August 19, 2014 -
For those who stumbled across my blog by accident while surfing Uncle Google for “I Love Big Fat British Guys Who Blog in a Pair of XXXL Underpants”………..I had better explain the title of today’s musings.
The blog title of “John Is a Sexist Pig” refers to a lady who called me this because I moved my head six inches to the right when a stunningly jaw-droopingly gorgeous Amazonian lady walked past me during the Captain’s Celebration. Another lady, who I shall refer to simply as Ms. X, saw me glance at this lady and hopped of her bar stool to tell me how unprofessional and what a disgusting human being I was. This went on all cruise and, by the time it was over, I am sure if Ms. X had been given the chance she would have gladly cut off my gentleman’s sausage, put it in a shot glass and taken it home her with her to display to her friends at their weekly “Men Are Bastards” meeting.
To be honest what with green graduation caps, fog horns, smoking, scooters, national anthems and the silly life of being a cruise director/brand ambassador, I had sort of forgotten about my label as a Sexist Pig until two days ago when I got an e-mail from a senior beard. Attached to this was a letter Ms. X had written to Carnival that basically fabricated to the nth degree what I had done. Honestly, I had turned my head six inches and maybe, just maybe, I had smiled, that was all. But in her letter, Ms. X basically suggested that I made “lurid facial expressions” and laughingly said that I “licked my lips in a sexual way.” Oh FFS!
More on her letter to Carnival at the end of today’s blog because she was not content with just me being sexist……………oh, no, she had much more to say.
Let’s take a break and answer some more questions. Off we go.
Nick Webster asks:
John: On my last two cruises (Carnival Magic – Dec 15, Carnival Conquest – July 6) there has not been a volleyball competition! I am a competitive volleyball player, and I played at the collegiate level when I was in college. This has always been one of my most favorite things about cruising. I enjoy meeting others who play volleyball and winning a gold medal! I have booked another cruise for November 16 on Carnival Magic, and I was wondering if there was any way that you could put in a request for a volleyball tournament/competition. It would be greatly appreciated! Thanks.
Hello Nick Webster
Congratulations on all your success, it sounds like you are a superb player. Normally we do not have tournaments but like to keep it fun with groups playing as they wish. But I see nothing wrong with asking the ship to organise a tournament when you sail. Please would you remind me two days before you sail with your cabin number on my facebook.com/johnheald page and I will see what we can do. Have a brilliant time. Best wishes.
Bob Evans asks:
All this crap you are writing about cruise directors. What’s a cruise director to me? That annoying voice in the air about $10 watches and beauty seaweed wraps? You ALL recite the same script – if you cruise different ships, you will hear the same exact announcements, just with different accents and phrasing. After a few cruises, one can anticipate what they will say, and how they will try to get you to the next “can’t miss” hoodah. It’s all an approved selling schpiel, that’s all folks! Go on other cruise lines, and most have their CD’s working in the background, without the annoying announcements every two hours. In fact, on some lines, you may hear just one announcement daily, and it isn’t about getting to that oh so important, if you miss this your cruise is ruined, inch of gold sale. You all suck. Learn from NCL and Royal.
Hello Bob Evans
Thanks for taking the time to express your opinions here. I admit that part of the cruise directors’ job is to let our guests know about what’s going on during the cruise and that does include shopping to a certain degree. Using the public address system is not easy and there are some who are better at this than others, for sure. But there is far more to what the cruise directors do then telling guests about what is happening and, for many, a great cruise director can make a great cruise even better. I realise you are not one of those and so I hope you enjoy all the other aspects of Carnival cruising and that one day I get a chance to shake your hand and entertain you on one of our ships. Best wishes.
Anne Camden asks:
Hi John: I just became aware that early in July, Carnival started serving Cigar City Brewing beers on some cruises out of Florida. I hope this new addition to the beer menu is well received and that the beards will consider doing something similar for cruises departing out of Galveston. I understand that there are several points to take into consideration when taking on a new supplier, not the least of which is can they produce enough of their outstanding products to sate thirsty cruisers (I would hate for a Carnival bartender to get yelled at because they ran out of Karbach’s excellent Love Street Summer Seasonal Kolsch-style Ale). But Texas is blessed with more than a few excellent craft breweries (St. Arnolds, Real Ale, Karbach) that I think might be able to meet the demand. If this is the case, then maybe you can use a couple of your FB quick-fire questions to ask: Would you like to see more “craft” beer options (yes or no)? If you regularly cruise out of Galveston, please reply with ONE suggested craft brewery whose beer you’d like to see on board (first response only will be counted). For the record there are also several Texas wineries (Bending Branch, Becker, Grape Creek) and even distilleries (Garrison Brothers, Titos, Balcones) that might also be considered as “suppliers.” Thanks for your consideration!
Hello Anne Camden
Yes indeed, these beers have been an instant hit on the ships that are now serving them and our Vice President of Beverage Operations Eddie Allen is very proactive and I am sure he will appreciate this suggestion when I send it to him. We have come a long way with the beverage selection we serve across the fleet and have been introducing craft beers in certain markets like Abita in New Orleans and Alaska Ale on our Alaska sailings. Let’s see what happens next. I will, of course, keep you informed. Best wishes.
Frank and Justine Carey ask:
DH and I are considering the Carnival Triumph and Panama Canal cruise. We are both VIP platinum card holders. When the ship goes through the Canal is there a reserved viewing area for VIPs like me and DH. We are nearly at diamond. Just sayin’.
Hello Frank and Justine Carey
Thanks so very much for your loyalty and I hope you get to book this brilliant voyage. I am afraid we don’t have a viewing section just for diamond and platinum VIFPs but I am sure you will be able to find a place on the ship to view this amazing transit. Please let me know if you have any questions and I hope you do get to enjoy this brilliant voyage. Best wishes.
Steve Krafthefer asks:
Hello John! My wife and I are Platinum guests and love cruising with Carnival. The drawback we have is that to do this, we must fly from Portland, Oregon, to either Miami or Ft.
Lauderdale. The excitement of flying, for me, is LONG gone. It’s the worst part of a cruise vacation. Ah, I hear you saying it now….”Why not try a Mexican cruise?” Well, we did. And brought a number of friends with us. We stopped in Acapulco, Zheuwanteneno (sp), Mazatlan
and Puerto Vallarta (I think). Anyway, because of all the trouble in Mexico, the only stops now seem to be Puerto Vallarta and Cabo San Lucas. I love both, but that’s not enough to get me on a Mexican cruise. Enough blah, blah, blah on my part. Question: Is there any discussion higher up in the Carnival food chain of re-adding more ports soon or is it still considered unsafe? This won’t stop us from coming back to Florida for a great cruise, just not nearly as often. Since we’re now simply at the mercy of the airlines to offer fares we can afford. As always, John, thank you and your staff for all your hard work in making our cruise so great!
Hello Steve Krafthefer
I appreciate those kind words very much and appreciate your loyalty, too, especially with the distances you have to fly. I hate flying too so I know exactly what you mean. We did just announce that the ship I am writing to you from, the Carnival Miracle, is returning to Long Beach next spring after her upgrades to sail on a weekly basis to Cabo, Puerto Vallarta and Mazatlán, a port we have missed going to, for sure. I hope we do see you soon and if there is anything I can do for you, please do let me know. Best wishes.
Ruth Gould asks:
Hello John: We will be sailing the week of my son’s 15th birthday. I am wondering if the teen club allows birthday celebrations. I think he would enjoy a celebration with his peers more than a cake delivered to our table during dinner. Please let me know if I might be allowed to surprise him.
Hello Ruth Gould
Thank you for sailing with us during this special time. We don’t have birthday parties in Club O2, I am afraid, so it would be better to think about arranging a cake at dinner, have the waiters sing happy birthday, etc. Please let me know if I can help any other way and I will be here for you. I wish you all a brilliant time. Best wishes.
Eddie Kirkpatrick Jr asks:
Thanks to you, John, my entire family now calls me farmer Eddie after my Old MacDonald Had a Farm singing at your marriage show on the Carnival Miracle. What a blast we had with you and all the hype we had read was right on because you are the funniest person we have ever seen. John, please would you tell Suki, our waiter, that we miss him. He was perfect in every way and me, my wife and both sets of parents all agree that Suki deserves a raise, so please let him and the people in charge know this. We all had such fun and what a way to start our married lives together. Thank you, John, Suki and all the crew people on Miracle
Farmer Freddie LOL
Hello Eddie Kirkpatrick Jr
I remember your performance well and as I said on stage, that will forever be your love song, your special song. It was so much fun to share the stage with you and I will also make sure that Suki and his managers get to see your kind words about him. I wish you and your wife oth a brilliant and happy life together and hope to see you all soon. Best wishes to all.
Kristy Klaus asks:
We recently cruised on Carnival Sunshine. Besides some hiccups in the dining room, it was a great cruise. We were surprised to find our cabins did not have refrigerators. Is Carnival planning to remove the fridges from other ships’ cabins and/or eliminate them on the new ships?
Hello Kristy Klaus
I hope you had a great time and I am sorry to read you had some challenges in the dining room, I do hope they were quickly resolved. The refrigerators were not added during Carnival Sunshine’s conversation from Carnival Destiny and are only available on the new cabins that were added to the ship. We are not removing any and many of the ships have mini-bars in all the cabins. Let me know if you have any more questions or if you need anything. Best wishes.
Samuel Cerezo asks:
I bought a Bella Perina bracelet from the shop on the Carnival Elation and the clasp broke. I called my travel agent who told me to write on this page to get you to fix it. How do I get you to do this and where do I send you the bracelet? Here is the photo. Maybe best you send me a new one but make sure it is the same as the photo is. Get back to me at __________
Hello Samuel Cerezo
Thanks for writing to me and I am sorry to learn that your bracelet is broken. I am not able to fix this myself but please do not worry. Here is the address;
Starboard Cruise Services, Inc.
Attn: Customer Service Dept.
9290 NW 112 Avenue, Suite 1
Miami, Fl. 33178
Customer Service Center hours of operation: Monday – Friday 9 am – 12 pm/1 pm – 4 pm
Toll Free Phone: 1-800-540-4785 or Outside U.S. Non-Toll Free: 1-305-728-4520
Please let me know if I can help further.
Kathryn Chase asks:
Twenty-one percent of Americans have celiac disease but on my last cruise, Carnival seemed oblivious to that fact. Your choices were sparse. I am on my eighth Carnival trip on the Carnival Magic July 10 so I need to ask you for something important. I would like the chef to make me these recipes for dinner meals. I am a paying customer one I feel I have the right to ask for. Celiac disease is a disease — not a lifestyle choice like obesity, John. Americans are learning the dangers of excess food processing, excess sugar and refined carbohydrates, and we’re trying to find a way to get back to healthy eating. Please let the chef have these recipes so I can eat well!
Hello Kathryn Chase
I did not realise so many people were suffering from this and, certainly, we realise that many do and have really stepped up our selections and offerings. While I won’t be able to ask the chef to cook the four recipes you attached to this post, I will tell you that I think you will find a great selection and, most importantly, if there is something that you would like, please do ask your waiter and he or she will chat with the chef and help you all they can. Given that there are upwards of 4,000 other people on board, we cannot, of course, start accepting individual recipe requests from guests, I am sure you understand. I wish you a wonderful cruise and let me know if you have any other questions or requests. Best wishes.
And on that gluten-free note, we end today’s Q&A.
OK, time to meet another bright young cruise director talent and his name is Kevin Donahue, here he is.
What’s your name and where are you from? Kevin Donohue from Long Island, New York
Tell us about your work experience and your journey with Carnival Cruise Lines so far?
I’ve enjoyed a career at sea for five years. I found my home with Carnival Cruise Lines in 2013 and it has been the most rewarding decision I have ever made. I started in the entertainment department and my journey has taken me to the cruise director you see now. Over the past one and a half years, I definitely feel like I am home and I love my new Carnival family.
How do you feel you, as cruise director, can influence the guest experience in a positive way? I think just making guests smile and taking the time to get to know them is the most positive thing anyone can do. I want every guest to step on a ship and feel as though they are being welcomed into our home, not our place of employment. Just doing little things like that can make a guest’s experience 100 times more memorable.
What’s your favourite part of your job? I meet people from all over the world. I would’ve never had the chance to experience all the different cultures out there living in my little bubble on Long Island. I love my life at sea.
What do you find the biggest challenge? If I am being honest, my announcements over the PA. You put me on the stage with 2,000+ guests in front of me and I am going to have the time of my life. However, the second I hear that “bing bong” and have to start talking over the PA it’s almost like I am in kindergarten all over again. It’s quite funny because I make a joke out of it and make everyone laugh, including me
If there is one event, show or activity that you host that our guests must not miss, what is it? Hands down — THE CARNIVAL QUEST. I love that it gives all the adults a chance to let loose.
Please share with us your favourite story from your time on our ships? I had the pleasure of working a K-LOVE charter. I wasn’t really familiar with any of the music beforehand. After the first show of the cruise, I was hooked and could not get enough of all the different artists performing. That cruise could’ve gone on for weeks and I would’ve never gotten tired of it.
And now – about you
Favourite Movie? Pretty Woman – only because I’m a momma’s boy and it’s the movie we will watch together every time it is on no matter what.
Favourite bar or lounge on one of our ships? I love watching our production cast work their magic on the main stage. So I would have to say the main show lounge.
How do you relax? I love to curl up in a nice big blanket and watch some Big Bang Theory
And if you could meet any famous person in the world, who would it be? Ellen DeGeneres all the way. I don’t think I would be able to stop laughing
Thanks mate. Kevin is a newcomer to Carnival but this New York lad is making a big splash judging by the comments I am hearing so start spreading the news, Kevin is here and ready to give you loads of fun
OK, back to Ms. X. In her four-page letter, of which three pages suggested various reasons I should be tarred and feathered before being sent to a Turkish prison, the other page was basically saying that Carnival were a sexist company because, “We have no female captains” and that she did not see any female officers on the Carnival Miracle and therefore “Carnival is a sexist company.”
Well, much has changed at Carnival in my 27 years at sea and there are now many more women in positions of authority than when I started by in 1987 that’s for sure. Granted there are no female captains but we have female hotel directors, bridge officers, housekeeping managers, maitre d’s, bar managers, a chief security officer, and guest services managers, just to name a few.
Now, off the ships over at Carnival HQ there are many women in leadership positions, as well. The sales department is run by a highly experienced sales professional, Executive Vice President Lynn Torrent. Then you have assorted vice presidents including those in charge of guest care, public relations and other important areas. And one of our top executives is a man Monday to Friday but on weekends, he puts on a dress and make up and calls himself Lilly……so that counts as well, doesn’t it?
I know many of the other cruise lines have top female executives. And this is good news because women have and continue to contribute much to the industry we all love. Plus it doesn’t hurt that one or two are really hot! ……… sorry ….. that was sexist. I understand that another cruise line does have a female captain and that’s great to hear and I wonder if she will break the obvious male-dominated role and we will see more captains in skirts. Maybe one day we will have a female captain here at Carnival… maybe on the M/S Carnival Vista. It may take her a while longer to dock the ship, the bridge may have some scented candles on it and definitely once a month the boson is going to have to paint a “P” in front of MS.
That wasn’t sexist……………was it?