February 1, 2011 -
We start today with a comment posted here on the blog thingy.
William Schenker Asked:
I have been looking at various photos of you on your blog here and on the Carnival Facebook page and have come to the conclusion that you need serious help with your dress sense. I am talking seriously here because having recently sailed on Norwegian and Celebrity, the entertainment directors were smart, good looking and looked fit and healthy. I suggest you have a good look at yourself in the mirror and buy some new clothes and losing 100 pounds might help as well. Your online programs are obviously well read and so as a representative of your company I would think they would like to look professional. I have a way I can help you through something that I have used to help many others. This online weight loss program was designed by the world-class fitness trainer from the popular TV shows Losing It with Jillian and The Biggest Loser. E-mail me and I will tell you how I can get the weight off you.
You don’t look good John, I can help you lose the weight and then you can look as good as your counterparts on other cruise companies.
Well I am not sure how to reply to this. I was at first offended and thought about saying May the curse of a thousand bed bugs infest your underpants………but that would not be professional would it?
I understand that I don’t look like the typical cruise director. I have met others from Cunard, Princess, Royal Caribbean and Holland America and you are correct, they all look like they have fallen off the front cover of GQ Magazine. Me, on the other hand……well I look like I have fallen of the front cover of I Love Pork Weekly. Costa Cruises’ cruise directors are all Italian and the men are ridiculously good looking. They have their hair styled and their nails done before they will even step foot on stage.
It is funny you should mention my clothes because someone on Facebook said they didn’t like the pinstripe suit I was wearing during last week’s visit to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
Listen, I know I have to lose weight and thank you for your offer to help. I am really trying and rather than resort to your wonder product I will try the old fashioned way and eat more green stuff.
As for the clothes……..well I have never been too bothered about how I dress and what people think of my lack of fashion sense. You see, as far as I’m concerned clothes only have two functions:
- To keep me warm, and
- to stop people seeing my genitals.
No, really. If my meat and two veg are warm and cozy and hidden from view, I consider myself to be well dressed. If, on the other hand, they’re out in the cold and all shriveled up, I consider myself to be badly dressed. It’s that simple. Besides, I genuinely worry about men who preen themselves for hours before going out. Indeed, we have a name for people like this. These days they are called metrosexual……….or French.
There are riots in Egypt. I have to answer 300 more questions on the blog before I am up to date. Terrorists are plotting to blow us all to kingdom come. I miss Heidi and Kye terribly. So respectfully William……..I don’t have the time to stand in front of a mirror thinking….. “I wonder if this shirt is a bit last year.”
Thanks though for your concern
Yesterday I was told I had a “large white arse” and today my inbox has William’s post in it. Oh joy. Just once I would like to open my comments and see one from a Latvian lap dancer who having seen my blog and Facebook photos wants to immediate rumpy pumpy with me on the hood of an Aston Martin DBS before walking out center court at a Miami Heat game and telling the huge crowd that “Zat John is ze best lover I have ever hadov, his thingy Lebron James’s thingy look like ze baby carrot.”
Time for today’s other questions to be answered…………….away we go.
John please reply…
I’m sad that I won’t be sailing with you on the Freedom (though I knew I wouldn’t since I’m on the one the same time as the bloggers cruise) I was excited to see who I would be sailing with, but it looks as of now it is just ACD…will we get to find out who it is? Not really a huge thing to me, as I have enjoyed the 3 different cruise directors I have had in the past, and I’m sure I will enjoy this one as well….just hoping to know in advance…thanks! Hope you Heidi and Kye have a wonderful holiday
I am sad also that I won’t be with you but you will love the staff here and the chap who is taking over as CD. His name is Dan, he is from Australia and he has been chosen to take over the ship until Ryan gets back. I am getting to know Dan at the moment and I can see that he is going to do a very good job indeed. I really wish you a wonderful cruise and hope to sail with you one day soon.
John, Please Reply
Please think about doing a Bloggers Cruise from Galveston.
I can’t do the upcoming one and would so like to go!
As you may know, I loved cruising out of Galveston when I was CD of the Carnival Conquest and so it would make sense to have BC5 from there. Let’s see what happens. Best wishes and I hope to see you soon
Thomas Rossini Asked:
Hi John … Please Reply…
I am travelling on Feb the 19th on the Carnival Dream. There are 15 of us going and I was wondering if you might be able to speak to the Maitre D’ and see if we could be placed in the Crimson Restaurant next to each other at a window. We are travelling with children between the ages of 12-3 who love to look out the windows. All of our reservations should be linked and my booking number is ______. Also if it’s not too much to ask… I know the children might think their special if we could do something for them… I am planning on decorating their rooms through bon voyage thanks again for your time support and commitment.
Hello Thomas Rossini
It’s great to hear that you and 14 others will be enjoying the delights of your Carnival Dream. I will certainly ask the maitre d for their assistance. I wish you all a brilliant cruise
Once upon a time ago, we sent cash to Carnival to be put on our sign & sail account (including $750 for down payment on another cruise) so that we would not have a shocking bill at the end of our vacation.
Problem 1, we had to use our credit card for the future cruise, so our plan of using the sign & sail card (this is attached to a credit card) did not work for that portion of our cruise. Problem 2, on the last day of our cruise, Mayumi (the best stateroom attendant ever) gave us a check for $748 (we went over budget by $2). Which we took to our bank on Monday, to cover the charge to the credit card for our future cruise. Later that day, Carnival called & informed us that an error was made & that they stopped payment on the check that they issued & that we would be getting a check for $549 instead.
Problem 3, is the big problem, Carnival is now not communicating with us. There was no “sorry, that our mistake will obviously mess up your banking.” 3 days later we are still waiting for any response (not to mention the replacement check) regarding the error made by Carnival’s Purser.
We were on the November 28th sailing on the Carnival Pride in room 6202. (Booking number: ______)
Any assistance that you can provide in getting Carnival’s customer service representative to contact us is appreciated.
I apologise for the delay in me replying to this and hopefully someone from Carnival will have contacted you by now. In case this has not happened I will certainly now pass this onto someone who can help discuss this with you. I hope you had a great cruise and please let me know if there is anything I can do to help.
John – Please reply if you have time.
We are cruising on the Carnival Spirit in February. Can you tell me a little bit about our CD, Stuart Dunn? 63 days and counting!
Stuart is a fantastic guy and probably the CD with the most energy I have ever seen. He used to be a gold miner in his home country of Australia and then joined the ships as a fitness instructor ………just like me. You will really enjoy his fun and the energy I mentioned is contagious. You are in for loads of fun.
Here is a photo of Stu Down Under
Have a brilliant cruise
Why is Carnival doing this? I am sure that you have read this link and seen the displeasure of the CC folks and that alone should make you shiver with worry. Paying for steak, lobster, no turn over by the cabin cleaners and cutting the crew so service levels drop what’s next.
I didn’t open the link because the text of your post already tells me that none of these rumors are correct.
Bob Colonna Asked:
Please reply John.
Happy to learn of the “new in-house music” systems on all the Carnival Ships. My wife & I plus friends will be sailing on the Carnival Pride out of Baltimore on 5/1/2011. I’ll provide you a status.
Now, as for my music choice it’s SINATRA and (really) only SINATRA, plus ALL his friends:
Dino, Sammy, Tony, Ella, Rosemary, etc, etc, etc.
We’ve sailed with you on Sensation (our first cruise in 1997) then Destiny and Triumph. The upcoming Pride cruise will be our 12th on Carnival. And still you are the “best of the best” CD’S out there. We’ve sailed on HAL, RCCL & NCL and all in all we’ve cruised on about 20 cruises and haven’t had a better CD than you.
All the best to you and yours,
Hello Bob Colonna
Thanks for that very kind post. The new music system is doing very well and I have heard it firsthand here. This morning while at breakfast there was Michael Buble, Queen and Lady Ga Ga who was telling me to poke someone in the face. I will be interested to hear your thoughts about the selection of music we have. Hope to sail with you again soon and thanks so much for your loyalty.
Henry Victor Asked:
John Please reply
In March my wife and I are taking our 16 year old daughter and her 21 year old friend on the Liberty. What can I do, or whom can I contact so the girls can go to the O2 club together? They were allowed to do so on Royal so I need you to arrange this because if it doesn’t happen we will never cruise carnival again. This is not a threat it is a promise !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Hello Henry Victor
I am sorry to bring bad news but we have very strict rules about this that I do not have the ability to break. Our Club O2 age is 15 – 17 and we simply cannot allow her 21 year old friend to be in there with her. I am sure they will have loads of fun and I am also sure that while they are doing so you and your wife will have a brilliant time as well. Have a great cruise.
Best wishes to all
Michael Davis Asked:
John, the favor of a reply, please?
We’d LOVE to see you on the Fantasy in May or whenever; she’s right in our backyard (Charleston) full time now. Having read the blog thingy religiously for a while and after seeing amazing video snippets of you, we think having the opportunity to sail with you would be, as you say, “brilliant.”
But the CD sked posted has you listed a lot of other places, especially the Magic in May, and Risa Barnes as CD aboard Fantasy. Which is correct?
Hello Michael Davis
You will love the Carnival Fantasy and sailing out of Charleston. I know I did when I was there last year. I am sorry for the typo I made on the schedule and it will indeed be Risa who will be your CD and not me as I will be on your Carnival Magic. Have a brilliant time and please let me know if I can help you with anything.
Grace Underwood Asked:
John – please reply
Why doesn’t Carnival have its own private island? I know that Carnival owns Princess and Holland America and that some Carnival ships sometimes dock at Half Moon Cay (which I have read fantastic things about and hope to sail there soon), but why doesn’t Carnival have its own island. Many cruise lines (whether owned by Carnival or not) have their own island, and they always are among the most popular visits the ships make. It always makes for a very nice quiet, relaxing day… a perfect vacation day with a nice private beach, music and entertainment, and good food. Princess Cay is amazing and I wish Carnival had one of their own. Are there any plans for Carnival to get a private island?
Hello Grace Underwood
You must visit Half Moon Cay….…it is quite simply……paradise. Holland America under the watchful eye of Vice President of Caribbean Relations Matt Sams have really made this island stand out from many of the others. When I visited on the Carnival Imagination I was stunned by just how gorgeous a place it was and we’re grateful to be able to call there on many of our ships.
I have never been to Princess Cay, I have heard that it is also stunning. Private islands are popular with many guests although I must admit some guests prefer larger ports that offer a larger variety of things to do such as shopping districts and sightseeing opportunities. However …….I love Half Moon Cay and I am sure Princess Cay is just as beautiful. There are no plans at the moment for Carnival Cruise Lines to add another private island though. Please note that you can now reserve cabanas at Half Moon Cay online.
That’s all for today and I will be back with more tomorrow. By the way, the total views on the blog so far are 8,918,981.
OK, just a quick note about The Chef’s Table. It turns out I may confused some of you regarding the gratuity. The $75 does in fact include a gratuity all be it a minimal one. Think of this as the same as the steakhouse, however it is always nice to give a few dollars if the service has been excellent. It will be shared between everyone who is involved with this great event. It’s not obligatory but if you wish to give something extra………..it is truly appreciated.
It’s a beautiful day here in St. Thomas but because I could be a possible terrorist with some semtex in my underpants, U.S. Customs and Border Protection will not allow me ashore. We are sharing the port with the Carnival Dream, Norwegian Pearl, and one of the Monsters of the Seas. How many passengers is that…..ummm……ummmm…I make it….. ummmm……. thousands.
There is no doubt that St. Thomas has the infrastructure to handle so many cruise ship visitors and I guess it is testament to the popularity of cruising that each ship is here today sending their guests ashore to spend thousands in the jewelry shops and to enjoy places like Megan’s Bay, Paradise Point and the site of the BC4 shore excursion, Bluebeards Castle. I just can’t get away from the beards.
From what I have seen the guests here on the Carnival Freedom are having a great time. I did speak to one blogger last night who made a comment saying that the Punchliner comedy club was too small and there were no seats. Well, we do perform these shows in the International Lounge which seats 350 and we have 5 shows a night……that’s three PG 13 shows and two adult shows. This means there is plenty of opportunity for guests to see the comedians who perform there. The other point here is that if you place the comedy club in the main theatre you lose that comedy club feeling which I believe is really important to the success.
Last night I saw two comedians I have not seen before. One was very, very funny and one was as funny as waking up and finding a gangrenous boil on your arse. This apparently was not just my opinion but the opinion of the guests who showed how they felt my buggering off. Ryan the CD here and I agree that he should not be invited back. He won’t be.
With the Punchliner now a massive hit across the fleet it has become more of a challenge for the folks in Miami to book the comedians. We know that people like Happy Cole, Lewis Nixon, Percy Crews, Al Ernst, Mike Macy, Jim Brick, Kim Harrison and many other Carnival favourites are going to always fill the room with laughter. But we need new blood and most of the new comedians are extremely funny. But occasionally one of the booking agents will send us someone who may not reach that standard. Have you seen a comedian on a Carnival cruise that you thought was just the funniest you have seen? Please let me know who your favourite comedian is.
By the way, just a quick note. The comedians on the Bloggers Cruise 4 will include Al Ernst and Lewis Nixon……………..brilliant.
Let’s take a break and meet the Carnival Freedom cruise director. Here is Ryan Fitzgerald:
1. Please tell us about yourself and your journey to the Cruise Director chair. I’ve been a musician my entire life. My Dad, a retired Army Colonel and avid guitar player, got me started on the saxophone at the age of 10. I played all through school and into college. I started working at amusement parks over the summer months after my freshmen year at Ball State University (alma mater of David Letterman!). First stop was King’s Island in Cincinnati, Ohio as a member of the often laughed at, and not in a good way, “Way Too Much TV Band.” We played silly theme songs on black asphalt in 100-degree weather while people waited in line to get on really cool roller coasters that we just looked at…worst job ever. After that it was Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio, which is where I got the job for Carnival.
I started with Carnival as a member of the orchestra on the Jubilee in September 2002. Matt Ross was the cruise director and I can remember vividly the first Welcome Aboard Show I ever saw. He did the classic ‘hat game’ to get the show started and I knew from that very moment that the job of cruise director was one I would have. After almost 2 years in the band I switched over to the entertainment staff and worked my way up from there.
2. What ship are you going to after vacation I will return to the Carnival Freedom
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. Personally, I like to be where all the action is. I like to see people walking by and maybe hanging for a drink or two so the Casino Bar is one of my favorite spots to be. I know it’s a little dorky of me too but I love the ceiling at that bar. I still have no idea how the heck it works! My other favorite is the Robusto Bar, Deck 4 Aft. The main reason for this one is the music. You can’t go wrong with the band we have in there. Music Motion play great music from classic rock to 60’s and country. It never takes too long to get a drink and the entertainment is great. I feel the Carnival Freedom is the best ship in the fleet because of the incredible selection of ‘stuff.’ The team on board is so motivated to not only keep the guests busy and entertained but also keeping themselves entertained with new stuff for the guests. I’ve never seen a ship with such a variety as well as busy schedule of events of all activity levels day in and day out. I confidently say during each Welcome Aboard Show: Even if you’ve cruised 30 times, I’ll bet you’ll see something by the end of the week that you’ve never seen on another ship anywhere in the world.
4. Can you tell us about your favourite places to go in St Thomas. I love the Skyride to Paradise Point combined with St John Trunk Bay Beach and Snorkel
5. If someone were to ask you “what does a Carnival cruise director do” how would you reply? I’ll start with the fact that a cruise director is in charge of all the entertainers on board. We’re a big part of the decision process as to the schedule of both major and minor events throughout the voyage. We’re also a senior officer with major safety responsibilities and a department head with major management responsibilities. We wake up early, we go to bed late, drink lots of coffee and always smile! We’re Jack Bauer when things go wrong (that’s the guy from 24 that saves the world in a day) and the president when things go right (he’s the guy who always acts like it was not big deal that Jack Bauer had to save the world in a day!). And, on top of all that, we are entertainers that make people laugh, keep the energy high, and make sure guests enjoy themselves every single day.
6. What is your most favorite part of the job. I love so many parts of the job so I’ll get specific with events that I get most excited for: The Live Morning Show, The Game of Love, our new Murder Mystery event and playing with the Orchestra whenever possible.
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. That one’s easy, all the ones I mentioned above!
8. What is the hardest and or most challenging part of the job of Carnival CD? I think a lot of us would probably answer similarly here. The hardest part is challenge created by being both manager and an entertainer. We have energy, keep smiling and offer ourselves to guests almost all hours of the day for just about any reason. If you read John’s blog you can see, there are some pretty wild concerns that guests have but we it’s only fair that we give these concerns just as much of our attention than any other concern. Any concern is a legitimate one and we have to listen. We also have to manage a department, that means disciplining a person that you expect to then go out and perform with smiles and passing this on to the guests. It can be tough but for a professional entertainer, it’s something we have to deal no matter part of the puzzle we fit into.
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’m on the big ships enough. I think I’d have to pick a small, luxury line. Maybe Seabourn.
10. Finally – please fill in the blanks
YOUR FAVOURITE ACTOR – Leonardo DiCaprio
YOUR FAVOURITE ACTRESS – Julia Roberts (Being metrosexual I’m a sucker for chick flicks!)
WHATS ON YOUR EYE POD – John, you’re officially and old man. It’s an iPod. Boy Bands, The Fray, U2, Coldplay, Gavin Degraw, Jason Mraz, Death Cab for Cutie, Michael Buble
YOUR FAVOURITE MOVIE – High Fidelity
WHO MAKES YOU LAUGH – Will Ferrell
WHAT PRODUCTS DO YOU PUT ON EACH DAY? I use Elemis face skin care anti-aging treatments that feels clean, refreshed and relaxed all throughout my busy day as a cruise director. I highly recommend Elemis Eye Cream for men. It reduces the appearance of dark under-eye circles, fine lines and puffiness that can give you a tired, burned-out appearance on like John, George, Steve and some of the other CD’s have. I should also say that here on the Carnival Freedom we have the best nail technician in the fleet. His name is Jamie and he does me every Thursday.
Thanks Ryan……congratulations on all your success and it is a pleasure to watch you work ………. nails my arse.
There is a very interesting point in his interview and that’s about the Robusto Bar. You see, since the start of the Punchliner Comedy Club we have struggled to find a place for the four piece bands to play. Not only has the Punchliner taken much of the aft lounge time on Destiny, Conquest, Splendor and Dream class vessels, but we also now have Superstar Live there as well.
So many of you will have seen that we have put these bands on Promenade Deck by the casino. This is not the best place in any way because not only is most of the traffic just passing by, but there are cabins directly beneath and this can cause some complaints from guests who can hear their music while resting.
So Ryan has placed the excellent band in the Robusto Bar called Music Motion. Now this means that a) with no cabins above or below there are no noise complaints and b) there is a purpose built dance floor as well. Now obviously there is the smoking issue but certainly from what I have seen here the lounge has been packed each night. More so than when we have had the jazz trios and classical trios and Latin bands there. It works, it’s great for the guests, great for the bar and I am wondering if this is not something we should look at doing on all the ships. Your thoughts?
Being a non-CD this week has its benefits. Yes I am bored and can’t wait to grab the microphone once again. But being mostly unknown I can sit, listen and watch to what people are saying and doing. Take this morning. I am sitting here at one of the breakfast tables on Lido Deck in the shade, blogging to all of you. The sun is shining and I am surprised that at 10:30am just how many people are still on the ship and not ashore. You would think that maybe it would be mostly the older guests who are still here but it’s not……there are young people as well…and they include a group of 5 ladies who have obviously enjoyed the help of some cosmetic surgery because between them the massive heat of the St. Thomas sunshine is completely being overshadowed by their ummmmmm…… breasts.
Sitting on Lido Deck you will see a whole variety of sizes — melons, bee stings, fried eggs, and spaniel’s ears. But the group I am looking at now…… purely for blog research purposes of course ………have breasts 10 years younger than their owners. And all of them were utterly fantastic. One of this group has well…….I don’t think I can describe them ……. ummm…….imagine Pamela Andersen sitting on an air hose. Honestly, between them this group has more sand in their bikinis…….than can be found on Megans Bay beach.
Finally I want to say a special hello to Richard and Sarah-Jane who are sailing here on the Carnival Freedom. They were also with me during the Carnival Splendor fire and we spent some time today reminiscing about what happened. Listening to their story of living in a dark inside cabin and their struggle as 70 year old guests to climb the stairs from their deck 2 cabin to the lido for food brought it all home to me. But it was the fact that they had nothing…….I mean absolutely nothing but amazing words of praise to say about the crew and the way Carnival looked after them once the ship returned to San Diego. They wanted me to mention their stateroom steward I Wan who each morning checked on them and brought sandwiches to their cabin so they didn’t have to climb the stairs. This along with the aftercare Carnival’s shore side team gave them was something very special indeed.
I sent them some chocolate covered strawberries and I saw them last night they thanked me ……. and laughed out loud because not only did I send those…..I also sent them a tray of sandwiches.