February 14, 2014 -
The Winter Olympics are well under way and it has been the ice hockey that has been the most watched on the Carnival Sunshine’s Lido Seaside Theater big screen. Interestingly, it has been the Canadian guests who seem to be the most patriotic. There are not many of them here, only 181 out of over 3,000 guests but those 181 are all wearing the maple leaf shirts and are extremely patriotic, it seems.
I guess it shows that hockey is as loved in Canada as basketball is in America, cricket is in England, rugby is in Australia, soccer is in Italy and running ……away……… is in France. I have never quite understood hockey and I admit to never actually sitting through an entire match. Let me see if I have this right. It appears to be a game between two teams attempting to score goals by driving a tin of tuna into the opposition’s goal with the use of curved sticks, shoes with knives on them and protective padding. Then why is it the games I have seen involve a bunch of huge men called Wayne and Pierre punching the crap out of each other while the crowd waits for a hockey match to break out?
Seriously…….can someone, preferably a Canadian……explain to me why fights are allowed to continue? Are the referees scared? Is betting done in the stadium to see whose nose will get broken first? Or is it just a Canadian pastime like lumber-jacking and eating Tim Horton’s doughnuts? Please explain. Oh and why is the goalie dressed like a bomb disposal expert?
Time for today’s Q and A – off we go.
Jackie Lilico asks:
We are just off the Carnival Legend where there were a group of deaf passengers who had reserved seats at every show. I understand why Carnival has to do this but they had two interpreters standing right in front of the stage so many of us could not see. They did not just do the sign language but danced and did wild movements which were very off putting and I left the show on two occasions and I saw many other passengers leaving as well. Carnival should have done a private show for them so not to spoil it for others.
Hello Jackie Lilico,
I do hope you had a wonderful time on the ship despite the concerns you mentioned. I have cruised many times with hearing impaired guests and have seen the sign language interpreters not only sign the words of the shows but add the emotions as well and, I must say, I found it fascinating. What they do really does help enhance the silent world these guests live in. Once again I do hope you had a great time and I do hope we see you again soon. Best wishes.
Paul Bradley asks:
Yes, we were on the Carnival Sunshine 12/15/13 to 12/22/13. We took part in the ugly sweater contest. We won two parts out of four and they only gave us a medal and I was really wanting a ship on a stick they said they were out of them so if you send me two, it would be great. It was our 15th cruise with Carnival and our next cruise is 4/3/14 on Carnival Triumph. We love Carnival. Thanks
Hello Paul Bradley,
Congratulations on winning the contest and I apologise that they had run out of trophies. Please can I ask that you remind me about your next cruise two days before on Facebook at facebook.com/johnheald and include your cabin number and I will make sure I send you one? Thanks so much and I wish you a brilliant cruise and also hope to see that sweater one day.
Damaris N asks:
Is Carnival Splendor being moved from NY? I saw a comment from a lady that said that Carnival is pulling out of NY. Also while searching for 2015 cruises, I saw that the Carnival Splendor will be leaving from Miami. I truly hope that the Carnival Splendor is staying in NY. Help?
Hello Damaris N,
We are continuing to sail from NYC on a seasonal basis. We are bringing the ship to South Florida for the winter season. Our guests really enjoy sailing out of New York and we will continue to do so with our summer schedule from there. Please let me know if you have any other questions. Best wishes.
Jeffrey Reese asks:
I have spoken to you several times on your Facebook page. You may recognize the name. I am approximately your age (within a year) and I have lost both parents so I know what you are going through. I lost my father 10 years ago and my mother two years ago. But what I am here to tell you is that you helped me through a very difficult time. As I mentioned, I lost my mother two years ago but a few months after her passing, I was forced to medically retire from a job I had done for 15 years due to medical issues that I incurred while in the military. I have worked since I was 10 years old so all I have ever known was work. Now to my point A few months before my mother’s passing I found your blog and your Facebook page and became a semi-regular reader. As my mother’s Illness got worse and my own issues increased, I found myself reading your blog and Facebook page more often to lift my spirits with your wit and news of things to come with Carnival. With my mother’s passing, I began to speak from time to time on your Facebook page and found that there was alot of others that loved to cruise as much as I did and you would ask for opinions on things from time to time and I started to participate in those. Then a few months later, I was forced to retire from a job that left me at home with little to do so I spent alot of time on the computer and began to make suggestions to you, some good, some not so good but you would make your gracious responses and make me feel like I had made a contribution. I have sailed four times in the last two years and you have helped me through the rough time I had in 2011. For that, I thank you with all my heart. I just wish I could do for you what you have done for me in your time of need. But at this point, John, all I can say is keep your chin up. You have alot of people here to support you. Cheers, John, and don’t forget to take time to remember the good times and keep them close to your heart and have them available and close at hand for the tough times. Again thank you for all you have done to make us all feel important!! Your fan and friend.
Hello Jeff Reese,
I, of course, always enjoy speaking to you on Facebook and I wanted to say a huge thank you for these wonderful words of kindness. I know you understand the hurt and pain of losing a parent and indeed I send my deepest condolences to you as well. It is one day at a time and, as I sit here on the Carnival Sunshine, I worry so much about Mum who, after 54 years with Dad, is having to adjust to her new life. Thank you again for thinking of me and I hope to thank you one day in person. Best wishes.
Paul Cole asks:
I want to report a disturbing issue that happened to me on our Carnival Valor cruise. We brought our own bottle of wine to the steakhouse and were charged a $10 fee to have them open it. There were five of us who paid $35 each person but that was not good enough because they refused to take off the charge from our check. This left a very bad impression on us all.
Hello Paul Cole,
I am very sorry that this has upset you but this is indeed a company policy that we do charge a $10 corkage fee to open and serve the wine that guests bring in with them which is standard throughout the cruise industry and most land-based restaurants, as well. I do hope that, this aside, you had a wonderful experience in the steakhouse, a wonderful cruise and that we see you again very soon. Best wishes.
Kimberly Thomsen asks:
I enjoy reading your posts and my family has a wonderful time when we cruise on Carnival ships. I do have one suggestion if you can please pass this along to the appropriate person/dept: On the booking website, can there please be an option to search for connecting cabins? I know you have the option to indicate you want two staterooms but the results don’t return just connecting staterooms. Thank you!
Hello Kimberley Thompson,
I have to admit that I did not know that this was not an option and it would indeed make sense I think to add this. I have sent this to the right people so they can see this. Thanks for the kind words and I will be here if you need anything. Best wishes.
Marc Wareing asks:
Hi John, we had a brilliant time with you in Europe on the Carnival Breeze (July 9, 2012). It was our second cruise so we are still quite new to the whole experience but you made it very memorable. My question is regarding our next two cruises. We have booked the Carnival Sunshine from Port Canaveral, April 19 and April 27. On the internet I seem to find lots of conflicting reports, you have to get off in between cruises and go to the back of the queue, you have to go off but get taken to the front just to sign back in and others say you don’t have to get off at all? Can you give me any guidance on the best thing to do regarding this? Also, can we find out who the cruise director is? Do you move around ships for set periods of times or do you just stay on the same ship? I get the feeling you aren’t assigned to a ship?
Hello Marc Wareing,
I am very glad to hear that you had such a wonderful time with us in Europe and I am very happy to see you are sailing with us again soon. The cruise director will be the wonderful Jaime Dee who will be there to make sure you have lots of fun. And while you do need to get off the ship between cruises, you simply pass through US Immigration, take a photo for your new Sail & Sign card and then come back on board, you do not need to go through the check in process again. I do hope you have fun and if you need anything, please let me know. Best wishes.
Landon Groves asks:
You should check out the facts before resorting to juvenile humor Heald. Veganism may have been just a fad many years ago but studies by Harvard professors show that by 2020, one in five Americans will become vegan. If Carnival continues to treat veganism as a fad, don’t take it seriously and don’t do any planning or research into it you will no doubt be stopping thousands of passengers from choosing your cruise line Heald. Carnival’s poor attempt highlights everything that’s wrong with the way society as a collective now lives. I’ve been a vegetarian for years and when I truly learned about the inherent cruelty in the dairy industry and the egg industry I went vegan overnight. I forget the specific statistic but you save more sentient life by quitting milk and eggs than by stopping eating beef, pork, lamb and other meats. We simply don’t need these products either – which is what makes it all the worse. My last cruise on the Carnival Freedom I was hungry thanks to the biased lack of choice and availability. I am sure that this must seem a bunch of baloney to someone like you and someone of your “size” but if you are a representative ambassador of Carnival, then you need to know that we are a growing group and will soon represent a large proportion of your customer base. Ignore us at your peril.
Hello Landon Groves,
Thank you for writing such a spirited post and I can see how passionate you are about being a vegan. You mentioned that “someone like you and of your size” may not understand you and indeed I must admit that being vegan is something I personally cannot ever imagine becoming, I guess. I doubt if the human body has evolved so much that mother nature’s master plan is now obsolete. But that’s just me. What I will say is that Carnival is well aware that we carry vegan guests and we will continue to work hard to provide as much variety as we can for all guests and if you have any specific things you would like to see added, please let me know. Best wishes.
Just wanted to let you know how much I enjoy reading your posts on the CCPPF FB page. We will be cruising on the Carnival Conquest this coming August. I’m getting a bit nervous about all the negative reviews I’ve been reading on the Carnival Conquest. We were really looking forward to our trip but getting a bit nervous when I see such poor reviews. Any chance there will be some changes made to the ship/shows/food prior to August? Thank you again for your wonderful posts!
Thanks so much for writing. Carnival Conquest is currently sitting at number four in the fleet as per the scores those guests who receive our online review cards have given. I can assure you that for every one negative, there are many, many more positive reviews and it’s important to remember that. She is a wonderful ship with a great crew and I have no doubts that you will have a wonderful time. Please let me know if you need anything and have a great time. Best wishes
Marc Barre asks:
Can I ask that you secure a VIP table for two where all the action is for our cruise upcoming on the Carnival Dream 3/1 cabin 2391. We are platinum!!
Hello Marc Barre,
I have written to the maître d and have asked him to assist with your request and I know he will do his very best for you. I wish you a great cruise together and thanks so much for your loyalty. Best wishes.
That’s all we have for today and thanks to everyone for their comments and questions.
So I think everything is pretty much set for the Bloggers Cruise and I wanted to share with you some of the activities that will complement the regular shows, etc. here on Carnival Sunshine.
So there you go. As you will see, I am hosting The Chef’s Table, steakhouse and Ji Ji meals and hopefully thanks to the support of the guests we can beat the $8,000 we raised last year. The idea is to give them as much access to me as possible and, of course, to have loads of fun doing so. The tea times have become a big event and I serve the cakes and sandwiches and creamy treats to the guests and much laughter is shared. As you can see we have a special slot tournament with a balcony cabin on a seven- or eight-day cruise as the first prize.
I have the brilliant Gronway Thom flying in from the UK especially for these bloggers. Some of you may have seen him on the Carnival Legend during our European season and he really is a hilarious and brilliantly talented performer and I am sure the bloggers will enjoy this exclusive show.
The bloggers will all receive a special VIB lanyard and, at the end of the cruise, they will receive their bloggers T-shirt, as well. Plus there will be a special gift delivered to the cabins which I hope they all enjoy. Just a reminder that we don’t charge a premium for these gifts or the complimentary drinks and other extras. All you have do is register and enjoy all the fun. The biggest challenge I have is making sure I spend as much time as possible with the 688 guests and, exhausting though it may be, it is a challenge that I look forward to each time we do this.
I will have daily videos for you so you can see what has been happening and I will also be announcing when and where BC8 will be. It has been great to be on a ship again and I have been so busy that I have not had time to think about Dad and how much I miss him. Of course simply typing those words turns my eyes into Niagara Falls but there is no doubt that keeping busy has helped……….a lot.
Butch is, as always, doing a great job as CD but there have been times when I wanted to wrench the microphone out of his hand and do the shows myself. He has, in fact, been gracious enough to allow me to host my marriage show tomorrow for all the guests. I have not done a show for some months so this will be a great chance to get back on the horse again and see if I can still make a few people giggle. Before long, I will be back on stage full time as I journey with the Carnival Miracle to Alaska, something I am looking forward to very much indeed.
On Wednesday, the Carnival Sunshine was in Montego Bay and I met an old friend who came to visit me on the ship. He reads this page and indeed my Facebook page. His name is Khem and he was an assistant food manager when I worked in the bar department as the worst bar waiter Carnival has ever had.
He was a quiet, unassuming man who just did his job and went to bed….you would hardly have known he was there. Then, he left and I didn’t see him for many years. When I did, it was through my Facebook page and I discovered that he was now a pilot for Jamaica Air. The reason he always went straight to his cabin was to study…….to be a pilot…….and now he was a captain flying people from Jamaica around the world…………brilliant!
Talking of changes of job, there is Captain Gaetano Gigliotti who was the first captain of the Carnival Miracle and is now working in our corporate offices for Carnival. Before becoming a deck officer and eventually captain he was…………guess what……a wine steward on the Mardi Gras and Festivale…………what a great story.
And finally we have Mark Felix, ex-Carnival bartender originally from Grenada. He joined CCL in 1987 at the age of 18 and now one of the world’s strongest men. Here he is in competition
I am sure there are other Carnival crew who I have forgotten and who have gone on to do great things and I will see if over time I can remember some more and share their stories with you.
The hockey games will be on the big screen this coming cruise and, if the final is between Canada and America, that will be fantastic. My friend and assistant Calvyn said something to me tonight. He said that he wanted to go to the Winter Olympics and take part. I asked him what he wanted to do and his answer was ………”I want to wave a rainbow flag in front of Putin dressed liked one of the Village People”………………..brilliant.