June 22, 2012 -
From: BREEZE GUEST SERVICES
Sent: Wednesday, June 20, 2012 6:31 PM
To: BREEZE CRUISE DIRECTOR
Cc: BREEZE ASSISTANT CRUISE DIRECTOR; BREEZE GUEST SERVICES MANAGER; BREEZE GUEST SERVICES; BREEZE GUEST SERVICES SUPERVISOR
Subject: 10*** – Meeting with John
Good afternoon John,
Mr. and Mrs. _______ from cabin 10*** are asking to speak to you. They still have no luggage which was lost by Iberia. We have tried to work with the airline but so far they have not found it. Guests are very angry and upset and are blaming us even though they booked the flight independent to Carnival. They have no insurance and really are upset. Not sure what you can say, John, but maybe you can call them.
Thank you and best regards,
Guest Services Associate, Carnival Breeze
Let me start by saying that I have nothing but sympathy for these guests and they, along with 11 other cabins here on Carnival Breeze, have had the misfortune of the airlines losing luggage. Obviously, we try and help but I have to mention again that we really don’t have to. If flights are booked independently to Carnival, which most are, why is it our fault? The answer of course is it isn’t and it is frustration and anger that causes guests to blame the guest services ladies and gents. Can you imagine doing this on land? Can you imagine if you went to the desk at the Marriotthyattintercontinentallwestern and said, “My name is H82SEAUGO and I have just flown in from San Francisco and American lost my luggage, you had better get it back soon or I will be writing on www.thebastardslostmyluggage.com.
I make light of it but the reality is that the front desk at your hotel most likely would not help because…well…it’s not their problem. But we make it our problem by trying to help and that is what sets the cruise industry aside from the hotel industry, I think.
I met with the guests. They are very upset and who can blame them? Their clothes and essentials for a 12-day cruise are God knows where and I ignored the fact that are seriously blaming us and concentrated on seeing what I could do for them. They wanted compensation in the form of hundreds of dollars’ worth of clothes from the onboard shops which we could not do. We have given them lost luggage toiletry kits and, that aside, all we can do is continue to work with the airline to find their luggage. Obviously, I feel sorry for them, really sorry for them, but I also am surprised that this middle aged couple from Boston travelled with no insurance.
Doesn’t everyone have insurance these days? When I travel for Carnival every part of me is insured…except of course my underpants.
But when Heidi and I travel outside of Carnival’s embrace, things are a little more complicated. I think you are supposed to compare various policies then choose the one that suits you best, buy it and then read all 497 pages of the policy booklet thingy so that you completely understand all the terms and conditions. That’s what you’re supposed to do. But if you’re like me (I don’t mean a fat British chap with hemorrhoids, I mean when it comes to insurance), you remember at the airport that you haven’t got any. You then spend the next three hours calling your local insurance place which is actually in India while you try and explain to Mr. Patel that you want simple, basic travel insurance and you don’t want a life insurance policy for your pet hamster.
That’s me. Or knowing many of my blogger family out there I expect you to do everything you’re supposed to do, so you click “Yes — I would like travel insurance” just like on the Carnival website or wherever you are booking your journey from months in advance of your trip–smart bloggers that you are.
In either case, when the 497 page policy booklet turns up in the mail a few days later, most of us just glance through it. Frankly, short of watching ballet or two sloths having rumpy pumpy, it is the most boring thing in the world.
Now I know nothing about insurance so I don’t know if my friends with lost luggage would have been covered, would they? Obviously, you should take insurance out when you cruise as you never know (touch wood) what’s going to happen. I asked one of our Carnival beardies for their advice and she said, “As with all insurance policies, guests must read and understand the level of cover provided to ensure it meets their requirements, before they purchase. It is common for travel insurance policies, in respect of curtailment, to provide cover in case of injury or illness occurring during the vacation.”
Ummmm…good…that clears that up then.
I guess the simple thing to say is take insurance, the best policy you can afford. Ask your travel agent, your PVP or a Carnival help person for advice. I wish these guests whose luggage is probably in Botswana had taken insurance because right now, all I can offer them is sympathy, a fruit basket and a spare pair of my underpants.
Time for today’s Q and A.
Delroy Chambers asked:
My wife was very angry when we were told on the Fascination that there were no people in the hair salon that could manage and style African American hair and that the makeover special did not include make up for black people. This is discrimination and we did have fun on the boat but spoiled by this. Why is this?
Hello Delroy Chambers
Thanks so much for getting in touch with me here on the blog. The makeover concern is simply something that should not happen and we should have the products to do this. I must admit that this is not a comment I have heard before which leads me to think we may have had a staff shortage and a product shortage as well but that is no excuse and I have sent your comments to someone who will make sure this does not get repeated. My sincere apologies and my thanks also for bringing this to my attention and I hope we see you both soon.
Linda Earl asked:
We have cruised many times with Carnival but are considering a British Isles, Norway, France cruise on the Legend Sept. 12, 2013. Any info you can provide us (pros or cons) would be of great help.
Hello Linda Earl
I am really looking forward to these cruises on Carnival Legend. In 2002, we did a one off British cruise with stops in Scotland and Ireland and it was fantastic. We make sure we have local entertainment on board and offer some brilliant excursions as well. I have never done the Norway portion but have heard the Fjords are stunning. I hope you come and join me and I will be providing more news on these cruises in the weeks and months ahead.
David Mossman asked:
Can you get me a special table for two? I should explain that my wife and I will be celebrating our 21st wedding anniversary when we cruise on the Dream 7/7/12. We have never had a good table in nine cruises so on this, our Platinum, I hope you will do us right!!!
Hello David Mossman
Thanks for your loyalty and I wish you a wonderful anniversary cruise. I have asked the maître d’ to assist you as best he can. Have a wonderful time.
Joanna Duncan asked:
Since Mt. Etna is apparently erupting frequently, how does this impact the tours? How difficult is it to get to a place to see the flowing lava?
Hello Joanna Duncan
Obviously, we have to monitor this carefully and if there is any kind of eruption, we don’t send the tours there. However, it is an active volcano and our excursions there give a brilliant view of how the eruptions have created a path down the mountain side. I hope you get to see it in person one day soon.
David Beal asked:
I do hate bothering you again. However, my wife and I are booked for a B2B on the Liberty sailing this Sept 23rd and 30th. My question is, can you point me in the direction to whom I need to speak to about organizing a “Cigars Under the Stars” event? After reading your blog, I thought this would be something fun to organize on our cruise. I really appreciate your assistance and all you do for Carnival. Keep up the great work you do, and no matter what others may say, there are those of us who really enjoy your sense of humor and your ability to handle your job with your wit and humor.
Hello David Beale
No bother at all and I will be sure to mention this to the CD. I am hoping to have news in July that this event will be standard across the fleet and I am working on the procedures for this at the moment. Thanks for the kind words and if there is anything I can do for you, please let me know.
Bernie Charles asked:
I am taking my family on the Thanksgiving cruise on the Pride and need to know if there will be a service and will Carnival have a Thanksgiving dinner?
Hello Bernie Charles
The good news is that the ship will have a full Thanksgiving dinner and while there will be no religious services, it will be a wonderful day for you and your family and indeed a fantastic cruise.
Best wishes to all.
Joleen Koprucki asked:
Joleen here and I’ll start off by apologizing for what I fear may be a long email, but I’m so excited I had to share this with you (although, it’s possible you’ve already heard it). First off, let me start by saying I was on the Carnival Fascination (Stateroom M15) last week (April 14-April 19) and had a GREAT TIME! I want to say a special thank you to our room steward Gerald who was terrific. Our bathroom door squeaked and he had someone there within five minutes. My roommate brought a bottle of wine with her and asked if she could get a wine glass in the room and he was knocking on the door a few minutes later, glass in hand.
But the main reason I’m writing is to tell you about THE HIGHLIGHT of my trip. (First, though, a bit of background – I’ve been subscribed to your blog for about three months now and LOVE IT! Always laugh my arse off (hope I spelled that right). One of my favorites were the video clips from the Bloggers cruise that you did and I laughed all the way through them and I loved your comic side-kick, Calvyn). Anyway, the first day at sea, I’m waiting for the hairy man’s chest contest to start (I love those) and the CD’s were talking about stuff going on the next few hours and all I heard after that was that Calvyn would be doing… All I could think was…NO WAY…What are the odds that Calvyn is on this ship? I looked over the railing & there he was…I went running down the steps & up on the stage by the pool. He was talking to someone & one of the guys asked if he could help me and of course I asked if I could talk to Calvyn and he laughed and said, “What did he do now?” by this time, Calvyn asked if he could help me and I asked him if I could hug him. He got a strange look on his face, but said sure. So after I hugged him, I told him I couldn’t believe he was on this cruise. He asked if we’d met before & I told him how I loved your blogs and how much I enjoyed the Bloggers cruise videos and that I couldn’t believe he was on this cruise and that I had to meet him and then I hugged him again. So that was the HIGHLIGHT of my trip…but there’s more (told you this was gonna be long) he sent chocolate covered strawberries to my stateroom and my roommate and I had two each for the rest of the cruise…yummy. And there’s more…Jen was our CD on this cruise – loved her – she’s great! Anyway, early evening I talked to her (dress up night – love her outfits) and had just started to tell her about meeting Calvyn and mid sentence she stopped me and said, “So, you’re the lady!” and she told me how Calvyn went running into her stateroom after I met him to let her know he’d been recognized. Guess it kinda made his day too – at least that’s the impression I got. ANYWAY, again, it was a GREAT CRUISE…I already have another one booked in Oct and paid the $100 on board toward another cruise after that.
Keep the blogs coming and tell Calvyn I said, “Hi.”
Hello Joleen Koprucki
What a wonderful post and Calvyn has indeed become a bit of a sensation, hasn’t he? He is so funny, in fact, I would say that he is naturally one of the funniest people I have ever met. I am thrilled that he made your cruise special and I hope one day that we get to cruise all together. I will make sure both Calvyn and Jen see this and they will both be very happy indeed. So thanks for taking the time to write and if there is anything I can ever do for you please, let me know.
Corvettegal 123 asked:
Your constant flaming of Cruise Critic members is both unprofessional and obtuse. Cruise Critic is a genuine source of information. You keep mentioning H82SEAUGO who is a multi time Carnival cruiser and respected member of Cruise Critic so I suggest if you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen, Heald!!!
Hello Corvettegal 123
If Mr. or Mrs. H82SEAUGO ever wrote to me asking for help or if he or she ever walked on a ship I was on, I would treat them with respect and do all I could to make their cruise the best ever. Until then based on what I have read and some of what is said by the minority about me and the company I love, I shall continue to have a bit of fun with them or indeed ignore them in the same way I would ignore a Corvette if it was parked next to an Aston Martin.
Anna Schwering asked:
My husband and I are going on our 9th cruise Sept 30 (Hawaii-Australia) on Carnival Spirit. Do you have any idea when the shore excursions will be available to look at? I like to plan in advance as much as possible.
Have a great day.
Hello Anna Schwering
I am told that in the next two weeks (by the end of June), we will have all the details for you on the excursions, Anna. I hope you find something you like and please let me know if you have any questions.
Randy Hebert asked:
Why can’t I buy a Carnival cruise T-shirt on the ship in anything bigger than 2XL? I’m a 6XL or 7XL, but have friends I would buy 3XL for, and I’m told sometimes we get 3XL.
Hello Randy Hebert
I feel your frustration and I will again bring this to the attention of the right people. We certainly need bigger sizes for sure. Thanks for the reminder and I will see what we can do to get past the 3XL which is currently the largest we sell.
That’s all for today. Thanks to you all for all the great comments and questions.
We are reaching the end of our second cruise and obviously Facebook readers will know about the strike that meant today in Venice has not been easy. The entire public sector workers union went on strike to demand more money, better benefits, better pensions and the right to wear red pants with yellow shirts and a demand that every second Friday, they all go home to Mama’s house for lunch.
If this had happened in any other Italian port, we would have been OK as our excursions are not affected, but in Venice the only way to get to the island is by a vaporetto which is a bus on water and they are on strike. There are Il Buggero all running. Yes, guests could take a water taxi but they are like water based limousines and cost around 100 euros per boat which is very expensive for a 20-minute trip to St. Mark’s Square. So what we have done is organised five private boats, each carrying 200 guests, to run all day from next to the ship to St. Mark’s Square. The cost of a vaporetto ticket is $6.50 each way and so we are charging guests the same and Carnival is absorbing the rest of the cost. All the excursions are running as normal but at least we now have a way of getting the guests to St. Marks Square which, if we had not have done would have meant walking…for an hour…over 14 bridges.
So far today it seems to be going well although there have been some long lines but no different if guests were to be getting these tickets at the vaporetto station.
So what else is going on? Oh, yes, some of you may have heard that we have a new loyalty program…he said with tongue firmly in cheek. One of the things we have not spoken about yet is the new Past Guest Party. There have been some beards and shipboard folks who have been working on this and one of those has been Cruise Director Butch Begovich who I asked to summarise what is happening.
As a part of our new VIFP loyalty program, the dated past guest party will be transformed into the new and improved Gold, Platinum and Diamond Celebration. Cocktails during this section of the party will be served from the original Mardi Gras drink menu, complimentary. The party will then transition into a celebration of our present with new interaction of our loyal guests with the captain and senior officers. Guests who are transitioning from levels of the VIFP program will also be recognized. We will then end the party with a celebration of our future featuring interactive dances from our new 2.0 deck parties, food offerings from the taste bar menu, and cocktails from 2.0 branded spaces. The new celebration will be a big departure from our old format, but will really celebrate the loyalty of our guests who brought us where we are today and where we are going as a company in the future.
The new menu for this event took inspiration from our existing restaurants and will be served on all the ships for their past guest party.
Cucina del Capitano, shall be represented by Focaccia Pizzeti-Rucola & Mozzarella Focaccia Pizzeti–Rucola, Mozzarella & Prosciutto
Steakhouse, shall be represented by Braised Short Ribs on Potato Cream & Fried Onions
Comfort Kitchen, shall be represented by Pop Corn Chicken
And to drink? Well, we will serve complimentary beverages, of course, and all the ships at their past guest parties will serve two signature cocktails also on a complimentary basis and they are The Fun Ship Special and the Red’s Remedy.
It’s going to be fun, really fun! Obviously, I have to say that I know there are some who are reading this who under the new loyalty program may not be attending this and I feel slightly guilty for mentioning this and I hope that soon you will be Gold or above and will be able to join us.
Let’s change course, shall we?
As you may have seen on my Facebook page recently, we will have another full ship charter from our friends at Bare Necessities which, as the name suggests, is a naturist or nudist charter. Yep, everyone is naked as the day they were born. So yesterday I was contacted by someone who is going to be on the cruise requesting, urging, nearly demanding that I be the cruise director for this December 2012 voyage. As honoured as I was by this request, the answer is no. And as much as we are grateful to them for their business, there is more chance of me winning the Cruise Critic Board Readers Man of the Year Award than me being on this cruise. And let me tell you why.
You see, I know from previous CD’s who have been on these cruises that there is a certain amount of expectation for the master of fun, i.e., the cruise director, toward the end of the cruise to come out on stage and in tribute to the 1,500 naked people in the audience, remove his clothes as well. And I am not kidding here either, it has been done, twice. Once by a CD no longer with us and once by one who certainly is still working for us and by someone who seemed to truly love getting naked on stage. So, would I like to do this too?
Mmm, let’s see. Would I like to parade my gentleman’s sausage before the wonderful guests of the Carnival Freedom? Will I expose my my man breasts and flaccid lily white thighs to the passengers and no doubt the poor staff and crew? Yes, I’m up for that. In the same way I’m up for having H82SEAUGO (sorry, Corvettegal) tattooed on my arse. While the passengers would leave at the end of the cruise, I could never order a Diet Coke from Putu, the bar waiter, again as I would know he would take my order with a polite smile, head back to the bar and tell JoJo the bartender, ” Mr. Small Thingy wants a diet coke. Ha ha ha ha.”
Look, I am a fairly unshakable, modern kind of chap. I’m mostly undisgusted by the human form because I see myself naked most days in the mirror but this is different. Well, look. I’ve got no problem with public nakedness in small quantities, in a Latvian Lap Dancing Club, for example. It’s when it’s en masse, with 3,000 guests thinking, “Hey, so what?” about it while pretending not to clock each others’ dangly bits, this is a different story.
I would imagine that on naked cruises, it’s not the dangly bits themselves that are hilarious, but the polite exclamations of two female guests saying “How are you!” as if it is normal to stand at the Mongolian Wok with their lady gardens on view. And how difficult is it for the crew? I mean, it can’t be easy for a crew member to give directions to the piano bar when they are at eye level with your scrotum.
I am sure it will be a fun cruise and I am sure there will be stories to tell but it’s not for me…although…I would like to know the following. Where do they keep their sail and sign cards? Do we allow people to sit naked around the ship after they have eaten at the Indian Tandoor?
And on elegant night, do the gentlemen guests wear bow ties, nothing else, just bow ties? Oh, and one more thing, while I can handle the thought of them doing many of our activities unclothed…morning naked yoga on deck…is not one of them.