BACK ON BOARD

July 27, 2012 -

John Heald

Before I was a cruise director or a bar waiter even and before I worked in the city of London as a…well, actually, I have no sodding clue what I did, I worked for a local newspaper in my home town of Southend selling advertising space. It has been nearly 30 years since I did that for a holiday job while I was at college and I hated it and what I hated most of all was cold calling. Calling local companies and seeing if they wanted to advertise their business in our newspaper was a dark and lonely job that usually left me with the ringtone resounding in my ear hole. For these reasons, I always try to be nice to cold callers when they contact me.

You see, I remember what it felt like to have my happy, “Hello! Sorry to bother you but…” greeted with: “Why don’t you f*** off and get a proper job, you bastard?” Since then I have always, as I said, treated cold callers with some respect. But I think I might make an exception for my bank which I had better not name here in case they decide to accidentally transfer all my money to Nigeria. So there I was yesterday in my cabin, in my underpants, having just finished disembarking the excursions in Dubrovnik when my cell phone rang. Now I don’t know about you but my phone never rings. I get texts, emails, Facebooks and twits but no sod ever calls me anymore so it was a shock to hear the theme from Wonder Pets screaming, “The Phone, The Phone Is Ringing.”

It was my bank and, according to the nice Indian gentleman on the other end of the phone, they were currently running a scheme that is so ridiculous that it should consider having a huge thingy as its corporate logo. I was one of many Mr. Patel told me who was, “being called because I checked the box not to receive unsolicited calls and that you may have missed out on hearing about the bank’s brand new and exciting financial services,” such as bollocks, blah, blah and bollocks and perhaps I would like to reconsider not being contacted?

Now, I am no Jim Berra (our chief marketing beard), but this is surely anti-selling because I was so mad at the end of the call, I wanted to withdraw all my money (not that they would miss my paltry account) and hide it under my mattress. Cold calling is the old spam, junk mail for the ears and it took all of my past memory of cold calling myself and all of my self-control not to tell nice Mr. Patel from his call center in Bombay to shove his credit card services up his jacksie (visit www.urbandictionary.com for the meaning of jacksie, please).

They haven’t got an easy job, I know, so I was pleasant and said, “Hello, hello, hello…hisssshhhssshhh – I am in Croatia…it’s a bad oooohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.”

Time for today’s Q and A

Gene Gober asked:

We had our first cruise ever this past April on the Carnival Conquest and I was wondering if it will count towards the new VIFP program. I have really enjoyed the pictures you have posted of the new Carnival Breeze and cannot wait to sail on her possibly December of next year.

John says:
Hello Gene Gober

Yes, indeed, it will count and I am so glad you had such fun that you are considering a cruise here on the Carnival Breeze. She is our best ship yet and I hope to see you here soon. Please let me know if there is anything I can do for you.

Best wishes.

John

Douglas Skirtel asked:

I find it so irritating that the cruise I have paid for is spoiled by the frustrating lack of English spoken by the vast majority of the workers on the ship, Mr. Heald. Case in point: My family and I just returned from the Carnival Elation and from the restaurant to the pizza place my orders came back wrong simply because the workers had insufficient English skills to comprehend what I had said. It may be OK in Carnival’s opinion to save money by hiring workers from third world countries but as an American cruising on an American ship, I expect at least that the people who are serving me speak English. This has me thinking it’s back to all-inclusive resorts for us.

Douglas Skirtel
Long Island, New York

John says:
Hello Douglas Skirtel

Thank you for taking the time to write, Douglas, and I apologise that you found communication with our crew difficult. This is a very rare comment indeed as all our crew must be proficient in speak English, especially those who deal directly with guests, so it did come as a surprise to read this. I hope that you will forgive any transgressions and we will work hard to continue to improve and most importantly, I hope you will consider the brilliant value for money that a Carnival cruise offers and that we will see you again soon.

Best wishes.

John

Kim D asked:
Hi John!

Just booked our third cruise on the Carnival Glory from our home city of Boston in July! Can’t wait! My question is I’ve had a problem while having a quick snack alone in the buffet area, I get up for silverware, etc. and come back to my table and it’s been cleaned!  It’s happened a few times, so I’m wondering if there could be a sign in the middle of the table stating “eating” and “done.” I’ve been to a place that had red and green symbols? Thanks

John says:
Hello Kim D

Now that’s a new one on me, as well. I know we have efficient crew but that’s a little too efficient, isn’t it? I don’t think we need signs but maybe we need to remind the crew that a knife and fork in the open stance means that the plate is not finished with yet but a knife and fork together means it is. I am sorry that this has happened and I will make sure that this is brought up to the fleet’s food managers, etc. Thanks so much and I hope you will let me know if there is anything I can do for you.

Best wishes.

John

Carole Kazan asked:

I realize Carnival does not control the weather but five days of rain on a seven-day cruise surely warrants something, doesn’t it?  This is what happened, John, on our Carnival Magic cruise. It rained for five straight days. Two of our excursions were canceled and so were all the deck games and parties. No apology was made by James the cruise director or the captain. We all expected Carnival to open the bars free for an hour or maybe give us something but we got nothing but more rain. I read on Cruise Critic today that other cruise lines throw free booze parties when this happens but Carnival doesn’t do anything!!!!!!!

John says:
Hello Carole Kazan

Well I can’t speak for other cruise lines and yet I have to say that I would be shocked if a cruise line would give 3,000-plus people free drinks because of rain. However, I understand your disappointment as we all hope for sun when we go on vacation. But, as you said, we can’t control the weather and I am sure that there was plenty to do and many ways to have fun during the cruise despite the liquid sunshine. I truly hope that on your next cruise, you will be blessed with sun.

Best wishes.

John

Christina Black asked:
Good afternoon.

I have a question about cruise check-in policies.  I seem to be finding conflicting answers.  My traveling companions (we’re a group of four ladies) are all Platinum guests, and this will be my second cruise (Carnival Legend on Nov. 25, 2012).  We have two cabins booked.  Will I need to embark separately from everyone else since they’re Platinum and get to go through the VIP process?  Or, because the cabin I’m staying in was booked by a Platinum member, can I embark with them? Thanks in advance for your answer.  Cheers!

John says:
Hello Christina Black

Because you are in the same cabin, you will be able to embark with your friends. I hope you all have the most wonderful time.

Best wishes.

John

Robert Kozlowsky asked:

I just completed my thirteenth cruise aboard the Carnival Miracle that left on May 30. My family, which included my 16-month-old daughter and her nine-month-old cousin, also went on the trip. I have always had great experiences on Carnival ships, and there was no exception this time either. The entire staff aboard the Carnival Miracle was so friendly to the children. They made it a great experience. I would like to specifically mention our waiter Nyoman and his staff at table 109 of the Bacchus dining room. Nyoman was so good to the children. He had the kids’ food out within minutes after ordering. Whenever he saw one of the children crying, he came over and made them laugh or gave them something to attract their attention. Once again, please make sure the entire staff aboard the Miracle is recognized for their excellent service and I can’t wait to sail again in the near future.

John says:
Hello Robert Kozlowsky

Thanks so very much for brightening my day and I will make sure that this wonderful post gets sent to the people who made such a difference to your cruise. Nyoman will be so proud when he reads this and thanks so much for taking the time to write. I hope we do see you again soon and please let me know if there is anything I can do for you.

Best wishes.

John

James Storm asked:
John.

I see you give advice on excursions but considering you are obese have you in fact actually done these trips. Enquiring minds want to know.

John says:
Hello James Storm

Enquiring minds want to know? What a great statement and I now have visions of a dark smoke filled room where strange and mysterious people meet every Friday night to discuss John Heald’s belly and whether or not he has managed to drag it around Pompeii. Yes, James, I have done all the excursions multiple times and if you have any questions about them, please let me know and I will be happy to tell you where to go…on tour, I mean.

Best wishes.

John

Hank and Freda Palatine asked:
John,

Will Carnival ever have dance hosts? We have worked for Holland America Line as dance hosts and we would like to offer our services to Carnival. Thank you for your consideration

John says:
Hello Hank and Freda Palatine

I have seen the dance hosts on HAL and I know the guests truly appreciate your work. Unfortunately, we don’t have this program on Carnival ships. I wish you both all the very best though and thank you for all the joy you bring to passengers on Holland America Line ships.

Best wishes.

John

Danny Brouwers asked:
Dear John,

I really wanted to compliment you with all you are doing for the guests, and not to forget all the people who contact you on-line, especially given the trash they throw upon you sometimes. For me, this is not a normal, civilized way of dealing and communicating with people. Only when standing face-to-face something like that is ‘allowed’ because then, one can react and defend themselves. You amaze me with your ability to keep your cool and stay courteous. It is very nice to be able to contact someone “high ranking” who answers the questions, with the occasional humour in it. I personally really like the way you do it.

Why do I send you this mail? Just to let you know that not everyone is a jerk and there are still people admiring and grateful for your work. In a few weeks time, we’re headed off to Venice to board your new Carnival Breeze to celebrate our, somewhat delayed, honeymoon. I must admit this is truly the most looking-forward-to holiday I have ever booked. The amount of time I’ve spent on YouTube and the Carnival site, as well as lying in my bed thinking about the view from our balcony before bed and when waking up, really is costing me my sleep! I am planning to email you when we get back to share our experiences with you to tell you at what extent my expectations are surpassed, which I really think they will be after reading some excursion reviews. Complaining is easy, but giving and receiving positive feedback is much more satisfactory. Are you on Carnival Breeze with the sailing of August 26? Because if so, I’m looking forward to shaking your hand, John. That’s all for now, John. Keep up the good work! From The Netherlands, I send you my regards. In the meantime, I will keep on dreaming of my cruise….

John says:
Hello Danny Bowers

What a wonderful way to finish today’s Q and A session and I know we will meet very soon. It does take some deep breaths to keep going but I know that, for the most part, the work I do on line is appreciated. I have no doubt that you will love this ship and her crew and the ports themselves and I look forward to meeting you and shaking your hand and trying some of my pretty awful Dutch on you, as well. I wish you the most brilliant time here on Carnival Breeze and let me know if there is anything you need. Best wishes and thank you once again for these very kind words.

John

That’s all for today and thanks to you all for your comments and questions.

Time for today’s inside look at one of our cruise directors and today we meet the boy from Brazil, Mr. Felipe Couto.

I was born January 30, 1979, in Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) where I currently live. I first joined Carnival Cruise Lines in January 2002 after going to law school in Brazil after realizing I needed different challenges at that point of my life. While on board the Carnival Imagination in the position of staff waiter on my first contract, I saw the cruise director on TV and thought “That’s the coolest job ever! One day I’ll do it…”  One contract (and a lot of broken china) later, I was promoted to the position of social host while on board the Carnival Victory in 2004. Since then, I’ve been fortunate enough to work on board 15 Carnival ships and now, I am back home, where it all started — the beautiful Carnival Victory. I can honestly say I have found my true passion:  people. Going back to an office sounds impossible to me right now and I am definitely looking forward to many more years to come.

Thanks, mate. Felipe was in the original host training school which Heidi ran back in the day and we both saw immediately that he was one to watch and so it has proven to be. Well done Felipe mate. Obligado.

Let’s change course, shall we?

From: BREEZE GUEST SERVICES
Sent: Wednesday, July 25, 2012 7:56 PM
To: BREEZE CRUISE DIRECTOR
Cc: BREEZE GUEST SERVICES MANAGER; BREEZE GUEST SERVICES SUPERVISOR; BREEZE GUEST SERVICES; BREEZE ASSISTANT CRUISE DIRECTOR; BREEZE CRUISE STAFF
Subject: Naples comment

Good Afternoon John

Mrs _____would like to speak to you about the time it took to get back on the ship today in Naples. Guest said she had a 20-minute wait and that it was too hot. Guest said that they had to wait in a long line to go through security and have their ID’s checked and that on a cruise on Royal Caribbean there were never lines and they had five gangways in every port. Please can you take a few moments to speak to her? Thank you and best regards.

Guest Services Supervisor, Carnival Breeze
Carnival Cruise Lines

Now there are two points here. One is that she came back from the Pompeii, Sorrento and Capri excursion along with 374 other guests and those who were coming back independently, as well, and there were two gangways that moved very quickly. Now she may have a point because it was hot outside and we obviously want to get our guests back on board as quickly as we can. But I also dislike it so much when guest comments mention other cruise lines. Please, just state your case, let us apologize, see if we can improve and move on.

I spoke to her and she really didn’t like the fact that she had to wait and then wait further for her bags to go through X-ray checks and her Sail & Sign to be checked. This really confounds me you know. We now think it’s normal behavior to take off our clothes at an airport and nobody dares to complain if someone with an iron-on badge gropes our dangly bits. Yet, each week on each ship across the industry, as sure as someone on another cruise Web site is calling me a fat useless bastard, someone will be complaining on each and every ship in the industry to a guest purser relations information officer about lines at the gangway or indeed at embarkation. Do that on an airline, you will be arrested, water-boarded and thrown in prison.

OK, nearly time to go. It’s very early here, in fact it’s…sodding heck…I must really like you all as its 8:10am and I have been sitting here in my underpants writing to you for the last hour and a half. At 9 am I will be hosting the morning show with one of the funniest must comically gifted people I have ever met. His name is Calvyn Shawn Champagne-Martens and if you haven’t ever met him………you really should. I would like to think that our morning shows are some of the most popular events on the ship and certainly the feedback we get, the number of letters we receive on board and the comments I see here and on Facebook would suggest that guests appreciate our odd couple comedy. And when I look at our relationship closely, I really am surprised that we perform together so well. Calvyn and I, it seems, have little in common and yet…we do. You see we love doing the morning shows together and as I said, they have become quite popular. Calvyn takes the lead, he is the funny one, he is the outrageous one and so that makes me, if you will pardon the pun…the straight man. One day Calvyn will be a CD and I have no fear or trepidation I saying that when he does become a cruise director that he will be the funniest CD in the fleet bar none.

Anyway, we receive many letters of dedication and request to the show. These range from happy birthday requests, happy anniversary shout-outs to letters about not enough American TV programs (yawn) and indeed one this cruise from a man who was offering a 200-Euro reward for his missing Eyephone which he had left in the Serenity area. We read all these and many more letters out at the show. Now this cruise we also received a letter from Avi and Adrienne, David and Rosie.  This is their second cruise and their first…was on the Costa Concordia on that fateful day. I do not want to concentrate too much on what happened except to say two things: one is how the crew helped them and indeed saved their lives and, secondly, is that going through a situation like this has them feeling guilty that they are back on a cruise ship again. I told them that this was nonsense and that they should be so proud that just six months after that night they are back on a cruise ship. They will never ever forget what happened but the crew of the Carnival Breeze are doing all they can to make sure that while they are with us, they have a brilliant time. They told me how the first night on the Carnival Breeze they were all nervous and did not sleep well, which is to be expected, but how now “they were having fun.” Here they are with the captain and me.

After talking to these guests and hearing their story, all of us here on the Carnival Breeze want to work even harder to make sure that they have a fun vacation filled with wonderful memories.

OK, off to the show and tonight we have a brilliant comedy magician called Richard Griffin and if you ever get a chance to see him, please do because he is both amazing and funny. Over the years, I have introduced some fantastic acts for Carnival and some…ummmm…who were not so good. There was the singer who stated he was the godson of Louis Armstrong but had a voice that sounded like a cat climbing an electric fence. But the worst…well, that was on the Holiday in 1991. The Chan Brothers were two Chinese plate spinners who had an incredible show. They erected poles on stage and to stirring classical music would spin plates on top of 10- feet poles…on a moving cruise ship. The audience sat with their mouths open right up until the point where the plates stopped spinning but stayed on top of the poles. That was probably because the plates had indentations roughly the size of an elephant’s bottom in them.

Goodnight.

Your friend,

John

Comment Policy

Look, friends — there are a few things you should remember before you comment. The space below is for you to post your comments about the post I've just written above. If it is something that's unrelated, please use the Ask John tab above. Now, while I may not be able to reply to your comment below, I do sit in my underpants almost every morning and read everything that is here. So feel free to comment on the comments and then if someone wants to comment on the comment to the comment then go ahead as well. Please be courteous unless the poster is French...........then you can say whatever you want.

55 Responses to BACK ON BOARD

  1. Rick says:

    Great read again, thanks for taking the time. Also a very nice photo and kudos to them.

  2. Judy Sharum says:

    DID that lady that lost her phone ever find it????????

  3. Sandy and Bill says:

    Hi John – just left the Carnival Imagination and had another wonderful trip!! The ship was so clean and well kept, the entertainment – well entertaining!, Skip was hilarious and had a jammed packed schedule – we had so much to choose from, our wait staff and cabin steward were amazing, but most of all I wanted to mention Chef Russell. This was our third chef’s table and by far the best ever. Chef was so personable and attentive – we so enjoyed getting to know him. What a gem!! And the new menu – holy moly – it was truly incredible! It was a fabulous night that topped off a terrific four days. Thanks to everyone who works hard for Carnival. You always make our vacations special!

  4. jgeraci says:

    John,
    You are indeed correct. Calvyn is probably the most unforgettable staff member that I have ever met on a cruise ship. He’s a comic genius!
    Hi Calvyn!
    JoyceG

  5. Linda (Mom of DJ) says:

    John:

    Love Felipe….he is indeed a wonderful CD that we look forward to cruising with every time we get the chance.

    As for the two couples sailing again ….. please tell them not to feel guilty.

    By sailing again, they are showing that their lives will not be held in fear by this incident, but are victorious over it. And we salute them!

    Linda (Mom of your friend DJ)

  6. Linda C says:

    To the Carole chick: Why is it some people are always wanting sething free? Enjoy your cruise rain or shine!! Carnival cannot control the weather. In some ports I am thankful for the rain because it can get pretty hot. Should those of us who do not lie out in the sun expect something free to make up for all the heat and brightness the sun gives out???? I think not. Get a grip / please.

  7. Linda C says:

    To Carole Kazan. Ps. James is the bomb! He made it snow on the magic. Perhaps you should have asked him to provide you some sunshine -

  8. Steve says:

    We had a waiter named Nyoman on one of our cruises who was outstanding. Can’t remember the ship though, wasn’t Miracle, I wonder if this could be the same person or if all Nyoman’s are just great waiters?

  9. Catherine Thomas says:

    On our last cruise (which was on a sister line) the line to get through customs took almost an hour. We knew that we had to go through this. It isn’t just Carnival ships that have a wait so all lines can go through this.

  10. Diana Howard says:

    I just don’t understand all of the people in the world who feel it is acceptable to comment on someone’s weight. Would they do the same if someone, lets say, had a huge growth/birthmark on their face? Would you ever see a comment asking someone with a growth on their face if they were able to partake in shore excursions? Probably not! Or would someone come up to a person with a growth and pat it and ask them if it is going to be a boy or girl and when is it due? Probably not!

    All I want to say to these people….People with excess weight have the ability to lose it, but stupid people can do nothing about stupidity and it will remain with them always!!

    Diana

    • George Richter says:

      Well said, Diana. I also have heard the story (probably apochraful) about Winston Churchill during WWII. He was at a cocktail party and was apparantly in his cups.
      Lady Astor came by and remarked “Mr. Prime Minister you are drunk!”
      Churchill replied “You are correct, Madam, and you are ugly. But tomorrow I will be sober.”
      As far as I’m concerned, that’s a Gotcha…

  11. liliana says:

    Being its our first time on a cruise on the Breeze, the only thing I can say is that We can’t wait to spend this time with our family and all of you! Can’t wait to have a great time!

  12. Garris Graham says:

    Douglas Skirtel, the waiter probably couldn’t understand your NY accent! LOL (I’m originally from NY).

    • Pollywog72 says:

      Why would the pizza cook even have to understand English, not that they do not, unless you were trying to make some confusing, special order. There is a pizza menu right there just point at what you want.

    • Pam Wagner says:

      My thoughts exactly. They probably couldn’t understand YOU to get your order straight. Next time speak a little more slowly.

  13. Celi says:

    Hi John, I such a pleasure to read your blog. We had a pleasure in the past to had you as our cruise director and we had so much fun with you, we definitely would love to join you next time.

    One of the reasons I’m writing this time which I had in the past but I did not received any response, most likely because you were very busy with the last details of the new ship that recently came out. Well the past two cruise we have taken (November 2011 & February 2012) we were disappointed because they did not had any latin music as in the past you always had a latin band playing almost every night, we requested and they told us that they will play it for us for 1 hour, unfortunately it was at one of the clubs at night, but we do have a 5 year old which she enjoys music instruments and also dancing spanish music and the clubs are only for 18 and up; we take cruises because the three of us enjoy been together and on a Carnival Ship; and just to tell you that the main reason we choose Carnival is because our child preferred ships even thought she already tried Royal and Disney. Also we had an issue with housekeeping on this same ship (Ecstasy), I happen to find a used soap in the shower, a piece of some type of wrapping which I do not recall at this moment of what, well my point is that I decided not to say anything until the 2nd day because I wanted to see if they really clean the rooms on the daily basis as they supposed to, unfortunately they did not clean it and it was visible which I had to go to the front desk and bring it up to their attention, I had a child and I have to be very careful everywhere we go. Imagine she would use the used soap from the shower or etc. I hope you can help us in this cruise coming up. Take care and God Bless You.

  14. dave j says:

    John, you are absolutely correct to feel bad for cold callers, but then again, it is correct to tell them to bugger off and get a real job. On the comments about the reboarding after port visits, what do people really expect? Even on other cruise lines, I have been on others, there has never been 5 gangways to reboard any ship i’ve ever been on. The wait time is minimal, especially compared to airport security checks, even during embarkation. The ones that cite other cruise lines being better seem to always include Cruise Critic in their comment, Very interesting Mr. Watson, very interesting indeed. Used the reference because it is appropriate. John, I beleive you are the only cruise industry person who puts his axx on the line through social media on a daily basis, and stands up to the many inconsiderate and completely self centered people that are out there every day

  15. Robinola says:

    Dear John,

    You have done it again! Oh, I have SO MUCH to learn from you. The fact that you are able to comment with such class to emails from James Storm and Douglas Skirtel……well, all I can say is BRAVO! Give this guy a raise! :)

    Robin

    • Sandy Schubert says:

      I’m with you Robin on this one!

    • Emmy W says:

      Totally second this opinion..can’t believe the gall that some people have and think they are in the right to say it..in the words of John…FFS!!!

  16. Rick Williamson says:

    Kim D. really? What happened to getting your sliverware and drink when you are getting your food? It’s right by the trays remember?

  17. Ed Bell says:

    Mr. Shirtel, Carnival ships are not America, they sail from the USA and stocks are sold on the NYSE but thats it. They are not built or flagged here and I’d say a safe guess is less than 10% of crew is from US. John it’s getting to the point I don’t think I’ll cruise anymore. Why? If the whiners and bitchers are typital of todays cruiser I want no part of it. It rained and someone wants something and will write a bad review, how stupid. What, the cruise line ordered the rain? I’ve seen people bitch because the ship changed course to save someone or because of a hurricane. How stupid ! Any letter, email, or FB post that has the words “other cruise line” should be immediately trashed. John, I’d really like to see you go to a policy that until you have multiple complains about something you don’t mention it. Giving a forum to someone after one complaint really opens a debate that at times isn’t necessary and results can be misleading because there are things some people on FB don’t want everyone on FB to know their opinion on.

  18. Linda Working says:

    Any word on the cruise director schedule for DEC. 2012-JAN 2013??? We are waiting to book our trip until we see it!
    Can’t wait to be back on board a ship!
    xo

  19. Teddy Gautsch says:

    Once again there is yet another person expecting something for nothing, Carol I would recommend taking a cruise with one of the other cruise lines since you think carnival is responsible for the actions of mother nature. I think it is sad that guests who have been inconvenienced even slightly have to drop the name of a competitor, quit whining and go back to that cruise line!

  20. Jan says:

    Although I am not finished sailing for 2012, I am already looking ahead to 2013. My question is about pricing. Carnival is very competitive with (read costs less) than other cruise lines except for Alaska cruises. For example, (using lowest posted pricing) sailing with Royal Caribbean (which I have also done) May 24 is $629; with Carnival it costs$689 May 21 and $709 May 28. Other than having my favorite cruise director Chris Roberts (if he is back), why should I pay more to sail Carnival (even if I am Platinum)?

    • Ed Bell says:

      Its called demand, Carnival has one ship in Alaska and if bookings are high the price can go up or at least not go lower. If other cruise line doesn’t have the demand at this point, they have a lower price. Plus what do you get for that price, the cheapest price isn’t always the best deal. What’s the size of that cheapest cabin? Carnival has some of the biggest cabins of the major cruise lines. In many things from food, to clothes, to airfare, to cruises, the cheapest isn’t always the best value.

  21. Congratulations to Avi and Adrienne, David and Rosie for having the strength to go back to cruising. They did the right thing even though it was difficult at the beginning, they showed their strength and now can enjoy cruising as they should have the first time. Have fun and I can’t wait for their third cruise.
    I can’t wait to meet Calvyn. He sounds like a second John but different but John you will always my best CD.

    Paul F. Pietrangelo

  22. beverly ann says:

    Hubby and I will be sailing on the Breeze on 12/8. While I did not book a handicap cabin I do have some issues walking and often use a cane. Is there any way I can avoid lines on embarkation day? I do want to say that I have submitted many questions to you all of which went unanswered. I do understand how busy you are but it would be nice to have at least this one addressed by you. I have been following your blogt for a while now (hubby too) mainly to learn about the Breeze and to get a feel for Carnival passengers. This is our second cruise on Carnival. The first was 25 years ago for our honeymoon on the Celebration. By the way I experienced my 15 minutes of fame aboard that ship as I was Mary in what was then called fairy tales. Everyone recognized me after that and it was so fun meeting all those. “Fans” of Mary. It would be something to be Mary again 25 years later but I am sure you would like a younger one than me.

    • Janey Winford says:

      When initially boarding the ship at it’s home port guests that use assistive devices embark 2nd after weddings and just before Platinum guests.

      Unfortunately there is not a special line for handicapped guests in each of the ports of call, at least there never has been on any of the 26 cruises I’ve been on.

      To avoid standing in long lines I wait until the 1st rush of guests are off the ship before I try to go ashore. And I am usually back on the ship at least an hour before the ship sails, so I rarely have to contend with lines.

    • vivienne says:

      Bev…If you post this on John’s Facebook, you will have a response within a few hours.
      This is for comments relating to Friday’ blog
      only. If you have a question for John, on his blog, then go to the top of this page, and click and click on “ASK JOHN”. He is a wee bit behind with his replies here.
      Hope that this helps you.

    • Elizabeth says:

      If you have difficulty walking during embarking as for wheelchair assistance.

    • Ann says:

      First, contact the special needs department of Carnival, and request assistance to board the ship. Then, when you get to the port, look for a Carnival representative, tell them you’ve requested assistance. They’ll direct you to an area where you can be seated, and someone will come with a wheelchair, and help you get on board. YOu may have to wait awhile — it will depend on how many people have requested help — but they will come, and you will be helped.

      I’ve cruised both using forearm crutches, and now a full time wheelchair user. I’ve always had assistance, but I have had to arrange it in advance.

  23. Deb says:

    Dear Carole, you should have just stopped after your first sentence..therein lies your answer! Be glad that you were on a cruise at all.

  24. Peggy Martin says:

    Hi, John
    I thought your comment on “cold calls” was interesting – it takes a special person to do that! But it came about the same time as a comment by my son. He recently purchased Bon Voyage items as a birthday and anniversary gifts for us. Bless his little heart. Anyway, while ordering online, Carnivals makes you register- no problem, other sites do also. However he has now begun to receive calls from Carnival saying “thank you for your interest in cruising.” number 1 he is a policeman and cannot afford to cruise yet; number 2, he is on midnight shift and they are calling several times during the day. We have always favorably talked non-stop about Carnival and will continue, but there has to be a separation on Carnival’s part between interest in cruising and just folks making purchases!!

    Have a great cruise with fair winds and following seas!

    Peg Martin

  25. Linda C says:

    Robinola: I agree. John uses such tact. But I can read between the lines. LOL. the day he retires, his blog will be an explosive &);;)$& to all the crap he had to endure from insensitive foolish whiners and complainers. GO JOHN!

  26. jgeraci says:

    John,
    I don’t do Facebook. So I have to give you one Olympic comment here.
    GO LIZZY!! Great jump!
    JoyceG

  27. Dianne says:

    John, Your response to James Storm was absolutely awesome!! It is amazing how you come up with such great responses to such rude people. Say hi to Calvyn for us…hoping he will still be on the C. Breeze in November for the US Inaugural. Hugs, Dianne :)

  28. Linda (Mom of DJ) says:

    Douglas Skirtel

    I have to say that to see someone complain about this usually says more about the complainer than the complaint.

    Are you going to tell me that after these individuals have taken the time and dedication to learn an entirely new language (well enough to pass a US Coast Guard exam)… that YOU can not take 15 extra seconds to listen to an accent?

    Ridiculous. There are some Americans (born and raised here) that I can not understand … in many regions of our nation.

    Guess they don’t get that extra 15 seconds from you either?????

  29. Emmy W says:

    To Carole Kazan…I’m amazed that you were looking to receive free drinks just because of some rain, but them I’m finding the older I get the more I realize this is a “give me, give me” society…so sad…On one of the most memorable and totally relaxing cruises we took it rained all 7 days…did we complain..no..can’t control what mother nature does…we made lemonade out of lemons…met new friends who were also not complaining and actually enjoyed that cruise immensely…one of the only times I’ve gone back to work feeling “refreshed” instead of needing another vacation from our vacation because we tried to cram in everything in such a short time…

  30. Bob Baughan says:

    John, I recently started reading your blog and I think it is wonderful. I was wondering if you could post a sample video of you and Calvyn doing the morning show. I have not had the pleasure of sailing with you yet and would love to see the video.

    • Suzie-Q says:

      I was wondering the same exact thing, would LOVE to see you two in action…..
      Love your Blog !!!

  31. Joyce Loomis says:

    we are currently booked on 2 Carnival cruises…#1 is Thanksgiving week out of Miami on the Valor (new to us) and #2 is on the Legend Sept. 1, 2013 and I am so excited I can hardly wait!!!! This will be our 14th and 15th cruise on Carnival….we love it!!! Question John…will you be the CD on the Legend Sept 1st 2013? I sure hope so!!!!

  32. Benno-Pops says:

    John, please find my (hopefully) objective view of our recent cruise…..

    Carnival Liberty Western Caribbean July 2012

    Our son who lives in Canada was invited to be best man at a friends wedding on board Carnival Liberty. We gatecrashed from the UK.
    Our booked Delta direct flight Heathrow – Miami was pulled with alternate route via either JFK or Chicago offered.Offer refused and Air France via Chas De Gaulle substituted. Booked extra legroom on Atlantic flight but could not use it as such seats are only by emergency exits and wife uses walking stick. No refund due to small print – beware. Meals barely edible.Good inflight entertainment.

    Rapid embarkation at Miami due to wedding party – a plus.Onboard wedding was cost efficient $2K ceremony and reception (2hours free bar and excellent food).

    Ceremony professionally handled. Cruise Photographer extra $2K, product only fair.

    Port mid-aft balcony cabin well placed.A liitle on small side but well layed out with ample storage. Bed comfortable. Bathroom extremely well considered in such a small place. Cabin stewards efficient and friendly, always addressing passengers on first name terms as directed by Carnival. Room service failed to deliver breakfast on 1st day, so used cafeteria for rest of holiday. Plentiful & varied selections in cafeteria, tables cleared quickly after use, but oh! for real English bacon! Hand sanitisers are available for passengers, but rarely saw them used; suggest stronger enforcement of this.

    Entertainment is provided throughout the day in an over enthusiatic “Butlins on sea” manner. Serenity sundeck for adults is the only respite from this. Lounge entertainment poor-mediocre with single exception of one girl vocalist who was superb. Theatre shows were vibrant and well rehearsed, especially the dance troups, but the Hypnotist was rather dismal. Comedy club acts appealed to the dominant US audience, but fear would not excel with British/European audiences.

    Dining Room is where Carnival delivers exceptional value; standards are very high and are topped further by Chef’s Table and Steakhouse offerings at additional cost. Another example of “Butlins at sea” are the Singing waiters. A novelty at first, but tend to bore when repeated every night.

    On board shopping is not forced down passengers throats, which is a plus, but even on holiday expect to receive junk mail with your daily on board newspaper.

    Overall, for this example, Carnival delivers good value compared to some other lines, but the on cost of travel to Miami and the tedium of that from the UK will forever make a Caribbean cruise a once-in-a-lifetime thing for most UK cruisers. Carnival must develop their presence around the Meditteranean and other European venues to appeal to many UK cruisers on a regular basis, and in that market they would surely prosper.

  33. Lee Toleman says:

    Dear John

    Firstly let me apologize for starting that letter this way especially when we have no past that I know of to cause this to be…now I don’t know of course if in your past there is pause to concern yourself of other “littles” before Kye….however I’m gonna guess not…

    So lets just start afresh……..got a group of people 50 to 75 for the inaugraul Nov 24 out of Miami…………we would love to book the paid cocktail party….on the first sea day at like 2 pm ish…can you please let me know the best person to do that for us…thank you in advance……sorry if my initial post upset you…but you know us brits..and btw…reason for my booking this cruise was to see you as CD…now know it isn;t the case…but as long as you are onboard and interacting with us no worries mate….(yep should add grew up in Australia)..could be a nightmare!…..looking forward to this cruise……

  34. Sarah says:

    Hi john,

    Firstly, can I say that I think it’s truly wonderful that Carnival has such a personable service with your blog; we sail on Thursday on the Breeze and cannot wait! We went on the Norwegian Epic last year and one downside was the lack of personal service, apart from our room attendant.

    Carnival seem to adopt a different approach to this and we’re really looking forward to this. We are staying in a spa balcony cabin this time and cannot wait! Just one quick question: it’s our 4 year wedding anniversary on the day we set sail. Is there anything you can recommend we do to celebrate this whilst on board on the day we set Sail?

    Thanks John!

    Sarah

  35. Billy Vance says:

    John,
    My wife and I are currently on the Inspiration celebrating our 20th anniversary, I just wanted to let you know what a great job the crew is doing on board. We have had nothing but exceptional interactions all weekend and just wanted to thank the entire CCL family… Cheers!

  36. Marsha breen says:

    Douglas: you must not eat at any fast food restaurants in the U.S. if you’ve never been served by people with lesser English language skills.

  37. Steve Hatch says:

    Great John, wish we had enough money to cruise.

  38. Stan Hogan says:

    to the person with the rainy cruise, a few years ago my wife and I were on a cruise when we had rain almost every day, but we found plenty to do.

  39. Richard says:

    John,
    as for the in room entertainment on the breeze, I see that they have LCD tv’s, my question is are we able to hook up to those Tv’s to display pics or videos or are the menu options locked out for changing the input. Ill be traveling with a lil one and would like to be able to play movies for him when needed.

  40. Anne Seitz says:

    I can’t believe how rude some people can be. Has that man who called you obese ever met you? Anyone who has would know that you would have no problems doing any trip.
    Your morning shows on the inaugural trip of the Breeze were so funny. Wish you could somehow post them so we could all enjoy them even when not sailing.
    We have already booked our annual winter cruise in the Carribean. Can’t wait.
    Give my best to Calvyn. Love you both.

  41. Gordana says:

    Hello John,
    I am from Serbia and I would like to know
    where can I apply for a job. I am 40 years old and can not enter through the any agency.
    I see here that passengers complain about the language skills,no one has objections to the age of staff.

    Regards from Serbia
    Gordana
    Regards from Serbia

  42. Laurent M says:

    Hi John!

    My wife and I are just back (January 2013) from a Western Caribbean cruise on the Valor, and had the opportunity of enjoying Felipe Couto’s great talent as CD. As a career counselor, I really appreciate what he said about earlier reorienting his career and I am glad he followed his intuition! This guy is funny, witty, energetic thus very professional in all he does. I could certainly feel how much he genuinely likes people. A geat asset for Carnival! And if I may quote Felipe: “woohoo!”

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