January 29, 2014 -
Let’s start with this today:
I wanted you to read this thread made on Cruise Critic made by Carnival’s top cheerleader.
My point of concern is that you will see a message from Pine Bluff who states that “the crew does not like you” that I think you need to address and have the right to reply to. Care to comment because this is a serious allegation!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Well, maybe now you can see why I mentioned the subject of the overuse of exclamation marks on Facebook yesterday……….prepare for your nipple to be flicked, Jim. Most importantly, though, I found the comment by Pine Bluff quite upsetting. Now I guess you will have to ask the crew if that’s true or not because it is not my place to say if they like me or not but I will say that I work very hard when I am CD to make sure I look after them. I have never forgotten where I came from and by that I mean the bar department.
Yep, I started my career with Carnival in the bar department. I had bluffed my way through the first interview as a bar waiter with consummate ease. The only difficult moment was when Barbara Wang, the Carnival bar director who was interviewing me, asked if I knew what a “sex on the beach” was. I was about to say that being an ugly bastard, I hadn’t a clue about sex on a beach, a hill, a bed, a couch, a hammock …….in fact, anywhere….when I realised that it was some sort of drink …….. so I said, “Of course,” smiled…………… and got the job.
I have shared a cabin and a bathroom, I have worked hard and had no guest area privileges and I know how hard the crew works. I pride myself in never ever walking past any crew member without saying hello and always have an open door policy for all of them. I respect every crew member without measure and have always said they remain the most important part of your cruise. But again, you will have to ask the crew if what Mr. Bluff said is true. By the way, my guess is Mr. Bluff is the artist formally known as H82SEAUGO……..welcome back, mate.
Finding myself at the receiving end of these kind of comments can be distressing, sometimes intensely so. But I take it as given that being “well known” after 26 years at sea and a few years on social media means that I am expected to have such a thick skin that this kind of comment bounces off me. And, for the most part, they do but it is puzzling that just because someone is well known or indeed famous means that this should be so. Take anyone truly famous. They may have money in the bank and a high profile life that makes them a “star” and household name but does that automatically come with skin as thick as an elephant’s scrotum and should these people not have feelings about some of the spiteful and hateful comments they get? This is the same for most famous people, trolls attack and yet they are supposed to take it all up the jacksie (urban dictionary.com) without question.
When I first started this blog and was on the way to more than 46,000 likes on Facebook, my instinct when reading the trollage was to demand every nasty and personal comment be deleted, or have them branded on the head with a huge “T” for troll. But then, as time went on, I reminded myself about my total belief in the freedom of speech and so I felt conflicted. And so after a specific incident involving a man with a sombrero that evolved on Facebook and resulted in a kneejerk and stupid reaction by banning a few posters I vowed never to do that again and apologise again now for doing so. So, unlike other sites I do not ban or delete unless someone steps way, way, way over the line. So what about comments like Mr. Bluff and a few others throw at me? Well, I don’t think they’re necessarily dreadful stinky people. They may have only one or two friends. But I do get the strong sense that trolls of both genders do not have satisfying rumpy pumpy lives. Right Mr. Bluff?
This doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t hold social media providers to a certain standard and ask them to moderate their pages to stop death threats getting through especially with internet bullying involving children. This worries me and, as Kye starts to discover the World Wide Web, I am well aware of the dangers that await her there. Online, as in the real world, we’re all free to say what we like, no matter how nasty or offensive. That’s a beautiful thing, and we should not lose it over its dark side.
Time for today’s Q and A……………..away we go.
Tanya Ellis asks:
I have Your Time Dining on the Carnival Elation in March and want to know if I order a bottle of wine the first night and do not drink it all will I have to take it with me and bring it to the table the next few nights even though we have different servers.
Hello Tanya Ellis,
Yes, of course, we are happy to do this for you. The waiter will ask for your cabin number and when you come into the dining room the next night, just tell your server you have a bottle of wine from the previous night and he or she will bring it to the table for you. I hope you have a fantastic cruise. Best wishes.
Michele Chase asks:
Hi John: I just returned back from my cruise on Carnival Valor. We had a great time on the cruise it was a group of 45 people. I do have one complaint; I was put in room 2477 aft cabin. I enjoyed the spaciousness of the room, but what I did not enjoy was the noise and vibration from the thrusters. There should be a disclaimer put on these aft cabins warning people about the noise and vibration. On the last day of the cruise from St. Maarten to San Juan I did not sleep the noise and vibration started from midnight until we docked at 7am. Other than the noisy room I enjoyed the Carnival Valor the CD was great, the staff was friendly and helpful, and I loved all the ports. I will be sailing again in Jan. 2014; on the Carnival Ecstasy I love Carnival cruises.
Hello Michele Chase,
I am so very sorry that you had a sleepless night and I will definitely pass this to the ship and the Miami office. I also want to thank you for your kind words for the crew and they will be very proud when they see this. Thanks again and please accept my apologies for the concerns you had
Kevin Chartrand asks:
We were on the Carnival Freedom. We had a wonderful cruise but my wife twisted her ankle in St. Thomas. It didn’t bother her until dinner time. We headed back to the cabin after dinner to take care of her ankle. I took what ice we had and put it into a towel and wrapped it around her ankle, which was now elevated. The cabin steward was nearby and I asked him for help. His name was George and on the Riviera deck. He asked me to call room service, for a zip lock bag and he got additional ice. When I was on the phone with room service my cousin came into my cabin to tell me my family was trying to reach us because my father had died. I asked George to take over so I could go to the Internet cafe to let people know that I was aware of the situation. He took right over and helped my wife. When I got back to the cabin she was doing fine all thanks to George. I don’t know what I would have done without him. He went well beyond what he had to do. It was greatly appreciated.
Hello Kevin Chartrand,
May I start by sending my sincere sympathies for the loss of your beloved father. I of course know exactly how you are feeling having just lost my Dad too. I realise I am late in sending my reply to you so please may I thank you for taking the time to write about George who I will make sure sees this. I hope there have been better times since and that we see you soon. Please let me know if there is anything I can do for you. Best wishes to you both.
Neil Camden asks:
Why is Carnival so far behind the rest of the cruise industry in its smoking rules? Smokers are still on Carnival and are allowed on their balcony to use their cancer sticks and ruin the health and ruin the cruise of others. More and more across the world, smokers are vilified as the rodents they are but, on Carnival ships, these rodents can spread their self-inflicted death sentences to others. Wake up Carnival, smell the fresh air and see your profits rise. That got your attention, I think.
Hello Neil Camden,
Thanks so much for taking the time to write. Certainly, there are arguments on both sides of the smoking argument that are worthy of discussion although I think the use of the word “rodent” is rather baffling to me. Over the last few years, we have reduced the smoking areas on our ships to and may I also mention that while smoking is allowed on balconies we do not allow it on spa balconies found on the ships that have the Cloud Nine Spas. We will continue to try and help both smokers and non-smokers as best we can. Thanks again for writing. Best wishes
Katarina Karpenko asks:
My parents are celebrating their 40th wedding anniversary on one of your ships the
Carnival Fascination this February 17. They are from the Ukraine and now live in New York. They speak zero English, so I am begging you nicely for a Russian speaking cabin boy and a Russian waiter. The cabin they are in is on a different deck to me because we booked different times. Theirs is Rivera Deck 91 and they are with booking number for the cruise that is ****** Can you make this come true?
Hello Katarina Karpenko,
I will certainly do my best on the waiter and I am sure in this aspect we will be able to help you and I have asked the maître d to assist you. The stateroom steward is not easy to change because each is assigned to their section and we can’t change that based on one cabin, I am afraid. I am sure though that if your parents have any communication difficulties, we will be able to help them so please do not worry. I wish them a wonderful anniversary and I wish you a brilliant cruise. Best wishes.
Hello! I just returned from a wonderful cruise on board the Carnival Victory. There were eight of us total in my group. Everyone was great as always. I especially enjoyed Jakob, Roly, Jenn
from Canada, Shane from Wisconsin, (I think that was his name) and one other young man whose name I have forgotten. Sorry! I saw this group daily at trivia, the scavenger hunt, name that tune, etc. They were loads of fun. I walked away with a medal and two ships on sticks.
One question, am I mistaken or did the Lido deck have trays on the last cruise for the buffet lines? It’s been a year since my last cruise, but I thought they used to have this. We made it work, but they would have been helpful. One thing that was definitely different this time was the past guest party. I loved the party as always, but I missed the video. The other three past gust parties I have attended were in the big lounge, and we would see a short film on the history of Carnival. This time we were in the Punchliner Comedy Club and there was no film. I missed that. The party was great as always, though. Already trying to plan my next cruise (or two). I miss the port of Mobile, but at least we have New Orleans. Possibly taking a spring break cruise on the Carnival Sunshine. Hopefully, one day I will get a chance to sail with you. It’s possible I did already back in August of 1995 on the Imagination, but who can remember that? I was only 16 then, ha! So I’m hoping that even if I did already share that cruise with you, I will get a chance again as an adult when I will appreciate the experience. Keep up all the great work! My family loves Carnival.
Thanks so much for a wonderful review, which I apologise has taken me so long to respond to. I have sent this to the ship’s hotel director who I know will be thrilled when he sees your kind words of praise. The trays on Lido have been replaced with large plates which we find to be just as good and much nicer then the old trays, it also promotes less food waste. As for the past guest party, yes it has been revamped again and starting this coming month, each ship will have a newly created video to show all our guests that I hope you enjoy. Please let me know if there is anything I can do for you and I do hope we see you again very soon. Best wishes.
William Starks asks:
Hello John, just wanted to tell you that we just returned from a cruise on the Carnival Dream. It was the best cruise ever! As a platinum member, it was great to get to our cabin way early. No waiting and they took care of us. I wanted to let you know about our wait staff in the Crimson Dining room. Eduardo was the head waiter, I Made and Jeffery were the best! They were so great that we added more on our gratuity for each of them! If you could say something to the beards about how much fun we had with them at our dinner we will appreciate it. Everything about the cruise was great. There were some minor glitches but nothing serious. Already planning our next cruise. Our table # was any time dinning 5:45-9:00pm, table #218 and 220. Thank you and Carnival for a great vacation. Hope to see you soon again.
Hello William Starks,
Again, my apologies for the delay in writing back but I am thrilled that you had such a brilliant time. I will be passing this to the ship and if there is anything I can do regarding those “minor glitches” or anything you need to let me know, please do contact me. I hope we see you soon.
Dave Conlin asks:
Hey John, I convinced my group to come sail with me in February for back to backs on Carnival Conquest. My concern is the price of flights out of Miami coming back home to Ottawa leave around 11:50 and noon. Could you tell me what is the earliest flight we should book from docking in Miami and flying out from Miami… The site says 11:30 am but just wanted to know your input… Will the ship let us off first? Thanks in advance.
Dave from Ottawa
Hello Dave Conlin,
This is another post that needs an apology from me for the late reply but, yes, we will indeed make sure you are off the ship once Customs and Border Protection give us permission to start. Please let guest services know that you have an early flight and be sure to use the self-assist system in which you carry your own bags off the ship. All should be well and I wish you a brilliant time. Best wishes.
Beth and Arthur Havenstein asks:
Why does Carnival make it so difficult for my husband to use his CPAP machine? This made us both very upset and spoiled what was otherwise a good cruise on the Carnival Magic. Carnival should actually listen to someone who depends on these machines to get through the night alive.
Hello Beth and Arthur Havenstein,
I am sorry to read of your troubles and I would like, if possible, for you to send me more information on what concerns you may have had. I know that with some of our power outlets being away from the bed, that an extension cord is required but I know that we will provide one if someone asks. That aside, I really would like to know more so please let me know when you can. Best wishes.
Jennifer B asks:
Hi John, just wanted to say that myself, husband and toddler daughter had a great time on board Carnival Sunshine. Every time I see MakkaPakka now, I’m reminded of you singing this to my little girl.We’re trying to get my folks out for a Caribbean cruise in 2015 and just can’t wait. Would like to say that everyone we came into contact with on Carnival Sunshine were great and could not do enough for our girl, let me try to remember…John from Honduras, our cabin steward, Hilario and Mahai (sp), our waiters, Sean our bar waiter, Dewi (sp), our restaurant host and many more I may have forgotten. In reference to another comment made about the Sunshine musicians, I have to disagree, and say that Robbie was by far the best, a great musician and really knew how to interact with the crowd. Anyway, thanks to everyone who made that a holiday we won’t forget in a hurry.
Hello Jennifer B,
I remember, of course, your beautiful daughter and that priceless look she gave me when I sang the In The Night Garden song to her. Thanks so much for taking the time to write to me and for these wonderful words of praise for the great crew of this superb ship. I do hope we will see you all again soon and thanks once again. I send you all my very best wishes.
I want to thank you for the amazing way you took care of my husband and me on our cruise on the Carnival Miracle. I had written to you telling you about Bruce’s motorcycle accident and how it had changed his life and what you did for him on the cruise was something he and I will never forget. Please also thank Jasmina our waitress at table 226 and Novko our cabin steward, for all their help and their smiles which brightened each day. We love Carnival. Thank you, John, for all you do.
I am honoured by those very kind words and I thank my colleagues on the ship who made all the requests I had sent them happen. I will be passing on all your kind words to the senior managers and I know they will make sure the brilliant crew you mentioned see your praise. I hope your husband is doing well and I do hope also that we will see you very soon. Best wishes.
Aaron Horenstein asks:
John, from the Carnival Splendor’s jazz club: so many thanks to the beards for leaving the bar open for us to enjoy our cigars at will—and for having the wonderful Latin band to play for us. This is such an improvement over our 2011 voyage on the Splendor, when the jazz club was closed most evenings for private events, and an officer so rudely screamed at me when I asked her why she was booking private events in the only cigar-friendly bar. CCL has earned back my loyalty.
Hello Aaron Horenstein,
It is interesting that we have two spectrums of the smoking debate here on today’s Q&A. You are referring to the aft bar on deck 5 which is one we do allow smoking in and as a cigar smoker myself, I know how wonderful and, indeed, rare it is these days to find a place to enjoy some long ashes. I am so glad we have your loyalty and hope we see you again soon. Best wishes.
And that’s all for today and many thanks for all your comments.
A lot of you have been asking for an updated version of the cruise director schedule and so I wanted to address a few things about that if I may. We are making changes and certainly the CD schedule is very fluid at the moment with lots of changes and movement happening. This means that I do not want to publish a new schedule until it is all set. And while I will, as planned, be the CD for the Alaska season on the Carnival Miracle there will be lots of other movement.
There are reasons for this and these reasons will be discussed with all my colleagues when we meet for our conference in Miami on March 31 – April 4. We certainly have lots to talk about and for reasons I will explain to you after we have spoken with the CDs, this will be one of the most important conferences we have had in a long time. Big changes ahead that I have no doubt you, the guest, will appreciate very much.
So if you have questions as to who your cruise director will be please let me know and I will do my best to confirm. The schedule will remain the same until March and then some of the changes will start. Obviously while the CD conference is on, there will be a chance for some of our assistant cruise directors to shine and I wonder if you have sailed with any that you would like to see in the big chair?
Anyway, more on the CD’s as the days progress and I still maintain that a great CD can make a great cruise a brilliant one.
Things here at home are getting better…….slowly. Mum is staying strong and she is a
remarkable woman but it must be so challenging and to suddenly go to bed, wake up, eat and spend the day without the man she loved and was married to for 54 years. But, as I said, her strength is extraordinary and with the loving support of the family she will get through this. I am here until the February 8 when I fly to Miami and then on to New Orleans to sail on the Carnival Sunshine to make final plans for the bloggers cruise on February 16.
As I mentioned in my opening waffle about the worries of the Internet I do have concerns about the world she is growing up in. Yes, she will be teased, that’s for sure – that’s just the way all kids are — but I hate bullying in all forms although there needs to be a clear understanding between teasing and bullying. Teasing for instance would be putting some itching powder in Justin Bieber’s underpants minutes before his court appearance in Miami.
Teasing was part of my school life and I am sure it was yours as well, right? Sure, it has its bad sides, of course, nobody likes to think that someone will draw a huge gentleman’s sausage on their children’s schoolbook but there are upsides, if you will, like in my school years where I spent all day with my head in a toilet you I didn’t need to wash my hair that night.
But today’s PC world means we can wave goodbye to the socially important pursuit of teasing. I tease people for being too short. I tease people for using!!!!!!!!!!! at the end of a post. And, in return people tease me for looking like I have a beach ball down my shirt and a tooth that looks like it could be used as a bottle opener.
Teasing can be a good thing – sometimes. It sharpens the mind and punctures the ego. Teasing, at its best, is faster and funnier than a drunk pop star in a yellow Lamborghini. Teasing is what separates us from the animals. You never, for instance, see a zebra laughing their heads off when one of their mates falls over or gets eaten by a lion. Well, I was bullied at school, mercilessly and endlessly for nearly two years. I had a fire extinguisher let off in my face. And I was thrown on a daily basis into the school’s unheated plunge pool.
I was punched, kicked and, at one point, had my hands super glued together. I had to do something to make them stop. So I tried my hardest to make everyone laugh. It’s not easy when you’ve got a mouth full of dog poo, but, eventually, I succeeded and the bullying stopped. There is though a fine line between teasing and bullying. If say, I was to meet Mr. Bluff, strip him naked ……..cover his dangly bits in honey……..and then invite a big group of wasps and hornets over for lunch…………..is that bullying or teasing?