August 27, 2010 -
So I came back stage ready for the Marriage Show and was horrified to discover that one of the entertainment staff was playing some hip hop rap crap drum and arse bollocks as pre-show music. I rapidly inserted my foot in his bottom and then asked why he was playing Pee Diddly and Snoop the sodding Dog before a show about love and honeymoon and romance. The excuse of “it’s all we have got backstage” resulted in my other foot finding a resting place in his chocolate starfish.
So, after the show I called the DJ and asked him for some more appropriate music. He then told me that this would take a day or two as he needed to “burn some CDs.” Now, I know that “burn some CD’s ” doesn’t involve pouring gasoline over Todd Wittmer, George Solano and Wee Jimmy and setting them on fire, but I have no idea how you burn a CD and I have no idea why it should take so long to do so.
I know I’m about to sound like some grumpy old man living on past memories, but I remember the days when carefully compiling a C90 cassette of personally selected tunes was as easy as operating your television used to be. And in fact, I remember doing this for Heidi when I first met her back in 1994, it was a key bonding moment in our relationship.
I would assemble a collection of my favourite tunes, then spend an hour painstakingly writing the titles and artist names on the inlay card thingy, which never had enough room on it. It took effort and patience. It was a gift that showed I cared and that I wanted to have some rumpy pumpy.
Making a compilation for yourself was one thing. Assembling a tape for someone you wanted to see naked was something that took true thought.
I remember that if I had opened with something really mushy and romantic I would mark myself as a bit of a girl. So, I remember opening Heidi’s tape with ELO’s Mr. Blue Sky……. A song I had sung along to when we had heard it on the car radio. Then I moved onto songs that got more and more personal and included True by Spandau Ballet, Falling in Love with You by Simply Red and my favourite rock ballad ever “Just Between Me and You” by a Canadian band called April Wine. The cassette worked because…….well……….you know. Anyway, compilation tapes were brilliant. But then progress buggered it all up. First CDs smothered cassettes and then finally everyone got Eye Pods……………….compilation tapes were dead.
What do the youth of today do when they “burn CD’s” for someone they want to fall in love with. I guess they would include some explicit rap in which the rapper shouts about 1,000 assorted tricks he can perform with his thingy.
Oh my how things have changed.
Time for today’s Q and A……..away we go.
Debbie Love Asked:
We are booked on the Magic on Nov. 27th of next year. We have heard that you will be doing the Magic transition to Galveston. Is this true or just a rumour that has been put on CC board? If it is true, will you still be on when we sail on her?
Hello Debbie Love
Thanks for taking the time to ask this. The rumor is true as it is my intention to be the CD on your Carnival Magic during her Trans-Atlantic and to host the first few cruises out of Galveston. I will be leaving in early December so it looks like we shall be together. Congratulations on booking the ship and I am sure you have seen the video of her on www.carnivalmagic.com
Best wishes and see you next year
Jen Wilson Asked:
John- Please Reply
I just found your blog. I have spent the last three hours or so reading (this is attributable to both your engaging writing style and my desire to avoid the dishes that are waiting for me in the kitchen). I have to say in a world where customer service is basically nonexistent it is amazing that you take the time to write back to so many people. We love Carnival and this is just one more example of why we almost always choose to spend our vacations on your wonderful ships.
I do have one quick question. We are sailing on the Spirit on 9/7/10. My two little boys are coming with us and will both be in Camp Carnival. My oldest is so excited about “camp.” He loved it so much last time that I had to beg him to hang out with me now and then. I frequently hear him giving his two year old little brother pep talks about how much fun they will have. His 5th birthday is the second to last day of our cruise and he says he can’t wait to spend it with his “new camp friends”. Having told you all of that here is my worry as his mommy…I’m a little concerned that there may not be any other kids in camp carnival that cruise. I have cruised to Alaska twice before and I know it isn’t traditionally highly cruised with children. In addition, school will be back in session then. Anyway, I wanted to ask if it happens that there aren’t any kids in a specific age group? I know we will love the cruise either way but I would like to manage his expectations beforehand.
Thanks so much for reading and again I am so impressed with what you are doing here.
PS- I am sending this from iPad and for some reason the stupid thing won’t let me scroll up to check for errors in spelling and such before I send this so so please ignore any crazy typos
Hello Jen Wilson
I have never been used as an excuse not to have to do the dishes before but congratulations on finding any excuse not to have to do them. Thank you for the kind words and for expressing your love of this great cruise line. It sounds like your whole family is very excited about the cruise and I know that your time on the Carnival Spirit will be both fun and relaxing. It will be relaxing because the kids will be able to have fun in the safe environment that is Camp Carnival. I asked the ship for the kid count for your cruise in September and there are a total of 170 children of which 48 are in the Camp Carnival age group. This means that they will I am sure make many new friends. So have a wonderful time and I hope you saw my blog thingy yesterday about Eye Pads………which considering your P.S. ……..I think you might enjoy
Best wishes to you all
Hi John (Please reply)
I love the picture of you and Kye. She is a beautiful little girl and she is getting big fast. I know you miss her and Heidi more than words can say.
My sympathies to the family of Alex. I have to know though, if he was on the Carnival Freedom during the European season of 2007. I was on a cruise in October 2007 and it seems he was the one dancing on the tables with flashing glasses. My mom loved him. If it is the same one, my Mom will be saddened, as am I, to hear this. She just a couple of days ago asked if he might be on the Carnival Miracle on October when we cruise.
Also, I am going to be one of those with a special dining request. I am booked on the Carnival Imagination on October 1st with 10 of my friends. We would like to sit in the middle of the main dining room at one big table if possible. Our cabin numbers are E17, E35, E47 and E55. Any assistance with this will be most appreciated.
I will be waiting for your response about Alex. Give my best to Heidi and Kye. See you on BC4, if not sooner.
Gloria aka Sue
It is always so sad when one of our team members passes suddenly as Alex did. I do know he was on the Carnival Freedom but I am not sure if he is the one you were referring to having fun on the podium. I do know that we will miss him very much. I have sent your request to Marian Gobeaja the maitre d of the Carnival Imagination and ask him to do his best to assist you.
Have a great time and I am looking forward very much to BC4.
Best to you and Mum
John, Please respond
Not sure if this is the right page but here goes. I’m currently booked on my 2nd cruise on Carnival Valor 08/29. I’m booked with a group of 13 people who cruise range from vacation, anniversary, and a few of us including myself this is our birthday gift to ourselves. My question I’m hoping to get a reply on is there anyway that we as a group can get the Behind-the-Fun tour in anyway if possible. Thanks for the time to read my question/request. Love the blog and most of them just have me cracking up. Keep up the good work and I wish nothing but much love and happiness with Heidi and the girls. Once again thanks for the time.
I hope you get a chance to see this before you sail on the Carnival Valor. Unfortunately while I can reserve spots and The Chefs Table and can help with steakhouse reservations I cannot do advance bookings for the Behind the Fun excursions. However, if you go directly to the shore excursion desk on deck 3 when you board, I am confident you will get you and the family booked on this. The desk opens at noon. Thanks so much for the kind words and I send my very best wishes to you all
John to reply
Just got off the Liberty and was disgusted at the costumes of the dancers and had to take my twin 10 year old boys out. This was my first Carnival cruise and I want to know if this is normal for all the Carnival shows. Showing bare behinds is not family entertainment and it wasn’t like this on Royal Caribbean.
I am very sorry that you were offended by the showgirl style costumes. While at no time are the dancer’s bottoms bare they do have one or two numbers that have the cast in more revealing costumes. Some, not all of our ships have shows where some costumes similar to what you saw. I will make sure that all of the CDs announce the fact that the shows do contain showgirl style costuming either in their pre-show announcements or in writing in the Fun Times. Once again please accept my apologies and outside of your displeasure with the shows I hope you had a great time nonetheless. Best wishes to you and the family
Kathy M. Asked:
Every time I read about how Americans treat the waiters and waitresses in the dining room I think of the book “Cruise Confidential”. I know that you call it fiction, but the crew of the Carnival Paradise and a few that I talked to on the Carnival Splendor who read it told me that what he wrote was 100% accurate. The book tells us how hard they work, the long hours they put in and also how many in the dining room treat them. I do have one question though, how many Brit’s (besides yourself) have worked for Carnival. Just wondering. I will say one thing for this book, John, and that is, it made me APPRECIATE these hard workers even more. They could be dead tired, but they will still have a big smile and treat me like royalty
One last question, John do you like to read? If so, what kinds of books do you like.
Please Give my love to Heidi and Kye.
From your #1 Bloggy Thingy Fan,
Hello Kathy M
Thanks Kathy. I have not read Cruise Confidential as you know. I have been sent extracts from it and those have been total works of pure fiction. However, there is no doubting how hard the service staff work and there is also no doubt that the standards of service in the cruise industry outshines the service levels in other areas of the travel industry such as hotels, resorts and of course airlines.
I love to read………I read one chapter of a book every night before I go to bed otherwise I can’t get straight to sleep. I read 2 kinds of books, autobiographies and thrillers. My current book is called War Torn by an author called Andy Macnab who writes with such flare and knowledge because he was a Special Forces soldier for many years. Heidi is bringing me Tony Blair’s autobiography …………..which will also be a work of fiction! As always thanks so much for the support of the blog thingy
Ron Pope Asked:
(Please reply) – Being new to this blog thing – I did not know that I had to put that (please reply) in if I expected you to answer me. Anyway – I am the Guy who stopped you in the Queens Room hall way on board the Queen Victoria a couple of weeks ago. We discussed our being on the Liberty (Rome / Med ING Cruise) where you showed “The Titanic” as the movie on the Lido big screen our first night at sea…. HA
We are booked on the Magic 10/28/2011 for the T/A – and YOU said to keep in touch so that when the time gets closer you may be able to help me out with “something” for my wife – as this will be our 30th
Wedding Anniv. cruise… Pope – Plano, TX..
Hello Ron Pope
I remember our meeting in the beautiful Queens Room on the Queen Victoria. I hope you had a wonderful voyage and I was sorry that I couldn’t stay there longer. I am so glad you found the blog and you are most welcome here. Please do stay in touch and I will be with you onboard your Carnival Magic for that cruise and I will be honoured (spelt correctly) to send your wife a little something for your anniversary.
Best wishes to you both
Shelly Conlin Asked:
Having read all the negative publicity regarding the granting of special favours (spelled that way for you and my Canadian friends), I hesitate to ask for one myself, but it is a small one.
My SO and I met in the piano bar on the Glory in 2007. At that time, I was cruising with my mom and sister on my third Carnival cruise. It was his first. Even though there are 900 miles separating us, we have still managed to hang in there, and have since been on three more Carnival cruises together. Being a single mom, I wasn’t going to go on any more, but he decided that he loved me and loved cruising so much, that he has paid all my expenses on the last two and the next one coming up on October 17th on the Carnival Splendor. He rapidly caught up to me in the cruise count by going on two without me (darn him!).
Without getting too sappy (he breaks out in hives when I get all emotional), I wanted to make this one special. I have already called the Bon Voyage department and picked something he would like (the beer/cooler/mug/cap package) and made sure to swap the Budweiser for Coors Light, and we have made our Steakhouse reservations because he just can’t wait to get a grip on that monstrous t-bone they serve. We sit with our group, so I don’t need a special table either.
Now for the special favour part. I was wondering if you would leave him a brief note in our cabin welcoming him aboard and maybe tossing in a little hint that our platinum cruise would be even more special if it were our honeymoon. That would give him at least three years to get used to the idea. Come to think of it, maybe I should order a few more beers to revive him after he reads it.
Oops! One more favour – let me know where you ate the seafood ceveche. I live for that stuff and they just don’t know how to make it right way up here in MN.
Keep up the good work, John. I love reading your blog, especially now that you are on the Splendor. The Inner Sanctum of the Saints and Sinners are looking forward to seeing you again in October. You truly are the best in the business!
Hello Shelly Conlin
Please don’t ever be put off from asking me for something because of what a few say. They have an absolute right to their opinion just as I do to continue to do my best to help when I can. It sounds like that despite the distance involved your relationship that it is becoming more special every day and I hope that your cruise here with me will be a chance for you both to truly have fun and relax together.
Please can you leave me a note at the Guest Services Desk when you board. Write me a few words as to why you love him so much which I will read out at the morning show. This along with a subtle hint from me may be enough to get him on bended knee! I will of course I will be honoured to send him a little something. I will also let you know the place where I had that great ceviche because right now I can’t remember………….getting old I think. I will see you soon and my best wishes to you both.
Jen van Leeuwen Asked:
Hello John, (Please reply)
I am fairly new to your blog thingy and I LOVE it. Please don’t listen to those evil people who knock the work that you do for so many! You are the highlight of my day!! Thank you…Thank you….Thank you
Since you have graciously helped so many, may I suggest a home remedy for your heartburn and acid reflux problems? I too was a long time Acid Reflux sufferer! I found information online that Apple Cider Vinegar helps reduce the acid therefore calming the heartburn (1 tablespoon in a glass of water 1 to 2 times a day). It tastes like crap but IT WORKS. It usually takes a couple of weeks to get the full benefits. I am now med free and enjoying things like hot wings once again!!!! Now I only take the “remedy” once or twice a week and live heartburn free. ACV is also great for weight loss (I have dropped 25 lbs) and is good for diabetes too.
I actually found your blog quite by accident while searching for information on our November 12th sailing on Carnival Spirit. My husband and I are celebrating our 5th Wedding Anniversary and some friends are coming along for the celebration. I have cruised before on another line but my husband has never cruised before.
I am hoping you can answer a couple of questions for us. I have contacted Carnival’s Customer Service but unfortunately no one seems to know the answers to these. Can you please shed some light on the following….
• Ixtapa / Zihuatanejo – We are 98 days prior to sailing and only 3 excursions have been available for booking in Ixtapa/Zihuatanejo. When I check the carnival general Shore Excursion information, 95% of the excursions offered are showing “inventory pending” so it doesn’t look like any sailings are able to book for this destination. Do you know when the inventory will be loaded so that we can book these? (We booked Acapulco and Manzanillo excursions 4 months ago)
• Allergies – One of our friends has a severe allergy to Strawberries. Is there anyone prior to sailing or on board that we should be contacting regarding this? I want to try Your Time Dining but she is quite hesitant.
• Chef’s Table – I would love to surprise my Hubby with this as an anniversary present. Does the Carnival Spirit offer this and if so who do I contact regarding making reservations?
Thank you once again for all that you do! Hoping to meet you in person one day soon.
Your Canadian Fan,
Hello Jen van Leeuwen (good Dutch name that)
I am very glad you found our blog thingy and have written in with your questions. Thanks for the information on acid reflux and I will certainly be giving that a try. It’s a horrible feeling isn’t it?
Anyway, I hope you are excited about your Carnival Spirit cruise as the itinerary looks fantastic. I checked on the shore excursions and I think since you wrote your post that more have been added. Here is the link thingy to the page and you should have no problem booking them now. If you do, please let me know and I will help you. http://www.carnival.com/Itinerary.aspx?embkCode=SDG&itinCode=SDF&durDays=8&shipCode=SP&subRegionCode=MR&rateCode=PCD&sailDate=11/12/2010&sailingID=54363
Your Time Dining is becoming more and more popular and I think it is a great option to have especially when you have long days in port with lots of busy excursions. Not being tied down to a specific dining time is something I think you will appreciate. I am going to forward your posting to someone at our special needs desk so that they will alert the ship accordingly regarding the strawberry allergy. Someone will be in touch with you to confirm this information has been received. The Chef’s Table will be available so if you want to book please send me another post with your full name, cabin and sailing date and I will be honoured to reserve you both a place. I also hope we get to sail together again one day very soon. Have a brilliant time on the Carnival Spirit.
That’s all for today and thanks again for a great week of comments.
I read with interest the continuing comments about poolside seat saving. Cruise ship guests have long complained about people who reserve seats and use stealth tactics in the struggle to secure those precious poolside sun loungers. And I admit that we seem powerless to stop it……as indeed does the entire industry it seems. I still don’t have the answer…….or do I? We don’t have the numbers of staff to walk the deck and move on anybody trying to reserve a chair so why don’t we give guests the option of reserving their loungers in advance when they book their cruise. We could have a chart online and just like you can chose a seat on the airplane……… you can chose a chair as well, thus relieving you the early morning stress and you can have a lie in bed instead …… just a thought.
Every now and then I like to feature a crew member who may never get any recognition. Someone who may never get to take a bow. The ship’s physicians always get introduced at the Senior Officer presentation and obviously they are very important. But it is the ship’s nurses that do most of the…..ummmm……dirty work. So let’s welcome one of the Carnival Splendor’s angels of mercy…..Amy Bruinsma. Here she is moments before checking on my Hemorrhoids.
What is your name? Amy Bruinsma
Where are you from? Michigan, USA
What is your position onboard? Ship’s Registered Nurse
How long have you worked for Carnival? Two years
What is your favourite port? Antigua – its beautiful and has fun water sports
Which is your favourite ship? Carnival Splendor – I like the run and it has cuter male crew members than on other ships
What is your favourite way to relax after work? I like to socialise with friends, or watch a movie. And when I say watch a movie, I mean actually watch a movie. Not just use that line as an invitation to come to my cabin, like some people do!
What is your favourite movie? Sex & the City – I only like it for the fashion and the cute men!
What is your favourite music? I like country music. My favourite artist is Toby Keith.
If you could do any other job here onboard, what would it be? I think entertainment staff. It looks fun and I would enjoy helping the guests have a great cruise!
Thank you Amy and thank you to ship nurses everywhere. I salute your wonderful work and the fact that you continue to work here despite many of you having seen my bottom…very close up.
Here is some news from Entertainment Director Chris Prideaux.
Good day to all,
Let it be known throughout the realm that Joshua Lee Waitzman has proven himself worthy and from this day forth shall be known as Cruise Director, Joshua Lee Waitzman. Arise Cruise Director Joshua Lee and enjoy the rights and responsibilities of the lofty position to which you have ascended.
Let us all sing…………………… (no Josh, not you)
Many congratulations to Big Sexy aka Josh on his promotion and I know that he will be a great addition to the already superb team of CD’s we have working for us. For those of you who don’t know Big Sexy……..here he is.
Josh Waitzman Bio:
I was born one miserably cold Chicago day, January 5th, 1977 and still reside there as do my entire family and friends. The ironic thing about my position is that I come from a family of teachers, lawyers, and doctors, and have the privilege of “playing” out at sea and being the black sheep of the group (you know there’s always one). I can confidently say though that my career choice didn’t come as easily to me as it did the rest of the Waitzman clan…
I fell in love with cruising and being out at sea when I was 14 years old. My parents took myself, my younger brother, and two younger sisters on a cruise down to the Western Caribbean. I loved the experience of being on the ship, and when I somehow managed to sneak into the disco one night with a group of 18 year old girls, unfortunately, it was my mother who walked in, busted me, and threw me out! It was at that exact moment where I learned how to play blackjack in the casino…
Later on in life, I attended Illinois State University. It was there where I joined and became a social chair and house manager for Sigma Chi fraternity, took all sorts of theater and drama classes, and went through the other monotonous daily routines of college life. While on paper I was a business major, deep down in my heart I knew that the corporate world just wasn’t for me. I never could have imagined that the skills I acquired then would be essential for my inevitable career later on…
After school, while trying to start a “real” life, I spent five years as an executive pension and employee benefit recruiter, bought a house, and got married (and divorced… long story). That entire time, for the mere fun of it, I was hosting karaoke shows at night for a friend who owned a DJ and Karaoke company. It was then where I realized how much I enjoyed hosting, performing, and being in front of a crowd. Still, I never had any idea of what my future held until I went on another cruise with the family in February of 2004 and my Grandmother mentioned that since I was a natural performer and love being at sea so much, I should work on cruise ships (or “big boats” as she called them). It was shortly afterwards where I applied to Carnival and was thrust into my first positions at sea as a karaoke and social host on the Holiday in the Spring of 2004.
It was only at that point where I had an epiphany of what I TRULY wanted to do with my life….
Since the Holiday 5 years ago, I’ve had the honor of doing contracts as part of the Entertainment Staff on the Destiny and Elation, and as an assistant Cruise Director on the Elation, Victory, Miracle, Ecstasy, and Freedom. I have taken over as Cruise Director on the Elation and Miracle and Imagination and am currently celebrating my promotion as cruise director of the Carnival Freedom.
My Grandmother has since passed away, but I’ll always remember her saying that if you sincerely love what you do, you’ll never have to work a day in your life… well, if that’s true, I haven’t worked in a very long time. I honestly believe that I have the best position in the world, and I am honored to be able to work for this company. Ultimately, I am looking forward to many more years (and “big boats”) to come!
Now for reasons that may or may not become clear, I am writing this at 12:40am. And so it’s time for bed as my alarm is set for 6 am. So, see you then. Goodnight.
Don’t you think it’s strange that staying up late at night is somehow regarded as “cooler” than getting up at the crack of sodding dawn.. Any bugger can stay up until 3 am drinking Fun Ship Specials and slippery nipples washed down with some pizza from lido deck aft. But dragging your arse out of bed at 6 am to write a blog requires a level grit normally reserved for those blokes from Dangerous Catch.
By the way……on a cruise………….. when does the night officially turn into morning? I’d say when you wouldn’t have to apologise to those in the next cabin if you accidentally bang on their door asking if they recognize you……so 8:30am maybe. Anything earlier than that is still night ………..right?
Here on the west coast I have had to get up very early every morning because of the 3 hour time difference. My alarm on most mornings kicks me in the bollocks at 7 am because if I don’t write then the time difference and my day job as a cruise director would mean you would all be staring at a blank space. I’m not a natural morning person.
If it were up to me with no work commitments or blog thingy or before Kye, my sleeping pattern tends to drift into student mode, eventually getting to the point where I’m waking up at noon and hitting the sack around 2 am in the morning.
I could, given the chance eventually become fully nocturnal – like a vampire, but more of a loser, and without the ability of turning myself into a bat, flapping around a castle having rumpy pumpy with Latvian virgins. But as I said, since coming here to the Carnival Splendor I have had to get up very early each morning which has lead me to meet a whole new breed of person …………. early Carnival risers.
I meet them by the coffee shop because you won’t believe this……but my assistant Stephanie refuses to get out of her bed at 7 am to get my coffee…….the lazy, idle bugger.
So that means I have to get my own coffee and that’s where I meet this rare breed of passenger. Now I can understand getting up early to take an excursion in a port of call but on a sea day ….. why?
I’d always thought of the mornings as essentially uninhabitable, like the Paris. But no. I head out the cabin at 7 am and there they are – actual live guests!
It’s like lifting a rock and seeing life unexpectedly teeming below. Although it’s not actually teeming most of the time. Some are like me, getting coffee, some are reading and yet the most common denominator the early morning Carnival guest is ummmm……sitting. Yep……. Sitting ..…on Promenade……staring out of the window at the sea. One or two are doing serious laps in the swimming pool and if I knew where it was I am sure that there would be one or two in the gym as well………but most as I said……..just sit……alone….starring out to sea. It’s all rather sad. Maybe I need to start scheduling activities at 7 am to give the starters something to do.
Anyway, here I sit at 6:25am now and as much as I have wished for an Aston Martin or a ride on Megan Fox…..right now if a big fat Genie gave me one wish……it would probably be for a bed to lie in.
So why am I up even 1 hour earlier than usual? Well that’s because the captain called me last night and said that thanks to Tropical Storm Bastard….sorry ……Frank……..the sea conditions may not allow us to tender the guests ashore safely. We are due into Cabo San Lucas in 20 minutes and therefore I am off now to the bridge to see what the situation is. So, I will be back in a moment to let you know what is happening………better put some clothes on first though.
So here I am back in the cabin. So last night the Captain called me and said that there were some doubts as to whether we could tender our guests ashore because of the swells caused by Tropical Storm bastard…..I mean Frank. In fact last night the ship was rolling quite a bit which for this particular itinerary is very unusual indeed. So the team and I prepared a missed port Carnival Caper and we……bugger….a missed port Fun Times and we were ready for what seemed the inevitable.
However, I just returned from the bridge and we have remarkably begun tendering operations. The downside is every single one of our water based shore excursions has been canceled for the safety of the guests of course. There is even a red flag advisory at the beach suggesting swimmers take caution. But the sun is shining and it is a beautiful day and we are here and ……. oh my……..how my bed is calling me. However, sleep it appears is for wimps because I have the senior officer meeting now and then an afternoon show and e-mails and Facebook and two shows tonight.
What’s keeping me going at the moment? Well…………….this
They will be here on September 5.
See you all on Monday and on Facebook over the weekend.
P.S. One more thing, one of the 344 Stephanies and Peter the Hair are in Italy and in-between stuffing their faces with Pasta De Tofu they will be filing the coin ceremony of your Carnival Magic. So stop by the blog thingy tomorrow for a sneak preview.