May 10, 2013 -
So there I was, chatting with a stunning girl from Latvia with huge breasts………hers, not mine, of course. She seems keen on getting together with me but says she can’t fly to join me on the Carnival Legend unless I send some money for the ticket. So I do. And then, shock horror, I never hear from her again. Obviously, this is not a true story. Honestly Heidi, it isn’t……..well, most of it anyway. But I write this because it does happen and yet very few people will ever report it. “Hello, Mr Police Officer, I’m a 48-year-old fat and ugly cruise director. My teeth are bent, my hair is grey and I’ve been ripped off by a stunningly sexy Latvian who said she found me attractive and wanted to fly to the Carnival Legend and act out chapter five of 50 Shades of Grey with me………in a lifeboat.”
Nobody’s going to say that because they know it would make them look like a total and utter idiot. The trouble is that we live in a world where we feel protected from scam artists. When Dunkin Starbucks serves you a coffee it says “Caution, Hot.” We are given best-before dates and notices on the ships advising us to watch our head and mind our step. We are made to feel safe all the time. And some of this is good but it also pushes us to do things we don’t really need like buying insurance for a washing machine and imagining that Latvia really is full of girls who like fat blokes with bad teeth.
But for the most part, many of us live our lives protected from the scam artists of the world and we are smart enough to spot then when something just doesn’t seem right. Until that is…….we go on vacation.
From: LEGEND GUEST SERVICES
Sent: Wednesday, May 08, 2013 7:32 PM
To: LEGEND CRUISE DIRECTOR;
Cc: LEGEND GUEST SERVICES SUPERVISOR; LEGEND GUEST SERVICES MANAGER; LEGEND HOTEL DIRECTOR; LEGEND ASSISTANT CRUISE DIRECTOR;
Subject: INCIDENT IN ATHENS
Mr________ from cabin ________ called to say that he had purchased an iPhone from someone in Athens selling them on the street. Guest says he paid 100 Euros for the iPhone model 5. When Mr___ returned to the ship and looked at the phone, the box only had sand inside it and no phone. Mr____is very upset because he states that the cruise director only warned about pick pockets and not this. Guest has asked for a meeting with you, John, so please advise.
Guest Services Associate
Well, Mr_______ is right. I did not advise to be careful of this scam in the same way that I didn’t advise on the last cruise about the pollen count or not to stroke wild stray rabid dogs wandering the streets of Naples. Look, I truly do feel sorry for the guest but where does it stop. I warn about pick pockets and not to wear expensive watches and jewelry and to always ask the taxis in Italy how much a fare is………but where does it end and where does common sense take over? “Snake Oil Salesmen” are still alive and selling. The old saying, “A fool and his money are soon parted” still seems very true. There is something in all of us that wants to believe the unbelievable. I often wonder what that something is.
Time for me to send $3,000 to Lana from Latvia and then do some Q&A.
Bo Cadstone asks:
I have a steakhouse question, Mr Heald. I made a reservation on line for Fahrenheit 555 on the Breeze and the reservation for six included my son and he is only seven years old and I have read that he will have to pay full price which seems ridiculous to me because as I said HE IS SEVEN YEARS OLD. Surely, there is a children’s menu and, if not, a discount as he won’t eat adult portions, will he. I am sure not having a children’s menu loses business for you as parents won’t go. Seems like bad business to me.
Hello Bo Cadstone,
I am glad that you wrote to me about this so I could explain. You see, we don’t have a children’s menu because the steakhouse is designed to have large portions of great food most of which is designed around the main course of the finest cuts of steak. While we welcome children, we do not have a children’s menu, I am afraid, and I should point out also that the meal itself can take two hours or more. We want guests to relax and enjoy the atmosphere and great conversation with their families and this length of time may be a little much for a seven year old. Again, we welcome children but I do know that many parents will let their children enjoy the fun at Camp Carnival while they enjoy the meal. Our steakhouses continue to be exceptionally well received and I do hope you enjoy your meal there. Please let me know if there is anything I can do for you and have a brilliant cruise.
Katherine Mendelsohn asks:
On our recent cruise on board the Carnival Liberty our two sons, who are 10 and 12, had lots of fun. I will admit that they did not like the club which they said was boring but met up with others their age and had a good time. They had a midnight curfew and overall we felt they were safe on the ship. There is something you guys at Carnival should look at as a health hazard and …that would be the ice cream fountain machines. They are switched on and free for 24 hours and both my sons disobeyed our instructions not to have ice cream after dinner but we caught them time after time. Why does Carnival have this temptation for kids and as parents who try and watch their sugar intake this is unacceptable. I suggest they be turned off at night as you never see adult passengers eating ice cream at night time after dinner. I would say that they be turned off at 8 pm and I think other parents reading this would be in agreement.
Hello Katherine Mendelsohn,
Thanks so much for writing and I do hope that you all had a great cruise together. I spoke about ice cream on Facebook recently and a lot of people replied saying that they loved the ice cream, especially at night and many of those who replied were adults. So while I am sorry that your children had those naughty late-night treats, I think to turn the ice cream machines off would be a very unpopular move. The ice cream is really good and having it available without charge is an attraction that if I had been offered as a kid I would definitely have taken……..oh, if only. Thanks again and I hope we see you and the family very soon on another fun Carnival cruise.
Maria O’Donnell asks:
Dear John: First, thank you for always making me laugh and smile with your blog and comments. I have a family traveling on June 23, 2013 aboard Carnival Freedom staying in cabin 7394 (name of Radames Maldonado). He is also traveling with his wife Amelia and their 12-year-old son RJ in that cabin. Traveling in Cabin 7378 will be their son Pedro Maldonado and his girlfriend, Amanda Seeley. Some of them are Gold VFIP members and some are red.
However, during this trip and on the day they visit Ocho Rios, Pedro wants to propose and become engage to his girlfriend Amanda. This is where we need your help – any suggestions of when and where he can propose? Anything special you can suggest? Maybe something during
dinner or a show? This will be a surprise for Amanda but his mom and dad will be in on it.
Anything you can help him with in planning this engagement, getting it to become a reality would be greatly appreciated. They love Carnival and won’t cruise any other line. They save every year to be able to take a yearly cruise, book into the cheapest available cabin (always
inside), so they can go away with their kids. Pedro also served in the U.S. Army and is still a member of the Reserves, is a graduate of Chef School and Amanda is a very bright and beautiful girl with a degree in interior decorating.
Maria and Kevin O’Donnell
Hello Maria and Kevin O’Donell,
I am always happy to help with things like these so thanks so much for writing to me. I have sent this to the ship along with a few suggestions for on board proposals. Please leave this with me and can I also ask that two days before, you remind me of this and include the cabin numbers on my Facebook page, please. Thanks so much for all your support and I am sure this will be a very special cruise for them.
Amanda Berry asks:
John, the more I look at what Carnival offers us Platinum VIPs, the more disconcerted I get. I was on the Carnival Dream again and even at boarding, my status was ignored because they let people for a wedding on first!! We have no priority seating at the shows and have to scramble to get a seat with the non-VIPs. On RCI, we have reserved seating at all shows and are treated as the dollars we spend deserves. How about the Internet? No free Internet and we have to pay the same as someone who walked on the ship for the first time!!! The list of how we are ignored is endless but the biggest complaint that I and reading what other VIPs are saying on Cruise Critic is that we don’t have a separate cocktail party. Is that such a stretch for Carnival to provide a few drinks and some nibbles? I cruise both Carnival and RCI but their loyalty to people like me may have me heading only in one direction as they separate us from the rest and treat us very well.
Hello Amanda Berry,
I really can’t comment on what another cruise line does, Amanda, but I do think overall our Platinum guests do appreciate the benefits they receive and, of course, we all hope that Platinum guests continue to sail with us and reach Diamond level as well. I hope you continue to sail with us and enjoy the actual cruise and its affordability and then the perks that come with being a Platinum guest. Your loyalty means a lot to us and I hope it continues for a long time to come and please let me know if there is anything I can do for you.
Dear John: I have sailed seven times and will be going on another one next Feb. on my first seven-day cruise. I have asked our person at Carnival that takes our reservation this question and she said she has wonder the same thing. My question if a ship becomes unable to bring people back home cause of something wrong with ship I have seen that Carnival provides people with a fly back home what happens with the people that don’t like to fly and they only have a cruise passport card. Like me I will not fly on any planes does Carnival let the person stay on the ship or not cause I will not fly at all? So could you please let me know what Carnival would do for me if a ship I was on couldn’t leave the port? If Carnival allows me to stay on there until it gets fixed or till another ship shows up or what would they do for me since I don’t fly and will never fly.
Thanks for asking a great question and please do not worry. In the very rare case such as what happened with Carnival Dream recently we would take care of you as we did with a few guests who we placed on an NCL ship that they sailed back to the States on. So please don’t worry and just look forward to a brilliant cruise. Please let me know if you have any other concerns.
Austin Jones asks:
Will the Cheers bar program be offered on the cruises from Norfolk?
Hello Austin Jones,
We will offer it on the five-day cruises but not the two-day voyage. Have a brilliant cruise and please let me know if you have any questions.
Brian and Hank asks:
John, my partner and I are sailing on the Carnival Freedom and want to make sure that we are recognised as a same sex couple. This is because last time on the Carnival Elation we were not and the cabin cleaner girl highly embarrassed us by separating the beds. Then the cruise director kept saying husband and wife at shows like the marriage show and we were ignored and highly offended. Hank and I will be on the Carnival Freedom in August for our summer vacation and I need to know these embarrassing mistakes you made will not be repeated. Our booking number is ****** and we are in cabin number Empress**** So can you have the cabin boy put the beds together so it’s done on the day we get on.
Hello Brian and Hank,
I sincerely apologise that you felt embarrassed by what occurred on your last cruise and I have already made a note for your next cruise to make sure the beds are together. You can request this also on the “manage my booking” section online. As a CD, I always try and add the word “partner” when I am talking on stage during activities like my Marriage Show and I will reiterate this to my fellow cruise directors. I am sure this cruise will be a special one and I wish you the best of times together.
Troy Jepson asks:
Can you help settle an argument? I was telling my friend who is about to cruise for the first time with Carnival on the Carnival Paradise that at Carnival you can order as many main courses at dinner as you like. He says I am wrong so can you help me settle this as there is a case of beer riding on your answer, John. Thanks.
Hello Troy Jepson,
Enjoy the free beer mate because you are correct. Best wishes and I wish you all a great cruise.
Jerlyn Boyd asks:
I don’t like to fly, but would like to go to St. Thomas and other places in that area. We do go to New Orleans. Why can’t those ships go there? We love Carnival cruise, as we go every year. But it would be nice to have other places to go without flying to Florida. We have other friends wondering about this as they don’t like to fly. Thank you.
We, of course, have the new Carnival Sunshine that will be in New Orleans in November and although she will not sail to St. Thomas, she will be an amazing ship to sail on and enjoy other fun destinations. St. Thomas and the eastern Caribbean are too far to reach on a five- or seven-day cruise I am afraid but I hope you will be able to go there on one of our ships from Florida. Please let me know if you have any other questions.
Rachel Witt asks:
I need your help to plan something spectacular. My dad was the music director on the Tropicale in the early 1980s when it ran trips to Mexico. He met my mother on one of those trips, and their
30th anniversary is this August. I’d like to have Carnival help them celebrate, but I don’t know who to contact. I thought you might know!
Hello Rachel Witt,
That is really a great story and please let me know when your parents are sailing and I will make sure they are recognised and that I send them something. I hope to meet them one day and please give them my best regards. Hope to hear from you soon.
Edward Hillier asks:
John, can you tell me who the captain will be on the Carnival Triumph when she comes back to Galveston? I hope (if the cruise isn’t canceled again) to be on the June 13 cruise and have a special something I would like to present him after all he has been through and I need to get it engraved. Thanks.
Hello Edward Hillier,
How very kind you are and the captain’s name is Angelo Los who is a great friend and who I know will be so appreciative of your kindness. I know you wrote this three weeks ago so I hope by now you have seen that the ship will be getting the Fun Ship 2.0 upgrades, as well. The ship is scheduled to return on schedule so your cruise will be ready to go and you will, I am sure, have a brilliant time. Thanks again for your kindness.
Jim Graszat asks:
We cruised with you (and Calvyn) on the Carnival Magic in Jul/Aug 2011, and are thrilled to be joining you again on the Legend this summer, same time period. My children loved watching the “John and Calvyn” show on the TV every day, and my daughter Sophie actually got through one day and called Calvyn an elephant or something like that. She ended up meeting him later and he gave her a very cute pink elephant stuffed animal. We did another cruise on another cruise line and did not enjoy nearly as much. See you in August!!
Hello Jim Graszat,
What a wonderful post and I am thrilled that you will be joining us again in August. We are both here and will do our best to make you laugh again. Please let me know if there is anything I can do for you and get ready for the best of times.
And that’s all for today. I will be back with more soon
Back in 1996, I was part of the team that delivered the Carnival Destiny, then the largest cruise ship in the world. She gave me grey hair and she gave thousands of guests the most fantastic cruise. She was in the spotlight and as helicopters hovered over her, and journalists sharpened their pencils (yes, she was pre-Internet) to write rejoicing words about her the ship took her place in the cruise ship hall of fame. But then bigger ships came along. Ships with more features and more bells and whistles and suddenly the Carnival Destiny was no longer in the spotlight. Yes, she carried on giving her guests the most fabulous cruise but the ship that was the talk of the town wasn’t any more and that was in a way………..sad in a way.
So when the beards decided that they would invest millions in her and give the ship the full bikini wax and Botox treatment I for one was really pleased. Would I miss the name “Destiny?” Well, yes actually but the name Sunshine……..actually the name Carnival Sunshine is perfect for what the ship has become. It has been a challenging start — not to mention that would be silly of me — and the crew have worked so hard to make sure the guests on her inaugural cruise have had a great time. What we have in the Carnival Sunshine is one of the most amazing ship transformations I have ever seen, stripped down to the bare metal, repainted, re-trimmed and refitted with sparkling new features and stunning new guest spaces. Tell you what ………… rather than me waffle on about it, let’s have a look at some of those areas through the lens of the brilliant Mr. Radu.
Are you dribbling yet?
More photos next week.