June 8, 2012 -
Today, I am going to highlight some of the comments we have received from guests about their cruise experience. Now let me start by trumpeting very loudly that in all the 14 inaugural cruises I have been privileged to do as cruise director, that the Carnival Breeze has (touch wood) been the best by a long, long way with oodles of wonderful comments and lashings of praise. Why? Well, because the Carnival Breeze is our best ship yet. The end.
However, as I promised 349 years ago when I first started this blog, I would always tell you the good, the bad and the ugly and so today we will continue that tradition. Now, obviously, I never reveal the identity of the person who made the comment. They are all true, I promise, and I post these not to ridicule them in any way but to show you what it is like behind the scenes, behind the crew only door which, of course, is what this blog thingy has always been about. OK, here’s the plan. We will look at one comment now and then I will have some comments on my own about it and then we will do some Q and A and then I will show you three more comments from Carnival Breeze guests. OK with you? Right then………let’s crack on.
Mrs._____ stated that she is having difficult times on the ship as she could not turn the lights on in her stateroom. GSA advised that the cabin key must be put into the space by the door for this to work. Guest also says that her television is too complicated. GSA went to Mrs. ___’s stateroom to show her how to use the remote control for the television.
The first part is my fault as during my welcome aboard announcements on embarkation afternoon, I totally forgot to mention that you have to use the cabin key to activate the lights in the cabins. I should also point out that it great to see the effort made by the guest services associate as she went with the guest to her cabin to show her how to use the remote control. But at the same time……the guest is right because the days of a simple remote from any TV on land or at sea, in a hotel or at home, have vanished. Have you tried to make a modern TV work? It’s sodding impossible. And after you have minced around with the 27 different remote controls for three hours, you eventually have to do your best impression of the French army….and surrender. You then have to get an expert to show you and then it still won’t work because you pretended to understand what he showed you but being a man, you are too embarrassed to admit that you have absolutely no bloody clue what the heck he is talking about and after he leaves….you still have no idea what to press on the 27 remote control devices.
Right now, I am sitting here…..in my underpants…. looking at the remote control for the TV in my cabin here on the Carnival Breeze. It has 28 buttons, including one marked “COMP/(rgb 7).” Any idea what that does? I don’t. I do understand the one marked “power,” but this does not actually turn the television on. So far as I can tell, nothing does, which is why ever since I have come on board one month ago, the thing has just sat there, as turned on as I am watching Calvyn doing naked hip thrusts in my general direction.
This is the world we live in, though. Nothing is simple anymore. Take the simple joy of making a good old cup of Joe, as you Americans would say. For many years, this involved putting some water in a kettle and boiling it. But now kettles are seen as old fashioned and as pointless as a broken pencil, which is why at home in my house in Essex we have a multi-buttoned aluminum (pronounced correctly) panel thingy set into the wall. The idea is that you fill it with beans and the boiling water is instant. Sounds great, but the instruction book is 200 pages long and, I’m sorry, but if I read through that, I might as well bugger off to Starbucks. Heidi’s new kitchen has an extractor fan above the stove and has five settings. Why? What’s wrong with off and sodding on? Other things? Well, I can’t open the garage door because it’s remote control and it will only work if you lean your entire body out of the car window and point it at the garage. The alarm system? Nope. That has more codes than Da Vinci and every time I turn it on or off, the thing starts beeping and then explodes into a noise so loud that it would wake the dead.
Even the new PA system in my cabin here is 10 times more complicated than the one I had on Carnival Magic, which had an on and off switch and a button you pressed to de select certain areas of the ship. This one on Carnival Breeze has more buttons than there are on the bridge including one ominous red button that has a label on it that shouts STOP MSG EMERGENCY! I have no idea what it does and have no intention of ever finding out.
I realised how pleasant it must have been to live in the stone age…in a cave……….in your underpants ……waiting for your wife to cook you a H82seaugoasaurus steak over an open fire before dragging her by the hair to the bed cave for a spot of rumpy pumpy…those were the days.
More guest comments shortly but first………some of your questions.
Kris Tormoehlen asked:
Hi John! I am wondering if you can help me find a waiter? I don’t know if this is something you can do or not. My husband and I cruised on the Carnival Dream on Sept 11, 2010. We had YTD and sat every evening with a head waiter by the name of Julian. We absolutely LOVED him! Julian was Romanian with a cue ball bald head and bushy black eyebrows. Is that enough info that you might be able to find out if he’s still with Carnival and what cruise ship he may be on in December 2012?
Hello Kris Tormoehlen
Thanks for writing to me and I checked our records and I do show a Julian who was on the Carnival Dream in September 2010. He has since though left the company. Now, I don’t know if it’s the Julian you refer to because I don’t have photos on my system of the crew, just contract dates so the Julian you refer to may still be with us but without a last name, I cannot be certain. I am sorry I cannot help further and if there is anything else I can do for you, please let me know.
Andrew Castello asked:
Thinking of canceling my cruise on Carnival Freedom in August because Carnival has fired all the calypso bands and now has no live music on the sun deck. Calypso music is what cruising is all about and I am now considering taking my business to Royal because they have calypso bands.
Hello Andrew Castello
I am afraid that your information is not correct. While some ships have replaced the calypso duos with soloists who play at the RedFrog Rum Bar and the BlueIguana Tequila Bars for ships with the 2.0 upgrades, many of the ships still have live calypso music. This includes the Carnival Freedom which when you sail will be called “DEVINE SOUNDZ.” So I hope this information will have you even more excited about your Carnival cruise and if there is anything I can do for you beforehand, please let me know. Best wishes.
Walter Kawane asked:
Only at Carnival would you put an African American family from Delaware at the same table as two white families from Puerto Rico who speak no English. This is what happened on our Carnival Victory cruise and our meals were spent eating as quickly as we could because we had nothing in common, not even language. We have a very bad taste in our mouth about this!!!!!!!!!!!!
Hello Walter Kawane
I am very sorry to read this and I do hope that you had a great cruise despite your concerns at the dinner table. In the maître d’s defence, I should point out that the information they use to seat guests does not include the ability to speak English because in this case, the guests were from Puerto Rico it will show as U.S. citizen on the information the maître d will have used to assign seating. I wonder also if you asked to be moved to another table because I am sure this is something they may have been able to do for you. Anyway, I do hope you had fun and that we see you all again soon. Best wishes.
Trevor Jones asked:
John, we will be joining you on the Carnival Breeze and wanted to know if us UK passengers will be able to watch the Euro Championship football games while on the ship? We are very excited to be cruising with you. Thanks.
Hello Trevor Jones
Sorry for the late reply to this post and, yes, indeed we will have the games for you to enjoy both at the casino bar and in your staterooms and some even on the Seaside Theatre big screen. I will see you soon and look forward to showing you this great ship. Best wishes.
John Rozov asked:
You were right, John, we really did enjoy the Carnival Liberty and the new 2.0 stuff you spoke about was awesome. We enjoyed BlueIguana Cantina, the Mexican burrito and taco restaurant on Lido Deck, as well as Guy’s Burger Joint, they were delicious. The breakfast taco is what I got every morning along with huevos rancheros. The deli was great too, especially the pastrami corned beef sandwich. As we did not receive a comment card, can you tell someone that our room steward, Lizbeth, was the best ever and that the dynamic duo of Ramon and Wayan in the dining room were also the best we have had. It was a great cruise made even better by your generosity of a trophy and some champagne, which we enjoyed in celebration of our anniversary. Thank you and we are already talking about our next cruise which I think will be on the Carnival Magic in December.
Hello John Rozov
Thanks so much for this wonderful post and this great advert for the Carnival Liberty. I am so glad you had fun and I hope we will see you as you suggested on the Carnival Magic in December. Meanwhile, I will send your kind words to the ship so those mentioned get to see your fantastic words of praise. Best wishes to you both.
Jerald Pendleton asked:
Hi John -
We got off the Splendor this last weekend. It was another wonderful cruise – our first on the Splendor and it was indeed splendid. We especially loved the cabin steward, “I Kutet,” who took the time to learn our names and greet us every day. We hope to be back on Splendor the tail end of this summer for a family event. We hope we get the same wonderful dining room stewards
we had this time – Zoe, Rewel and Mere. We are becoming serious fans of Carnival.
PS – Stay politically incorrect. Please?
Hello Jerald Pendleton
That’s brilliant and I hope that you do indeed become true Carnival fans. I am going to pass on your review to the ship and they will be very happy to read that you had such a great time. I hope we see you again and until then I will keep doing what I do in the hope that you will continue to enjoy my silly writings. Best wishes and I am here if you need anything.
Gary Hayman asked:
“Are the stars out tonight? I don’t know if it’s cloudy or bright…” One of the grandeurs of Carnival cruising occurs when you are way out to sea, away from city lights, and you look up to the night sky, on a clear night, and see a gazillion of stars, planets, and moons so clearly that it provides an utterly ‘cosmic experience.’ [Except recently for Pluto, which has fallen out of planetary favor -- but that's a Disney problem.] That is, on the older ships of yore, that weren’t ‘lit up’ (literally and drunkenly), their lights NOT obscuring a good view of the night sky — which modern cruise ship and city land lights currently do. One used to be able to walk the Lido deck and the other open decks above, and have a clear view of the night heavens. Not now, as our floating cities’ lights obscure the sky.
Sometimes the savvy passenger can find a less lit bow or stern SECRET area that can only be visited via the end of a certain cabin corridor, the identity of which is cached in the armored safe of guest services and is not reflected on the ship’s deck plan received by passengers at boarding. Here, viewing the night sky has a greater possibility of success.
One of the major culprits interfering with great night sky viewing is the string of the attractive large white chain of lights stretching from front to aft draped over masts, funnels, and antennae compelling our pupils to constrict, letting in less light, causing the stars to disappear. [They really didn't go away -- it's just that we can't see them well, but CDs know that already.]
SUGGESTIONS: [You may want to forward these to your 'beards' in Miami.]
Here are a couple of suggestions that could make the night sky observation a ‘Program Event’ for Carnival — and it wouldn’t cost Carnival a penny and would make the CD and the Captain — heroes.
(1) Identify those existing normal best observation points on the ship and provide directions (in the Fun Times or elsewhere) of how to reach them. Don’t keep them a secret.
(2) On each ship, on one or two evenings, schedule a short ‘Sky Watching’ event where the ‘allowed’ outside lights (consistent with maritime rules and safety) above eye level on the Lido and higher decks are extinguished for 10 or 15 minutes (particularly the long high draped light and funnel lights). This should provide a clearer view of the sky on a screen many times larger than the big Lido TV screen — at least for a short period of time.
(3) Make this occurrence a destination event where an informed crew member, during the lessened light periods, would point out stars and constellations for the interested passengers for 10 minutes or so or even give an informative outdoor Sky Lecture.
(4) Incorporate the above in your Camp Carnival program for the children.
Any one, or all, of the above three, would add to the passengers’ enjoyable experience. And it is there for the having – once the lights are dimmed.
I bet that some of the cruisers haven’t seen the night sky, in its REAL splendor, in years, and the experience would be another highlight of their cruise.
Gary Hayman (Carnival Platinum)
[w/31 cruises and one more scheduled -- at the moment]
Hello Gary Hayman
What a wonderful post and so eloquently written. I know that star gazing is something that many enjoy, yet with all the current rules on navigation lights, this is not easy to do. Your suggestions are excellent and I have sent them to the captain here and also the senior beard in charge of marine operations to see what they have to say. I will let you know the outcome but reading your post makes me hope we can find a way to do this. Thanks once again and thank you also for your amazing loyalty and long may that continue. Best wishes.
Linda Clawson asked:
Hi John. I just returned from a cruise on the Carnival Freedom and it was a great time. The customer service was beyond words. My question for you is, could there be a way that any left over computer minutes could be donated to the employees so they could be in touch with their families for free?
Hello Linda Clawson
What a very kind thought that is, Linda, and I quickly spoke to the internet manager here to ask him if this is possible but as the crew and guest systems are so different and run on different codes I am afraid this can’t be done. That is such a kind gesture and thank you so much for thinking of our crew. I am very happy you had fun and I hope we see you again soon. Best wishes.
Stacey Holder asked:
Hi John! We are going on the Carnival Freedom for our honeymoon, sailing 6/24/12 from Ft Lauderdale. We are stopping at Grand Cayman, and want your opinion….should we pre-book an excursion for there, or is that destination one that we can just go to the island and make plans on our own that day? And if you do recommend an excursion, which one? We love beach, boats and do want to see the stingrays. What’s your opinion? Thank you!
Hello Stacey Holder
I am so glad I saw this before you cruise so that I can wish you a happy honeymoon and also to mention that I do suggest you book an excursion to see the stingrays. There are combinations with the turtle farm, an island tour or just the stingray sandbar tour but swimming with these amazing creatures will be something you both will always remember and I hope you get the chance to do it. I wish you a brilliant cruise and a wonderful life together. Best wishes.
Michelle Rintz asked:
Can you tell me when you might have the cruise director calendar out for October 2012? We will be on the Carnival Dream. Thank you.
Hello Michelle Rintz
The schedule is currently up until August and will be updated in the next few weeks and as soon as it is, I will post it here on the blog thingy. I wish you a brilliant cruise and please let me know if I can help with anything. Best wishes.
Tony Sullivan asked:
As a proud dad, my oldest daughter is getting married on July 7, 2012. An emotional day no doubt, but they will be cruising on the new Breeze July 21, 2012. They are in cabin 2361. As they are newlyweds and on their honeymoon, perhaps you look them up? I have told them to look forward to having yourself as cruise director on their cruise and are in for a treat!
Hello Tony Sullivan
I am sure you must be proud and I promise to do my best to make sure they have a brilliant time here on this new ship. Please would you ask them to leave me a note at the guest services desk when they are on board so I can send them a honeymoon gift and wish them the best of times?
Best wishes to you all.
And that’s all for today.
Let’s continue with some guest comments remembering that I do so only because I want you to continue to look at what happens behind the crew only door.
Mrs._____ called the GSD stating that she was upset that the Dive In movie cut off half way through. Tonight started watching Sherlock Holmes at 8 pm and at 9 pm first a George Lopez commercial cut’s off the move and a new movie starts right away. Guest is upset and asked to speak with CD.
Yep, this is a very valid comment and, once again, it’s all down to technology. The older ships have a simple system that work with the now old fashioned DVD but here we have a new blue teeth type of thing that sends the movie from the server and then ……well………..I have no idea what happens except it is not working but I am told by the technical people that it should be repaired and working by tomorrow. I have spoken to the guest and apologised and have also apologised to all the guests during my evening announcement. This is one of those things that is unavoidable and wherever technology is present, you will have days when things simply don’t work. I really hope we get it working tomorrow because with the new branded Dive In movie blankets and popcorn boxes to complement this feature, it really is a great place to watch a movie.
And on we go.
Mr_____ stated that he had not been told that the taxis in Athens would not accept U.S. dollars and that he had to walk back to the ship to get euros. Mr_______ also said that the ATM machine was charging him $6 to use and that this was an unfair charge.
This is something I have seen every season we have been in Europe and I am sure it won’t be the last time I see it while the Carnival Breeze is in Europe either. Obviously in my talk, I mention that it’s the Euro that is the currency (except in Dubrovnik, Croatia) and I guess I have always felt that it would be obvious to everyone that another country’s currency would not be accepted in a foreign port of call. But each year I am proved wrong and there are still those who truly expect that it will be. There is a $6 charge to use the ATM and as I always remind people during my travel talk, we are a cruise ship, not a bank. I have yet to speak to the guest about this and may just leave this one to the guest services team as there is very little I can add.
We have had some other concerns from guests including a couple of comments about it being too warm in the forward dining room which is being looked at today and three cabins that have had some noise issues from entertainment spaces above and we are looking after those guests completely. That aside, it has been (touch wood again) a remarkable cruise with both Ana, the wonderful guest services chief purser manager, and I talking about how easier this has been than Carnival Magic’s first voyage and I have to say once again that the praise for the ship, her crew, the design and decor and all the new features keep rolling in.
So here on the blog we have surpassed 14 million views and on Facebook we are approaching 27,000 “like” thingies. And it seems as these figures keep going up, I am attracting more and more posts that are personal attacks on me. Now Mary and Mischelle, two brilliant ladies who I adore because they work so hard to manage this page and Carnival’s Funville and Facebook page, as well, delete these comments or will send them to me to ask if I want to respond. They also have to monitor the Carnival pages which are a huge task. And it’s getting harder. Take yesterday, when some mindless bastard with the IQ of a prune, thought it would be hilarious if they posted a pornographic video on Carnival’s Facebook page. Then yesterday I received a post telling me I was fat and ugly. OK, true, I am but what’s the point of telling me this and why did someone feel it was necessary to post such things?
I used to think that there were just one or two people who did this kind of thing. But I am wrong, of course. Because as this blog and my Facebook page keep growing, I have become aware that there are many such people with bugger all friends or indeed bugger all life whose days and nights are spent going online to insult a bunch of people they’ve never met.
Most of the time, I ignore these comments but, occasionally, I get very angry indeed. The other day someone posted something about me that was so cruel about me and my family that I felt like finding this person and giving them the business with a chainsaw. But, of course, I couldn’t because, firstly, I don’t own a chainsaw and secondly because the person who suggested that Kye was not my daughter and much worse was of course anonymous. He posted using a screen name, in this case “Craterface4.” He could live in Alabama or Australia, I will never know and will never be able to inflict the pain that I want upon him or her for that matter. We have banned him/her using the IP address thingy to recognise his computer address but I am sure as I write he or she has moved on to trolling someone else online.
I wonder if this person would come up to me in person and say, “God, you’re fat and ugly and your daughter is, as well?” No, of course they wouldn’t. And yet this person sees bugger all wrong with doing so on the Internet. If I say something that offends someone on stage or here on the blog or on Facebook, you know where I am. You can find me. You can demand an apology and you will get one or you can write to Gerry Cahill and demand I be fired. But the person who writes scandalous things about me and my family or the person who posts pornographic material on Carnival’s Facebook page, there is nothing I can do about it.
But there should be, I really do think there should be. When people write stuff that is so cruel or so hateful, then I should be able to get their details from Uncle Google. When porn is posted on Carnival’s page, we should be able to locate the poster with a couple of clicks of the mouse.
Obviously, that is never going to happen, is it? But why is it fair that “Billynomates” can say what he likes about you knowing that he will get away with it. I cannot imagine what it must be like to be famous and have thousands of people Twitter how much they hate you. I have just a few but my actor friend Kevin gets constant hate posts and woe to anyone who is rich and has worked hard to get where they are, the Internet has opened a whole new way for jealous bastards to pour scorn on them.
Look, I’m not suggesting for a moment that H82Seaugo should not be allowed to laugh about the vastness of my stomach and my shortcoming as brand ambassador. I am also not saying that people should not be allowed to say that I use the word “brilliant” too much because they have the right to do so and, in a strange way, I respect them for saying so. As far as Carnival Cruise Lines and what we do and what I say and do as CD and as brand ambassador, our guests are entitled to say whatever they like. But the interweb thingy should have a worldwide rule that people have to use their real names and we should ban web anonymity. That way I can visit the person who said the most repulsive things about my daughter and blow torch their nipples off.
Oh, and then I would visit the person who posted pornographic material on Carnival’s Facebook page and make them watch a video of me and Calvyn doing naked Roman Greco wrestling.