo! Linda & Mike

  16. flipflopcruisequeen says:

    KYE,
    This letter is for you honey. Your father has to be scolded and I believe you are not too young to send him to the proverbial “dog house”! Today is Your Day, just in case he has neglected to tell you. Friday’s, around the blog, are known as “Kye day”, or “Kye Friday”. I for one, and I am sure I am not the only one, who scroll past your father’s musings, and look for your latest picture. I then go back to the beginning of the blog and read it word for word, as your father is one of the funniest people I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. This has been the way of blog reading for me since you were born, and your dad delegated Friday’s as your day. Well, let him suffer the pains of a “dinner party” tomorrow as part of his punishment for not including you in today’s blog. I am sure that is probably what the blog is about. WE MISS SEEING YOU AND YOUR MOMMY!!!
    Sheryl

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  18. Dear John, Heidi, and Kye
    Great Blog
    Liked the interview with Chris, loved the idea of a statue of Mr.Arison in Miami. However, John I have to disagree with your idea of NOT making it to Mars ,John: As the mother of a Aeronautical Space Engineer with 2 Masters Degrees who works on Satillites I DO believe we will get to Mars, cos he’s already worked on one that went there,,,
    And as a devoted blogger where is our beautiful baby girl’s picture today? Friday Is KyeDay!!!!
    Take Care
    The Tuckers
    Elizabeth & Arnold

  19. JanReem says:

    No Picture??? Today is Friday…did you forget? Look forward to Kye update every Friday!! AHHHHHHHHHHHH

    Jan in Michigan

  20. kiciaski says:

    Hi John,

    We’re in Miami tonight and will board the Carnival Liberty tomorrow. Can’t wait for the cruise and to see Butch again. It looks like Erika won’t be too much of a problem for us now.

    We too miss Kye day. Maybe you’ll make up for it tomorrow. Are your blogs available on the ship?

    George and Linda

  21. retirementman says:

    Hi John. This was a very interesting and funny post especially with Chris Jefferson. He must be a John Heald small. Where is the photo of Kye? I think al the aunties and uncles want to see how much she has grown since the last photo. How about a video of you, Heidi and Kye all together? Good idea, right?

    Paul F. Pietrangelo

  22. KT says:

    Hello John,
    I feel like I need to see Kye every Friday. If you forget a picture she might turn out to be 15 by next Friday.
    KT

  23. Kathy M. says:

    John,

    Please Reply,

    I forgive you for not posting Kye’s picture on Friday, September 4th, because I think that since you did not post a blog on Thursday September 3rd that you may have gotten the days wrong and thought that Friday was Thursday, it happens to the best of us at one time or another.

    I loved the pictures of the Carnival Dream, you can tell they are getting close to sailing when all the lounge chairs are on deck and the chairs are out there as well. It is now days, no longer months, to when this beautiful cruise ship will finally be a reality and not just a Dream anymore. John, thank you for keeping us updated on the Carnival Dream.

    Best Wishes to Heidi and Kye,
    from your Bloggy Thinggy #1 Fan
    Kathy M

  24. Sharon Murphy says:

    Hi John,

    Great blog! I see you’re able to pass on comments/praise to the proper channels so here’s my dilemma. When debarking the 8/20/09 Miracle cruise, I inadvertantly walked off with my comment cards. I just wanted to powers that be to know that our steward, Jose, (Cabin 8226) and the casino host, Catelin, were outstanding and I had written as much on my cards. Big Sexy (Josh Waitzman) was also the best. Just want them to get the credit they deserve.

    Thanks for passing it on if you can.

    Sharon & Dennis Murphy

  25. Dorothy says:

    John,

    I finally did it, did not cry when I saw the Carnival Dream pictures today, I was laughing so hard at what my 3 year old granddaughter said about one of them. There is one with a big red machine by the pool and she said mamaw look at that giant ant, I laugh so hard that I almost wet my pants. The things kids come up with. Miss not having a picture of Kye, but I know you will post one soon. Have a nice weekend.

  26. Waiting4acruise says:

    John thanks for your interview with Chris Jefferson today. I will be sailing with him on the Conquest on September 27.

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  28. Cindy Wiley says:

    Chris Jefferson was the CD on the Carnival Triumph which was my 1st cruise back in 2005. When I went on my 3rd cruise in 2007, he was the cruise director again and had gotten married recently. He is a terrific cruise director and I hope to sail with him again one day.

    Cindy :)

  29. sdover says:

    When is the Carnival Magic going into service
    2010 or 2011?

    Thanks and look forward to sailing with you again!

  30. Ruth Jamison says:

    John,
    I agree with you about dinner parties. I really hate going to a place and being forced to “mingle”.
    I do not know what to talk about and a lot of times I do not know many of the people. Usually, I just find myself standing in the corner, eating a lot of food, and hoping that it will soon be time to leave.
    Ruth

  31. Cassandra says:

    (please reply – privately is ok)
    re: response to adjoining cabins

    Hi John,

    The adjoining cabin available on the Spirit 11/19/09 sailing is 5169 which connects with 5167 which is booked by someone. Any assistance your wonderful ‘Stephanie’ can provide would be greatly appreciated!

    I have just returned today from a terrific sailing aboard the Carnival Elation to Cabo! What a wonderful crew! I must give special accolades to bar waiter, Ionel Preda! He simply amazed our entire group (4 platinum, 1 milestone & 2 newbie cruisers) with his hard work, charm & ensured we were well supplied at all times by the pool! He was among the top bar waiters everyone in this group had ever had the pleasure of meeting… with well over 65 Carnival cruises between us, that says a lot! We are considering a letter writing campaign to have him change to work the Spirit the 11/19/09 sailing aboard the Spirit in November! (just kidding… ok, maybe not – we really would love to make that happen but imagine the logistics would be near impossible.)

    Best Regards & thank you again for all you do!!!
    Cassandra

  32. Good post, but have you thought about Nope, It’s TOO Dangerous before?

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