No Need for Speed

August 26, 2014 -

John Heald

Stupid, stupid me. Yesterday, after singing “Let it Sodding Go” to Kye for her bedtime song, I asked my wife, Heidi, in a terrible moment of weakness I asked her if she wanted anything brought back from Seattle because I would be getting off the ship to get some essentials – some hemorrhoid gel and cigars. As soon as I said those new words, I knew I was in the s**t. And it was because she wanted me to shop at a place that we don’t have in England even though the advertising states it’s a British store….. yep……I’m talking about Victoria’s Secret, which is about as British as July 4th and grits. Now, whatever my wife wants she will get because I love her ……..except for one thing and that one thing is underwear.

It may embarrass Heidi to find me saying so here, but nowhere near as much as it embarrasses me to buy the stuff. But because I was stupid and because I do as I am told, should I ever want to see her wearing that underwear, this past Tuesday, I spent some 15 massively awkward minutes in a bloody shopping mall in Seattle rummaging around in Victoria’s knickers. For men, shopping alone for women’s underwear is enough to have beads of sweat running down your back and down to who knows where. Every moment, you feel convinced that female shoppers, not to mention security guards, are peering at you in suspicion and disgust. So you look at the lingerie while at the same time trying to look as if you’re not looking. There are so many types. Strings, thongs, ropes……arrrrghhhhh. I had been told to get a particular type and colour but I sure as hell couldn’t find them and that made me even more self-conscious. So much so that I found myself stroking my cheek with my left hand, in the hope that fellow shoppers would see my wedding ring and realise I was in fact buying the red pair of frilly knickers for my wife…… and not for myself. In the end, I gave up and today, my last time in Seattle before going home, my assistant Dee will go for me. When I asked, she jumped at the chance as she loves to shop. Shame she didn’t show as much enthusiasm when I asked to apply my hemorrhoid gel.

Time for today’s Q and A…………….off we go.

Kelly Lawrence asks:
John: With the rising popularity of personal drones and remote controlled helicopters and such,
what is Carnival’s policy regarding bringing these on board the ship, flying them over and around the ship? And as a follow-up, how are these issues addressed in ports of call? These questions are starting to be asked more often on certain cruise forums.

John says:
Hello Kelly Lawrence

Good question and you’re right, they are very popular. We do already have rules where these may not be brought on board for obvious safety reasons. It would be fun, though, to fly one over Lido Deck. Thanks for asking the question and please let me know if you have any others. Best wishes.

John

Ryan Arnado asks:
Just off Carnival Breeze, during it we had a death on the ship of a passenger that happened in public view. There was no announcement as to the passenger’s name or what happened. We were all left in the dark. Not good practices IMHO.

John says:
Hello Ryan Arnado

I am sure you will join me in sending our sincerest condolences to the family of the deceased. We never announce what happened in situations like this or release the name as these things are both extremely private. I am sure you understand. I hope you had a great time. Best wishes.

John

Simon M asks:
Pointing out to your Kool Aid nation fans that Heald has 60,800 likes on Facebook. This represents a tiny worthless percentage of the millions that Carnival has on their ships each year. Other cruise sites like Cruise Critic give a fairer, more balanced opinion plus have millions of members. You would all do well to remember that. Remember how you promised us a brilliant loyalty program two years ago and look at what a pack of lies that turned out to be!!!!!!!

John says:
Hello Simon M

Thank you for taking the time to write. I am well aware that the 62,000 likes I have on my Facebook page is small compared to Carnival’s Facebook fan page that has well over 2 million likes. Meanwhile I will keep doing my best to help as many people as I can and provide them with a balance of information, discussion and fun. Please let me know if there is ever anything I can do for you.

Best wishes.

John

Penny Brown asks:
I just entered a contest on a page calling itself “the official Carnival page” but it was not Carnival Cruise Lines, it was just Carnival Cruises. I was wondering if this is legit or a scam? The contest was for a cruise for five and $2,500 spending money. The wording just didn’t sound just right.

John says:
Hello Penny Brown

I am afraid that this is a fake page and we have reported it as so to Facebook officials. Thanks for bringing it to my attention and I am here if you have any other questions or concerns. Best wishes.

John

Suzie Littman asks:
Are you aware of the video game selection in the games room on Carnival Pride? They all do nothing but glorify death and destruction and I would be surprised if I am the only parent who will lobby Carnival cruises to ban these horrid vile games! Violence and death are trivialized in these games and Carnival is anaesthetizing our children to death by having them available.

John says:
Hello Suzie Littman

Have you played Angry Birds? OK, sorry about that, just thought a bit of humour might help lighten what is, of course, a very serious question. The fact is that these shooting-style games are the most popular, it is what kids, teens and adults play at home and so that’s what we have on our ships. Obviously, the choice as a parent is yours whether your children are allowed to play these games but as I said, they are popular for sure. I am sorry that this has upset you, I really am and hopefully you and your family will join us again soon. Best wishes.

John

Anita Hickey asks:
Hi John: My family (husband and two daughters), along with my sister-in-law and her family will be cruising on Carnival Freedom in Jan. 2015.  This cruise is what my eldest daughter chose as her grad gift, and my husband and I are very excited to be able to share our love of cruising and Carnival with her and her sister. Right now we are in the planning stages, and I am unable to find any information on the Carnival Live concert series. So, I guess my question is two-fold. One, will it continue into the new year, and two when will a schedule be posted? Any information you can provide would be greatly appreciated.

Sincerely,

Anita Hickey

John says:
Hello Anita Hickey

I am sure you are looking forward to this wonderful family time together. Carnival LIVE has proven a huge number one hit and so while I do not have a date just yet for its release I can say that we expect to announce phase 2 over the next several weeks. I will let you know as soon as I can and until then as the planning stage for your cruise continues. Please let me know if you need anything. Best wishes.

John

LeAnne asks:
Hello John. I am cruising with my family on Carnival Breeze, October 5-11, and would like to decorate my parents’ cabin. We will be celebrating my mother’s retirement. I looked on the Carnival website, but they do not have “Happy Retirement” decorations. Do you know if they are available, or should I bring my own from home and enlist my dad’s help to get into their cabin to surprise my mom? Any help or suggestions are greatly appreciated. Thank you and God Bless.

John says:
Hello LeAnne

We don’t have these — we should but we do not, I am afraid. Please bring your own and on October 4, please would you send me her cabin number to my facebook.com/johnheald page and I will see what we can do to make her smile. I wish her a wonderful retirement and wish you all a brilliant cruise. Best wishes.

John

James Eager asks:
John: Both dive operations that specify a weight limit for scuba diving on your website will accommodate me because I have my own dive gear, and only need tanks and weights from them.  The power of the Internet, and some good guessing on my part, allowed me to contact the two dive operations directly, where Carnival never responded to the question (You personally promised to get someone to find out for me, John, and that was months ago.)  Anyway, both dive operations will accommodate me at slightly more than the max weight (370 with a limit of 350) because I have my own dive suit(s) and BCD, so they do not have to fit me.  Now I can proceed to planning which trip to take next, with no restrictions getting in my way.  If you decide to go with my idea on mail order shirts, then I ask that you get me the address for such mail order.  You can have the idea, I’m not claiming royalties, but it certainly feels like a win for Carnival and your customers, and even a way for Carnival to make a few extra dollars.

John says:
Hello James Eager

I am so sorry; I had passed this over to the shore excursion team in Miami and had expected them to reply to you. Please allow me to apologise and to thank you for your research. I will be passing this to the team and ask them to see what they think but as I know our operators are very strict about the weight, in this case I would go ahead and dive with this operator so you know all is set. Please make sure you send me your cabin number over on Facebook the day before you sail, and have a great dive and a fun cruise. Best wishes.

John

Doug asks:
Hi John: I’m looking forward to my first Carnival cruise on Carnival Glory on Sept 6.  I’m all set for the steakhouse and have my activities reserved. Out of curiosity, do you know what comedians will be on board? How about the cruise director? Any info about the piano bar would be appreciated too.  I’m excited about the cruise and my work colleagues are tired of hearing me talk about it — that’s a good sign! :)

Thanks,

Doug

John says:
Hello Doug

I can see how excited you are about your first and I am positive not your last cruise with us. The comedians will be: Anthony Acosta, Scotty K, Jeff Wayne and Lars Callieou. The piano bar will feature Kyle Bronsdon who I have heard great things about. So get ready for loads of fun and between now and then, if you need anything, please let me know. Best wishes.

John

Tracey Earl asks:
We just returned from our family vacation on Carnival Liberty and it was great! My DH and I can’t say enough good things about Carnival.  We will be headed out on our third “group” cruise we have sponsored. DH promotes Carnival like he’s an employee. He grins from ear to ear just by mentioning the cruise. On September 27, we will set sail on the Carnival Fascination. We will be celebrating 25 years of marriage (together for 30 years). We are so glad we discovered cruising and are excited to share that joy with others.  I have no doubt I WOULD NOT WANT TO CELEBRATE ANY OTHER WAY. Carnival, keep doing what you do!

John says:
Hello Tracy Earl

What a brilliant post and one that I shall take great joy in sending to the crew on the Carnival Liberty. Please tell “DH” that I appreciate his words so very much and I really hope that we will see you for more celebrations soon. Best wishes to you both.

John

Carly Devassy asks:
Why has Carnival stopped offering group cruise prices for Cruise Critic groups? This was an awesome way to meet new friends, plus you guys got to have passengers who would write reviews for millions of others to see. NCL still does this and others, so why not Carnival?!

John says:
Hello Carly Devassy

I had to ask for advice on this one because honestly I did not know what you meant by “group cruise prices for Cruise Critic groups.” I am told that most of our guests like to book using Early Saver or past guest fares and we really do not offer specific discounts just for Cruise Critic members. But I often help arrange what is called meet and greets so if you and any other readers need me to do that I am always happy to do so. I hope we see you on board soon. Best wishes.

John

Kimberley Hansen asks:
Hey big fella – can you hook me up with a private table for two for me and my husband. We are on the Carnival Liberty on August 30 from Port Canaveral. This is important, big guy, as we get very little quality time together because of our work schedules. Happy days!

John says:
Hello Kimberley Hansen

I have written to the maître d’ on the ship and I know he will do his best for you. I wish you both a brilliant cruise and I hope also that you can sail with me one day soon. Best wishes.

John

Amber N asks:
Hi John, I purchased FTTF on my cruise a few months ago on Carnival Triumph and I have a question about debarkation. You mentioned that there are only 15 cabins that are available to purchase FTTF each sailing. Well, on the cruise (March 1), we received a letter in our cabin that said we could go to the main theatre at 8 am and wait for debarkation. My group went to the theatre a little before 8 and, to our surprise, there were tons and tons of people sitting with their luggage waiting for the debarkation. So if Carnival only allows 15 cabins to purchase FTTF, then why were there so many people waiting where the FTTF people were supposed to wait? When they said we could disembark, it was chaotic trying to exit. Can you please give me some insight on this or let me know where the FTTF people need to be when it’s time to disembark? I already purchased FTTF for my next cruise in May and I’m really hoping we don’t have the same experience trying to leave. Thank you so much!

John says:
Hello Amber N

We do indeed only sell an average of 15 cabins per cruise for Faster to the Fun. I did show this post to the cruise director of the Carnival Triumph who told me that in the same lounge with you were Platinum and Diamond guests and those who had early flights. Now, I think we need to separate these groups and, certainly, we already do this on many ships and I think the Triumph will follow. I do apologise and I do hope you had a brilliant time. Best wishes.

John

And that’s all for today.  Thanks everyone for your comments and questions and for your continued readership of the blog.

Right, time for another cruise director bio and a young man who can currently be found entertaining on the Carnival Fantasy – here is Eric Brouman.

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What’s your name and where are you from?Eric Brouman. Originally from Cleveland, Ohio, but for the past five years, have been living in Manila, Philippines.

Tell us about your work experience and your journey with Carnival Cruise Lines so far?
I have been with Carnival for approximately five years. I started here as an assistant cruise director on the beautiful Carnival Pride. I have worked in the cruise industry across the world as a host, assistant cruise director and headline entertainer. I also have performed my award- winning comedy magic act on various cruise ships, theme parks, comedy clubs as well as Fortune 500 companies. I can honestly say that, out of all my years of travels, performing and work experience, being part of the Carnival Family is definitely my most favorite.

How do you feel you, as cruise director can influence the guest experience in a positive way?My goal each day is to make sure everyone has FUN, enjoys their vacation and forgets about their troubles at home. I try to make myself available to the guests throughout the entire day and night and will always ‘be an ear’ for inquiry, even if the questions aren’t relevant to the entertainment department. The world revolves around communication, hence, if someone has a comment or question about another department, then I will contact the respective department head immediately and they will, in turn, get in touch with the guest.

What’s your favourite part of your job?People saying you’ve made a difference in my vacation, or recognizing how great the team is and all the hard work it takes to make a great voyage. Personal acknowledgement makes all the difference. It makes everything worthwhile. Another one of my favorite parts of cruising is that every sailing is totally different, no matter what ship or itinerary. New guests, new experiences and new memories make each one special. I love interacting with people, meeting fascinating guests and also hearing their travel stories as well.  And, of course, traveling the world to destinations I could have only dreamed of.

What do you find the biggest challenge?There are three challenges I face with each contract.  I believe one of the biggest challenges is trying to make each and every single person on board happy.  I only want all of our guests to have a wonderful cruise vacation, and, yes, I am very sincere when I say that because I truly mean it. The second essential challenge is getting the best from my team so guests are happy and we all get the results we’re aiming for. It may be a bit of a cliché, but a happy crew means happy guests. When the crew is happy, it correlates with high guest satisfaction. The third biggest challenge is being away from friends and family for such a long time. When you finally get home and spend the time with them, it seems to go by so quickly. Most importantly, I love my job which makes coming back to work quite easy.

If there is one event, show or activity that you host that our guests must not miss, what is it? Each Welcome Aboard Show is different for me.  It’s an unbelievable feeling to come out on a stage with several hundred or thousand people in the audience who don’t know who you are and judge you the minute you walk on that stage. Within just a few minutes, you have a full room laughing, enjoying themselves and, overall, so happy to be on vacation.  Each time I walk on that stage for the Welcome Aboard Show, it is fresh, exciting and involves improvisation and hilarious interactive audience participation. With my down-to-earth style and easygoing manner this results in a quick rapport with the guests. This keeps each and every show quite different and unique; never knowing what will take place next.

Please share with us your favourite story from your time on our ships?I met a guest on Carnival Pride named Gail.  She was 78 years old, in a wheelchair and sailing alone. We got to know each other after the Welcome Aboard Show on the promenade over a coffee. She discussed here many years on the sea and how things have changed over the past 45 years of her traveling. We talked for over two hours that first night like we have known each other for years.  All my grandparents had passed away before I was seven years old; I think this was a moment where I had wished they were still around. By the end of the cruise after eating dinner with her a few times and even dancing with her in the wheelchair, we both found out that she lives five minutes away from my hometown and parents’ house.  She asked for my parents’ phone number to be in touch. When she got home, she actually called my mother and they went to lunch a few times.  Gail told my mother she has never enjoyed herself more in the past 45 years of cruising than when she cruised with me. I still keep in touch with Gail and every time I stop back in Cleveland, I pick her up, go to lunch and continue to share our wonderful stores about life. She is now 83 years old.

And now – about you

Favourite Movie?That’s quite a tough choice.  All three movies are equally my favorite:  Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, with Steve Martin, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (the original with Gene Wilder) and The Producers with Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick.

Favourite bar or lounge on one of our ships?The Butterflies Lounge on Carnival Pride is my favorite lounge.  It is where I got my start with Carnival as a comedy club manager and at the same time a fly-on performer each night.  The lounge can fit several hundred, yet it’s quite cozy and comfortable and sometimes I think at night when the room is dark and empty, the butterflies come to life.

How do you relax?At the end of each night after being on the floor with the guests till the wee hours, I make my way back to my cabin.  After checking emails again for the 100th time, I get out of my suit and get into my comfy bed with my big white fluffy comforter. I flip through the TV channels as I eat Ritz Crackers and Cheese Whiz till I fall asleep in a sea of salt and cracker crumbs.

And if you could meet any famous person in the world, who would it be?My ultimate childhood wish was to meet Harry Houdini.  I started performing magic at the age of 12 and by the time I was 18, I was already performing my show on cruise ships.  Harry Houdini’s real name is Erich Weiss. He inspired me to be a performer and, for many years, I performed two of his most famous and popular illusions. I have read almost every book about him, and for almost 10 years my Ohio license plate on my vehicle was HUDINI. Once Ohio changed the law to the seven letters, it then became HOUDINI.

Thanks Eric, great licence (spelt correctly) plate, by the way. I have read lots of great reviews about this young man and the energy and fun he brings to the ships he is on and wish him continuing success.

A couple of weeks ago, someone suggested that we have a speed dating activity on the ship and, after asking those on my Facebook page and after hundreds of responses I decided to go ahead and give it a go. And so last cruise was the first ever Carnival Miracle speed dating activity and, if you ask me how it went, the honest answer is I haven’t a sodding clue. Let me explain. We held the event in one of the lounges called Mad Hatter and numbered the table’s one through 20. Remember, we had never done this before, the staff had never organised this before. We were to speed dating what Her Majesty the Queen is to cooking a huge pot of grits. We had decided to put the ladies at the table. Give them three minutes (we all argued about this, some wanted more and some less) and at the three-minute mark we would say “time” on the microphone and the men would move to the next table. This may have been the wrong thing to do, I really don’t know but that’s what we decided. So at 4pm the doors opened and we started.

And what a mixture we had. Let’s start with the dozen or so male guests, mostly in their 50s who looked as if they had come straight out of the 1970s, complete with pony tails and comb overs — there was even a mullet. And then were a couple of men who looked like me complete with grey hair, bags under their eyes and rounded bellies.

There were three male guests who were way into their seventies, one had a walker. We had five male guests under 30 and they included a chap who looked like all he needed to do was stand on Promenade Deck and let his six-pack and chiseled good looks do the talking but here he was anyway along with a few other younger chaps who I think just came for the fun of it and two were dressed as though they had come for a boy band audition. And then there were the ladies. The youngest was maybe 30 and the oldest in her late 60s and there were two women for every one man which surprised me I must say. Most were aged between 40- and 50-something with had full war paint and tight dresses on, proudly displaying gravity-and age-defying cleavage while a couple looked like librarians on a night out.

One thing most of the guests had in common was that they all looked excited as my daughter on Christmas Eve. I explained the rules, well………I explained the one rule of three minutes at each table, asked the ladies to take a seat and quickly added another 11 numbers to tables and seating areas giving us 31 single ladies ready to meet the man of their dreams or, at least, the man of their cruise. And we began. As the event progressed, I started to feel uneasy and started thinking that this may have been a huge bloody mistake. There was not one reason for this — it was just a nagging feeling in my head that ………. something just wasn’t right. As I said, a couple of the lads were doing this for fun but why were the rest here, why were they putting themselves through this? In the past, maybe, they would all have met future partners in a different way — through work or friends. They might have been set up, sat next to other single guests in the dining room or met them in the piano bar. I obviously could not listen in to each conversation but it was obvious from the odd laugh and giggle that a few were at least getting along but it was obvious also some guests were valiantly trying to keep the conversation going while some were unable or willing to make bugger all effort at all.

I had a little laugh myself when a lady in her late 30s sat down with a man who was in his late 70’s and I could see him moving his false teeth around with his tongue…”Oh FFS,” I said silently but then I felt a wash of sympathy for them, this was my fault, I had put them in what was surely a very uncomfortable position. I could hear some talking about their jobs or all about themselves and yep, I saw one lady who every time a man sat at her table would show them that she had a platinum Sail & Sign card.

As the event went on, I could not figure out why on earth anyone would want to spend an hour of their Alaskan cruise doing this? There were so many pitfalls. As nice as everyone was what was the point of a lady in her early 30s talking to a nice old chap with false teeth and who was just a few years away from a possible bed wetting problem?

The guests then went to this speed dating thing we did with different objectives. The women were looking for friendship, maybe the men were too and I am just being skeptical but some of the men, it seemed, to me, were in a primitive way, hoping that the ladies who attended such an activity were up for some immediate companionship, if you catch my drift.

After an hour I blew the final whistle and said that I had hoped friendships had been forged and that if anyone wanted help in rearranging dinner tables so they could spend more time with their friends to let me know. I also asked that if a friendship or even a relationship had been forged during this event to leave a note at the guest services desk and I would provide some champagne and best wishes. I did not receive a single request or any such letters.

Did I make mistakes in my planning? Yes, I most probably did and I am sure some of you will tell me so and one of those you don’t have to tell me is that I probably should have set age specifics and age limits, right?

I did not plan this with romance in mind. I just wanted those solo cruises to meet new people and have a laugh and possibly avoid having to eat dinner on their own but, honestly, I think I failed and because of this I have not scheduled our Carnival Miracle speed dating event since.

So, come on single cruisers, what did I do wrong here?  Please let me know because, after the speed dating was over, I felt like I had let the people down, it just didn’t work and I really have no intentions of trying this again. It was an epic failure.  Bugger.

Goodnight.
Your friend,
John

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57 Responses to No Need for Speed

  1. Marianne Gilmore says:

    Here’s hoping you have a day without complaints. Is the H cream needed because of pain in the arse cruisers?

    Cheerio! Frosted Flakes!

  2. Lisa says:

    I am not a fan of speed dating. Too fast, too weird. Maybe next time just do a singles meet and greet. That might be more fun for everyone.

    • Elaine says:

      There has been a meet & greet already on every cruise i’ve been on. I’ve attended three – one singles meet & greet, one for 35+ and one GLBT one… at all three, i was the only one there. talk about feeling alone… :(

  3. Diane Keller says:

    ?????? I was on the Splendor last month with Eric – that looks NOTHING like him!! Was there a mix up with the pictures?

    • Ann Marie says:

      All fixed,except for ship . Has him on Fantasy. Spoke to him and going to Paradise after Splendor.

    • Leah Carlson says:

      Yes, Diane Keller.. that is him. We were in Splendor in July too. I have a pic of him while he was on stage.

    • Shundra Samuel says:

      @ Diane Keller. John said Eric was on the Fantasy, not the Splendor. Maybe that’s why he doesn’t look like the picture. It’s the wrong guy! Hope this helps.

  4. Jack Conway says:

    John
    You can purchase victoria secret online and have the naughties delivered. Butif you choose to wander the aisles so be it

    http://www.victoriassecret.com/

  5. I don’t think you did anything wrong as you have no prior experience “Speed Dating” My guess would be to have a few different sections with suggested age ranges. If someone feels young at heart or an old soul, they could spin the wheel and try their luck with an age range other than their own, but most people would probably feel more comfortable making “cold calls” within 5-10 years of their own age. Although over all I could see this being a big time consumer for you and your staff, as a single cruiser, I tend to shy away from “singles” events. It’s my experience that even if people are single, they are usually cruising with friends and family, and tend to stick close to them during the cruise. Obviously things happen and if two people strike each other’s fancy while sitting in the lounge playing a riveting game of bingo, good for them!

    • Nanci Hess says:

      I agree with Randall Murphy, as a single I tend to avoid Singles Events, but would do Speed Dating as a fun activity but yes should maybe do at least 2 groups under 40 and over 40…but if you wanted to cross that line maybe make it +/- 10 only…otherwise just CREEPY!!

  6. steves542 says:

    Simon M. – As my Grandmother used to say
    “Cram it with walnuts”

  7. Judy Rusch says:

    I am a Platinum cruiser (17 cruises with 5 more booked this year), and saw your comment above about FTTF folks waiting for disembarkation in the same location as the Platinum and Diamond guests, usually Deck 3 in the mid-ship dining room. Just a suggestion…they need to be kept in a separate place (perhaps up on Deck 4 of the mid-ship dining room). To jumble up 15 cabins full of people, many of which seem to have 3-4 people, in with the true loyal cruisers who have earned their Plat & Diam cards creates a real mess when we are actually called to disembark. Since the groups are not separated, it is almost impossible for us to get past and around the FTTF folks that get to gety off the ship right after us. Somehow, the groups need to be separated a bit to facilitate this…I know they paid for the privilege, but we earned the privilege, so there needs to be a good way to satisfy both.
    One other point/suggestion…if would be good if the ships could either close of the aft entrance to the mid-ship dining room (or post a staff member there) to prevent the steady stream of self-assist guests who schlep through the patiently waiting Plat & Diam guests…they bump into everyone, push their way through, and ultimately cut in the self-assist line instead of getting to the rear of it. Not a good situation all around.
    Thank you for listening…am trying to be constructive, not critical.

    • Christina says:

      To Judy, The FTTF people paid for the privilege to be in the same location as you. You paid for the privilege to be in that same location by cruising. Therefore, Platinum and Diamond Cruisers need to stop being such wanker. We all pay for the privileges that we enjoy. Just have fun and don’t worry about what other people are doing. Sit back and have a cup of coffee.

    • TomK says:

      In the best of all worlds cruisers would do things as expected paying attention to the needs of others, but we all know this won’t happen. Watch how folks jostle in line at Lido’s or how they manage to monopolize poolside chairs. Elitism doesn’t really help either even when cloaked in trying to help terms. However, I do agree with you that both embarkation and debarkation should allow reasonable access for all “special” groups. Just my opinion.

    • nick palermo says:

      There’s that sense of entitlement again. You didn’t EARH anything, you went on vacations and had fun. It’s time you people get over yourselves, I’ll continue to buy FTTF and use it every chance I get.

    • amy bruinsma says:

      –really you are that important???wow, when you go to the Hilton do you ask them to rope off a section just for you because you are so special???Do you ask for turn down service , free everything from them???I am sure ever where you go victoria secret, the dollar store, macy’s ect rope off a section just for you because well so dam special, I wonder if you can get your own bathroom because your poop is more special than any ones. mmmmm

    • Elaine says:

      I understand the platinum and diamond have their privileges. I had FTTF my last cruise (and unfortunately it’s already sold out for my next one), and i found it funny that people would choose to disembark early unless your flight home is early… lol… otherwise I’m staying as long as I can trying to hold on to the ship for dear life until they kick me off.

  8. Meliisa says:

    Hi John,
    One of the post above mentioned FTTF and that they had already purchased it for an upcoming cruise quite a few months away. I was advised by CS that these were not made available until 15 days prior to sailing. Please advise. I love this option but it sure is hard to get and if I’ve already missed out then :(
    I’m also very happy to see the new Bermuda cruises and can’t wait to go on one. Thanks for your help!!

    • Richard says:

      We consistently book FTTF months in advance of our cruise. Just keep checking the website under excursions for your cruise. FTTF will be an excursion from your departure port.

  9. lorelei magrino says:

    John- In regards to the speed dating. Dont feel like a failure, you did nothing wrong! Sometimes things just dont work out. I am single and cruise solo- because I actually enjoy it. Sure there are dating services and speed dating events, but on a cruise, i think singles may be more inclined to somehow meet on their own in the lounges, disco, pool, what have you. I’ve been on Carnival cruises where they have had singles meet and greet events, and sometimes they work, sometimes not. Maybe its just tha ton a ship with so many people watching and all, it may be a little awkward to admit you “need a date”. There are many ways to help people find other people- but to make it a “fact finding mission” may be a little rough. Just a “meet new friends- first time cruisers and old hands at it” party can work wonders. No pressure, no need to empress, or to “get tons of info in” in just a few minutes.– I wouldn’t do a speed dating but i would do a “lets meet new people” event. maybe a dj or cd could devise some meting games designed for single, newly marrieds, older cruisers, etc. casual, simple, and no awkwardness or embaressment.– Just my thoughts and opinion— Thank -you——- Lorelei

  10. MIkey Brown says:

    John – I wanted to write and say thank you to you, your fellow CDs, Captains and Crews across the fleet, and for the corporate staff in Miami for doing the Ice Bucket Challenge in support of ALS. ALS is also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease is something I am familiar with as my father passed away from ALS in 1998. It was not fun to see him wither away has he lost all muscle function. And unfortunately the cause of his passing (as well as most ALS patients) is listed as Pneumonia caused by ALS. I am glad Dad did not suffer long as we succumbed quicker than most. I am so appreciative yours and CCL support/donation that I can hardly wait till my next CCL cruises. Thanks again Mate.

    Mikey Brown

  11. charlie kelson says:

    simon m. i am tired of hearing about CC and how big they are and how important they are, get a life, many of the stories that show up on CC are bs, and if you dont like what john or carnival is doing, cruise on another line, dont want to hear your or CC whining any more. you are but a troll who lurks around trying to find ways to discredit John Heald or carnival, go away , far away

  12. Tim says:

    John
    Can you tell me who will be the CD on the March 28,2015 of the Breeze?

  13. Colleen Moore says:

    Since you didn’t get any irate complaints, I would consider the event a success! Sometimes it seems to me that you walk around with the whole weight of the world is on your shoulders. Getting home to Heidi will help!

  14. sherrie king says:

    John, I applaud your effort!

    I am currently sailing solo on the Glory… and travel solo frequently…

    I shall put a few thought into words and send them along when i return home….

    cheers.

  15. Ralph says:

    Simon M,
    Cruise Critic a more balanced opinion? Simon.. only when you are wearing your tinfoil hat… like the rest of your robot buddies!

  16. Kelly B says:

    John,
    First off I am single and in my 40’s. I think you should do it again and you should NOT limit the ages. However, you should maybe make two different times or two rows of tables. One time/row for maybe people over 50. And another time/row for people under 50. That way there is a bigger possibility of common ground or a “match”. Also maybe have a fun questionnaire that they can fill out ahead of time maybe 5 or so questions that they can hand over to each other as they meet to get the conversations going. Fun Ship/Fun Questions/Fast Friends.
    Regards
    Kelly

  17. Ms. Puddin says:

    John, I love your idea of having something for the singles/solo cruisers. Do not set age limits, 70 something men/women want love/companionship too. Perhaps you could ask ahead of time if anyone has an age preference. Be clear in your introduction that you’re not trying to “hook them up”, but merely introducing them to like cruisers who may want to hang out while cruising. I’m on the Breeze 27 Sep and the Glory 25 Oct, if it was available, I would gladly attend, enjoy meeting fellow cruisers.

    • Kathy Figueroa says:

      That sounds nice, I too would like to meet other single cruisers. Not to hook up to meet nice people who enjoy cruising. :)

  18. Dan Wernery says:

    John, you said today was your last chance to shop in Seattle. Are you not sailing with us on Sept. 2? I thought you weren’t leaving until on the 10th. Say it isn’t so, John! I know you are homesick and want to see your family but from a selfish point of view, my wife and I are hoping to meet you. If not, then go home and kiss your wife and hug your daughter and have a great time! We will miss you!

  19. maureen says:

    I don’t think you did anything wrong with the speed dating thing.. It sounds like it went on just fine. Sometimes a match is made, sometimes its not. No fault of yours. And the offer of changing dinner seating and/or a bottle of bubbles for a good match was a wonderful idea. I would say host it again.. one day you never know, you just might have a couple come up to you one yr during your marriage show and say they met at your speed dating event. :) Don’t give up on it.

  20. Venice says:

    Hi John. I’m sorry the speed dating didn’t work out. I wrote a long comment here, but it didn’t take. So I wrote you an e-mail instead.

    • John Adcock says:

      John,

      Loved the profile on Eric. My wife and I cruised on the Carnival Splendor in July, and Eric was a fantastic cruise director.

      Great timing!

  21. Gale says:

    John , you tried. IF you were to consider such an endeavor in the future, I would ask for X number of volunteers of each sex and do it like a stage act like you do the game you play with married couples. (kinda like Newlywed Game) You give them 2 minutes, then they move to whomever they choose BUT you remove a table and 2 chairs. You eliminate the 2 that don’t match up again quickly enough. And so on until you have two couples left. Give THEM two minutes then ask if they want to stay where they are or “switch” partners. If one says stay and the other “switch”, the STAY couple is the winner. If they both say STAY, then you give each couple 1 minute (30 secs each) to say why they want to stay…BUT each must use the other’s name in their answer and something they like about the other 1/2 of their “couple.” IF they mention where the other person is from or lives, they get extra credit. Well, you take it from here…

  22. Linda says:

    John, about your speed dating. You did nothing wrong, in fact compared to every other speed dating set up I have heard of or seen yours sounded even a little more successful than average. 31 tables is quite a feat. I saw one at a bar (I was a waitress and already married) that advertised a speed dating night and we had only 5 ladies show for over 50 middle aged (many with rings on their fingers) men so have heart that you probably did break the ice for some people on that cruise. Please try again.

  23. Gail says:

    John, you can’t feel guilty for trying to make single people enjoy their cruise more. The idea was a good one and may need refining, however, think of the good story material that was provided for their memories. It was an idea that didn’t pan out well, but without trying, you would have never known. BTW American women insurance stats show we live 50% longer there’s your answer to twice as many women. Hahaha, sad but true. Love your Blog.

    Gail Hup

  24. Stan says:

    John,

    It was a wonderful idea to have something like a singles event but it is awkward to have something structured like a speed date. How about having just a meet and greet at one of the bars and lounges on the ship preferably later at night and having a more relaxed laid back environment than a three minute “alright time to switch!” feel. You could possible have a drink special for that particular night (and maybe even a free complimentary drink for any single who shows up!) and believe me the singles will show and turn the Miracle into the love boat!

    Cheers,
    Stan

  25. Leah Carlson says:

    I agree with something about the FTTF..
    We were on Splendor last July..and we were assigned Zone 1 ( FTTF).Specifically, the instructions said we were supposed to meet at the Pearl DR at 8:30 am..after all the self assist passengers are done. Well, at 8:10 am, the last deck for self assist were called…TOGETHER with Zone 1 to debark. We were confused, and started our way to the elevator..which was packed..and down to the lobby..and mu husband said that it is not 8:30am yet and we should go to the place where we were supposed to go..as we proceeded to the Dining room, we were told to get in line with the self assist. Needless to say, we waited for an hour for all the self assist to clear the port..and then the Customs were not ready, and all the luggages were still being taken off the ship. By the time also we found our luggages, they were on Zone 21 instead of Zone 1 area..and the wheels were gone..that we had to lug them a long way out to the exit…there were not enough porters either to assist the passengers.
    It was not planned well, I should say….Last year , we were not on FTTF because I was late booking it..but the disembarking phase was done very organized.

  26. Alan Radomski says:

    I sailed as a Platinum member on the Splendor last year, FTTF was also blended with the Diamond and Platinum members. Perhaps CCL thinks Diamond and Platinum member should stand behind FTTF cruisers when boarding the ship?

  27. Capt Bill says:

    Hey John,

    I know I am showing my age and years cruising, but back in the 90’s there used to be Meet and Greet Singles parties, held in the “Disco” and would be hosted by one of the Social hosts. it would be around 8ish at night and someone was there (at the door) checking to make sure that people where there for the singles meet and greet. and would politely ask those not there for that to come back later. then the Social host would have a couple of games that would involve both sexes kind of like your spoon game that you used to (and Still might) do on stage in the main lounge. it was a lot of fun and even those who stood on the side and watched laughed and had fun.

    on my last cruise (Carnival Breeze in Jan/ Feb) the singles meet and greet was held in the piano bar with only Bar staff there to sell drink at the bar, and as far as I can remember there was no one playing piano or any other type of entertainment. I think maybe you should look back at what used to work or least what you used to do, to see how things can be changed. I have never tried speed dating (thought about it, but never tried it) so I can’t help you with that.

    Thanks again fro keeping a smile on my face and for doing what you do, and I wish you would consider coming back to the Caribbean as a CD ( not a big fan of cruising in weather like I have here in New England) and paying twice as much for it. oh and I love the new Platinum gifts they look great.

    take care and hello to Heidi and Kye, and Heidi we miss your impromptu blogs.

    Capt Bill

  28. Jeanie says:

    Regarding Suzie Littman and her type: people like this seem to wish they lived in a dictatorship where they are the dictator. I would like to ask them if they enjoy the freedoms they do have, and then if they say yes, ask them why they believe they have the right to take away others’ choices.
    The other issue this concerns is the belief that parents seem to have that “I’m on vacation” means “I abdicate all responsibility for my children to the owners and staff of whatever facility I happen to patronize.” Um, not JUST no, but HELL NO! Your children should be under your supervision with regards to their behavior everywhere – if not yours then another responsible party who will ensure that they do not come into any harm nor cause any for anyone else. If your rule for them is “no violent video games”, guess who needs to enforce that rule? Noooooo, not Carnival, but you, the parent, or whomever you’ve designated to be responsible for them – someone who has AGREED to it, that is. You don’t get to de facto make Carnival Cruise Lines and/or its entire staff your children’s babysitters, and you don’t get to say “well, they should not have anything on the ships that I don’t want my children to see/hear/touch/taste/smell/etc.” Because there are other people who came to enjoy many of those (entirely legal for them) things, thankyewverymuch.

  29. Joe Dobbyn says:

    Hi John, I was on Tuesday 19th’s cruise to Alaska, the carnival miracle, mr nehow, and dick little one. Anyway, I’d like to thank you sooooo much for giving all the guests a fantastic time, the cruise would not have been complete without your comical genius! I wouldn’t have won three ships on a sticks without your motivation!
    Thanks again!
    Joe

    P.s. I miss the chocolate melting cake!

  30. Kandy says:

    Do you ever offer specials for single occupancy. Would love to cruise again but have no one to room with and can’t afford the single rate

    • Irene Garner says:

      Ask your PVP at Carnival for a list of cruises where there is no single supplement. I have already sailed 4 times this year on a cruise with no single supplement and I am on my 5th cruise now, the Legend to Australia and I found a deal with an upgrade and no single supplement, so I have a lot of obc to spend on this cruise

  31. DocF says:

    I am older than you and I venture into Victoria’s Secret frequently to get my dear wife pretty things. Some of the youngsters who work there are amused, but most realize I am comfortable and know what I am looking for.

    If ever you need a guide, let me know.

  32. Tammy Ward says:

    Speed dating is not for everyone. I, myself, haven’t tried it. I did enjoy my May cruise aboard the Dream as there were several singles that were seated together for dinner. We chatted about our day and went to shows in the evenings together. This was my first cruise I had taken solo and I had a blast. Maybe just seating them together at dinner is an option. The meet and greet isn’t a bad idea either.

  33. Ruth Gould says:

    Hi John:

    It sounds like a great first attempt at helping singles meet other singles. I am single and often wish it was easier to find other singles onboard to hang out with. I am not a 20 something and so trolling nightclubs is not happening. A meet and greet with games seems to help people interact more so than an open gathering. I hope you will try a few more ideas before giving up.

  34. Anna says:

    Thank you for your surprise on our Pride cruise on the 17th! It made our vacation. Well, it and the rest of the Pride team made our vacation, we couldn’t have had a better time. One comment above about the game room on the Pride – there are maybe two violent games in the whole room. My 12 year old daughter managed the have a great time without touching those two games. There were plenty of family friendly games to play. Oh, and by the way, Reynold Senn, the pianist in the Ivory bar was great – even on his first Carnival Cruise! We look forward to listening to him on many future cruises – he’s good enough that we would pick a ship based on where he’s playing!

  35. you made me speechless, really emm truly inspired by your spirit and obviously for the great quality content.
    love it

  36. Pat Patterson says:

    As a person who sails solo, I applaud you for at least trying to set up something for the single cruisers.
    Perhaps age bracketing might have made it a bit more of a relaxed atmosphere, but cheers to ya for at least trying.
    I encourage you to do it again, and to set up more single cruiser activities.

  37. Linda Kelley says:

    Hi John,
    Last December 1, my husband I sailed the Sunshine. I have a very bad pepper allergy and was advised from YOU to let them know as soon as I get on ship. I TRIED and no go as I received the runaround and the first night I was eating greens and fruit for dinner. After that I was able to special order for the next night. Even though I did, I experienced two dinners with “special request diet” for NO pepper and my food still had it. I was extremely disappointed and no one was able to do anything but say sorry. I am sailing again this October 19th on the DREAM….with my family … Total 9 Is there a better way to handle my allergy for Pepper??? I would love to enjoy my dinner. I Thank You in advance :)

  38. Phil Vennero says:

    John,
    Jackie and I had the good fortune to meet a couple who introduced us to the world of cruising. It was with Carnival. That was four years ago and we haven’t stopped since. We are taking our next cruise on the Fantasy (second time on her) and are so excited. We have nothing negative to say and preach to our friends of how wonderful Carnival has been, including our Carnival Planner Lyndon Culiner! Now I have found your blog, and it has added to the fun.
    Please continue with your amusing, sometimes serious comments as they are truly enjoyed. I hope someday to be privileged enough to be on a cruise that you are on! Thanks John!!

  39. Curtis Turpen says:

    My wife and I are addicted to carnival cruises. We started cruising last June out of New Orlean Louisiana. We went to Belize, Roatan and Cozumel. The crew was exceptional and we were treated like royalty. I Would like to thank Carnival’s staff for making our lives even better than they were before, We are looking forward to our booked cruise out of Miami on the Carnival Breeze to Ochos Rios Jaimaca, Cayman Islands, and again to Cozumel Mexico. This cruise leaves on December and we are particularly excited as this will be a celebration of my wife’s completion of her doctoral studies in teacher leadership. We look forward to experiencing our (cove balcony)room on board. We have been on the Carnival ships Sensation, Conquest, and the Breeze in December I am already planning a cruise possibly for New Year 2015 to the South Caribbean. How much cheaper is it booking a cruise, when you are on board a cruise.

    PS. Thanks John for your exceptional insight into Carnival Cruising.

    Sincerely Dianne and Curtis Turpen

  40. Teresa Hawkins says:

    I have been unable to determine the cost of hair salon services at Carnival’s wonderful on board salon. I’d like to see if this is something I can afford on this cruise, or if I need to hurry up and make an appointment with my salon before I leave. I understand why I cannot make an appointment this close to our sailing date (whoo-hooo! 14 Sept is getting very close). I can’t understand why the folks that answer your phones can’t give me even a ball park guess. The representative said they used to be able to access the salon’s menu. I’d like to look nice to celebrate our second honeymoon, and was hoping to start this trip with a bit of a makeover. Oh, well.

  41. Zorg says:

    Just one question, how so that Carnival Cruise Lines alow companies like Dimonds International,Park West and others who work on Carnival Cruise ships brake International maritime law by making their implois working 17 or 18 hurs a day

  42. Elaine Evans says:

    John: Don’t give up on the speed dating. Just work out the kinks. I thinks it’s a great idea. On my last cruise, there was one 70’s night. Too bad. There should of been more 70’s nights. I met a lot of singles that night. We (20 family members) are going again on our next cruise March 8th, on the Liberty. My grandson who is in the military, whenever he wore his uniform he had no problem meeting single women. Good luck in your new position and remember old cruiser like changes in entertainment each time they cruise. Elaine

  43. Dear John,
    We are your biggest fans like ever and you inspire us all to get amazing haircuts. If you’re ever in Malaysia plz come and visit us in our drug store. (jaykay lel)

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