From: MAGIC SPA MANAGER
Sent: Wednesday, February 29, 2012 10:22 AM
To: MAGIC CRUISE DIRECTOR
Subject: Thanks

Good morning John

I want to thank you for your help promoting our bamboo massage yesterday. Your announcement helped lots of people discover this excellent treatment and they all left feeling fantastic. I would like to offer you a complimentary massage to say thank you so please give me a call when you would like to have it so you can experience this for yourself. Thanks John.

Best Regards
Mia – Spa Manager

 

Here is my reply:

From: MAGIC CRUISE DIRECTOR
Sent: Wednesday, February 29, 2012 11:43 AM
To: MAGIC SPA MANAGER
Subject: Re: Thanks

Hello Mia

I am glad the promotion went well. I know many guests love this treatment and I will continue to encourage everyone to try it. Thanks so much for the kind offer of a massage but unfortunately my schedule is very busy at the moment and next week I am hosting Bloggers cruise 5 so I don’t think I will be able to have one. Thanks though for thinking of me.

Cheers
John

 

OK, that was the reply I sent. This was the reply wanted to send.

From: MAGIC CRUISE DIRECTOR
Sent: Wednesday, February 29, 2012 11:43 AM
To: MAGIC SPA MANAGER
Subject: Re: Massage

Hello Mia

I am glad the promotion went well. I know many guests love this treatment and I will continue to encourage everyone to try it. Thanks so much for the offer of a massage but honestly I would rather kiss Calvyn with tongues while having my buttocks thrashed with a huge bamboo stick by H82Seaugo dressed as Zorro.

 

Getting naked and lying prostrate in front of a stranger who’s younger and thinner than you isn’t what I call “chillaxing.” Neither is knowing that the entire focus is on my hairy arse and my lily white floppy thighs.

And of course, during my last massage I was so tense that it caused me to release a long and resounding fart. The pretty, blonde masseuse said nothing, stepped across the room and lit a scented candle. I hoped she would tell nobody.….but the farting noises the entire crew would make every time I walked past them was evidence that the entire ship knew. Massage ……….. my arse!

Time for some Q and A — here we go

 

Ann MacKay Asked:
After a great 14-day drip on the Carnival Paradise Panama Canal transit, I would like to offer the following suggestions. It would be helpful to have a foot stool to make the giant step up the bus. When the bus is parked at a curb, the step is okay but when not, many of us older folks have difficulty with that first step. Another item is the poor lighting in the Internet Cafe. The keyboards are black and there were only a few of the computers on the outside section that have some light. I did have my own iPad but needed to use the Internet Cafe when there were problems with the connection for non-Window devices.  The majority of users were older and our aging eyes do not do as well with contrast. Ask an older staffer to sit at the interior computers and see if they can type accurately in the dark.

John Says:
Hello Ann MacKay

I am very glad to know you had such a great cruise and I agree, our tour operators should be offering these steps without question. Most of them do but obviously some ports are not thinking of this and I have sent your comments to the right people so that this is not repeated. As for the Internet Cafe, I certainly see your point regarding this and I will send this to the proper beards. Thanks again for these two great points and I hope we will see you again soon.

Best wishes.
John

Ted Palmby Asked:
John,

I’m reading on the forums that Carnival is doing away with the turn down service starting with the Carnival Breeze and then on all the ships. Say goodbye to many Mr Heald.

John Says:
Hello Ted Palmby

You will be happy to know that this is true in the same way that Judge Judy and I will be in the next season of Dancing with the Stars performing our naked tango. In other words, it’s not true.

Best wishes.
John

Vera Hanson Asked:
John I hope you will get this email. I have written before but have no idea how long it takes for you to answer them. I still want to find what port is the easiest to go out of for a cruise.  I had heard Fort Lauderdale. My husband and I want to go on another cruise and he now uses a walker all the time and is it possible to get him a wheelchair just to cruise him around the ship.  It would be much easier for me and much quicker for him.  Also I want you to know how much I enjoy your blog and catching up on Facebook.  My sis-in-law Renie (Irene) was from England and there are so many words you say that remind me of her.  When I was a little girl half the time I didn’t know what she was talking about, but it was always interesting.

John Says:
Hello Vera Hanson

If I am not mistaken I think I just replied to you on my Facebook page and I am sorry it’s taken so long to get to you here on the blog. Obviously the answer to your question depends on where you are living and how easy it is to get to the port. Fort Lauderdale is an excellent homeport but please remember that we can offer assistance with wheel chair transportation onto the ship in all our home ports. Have a think about which one you think is best for you and of course let me know so I can help with any arrangements you may need. I enjoyed reading about your sister in law — we do speak funny, don’t we?

Best wishes to you and your husband.
John

Jordan Lacelle Asked:
My friends told me I should complain to you because we were on the Carnival Elation 1/14 when during the Patriots vs. Broncos game the ******* ship lost the TV coverage and we missed most of the second half. No apology or explanation was given and there were hundreds of angry people. We only booked this cruise because Carnival promised us that we would get the game and they broke that promise so what are you going to do for us?

John Says:
Hello Jordan Lacelle

I am very sorry that the game was lost. We receive our signals via satellite and sometimes there are circumstances where we lose the signal. I am surprised that no apology was made so please allow me to apologise now for the disappointment. I hope that despite this you had fun and that we will see you again soon.

Best wishes.
John

Andrea Asked:
Dear John:

My husband and I just returned from the most wonderful cruise on the Carnival Liberty and I can see why you chose Amy 6 foot 3 as your assistant as she was a delight. I was disappointed not to get a comment card again so please can you tell your beards that Putu and his assistant Gregor were the best cabin stewards we have had in all our 12 cruises and that the dining room servers Elizabeta and Xu were also top quality. My favourites though were the couple who served at the Alchemy Bar. Being in my 70′s, I forget things including their names but their charm and grace were wonderful and they helped me discover my love of martinis all over again. It was a wonderful cruise made even better by the table for 2 you arranged for Jack and I to celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary.

Andrea and Jack

John Says:
Hello Andrea and Jack

What a wonderful review and I am so glad that on this brilliant celebration of your 50 years together that you had such a wonderful time. It was an honour for us to have you spend this time with us at Carnival and I am so proud of the crew you mentioned who made it so special. I will be making sure that they see this and they will be thrilled. I hope we see you both again and if there is anything I can do, please let me know and I loved that you discovered martinis again ……. that’s simply brilliant.

Best wishes to you both.
John

Victor Maluda Asked:
I will be sailing with the Born Again group of 48 from Keene Texas on the Carnival Magic on 4/22 and we are asking if our bible studies and prayer mornings and church services can be placed in your program and announced each morning on the public address system by our Minister who will invite all your passengers. I was told by our travel agent that I need to get this approved through you.

John Says:
Hello Victor Maluda

Please may I ask that your travel agent contact our head office in Miami and they will approve if these can be open sessions and advertised in our Fun Times. I can though tell you that unfortunately I can’t allow anyone to use the public address system but if approved by the office I can mention your services. Please as I said have your travel agent contact Carnival and let’s see what we can do.

Best wishes to you all.
John

John Grocki Asked:
Hey John,

I saw on yesterday’s blog someone wrote to you about Carnival being a good cruise line for the LGBT (Gay & Lesbian) community. I have been on five cruises and we have always had so much fun. On 2/5/12 I am traveling with 12 Friends of Dorothy, we are so happy to be cruising on the Carnival Magic. Each of us read your blog daily then send texts to each other saying can you believe what John said today LOL! I’m trying to convince my friends to wear John Heald t-shirts when we first board the ship.

John Says:
Hello John Grocki

That is so kind, mate, and yes, each of our ships is proud to host Friends of Dorothy meetings and get-togethers each day of the cruise. I hope you continue to read the blog and if there is anything I can do for you, please let me know.

Best wishes.
John

Hank Samuelsson Asked:
Why are those stupid pieces of glass on the buffets on the Carnival Dream? I couldn’t reach but half the food because of this stupid design.

Hank Samuelsson

John Says:
Hello Hank Samuelsson

I am sorry that this wasn’t explained to you on the ship because these are required by United States Public Health and are part of our fleetwide food handling and serving procedures. I hope that explains why they are there and I hope you had a fun cruise.

Best wishes.
John

 

And that’s all for today.

Let’s take a break and meet the crew members here on the Carnival Magic who have been voted Employees of the Month.

 

 

Congratulations to them all.

So next week I have 518 bloggers sailing with me. It’s going to be a busy cruise so I will have little time to blog but, of course, I will have regular updates and will be answering questions as normal each day on Facebook and I really wish you were here with me.

I came back to the Carnival Magic determined not to change things because, after all, I am only a CD here for what now with me heading to Miami on the 11th turns out to be two weeks. Cruise directors love changing things even though we always say we won’t because let’s face it we all think we can do it better than the cruise director before us. It is just the nature of the beast. However, James Charlton has done a great job here and there was little to be changed but something has been bugging me these past few days. You see, now that we are 40 years old this month I started to think that I wanted to bring some of the old activities back. Now there are two problems here. First of all I would truly love to bring back pillow fighting and other Lido games that for many years were iconic to Carnival. So what are the two problems?

Well the first is that for years Carnival battled an image that suggested our ships were akin to spring break and not a place for kids and families. That was never the case, it really wasn’t. Yes the on-board environment was certainly different than what it is today; it was never anything like people who liked a huge X on their smokestack and a spot of wall climbing before breakfast thought. Now Carnival has a well-deserved image about affordable fun and brilliant service but would it be wrong to bring back some of the old favourites? Is there a place for pillow fighting and the male nightgown competition and the Latvian Wet T-Shirt contest? OK, we never had the last one, that’s just me entering the realms of my personal fantasy but it’s a question worth asking.

But there is another problem as well…

You see, while we weren’t looking, a coup has taken over places like schools, government, television, the police, the military and indeed most every part of our lives. Yes, it’s not the head teacher or the general or who’s in charge any more…… nope ……. it’s the man…..or woman …….with a clipboard …….. wearing sensible shoes and a high visibility jacket

So there is bugger all point in me even asking to bring back pillow fighting to a beard in the office because if I do, the shutters will came down and with klaxons blaring, special forces will storm my cabin and I will be arrested and thrown in jail .

I have tried before. It was a couple of years ago when I tried to explain to the clipboard brigade that we did pillow fighting for years and tried to explain how much fun it was.  I then said that we could buy some big thick mats and use light fluffy pillows for guests to hit each other with but it was to bugger all avail.

In the old days before e-mail and direct phone lines to the office where if you wanted to try something new that you truly thought would work….…you did it……it was better to ask for forgiveness than permission. These days, you have to fill in a compliance form which makes sure that you’re complying with our on-board policies. The trouble is that by the time you’ve done this you have forgotten what your idea was in the first place. And I guess it’s not their fault. That’s because we live in a world in which people will sue for just about anything. I guess I just don’t understand how in the 1990s we did pillow fighting and the belly flop contest and the male nightgown contest …….. And today we can’t.

Maybe pillow fighting isn’t part of today’s Carnival and these kinds of activities are not going to work or create the right environment on board. But I can’t help but remember the sounds of laughter that used to echo across the Lido Deck as two honeymooners would beat the crap out of each other with a pillow or the sound of that laughter increasing as the rather large woman tried to get on the pole and falls off on top of the host.  We still have wonderful fun on Lido and look now at the ropes course here on Carnival Magic. We have people dangling on a rope 20 feet above the deck……surely being hit on the head with a few duck feathers wouldn’t hurt………….would it?

Talking of new activities, the other day on Facebook I was asked why we don’t have dive instructors on the ships like other cruise lines. It’s a good question and one I shall be asking the beards although I think it would probably involve insurance concerns and telling everyone to get out of the pool so the lessons could start. I’ve always hated the thought about diving. To me, it’s up there with parachute jumping, surfing or naked bungee jumping. Now the sensible part of you really doesn’t want to, but the dangerous bit of you would like to see what it is like. It seems to be the law that cruise ship crew all want to learn how to dive. All my friends I have made over the years have and the youngsters that make up the crew of today seem to be carrying on that tradition…….but not me. I remember when my friend and now cruise consultant Roger Blum worked on the ships as a hotel director he always went diving every single chance he could get. But not me. I don’t have time now obviously as sitting here this Friday in my underpants proves but also I just don’t get the whole idea of how this is fun. It involves being underwater, where years of evolution have decided that human beings are not supposed to be, so I have for the most part been an “above the surface” kind of bloke. And besides — fat things sink…..quickly.

Many of you diving people will think that I am a bit of a wimp but that’s not true because I’ve seen Finding Nemo and because back when I was slightly less sinkable I did try a starter scuba course in Cozumel and I hated every sodding minute of it. I remember it began in a pool. The problem was that I’m not even a particularly strong swimmer, so why I agreed to do this, I have no idea….I think it was because of a spa girl called Sarah that I fancied and she was going and she had two huge personal flotation devices that I wanted to place my head between. Anyway, my swimming style is not exactly graceful and while I desperately try and keep the water off my face the rest of me is thrashing around like someone has just thrown a television in there.

In short, I naturally take to water like Calvyn takes to cage fighting, yet there I was, a young 24-year-old CD, surrounded by Mexican men with a ses packo, loads of strange looking diving thingies and Sarah’s humongous flotation devices.

I remember the first thing he made us all do was float unaided for 10 minutes and while we were doing this a rubber shark drifted by. This is apparently diving humour. Then they gave us a big book to study, which is full of important information about how not to die, then you undertake a series of dives in a pool to get you used to being underwater and the rubber shark. Then there’s an exam, to prove you’ve learned the theory of how not to die, and then we were off for the open water part of the excursion, where the sharks are no longer rubber and the pool is 4,000 miles long and 21,770 feet deep — or the “ocean,” as this big pool is often called.

On the boat they showed me how to kit up by attaching twisty thingies to tubey thingies. I looked around me and many of my colleagues and the passengers from Sensation had dive watches and their own snorkel, mask and fins. All I had was a mild case of the s***s.

I remember trying to play for time by adjusting my metal thingies and twisty thingies over and over again while as I minced around, my mates all jumped off the back of the boat into the water and disappeared. Then I jump in with Sarah and panic set in.

“What are you DOING?” I thought to myself. “You’re underwater! Get out! Get OUT! Get back upstairs immediately.” I tried to grab Sarah’s flotation devices but all that got me was a fin in the bollocks as she dove into the depths. The instructors had dropped a rope line from the boat which I clung onto as though my life depended on it, which, frankly, in my mind, it bloody well did. The instructor meanwhile is shouting at me in Mexicaglish “Put your masko backo ono and clearo it of watero using your noseo youo fatto bastardo.”

I then got confused even more…….was I supposed to take the breathey thing out of my mouth and then put it and what do I do now and is that a shark and I don’t want to die and those bubbles are not from my respirator they are from my arse.

The problem is you can’t speak with a mask on so all divers communicate by hand signals and as I thrashed around in the water I looked like I was trying to play a demented game of charades. Then the instructor started to point to my nose and then my ears and I remembered the lesson by the pool about doing something called “equalizing my ears”…. because, if you forget to do that, then the pressure makes your ears hurt even more than if you were listening to 24 hours of rap music.

I had dreamed of swimming graciously through jaw dropping multi-coloured shoals of fish and discovering Long Dong Silver’s lost treasure. But I hated it. I would rather dip my gentlemen’s sausage in a tank full of piranha than ever go diving again. My eyes were stinging, my breathing sounded like Calvyn’s when he watches anything with George Clooney in it, my ears ached and I had ruined a pair of underpants and left a brown trail in the Caribbean that probably would have pissed off the environmentalists if they had been invented back then.  And I did it all…………  for breasts!

Goodnight

Your friend
John

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22 Responses to I Want To Bring Back Pillow Fighting….But The Man In the High Visibility Jacket, He Say No

  1. jessica d says:

    John, I completely agree with you. Some of the old deck party events are worth bringing back… my all time favorote was bsthrobes and beer… Best. Time. Ever!!! We sail on the dream April 28th for my Far’s 60th… What kinds of fun things should we look forward to?

  2. Linda (Mom of DJ) says:

    John:

    Not a diver either… tried it. Went through the orientation classes….etc.

    But when we went to get outfitted with the masks etc…the minute I put the mask on, I fainted.

    Needless to say, I don’t snorkel either.

    Linda (Mom of your friend DJ)

  3. Cody G. Porter says:

    Haha… I would have said about the same thing, but wanted to say the same thing as well…

  4. Alison says:

    John,
    My husband and I recently cruised with you on the Carnival Magic to celebrate our 20th anniversary. I wanted to let you know we had an absolutely wonderful time. It was our 11-year old’s first cruise and she loved every minute of it. She especially looked forward to your morning show with Calvyn – you guys are such a hoot together. We enjoyed all your shows and entertainment (although it was a little tricky explaining why we all laughed at Dick and Anida Little’s name!). We think you are the best CD ever!

    As you know the seas were very rough Saturday on the way back to Galveston and several shows and events had to be cancelled or shuffled around. I have to commend you and your staff for helping to make the best of the situation – we enjoyed watching Tangled in the Showtime theater and actually had a very relaxing family day.

    I apologize for my rambling, but I do have to comment on one other topic. I must say that we were so impressed by the way the ‘Bravo, Bravo, Port Side’ situation was handled. My husband was not in our cabin and had been gone longer than I expected when the announcement was made. While I knew he would not go overboard on purpose, I thought back to earlier in the day when the wind blew a deck chair off of deck 12 onto deck 11 and admit I felt very panicked. Once I knew he was safe, we kept vigil on our balcony along with a lot of other concerned passengers. We watched how the skilled captain maneuvered the ship and the search lights looked for the man overboard. Your announcements over the PA system were very much appreciated and somehow calming. The absolutely best news was hearing that our captain and crew were able to avoid a disaster and rescue the person in the water.

    While our trip ended with a rocky sea day and a tense situation, the way the day was handled with caring and by a very capable crew only reinforced our desire to cruise with Carnival in the future.

    We wish you all the best and truly hope to be sailing with you again some day.

    Alison

  5. Jeanette says:

    John, ever thought of bringing the knobby knees or hairy legs contest back…they seemed to go well….

    Blogger’s Cruise–please do get on as much as you can cuz I need to know what is going on…I couldn’t afford to go, so I have to live vicariously through Storm n Norm and Big Ed…..

    • Gary Davis says:

      I was so looking forward to the tango.

    • Little Nan says:

      Jeanette,
      They did have the Knobby Knees contest on the Carnival Conquest in 2010. My 76 year old father took 2nd place! He lost out in a dance-off to a younger man who could “moonwalk”. It was great fun, and he really enjoyed himself. We are going again this April. Maybe they will do it again, and he can win a ship-on-a-stick this time.
      John, Thanks so much for all you do.
      Hi to Heidi and Kye! Hope she feels better soon.

  6. Brian B says:

    Just want to say that I always wanted to try diving, it would be amazing if Carnival offered this. I realize it may be tough to “clear the pool” for this, but perhaps you do it in the adults only pool – usually, it’s not an overly busy spot like the main pools are.

  7. Marcia says:

    I will be crusing 3/17 on miracle, 6 women
    out to have a fun time. What kind of fun things do they have going on in the theater?
    I was disappointed in last years cruise out
    of jacksonville. I hope this ship is better.

  8. Rick says:

    Ha, nice start to my day, John. Thanks for the giggle.

  9. Bennopops from Somerset says:

    Scuba diving? No way. Muff diving? that’s a different matter !

  10. Pam Wagner says:

    It makes me laugh to think that people would consider leaving Carnival if they took away turn down service. Are you so inept that you can’t turn down a bed yourself? And others who are angry that the signal was lost for the football game and follow it up with “what are you going to do for us?” Lighten up, people — you’re on vacation!!! Yes, turn down service is nice — yes, it’s fun watching your favorite teams — but in the grand scheme of things, are you going to let those things ruin everything else if it doesn’t go your way?

  11. Lightpinksoul says:

    Hi John! I always enjoy reading your blog! I’m happy to read good things about Carnival Magic and Captain Cutugno,great man and captain, that I had the honour to meet while he was in Messina on board of C. Freedom some year ago. But I would like to know if you will be in Italy on board of the CARNIVAL BREEZE and when will it start the cruises? Last Summer while I was on board of a Carnival Miracle in the USA, despite of my English, I met a lot of people, and among these I met Americans coming from Italy who had the desire to come again in my country just to visit and let their sons see the ground of their fathers, so I promoted a lot the Breeze and its cruise in the Mediterranean Sea.I thought it could be a great expenrience for them!
    Wishing to meet you here, in my country. I send you a great HELLO! I promise you nothing bamboo massages, at most a bit of almond pastries or a plate of spaghetti with mussels and clams.
    Ciao
    Giusi Mancuso

  12. Pingback: What’s Fun (and not) in the World of Cruising-March begins! | Choice Travel Texas

  13. M. Craven says:

    PRIVATE – Hi John. You have been a big help with my husband and I planning our 1st cruise. Could you possibily send him a little something to our room? It is our 5 year anniversary and he always does so much for me that this would be a great surprise. We are on the March 10th sailing of the Freedom under my name. Thanks again for everything!

    • Mike says:

      @ M Craven, the blog comments are not private. You need to use the “Ask John” link at the top in Red

  14. amy west says:

    John-
    Don’t waste that bamboo massage. I’m getting on the Magic the day you get off and I’ll be happy to sit in for you! After 22 years in the AF I’m finally getting a vacation. Wooo Hoooo baby.
    Amy

  15. Angela Guptill says:

    Hello John: We have been cruisers now for 6 years and looking forward to year 7 :-) I feel I should share this though but I hate to complain. During our cruise on the Glory in 09, I had a massage the first day. By evening I had such large bruises all down my arms and legs, I had to buy a shawl to hid the bruises as my poor husband was getting dirty looks from people :-( The bruising stayed with me for weeks. My spa time this past month on the Liberty was OK but a bit of a let down. I had the “Pick three for $79.00″ so I chose a head massage, foot massage and eye treatment. I thought I would be laying down for this but was put in a barber chair with no privacy with windows and glass door looking out to the receiving area of the spa. My head massage was done with me sitting up and it was impossible to relax, the foot massage lasted maybe two min. then my feet were wrapped in a hot towel & left for 10 min or so. My eye treatment however was relaxing as she put the chair in a semi-recline position. She left the room twice during the “treatments”. Also, on another cruise I felt very relaxed after a massage only to get all tense again with the high pressure sales pitch of the products used on me. I’ve had some very positive spa appt. too which were great, however I can have the same treatments done here (Halifax) by my spa for less than half the price. Sorry to have to write such a comment but I thot it was time due to the few, not so great experiences.

  16. Jackie says:

    On Carnival Liberty Chef’s Table, do you get your picture taken with the Chef and an autograph cookbook for your $75.00. Some cruises offer that and I think it makes it worth the almost $100.00 we are spending.
    V/R
    Jackie

  17. jim heaton says:

    +1. While we wait for the pillow fight, we are on deck on the Magic dancing to Maroon 5′s Moves like Heald.

  18. Joe Plotar says:

    John do you know when the 2013 cruise director schedule will be out. We would like to plan next years cruise and would like to know where you will be in April of 2013.

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