May 30, 2014 -
To start today I want to make a bit of a statement. You see, this week someone wrote to Carnival suggesting I was a dinosaur non-politically correct waste of blood and organs who had no right to be working for an organisation like Carnival Cruise Lines. So with your kind permission, I would like to say something to that regard. To me, political correctness started as a pretty good concept, a great idea that fat blokes like me should not be allowed to talk about or have fun with……..well………anything. But then it took over the world so that when something non-PC was said committees and organisations could hold emergency meetings and decide if a joke or word or a suggestion is worthy of having the author fired and then sued. And here comes the self-serving massive pat on the back for me bit. You see, I have to ask the question — if I am so offensive as was suggested by someone this week, why haven’t I been fired?
Well, obviously I like to think that I am providing a service and that aside from jokes about the French and other nationalities and, indeed, constant self-deprecating humour, I provide a service of information and assistance. Why do I get by far and away the biggest audience in the cruise blog world and why do I have 54,000 readers on Facebook? I like to think that it is because my writing is virtually the only unedited blog written from the heart and not from the corporate playbook there is in the cruise industry. I am a middle-aged, overweight chap and I can’t write in a metrosexual touchy feely way, I just can’t. I am the same on stage as well as anyone who has seen me will tell you. I start each week making fun of myself and, by doing that, show that it’s OK to laugh at yourself and with others. I do cross the line but what scares me is that line is getting narrower every day and soon it will become a non-existent line and, quite frankly, that scares me. So maybe I am a dinosaur but, to the person or persons who think I am bad person, a cruel one even, I really am not. I like to think I have a heart as big as our ships but in this politically correct world we all live in…………. I wonder if that is enough?
Time to move on and get into some questions – away we go;
Linda Navarro asks:
Not a question, just a comment about the Texan who didn’t think the Indian food should be continued. We LOVE the tandoori food bar and are disappointed when they don’t have it on a ship, like the Conquest. We are heading to the Carnival Breeze tomorrow and will be eating tandoor every day! Keep it going!
Hello Linda Navarro
There are many who agree with you and I think a lot of people though are nervous to try it but once they do, they are smitten. The butter chicken is fantastic. So enjoy all that wonderful food and I wish you the very best of times. Best wishes.
Melanie Ottinger asks:
Having read many times your glowing recommendations for Carnival’s pay extra steak house, I decided on my cruise on Carnival Dream to give it a try. Imagine then how disappointed and, honestly, John, how quite angry I was at the total lack of choices for vegetarians. You’re going to tell me that it is a steakhouse so what do I expect? I expect Carnival, like every other steakhouse I have been to in New Jersey, to have more than one choice for the main dish which was some sort of mushroom pie which was tasteless. Maybe when you recommend the steakhouse, you should have the common decency to add that Carnival does not cater to vegetarians because it was the worst $35 I have ever spent!!!!!!!!!!!!
Hello Melanie Ottinger
I am very sorry to read about your disappointment with our much applauded steakhouse on the Carnival Dream. I do realise that, outside of the many side dishes, there is only one main course choice and maybe we should look at adding at least one more. I will bring this to the chef and see what we can do. Please also make sure next time you cruise that you let the steakhouse hostess know the day before that you are going to be eating there so they have time to prepare something that hopefully you will really enjoy. I hope despite this that you had a great cruise and that we see you again soon. Best wishes.
Raimondo Quijada asks:
John, can you tell me why the most popular type of music in the whole world is so poorly represented on your boats – LATIN MUSIC, my friend. My family and I were expecting lots of bands playing this on our cruise on Carnival Victory from MIAMI but there was none. Why, when most of your customers from Miami are Latino? The service was very good but no Latin music meant we were bored after dinner.
Hello Raimondo Quijada
Thanks so much for writing and let me start, if I may, by respectfully stating that, while some of the guests on the ship were from Miami, hundreds of others were not and we do try and cater to all of North America and beyond when it comes to music on the ships. There were, of course, shows and comedy shows each night which I hope you saw because it would be a shame if you missed them. I also see that we have a band playing now on the ship called Mambo Magic. I am not sure if they were there when you were but we have them there now as part of the varied music selection. I do hope you had a great cruise and that we will see you again soon. Best wishes.
Stacie Waters asks:
I am so thankful for the wonderful news you post and your blog. Just wanted to tell you to hold your head high and not worry about the haters, they’re just jealous. Love you and Carnival. Can’t wait to sail again.
Hello Stacie Waters
That is so very kind of you and, as you see from the start of the blog, sometimes I…. well ………… never mind, just a huge thank you to you for your support and if there is ever anything I can do please let me know. Best wishes.
Floyd Conklin asks:
Hi John, we love the Punchliner comedy shows but also love the drink of the same name. Any chance of getting me the recipe? Thanks, John.
Hello Floyd Conklin
I am very glad to read you enjoy laughing out loud at the comedy shows and here is the drink that probably helps just a little. Hope you get to enjoy it one again with us soon. Cheers.
.5 0z. Sky Vodka
.5 OZ Flor de Cana
.5 OZ Bombay Gin
.5 OZ Blue Curaco
1.00 OZ Lemonade
0.75 OZ Monin Lychee Syrup
Splash of club soda
Put everything in a mixing cup – shake well while wearing only underpants and pour in a large glass over ice, garnish with lemon
Mary Szo asks:
John, Our itinerary was changed once due to the fact that the Carnival Miracle was having mechanical problems and could not get up to speed. That was OK with us–but I am angry that I spent $450 for passports for my elderly in-laws and myself, so we could see Canada. Then Carnival cancelled yet another port –so casually– I am sure I am not the only person who purchased passports for this port. Why couldn’t another ship have been substituted? HUGE disappointment at the end of an otherwise wonderful cruise.
I am very sorry this happened but the current and weather did not allow us to call there. Let me ask that you send me this again to firstname.lastname@example.org so that my colleagues can take a look at it. We can’t just replace a ship as obviously this disrupts many more people but as I said, please send this to the address above. Thanks so much. Best wishes to all.
Christopher Geurin asks:
While on our cruise on the beautiful Carnival Breeze, we were panicked to hear the Alpha Code on the sea day at 3pm and knowing what this meant, I rushed from tea time to my cabin where my wife was taking a nap. It was only after my wife made me call guest services emergency line that they told me it was drills and not the real thing. John, may I suggest to you that, in the future, the captain or whoever did the announcement tells the passengers that it’s a drill because I cannot have been the only one who knows that alpha means fire. Thank you for your time.
Hello Christopher Geurin
The simple answer to that is, yes, and it really is something that I think most ships are already doing and they preface the announcement with “for drill purposes only.” I will send a reminder to all concerned because I agree that this is something we should make sure is done. Please allow me to apologise and I hope you had the most wonderful cruise. Best wishes.
Lori Berenger asks:
Why can’t I smoke in my cabin? It’s too far to walk to the Lido for coffee, how do I get it in my room? Call room service That’s too much work. Re-think this please, Carnival, us smokers have rights, too.
Hello Lori Berenger
I am afraid that we will most likely, if not definitely, never return to smoking being allowed in the cabins. Hopefully we will continue to have areas on the ship where smoking is indeed allowed. Thanks for writing Lori, I do hope you had a great time and we see you soon. Best wishes.
Jennifer Anthony asks:
My husband and I are VERY excited to be sailing on the Carnival Sunshine on May 30! We actually both sailed on this ship as teenagers way back in 1998 so we are looking forward to seeing all the updates and changes that have been made to it. Anyway, I happened to notice an article yesterday about this virus called Chikungunya that has been spreading rapidly through the
Caribbean. It is spread through mosquito bites so we plan to use plenty of insect repellant while on our cruise! We were wondering if Carnival was aware of this illness and if the infirmary on the ship has any way of treating it if a passenger comes down with it. I was going to ask you on your Facebook page but didn’t want to cause a ruckus or freak anyone out. This will be our sixth Carnival cruise and thankfully we have never had to visit the infirmary so we are a bit clueless as to what services they provide. Any info you could give us would be greatly appreciated! Thank you!
Hello Jennifer Anthony
I am so glad you are excited about your cruise, I am sure you will have the best of times. We are keenly aware of this mosquito concern – although very few cases have been reported in the Caribbean – and to that effect, we have the following safety message on our Fun Times in some of the Caribbean ports. “To minimize your risk of getting any mosquito borne illness, we suggest you wear long sleeve shirts and full length pants, preferably of a light color, as well as applying insect repellent that contains DEET. If using sunscreen, apply sunscreen first and insect repellent second.” This is also mentioned by the cruise directors at their talks. I hope this helps, so please do not worry and just get ready for a brilliant cruise.
Pam Darby asks:
Hi John, I responded to the survey that Carnival sends, but I also wanted to let you know that we had the best time on our 14th Carnival cruise aboard the Carnival Elation. I wanted to give a shout out to a few of the fabulous team members. Witaya, our room steward on the Upper Deck, was one of the best we’ve had. Victor and Jennifer at guest services were awesome and remembered my name from day one! Ruther, the Lido bartender, was great. Thanks again for the treats and always appreciate what you and the Carnival staff do!!
Hello Pam Darby
And what a great way to finish today’s Q and A. I will be sending this to the ship’s managers so they can pass on your kind words to all concerned. I do hope we see you soon and I am here if you need anything. Best wishes.
That’s all for today, many thanks again to all who comment and post questions and to you all for reading.
This year, the cruise director schedule has been very fluid with changes all over the place. Some CDs have left and or retired and we have the new entertainment director position that will be slowly introduced on some of the ships in the weeks ahead. Normally, I can post the whole CD schedule for months at a time but, because of all that is happening, I have been unable to do so. But as many are asking, “Who will my CD be?” I have sat here this morning, in my underpants and without care or consideration to my anguish and pain caused by the return of my car pool tunnel syndrome, typed out the schedule for June to September. There are a few TBAs and I will fill those gaps soon but, for now, here is what we have:
Fantasy June – August: Pete Linderberg
September: Adam Cornes
Ecstasy June – September: Jaques De Lagne
Sensation June – Wee Jimmy
July – Wee Jimmy until 7/17 then Josh Waitzman
August – September: Josh Waitzman
Fascination June – September: Paul Santley
Imagination June – September: Goose Neumann
Inspiration June – September: Jeff Bronson
Sunshine June – September: Jaime Dee
Elation June – Steve Knisley until 6/14 then Robin Gardener
July – September Robin Gardener
Paradise June – September: Steve Cassel
Ecstasy June – Jen Baxter
July – Jen Baxter until 7/14 then Kirk Benning
August – September: Kirk Benning
Victory June – September: Marcelo Alvarado
Spirit June – Eli Sharplin until 6/15 then Stu Dunn
July – September: Stu Dunn
Pride June – Josh Waitzman
July – Josh Waitzman until 7/13 then George Roberts
August – September: George Roberts
Legend June – Brad Calabrese
July – Brad Calabrese until 7/13 then Eli Sharplin
August – September: Eli Sharplin
Conquest June – July Gary Brierley
August – Gary Brierly until 8/3 then TBA
September – TBA
Glory June – Eversen Bevelle until 6/21 then Craig Johnson
July – Craig Johnson
August – Craig Johnson until 8/16 then Eversen Bevelle
September – Eversen Bevelle
Miracle June – August: John Heald
September- John Heald until September 18 then Troy Linton
Valor June – Craig Johnson until 6/15 then Felipe Couto
July – September Felipe Couto
Liberty June – September: Cory Rogers
Freedom June – August Skip Lyons
September – Skip Lyons until 9/14 then Jen Baxter
Splendor June – Malcolm Burn until 6/25 then Jason Apps
July – Jason Apps
August – Jason Apps until 8/28 then Malcolm Burn
September – Malcolm Burn
Dream June – August: Troy Linton
September – TBA
Magic June – James Dunn
July – James Dunn
August – James Dunn (TBA date) then Hennie Van Heerden
September – Hennie Van Heerden
Breeze June – September: Matt Mitchum
So there you have it. More movement than an elephant with explosive diarrhea, but a schedule of sorts. I see a few comments here and there that say a cruise director makes no difference to their cruise. But I see many more that say a good cruise director can make one heck of a massive difference and that is always wonderful to know. Let me know if you have questions about this and I will have the rest of the year for you in the weeks ahead.
It has been a strange few days in the world of social media. Comments about my mother, a vile attack from someone stating that Carnival Dream’s captain and crew were wrong to rescue Cuban refugees who were adrift at sea for days. Yep, there are times when I wonder why I bother but they are few and far between and I am proud, bloody proud to be Carnival’s brand ambassador and until Gerry Cahill replaces me with a more metrosexual politically correct version…….I will continue to be just that, bloody proud!