September 5, 2013 -
From: LEGEND GUEST SERVICES SUPERVISOR
Sent: Wednesday, September 04, 2013 11:32 AM
To: LEGEND CRUISE DIRECTOR
Cc: LEGEND GUEST SERVICES; LEGEND GUEST SERVICES MANAGER
Subject: **** – Mr. ———— – comments on internet for Cruise Director
Mr. ______- wishes to speak to you regarding the following Internet speed – guest is very unhappy with this as he states he has a very important business deal to complete which now he cannot. He has asked for higher speed and free use of the internet because he says we may have lost his business deal for him. Guest also states he has other things that he is not happy with and wants to discuss today with you. Please can you contact him when you can? Thank you and kind regards.
Guest Services Supervisor
Ahh, yes, the Internet. It wasn’t that long ago that if we wanted to watch some YouTube footage of a boy lighting his farts, it took about two or three minutes for your computer to load the video. This was two or three minutes none of us could spare. So a man with a beard invented broadband and that meant we only had to wait seven seconds to see his gaseous outbursts go up in flames. But then someone with an even bigger beard realised that, in today’s world, seven seconds is far too long and so he invented superfast-mega-turbo Internet speed so we could watch the fart combust almost instantaneously. And so when people come to the ship and they want to watch a video on YouTube, they have to wait…….20 seconds, maybe more. Yes, I, too, moan about the Internet speed even though I know that we use a satellite and not broadband.
It’s all about time, isn’t it? It’s not just Internet that gets us frustrated. Elevators. They can never come quickly enough and we huff and puff while we wait and, once inside, we press that “door close” button so no other bugger can get in and so we can take that elevator up one floor. I also get massively uptight when I go to watch a DVD and am prevented from fast-forwarding through the legal disclaimers that precede the actual movie as the bastard lawyers tell us we will be sued should we dare to show the film to more than one other person.
Anyway, time was very much on my mind when I spoke to this guest. I had cleared 20 minutes before I was due on stage for the 8:30 pm show and I thought this was enough time for sure to explain to the guest about the Internet and listen to her other comments. It wasn’t and when 8:30 pm came around, I had to schedule another meeting with her after the show so she could continue telling me why she was not singing, “Oh What a Beautiful Morning” and skipping around the ship in a happy mood.
I was thinking about this and how those 20 minutes I spent with her and the time that tomorrow’s meeting will bring and that I will have probably spent close to an hour on this one lady’s comments. And they are comments I can do nothing about. I can’t change the itinerary and I can’t make the Internet any quicker. So why, then, will I spend so much time with her, time I could have spent talking to other guests, writing this blog in my underpants, taking care of other concerns or watching a Latvian rumpy pumpy DVD …….after spending 10 minutes reading the disclaimers, of course.
The answer is twofold – 1) I am a cruise director, it’s my job to listen and 2) I am British.
What do I mean by “I am British?” Well, being British means that I was taught at an early age that good manners are everything. It means that we will discuss the weather with a complete stranger for an hour or more and that if we find bits of yak scrotum in our chocolate melting cake, we will discuss with our family if we should complain or not and, if we do decide to complain, we will start with the words, “Excuse me. I am so sorry to be a bother but . . .” So just once, I wish I could turn off the Brutishness in me and turn off the CD button as well and be ……….well………more Russian……………..or French even. Let me explain.
We have just completed two brilliant months sailing in the Baltic and, of course, calling at St. Petersburg in Russia where manners don’t seem to have been invented yet. When the immigration officer wants to see your passport, she doesn’t say, “Would it be possible to see your passport please, sir?” She says, “Passport.” And if you can’t find it within five seconds, she says, “Now!” And if you smile at her, you end up in a Russian Gulag sharing a cell with Boris Ripyourbolloocksov. And in France, it’s even better. When you order something from a menu that isn’t available, there’s no two-minute apology from the waiter as he explains how the chef was attacked by a rabid cocker spaniel on the way to the market. He just says, “No.”
The other day, I answered a comment here suggesting that we offer a “Faster to the Buffet” so that people who pay extra can get to the front immediately so they don’t have to wait five minutes for their Guy’s burger. Well I suggest that the author of that post move to Russia. That’s because in Russia………lines have not been invented. You just walk to the front and if anyone objects, you pull out your wallet and show them how much cash you have in there. This is Russian for, “I am richer than you, comrade, so buggerov.”
When I think back to the more than a quarter century I have been on the ships, I realise that being impolite and rude would have saved me months, years even. But I am British, I am a CD and I am therefore polite and caring but, oh, just once, just one time, I would like to reply to the question, “I want to talk to you about the slow internet” with “Sorry, nothing I can do, goodbye” and turn on my heels and walk away. A boy can dream. In reality, while I did not feel I should offer free Internet, I did apologise, explained how the Internet worked on ships and offered my apologies and some fruit. Time………….it’s all about time.
Talking of time, it’s time for today’s Q and A so let’s crack on.
William O’Keeffe asks:
As a retired educator, I was so shocked to discover so many grammatical and an equal amount of spelling errors in the daily program received each day during my cruise on your vessel Carnival Victory. I was even more shocked that after I highlighted the daily errors and presented them to the people at the ship’s front desk, I received no thank you or any kind of gift item for doing so. One would have thought that this would have been something I should have been thanked for by the captain or another senior officer but it was not to be. I found your page and thought then that you should be made aware of the Carnival Victory’s leader’s lack of professionalism and their flippant attitude.
Hello William O’Keeffe,
Well I am surprised, too, because I would have thought that the cruise director would have called you to express his thanks for spotting these mistakes. The Fun Times are checked by two or three people before going to print and, for the most, part they are correct in their information and the spelling and grammar is correct also. But we (cruise directors) do make mistakes and I want to thank you for taking your time to find the mistakes and I want to apologise that no thanks was given to you. I send you those thanks now and I will make sure the cruise director sees this. I hope we see you again soon and may I thank you also for your work as a teacher and the lives you affected. I wish you a happy retirement and hope we see you again soon. Best wishes.
Kathie Schmitt asks:
Hi, John — I see your Bloggers Cruise information has been updated on the blog. Just wondered when people will be able to sign up for the bloggers special activities?
Hello Katie Schmitt,
I will be taking registration in a few weeks’ time toward the end of next month. I look forward to seeing you there and I promise to make it a brilliant cruise and please let me know if there is anything I can do for you. Best wishes.
Kevin Croak asks:
Love the blog. Follow it as much as possible. My wife and I are booking our third cruise with Carnival. This time, Carnival Valor to Southern Caribbean on 11/17. Two questions; first, is there a beverage card or drink package available on the Carnival Valor that includes wine, beer and spirits, and, second, how does one book the Behind the Fun tour? Thanks much. Cheers.
Kevin and Tatyana Croak
Hello Kevin Croak,
Thanks for the kind words and I can see how excited you are about your next cruise. Yes, indeed, there is the Cheers all-inclusive beverage program which covers wine, cocktails and beer, along with unlimited sodas and non-alcoholic cocktails. Each person who is 21 and over in the cabin must participate in the program. The Behind the Fun tour is only available on board and not online. You should book as soon as you are on board as it does sell quickly. I wish you a brilliant cruise and please let me know if there is anything I can do for you. Best wishes.
Harrison Boyes asks:
Just off the Carnival Magic. Cucina restaurant was excellent. Pizza sucked and waiters in the main dining hall embarrassed me and my wife with those sexual dances they do before dessert. Get rid of those dances, they ruin meal time for everyone.
Hello Harrison Boyes,
Well, that was a short, sharp and to-the-point review. I am hoping that there were many more areas of the ship that you enjoyed outside of the Cucina del Capitano. I am sorry, though, that you did not enjoy the dances and fun the waiters provided. I realise that not everyone does enjoy them but I can say that the very vast majority of our guests do and that they appreciate the fun these performances bring to dinner. I do hope that we will see you again soon and I will pass on your comments to the ship’s senior management. Best wishes to you both.
Sonny Calderone asks:
Wife and I will be on Carnival cruise in December. I will need to use my sleep apnea unit. Will there be plenty of outlets for all the personal requests? Cabin with patio. Thank you.
Hello Sonny Calderone,
May I suggest that you bring a good quality extension cord with you as the power outlet is not right next to the bed and therefore you may need a longer cord. That aside, you will have no problems and we have distilled water available on the ship should you need that as well. Please let me know if there is anything else I can do for you and I wish you a brilliant cruise. Best wishes.
George Dias asks:
As a gay cruiser, I want to thank Carnival for supporting me and my kind with your Friends of Dorothy meetings which I have attended with great glee on my four cruises. I don’t get that respect at work even. Being called names and generally bullied isn’t fun. I just read, John, a comment on your blog from a lady called Paulette who questioned that if Carnival is a family cruise line why you advertise “gays and lesbians to meet.” I do wish people would stop making such an issue of “why” and learn to live with the fact that gay people take cruises. Some people are born gay in the same way some people like Paulette are nonjudgmental and bigoted. I am booked on the Carnival Valor next and can’t wait to meet more gay friends at the GLBT meetings. Thanks, Carnival.
Hello George Dias,
I wanted to say thank you for taking the time to write and we will continue to hold our Friends of Dorothy meetings. I am sure you will have another brilliant cruise and I hope you make lots of new friends during your time on the ship. Please let me know if you have any questions etc., and I wish you a brilliant time. Best wishes.
Tina Farrier asks:
Hey – Need to know who the comedians will be on Carnival Ecstasy’s cruise on September 28. Called Carnival they have no clue so need you to find out on the hurry up!!!!!!!!!!!!
Hello Tina Farrier,
Thank you for taking the time to write and thank you for cruising with us on the Carnival Ecstasy. Thank you also for allowing me to advertise the Punchliner Comedy Club presented by George Lopez and thank you for allowing me to mention that the comedians will be the very funny Dennis Reagan and the very funny Chas Elsner. I am sure you will enjoy them and thank you so much for attending their shows. I am sure they will appreciate it and will be there at the end of the shows to say thank you for attending. Have a great cruise and thank you again for taking the time to read the blog. Best wishes and many thanks.
Curt Klimek ask:
John: I have been watching your cruise director schedule for January 2014 for the Carnival Breeze and still don’t see an assigned cruise director. Do you know who it will be yet as my wife and I are wondering? Thanks.
Hello Curt Klimek,
Excellent timing here because once I have finished with this Q and A, I will be posting the schedule for the rest of this year into next year. I hope you like what you will see and if you have any questions, please let me know. Best wishes.
Blake Hutchinson asks:
My wife and I are sailing with our granddaughter in the near future. We have purchased a “message in a bottle” for my granddaughter to toss in the sea. Can we throw the item off the ship or is this a problem? Thanks.
Hello Blake Hutchinson,
I am afraid not. The environmental laws enforced by United States Coast Guard and other government agencies do not allow us to do this anymore. The bottle would have to be biodegradable which, if it was, would make the whole message in a bottle pointless. I am so sorry but the times we used to be able to do things like this have long since passed. If there is anything else I can you help you with please do let me know. Have a great cruise. Best wishes.
Kris Chattopadhyay asks:
I see many times here that you offer special things to people who have achieved greatness and this does apply to my son Arjun. We came to the States in 1982 and have started a successful business in New York and my son has carried on the family tradition of hard work and excellence by graduating high school and being chosen to attend Yale to study law. We are very proud parents who will be taking Arjun on a cruise on the Carnival Breeze dated 9/8/13. I would ask that you do the needful and present Arjun with something that acknowledges his success and was thinking a visit to the bridge and a photo with him sitting in the captain’s chair as he will be navigating a successful law career in the future. This and any other special recognition would be appropriate and met with thanks. I await correspondence with you to conform how and when this will be achieved. Thank you for doing the needful, Mr. Heald.
Hello Kris Chattopadhyay,
I am very glad that I saw this today as you are sailing on the Carnival Breeze tomorrow. My apologies then for the late reply and I send many congratulations to your son for all he has achieved. I will not, I am afraid, be able to oraganise a private visit to the bridge. You can purchase the Behind the Fun tour which is an exclusive look for a small group of guests at what goes on behind the crew only door and if you take this you will get to meet and have a photo with the captain. I have asked my colleagues on the ship to send your son a little something to say congratulations and I wish you all a wonderful cruise. Best wishes.
And that’s all the time we have today and I thank you all for your questions and comments. OK, time to show you the new cruise director schedule for this year, where there have been more changes and into next year as well. Have a look at this and we will discuss some specifics after you have had a look.
So where to begin? Let me start with next year first. Yep, the 2014 schedule is mostly complete through the summer. What you won’t see yet are specific dates as to when one CD leaves and the new CD takes over. Those dates are still being worked out but this early schedule gives you an idea of who will be on board when you sail. I will update this portion of the schedule in the months ahead, of course.
Then there are changes to this year as well. I have already mentioned that Jaime Dee will head to Carnival Sunshine. Noonan will head to Carnival Magic. James Charlton becomes the CD of the Carnival Dream and now we add one more change to the schedule with James Dunn taking over Carnival Liberty. The reason for this is because sadly we have to say goodbye to one of our very best cruise directors and when I say “very best” I mean that most sincerely. I am talking about Karl Bird or “Karl with a K” as he is known by guests. Karl has been with the company for 12 years and was promoted to cruise director in 2008. I hear so many comments from guests about his energy and enthusiasm and, on behalf of all of his colleagues and I am sure many of you who have enjoyed him over the years, we send our very best wishes on his retirement and his new job as model on top of wedding cakes. We will miss you, mate.
There are some new names on the schedule and some familiar faces and I hope that you continue to enjoy their work and that they continue to make your cruise even more fun.
OK,, let’s talk about me. Here is my schedule for the next few months. I had hoped to stay on Carnival Legend for a few days as she sailed from New York to Tampa but late last night and after a conversation with the beards, it is not to be. So for those who care, here is what I am doing.
– October 10 (after Carnival Legend trans-Atlantic) – Fly to London, two nights at home
– October 13 – Fly to Livorno to join Carnival Sunshine. I will be there to help Jaime and to send you videos of the spaces that are aboard this great ship. I will be joined by Peter the Hair and his video team and will broadcast daily videos here on the blog.
– October 19 – Fly from Venice to London – three nights with the girls
– October 23 – Fly from London to Miami
I will then be in Miami until the end of November. During this time, I will be organizing activities for Bloggers Cruise 7 with the beards and helping with other marketing projects. I will also fly to New Orleans to host the naming ceremony of the Carnival Sunshine. I hope to also sail on the Celtic Thunder cruise on Carnival Victory and I have also been invited to visit and write about the new Royal Princess which is indeed an honour.
Throughout this time, I will be with you on Facebook and have video blogs as well so please don’t worry, I will be here to help with maybe a couple of days off during the time between the end of my Carnival Sunshine trip and Miami.
As for next year? Well, as you can see, I will join Carnival Miracle for the entire Alaskan season from May to the last cruise which I think is in September. Troy Linton will take over for the Hawaii cruises but I am very excited to see Alaska and many thanks to the many who have told me they have booked to come and see me. It should be a great adventure.
Before that, I have the Bloggers Cruise in February and then in March and April I shall spend some time as a “fly on CD” visiting the ships, performing some of my silly stuff and helping some of the younger CDs where I can. I will have more news on that schedule soon.
So there you go, lots to enjoy and look forward to but, for now, my focus remains on the Carnival Legend and this cruise, the British Isles cruise and then her journey to America.
We are in Stavanger today and I wish I could get off the ship but I have let Calvyn have some time off and he, like many of the guests, is exploring the fjords by boat and I shall share Mr. Radu’s photos with you on Facebook later today.
Today is my anniversary with Carnival Cruise Lines – yep, 26 years ago, September 5, 1987, I walked up the gangway of the Holiday and joined the ranks of the crew as the worst sodding bar waiter the company has ever had. I remember boarding and waiting for ages before someone came to collect me and the other new crew from the gangway. I was shown to my cabin, given the key and I entered the room which was the size of the CD cabin’s bathroom here on Carnival Legend. There were two bunk beds, a small desk, one chair and a small wardrobe. The two bunk beds were also small and judging by the fact that there were no bedclothes on the top bunk, I guessed that’s where I would be staying. I had primed myself up for the cabin to be small and to the fact that I would share a cabin but as I sat on the chair and looked around…..I felt like crying ……so I did… Yep, I cried like a little boy whose puppy had just been run over by a steamroller …………….I wanted to go home.
Remember, I had never lived away from home before and here I was, on a cruise ship, in a tiny cabin, no friends and about to embark on a job I had no idea if I could do or not. As I sat there and sobbed like a big girl, I didn’t think it could get any worse but it was then that it suddenly dawned on me that there was no toilet or shower in the room……just a sink. When I had been dropped off at the cabin, I had not been told anything– I was literally just dumped outside the door and told to wait here and therefore I had no idea about the communal hell that awaited me.
As I sat there realising that there was no shower and no toilet, I didn’t think it could get any worse ande it was then that my cabin mate entered the room. He was a wine steward and he was from Portugal. He was the perfect cabin mat aside from the fact that he never took a shower, peed in the sink, yep — he peed in the sink — and smoked 20 cigarettes a day……..in a cabin the size of LeBron James’s basketball shoe. You would expect that upon meeting someone who is going to be sleeping a few feet below you, that I would have received a warm welcome but he was a complete and utter bastard…………and I cried some more.
I will never forget his first words to me as he told me that this was his cabin and then went on to tell me the rules, and as he did, he lit up a cigarette and puffed away without a care in the world I was actually glad as it covered up the smell of the two skunks which seemed to be living under his armpits. I will never forget this man who was, in fact, fired a few weeks after I joined the ship for stealing a bottle of expensive champagne. He smoked in the cabin; he would play his music when I was trying to sleep and, worse of all, when he couldn’t be bothered to walk down the corridor to the communal bathrooms, and. as I mentioned, he would pee in the sink.
I caught him doing this when he thought I was asleep and that for me was enough and, after a close encounter with his face in his own urine, he never did that again. This may surprise you because I know you don’t associate me with physical violence and indeed it is never the answer ………unless you share a small cabin with a stinking, rude Portuguese wine steward who pisses in the sink that you have to wash and clean your teeth with. If so, then in my book, you then have God’s permission to beat the crap out of him……..which is what I did.
As I said, he was fired a few weeks later and my new cabin mate was absolutely fantastic. His name was Bican and we became firm friends. Bican taught me to love Turkish tea which he would boil in the cabin every day. After work, all the wine stewards would get together and cook ……yes……cook….in the cabins on little portable stoves. We cooked meat, fish, even lobster and had a good old time together. Back then, the wine steward position was the easiest job on board. I knew nothing about wine and listened and learned from the others. We would have one of the seven wine stewards work the lunch session and then at dinner, we would pay a busboy to set the glasses and clean them away after. All we did was turn up, serve the wine and chat with the guests……it was easy and I have fond memories of those days.
I am not sure how I got through those first few weeks which were a cross between being in the army, boarding school and prison. Nowadays, it is, of course, so much different. The crew are welcomed with open arms and given a full orientation before they start work. Many of the crew will have had to pass through a college specific to their job before they join their ship and there is a dedicated department on board who is there to assist with training and crew welfare. My training was the Bar Manager Colin Campus handing me a tray and a menu and off I went to serve drinks I had never heard of before……I nearly punched a male guest who asked me for “sex on the beach!”
Today, our modern fleet have private facilities for all the crew and also provide a TV, DVD player and a refrigerator in each cabin and, of course smoking in the cabin is strictly forbidden as, of course, is cooking of any kind. The reasons for this are obvious and it’s remarkable that back in the old days, there were so few rules and regulations when it came to safety procedures ……. we have come a long way…………….thank goodness.
So, to be a crew member with today’s Carnival as compared to the old days is pure luxury and when you consider that now we have crew gyms, better communications back home, complimentary continuing education classes, crew activities and events as well as Carnival’s continuing policy to promote from within…….well………you can see why so many want to come and work for us. It is still a hard life living at sea…….but ask any crew member who can remember “the old days” and they will tell you that today……things are a whole lot better.
And as I sit here, in my underpants seeing my name on the cruise director schedule 26 years later makes me feel very proud. Yep, it’s 26 years ago that my Carnival adventure began and I think I will relive the old days for sentimental reasons.
So with apologies to my cabin steward………. that’s me…………off to the sink.