August 21, 2015 -
My mate, Danny, has an electric car. It’s called the Nissan Look At Me, I Am Greener Than Shrek’s Scrotum and, after being fully charged, it can drive for an astonishing 80 miles before you have to pull over and plug it in again. While I know Al Gore would grow a third leg if we all drove electric cars, I still love the sound of a growling V8. You see, for all the benefits of an electric car, one of the drawbacks is that it makes less noise than a dead yak. And this got me thinking. I am sure, as I sit here writing this in my underpants, that there are very clever men and women who are locked away in laboratories trying to perfect planes that are silent and can fly over populated areas without so much as a whisper. If then they do perfect silent propulsion, I hope we can put it to some use on our ships.
And I don’t mean that we need silent thrusters and engine rooms where our engineers don’t have to wear large earphones to protect their ears. Oh no, we need to silence something far more important than that. What am I talking about? I am talking about the hand dryers in the public bathrooms on all our ships. Amazing, isn’t it, that we have cars that make no noise, yet the hand dryers on our ships are so loud, they can fracture your eardrum and make small children scream with terror, They make using one of our a public toilets a nightmare for people with hearing aids, surely. Yes, yes, yes, I am sure that somewhere a bearded tofu-eating health and safety lady will be saying that these hand dryers are the best way to avoid germs but the noise sure is awful. How is it that we can make spy planes that can’t be heard and yet these hand dryers have to sound like an F18 taking off just to dry a few droplets of water off your hands?
And why are other things so pointlessly noisy and so powerful? I’m talking about hair dryers; specifically my wife’s which our neighbours have complained about disturbing them even though they live 400 meters from our house. I came out of the shower one time and Heidi accidentally pointed her hair dryer at my dangly bits just for a split second and it looked like Don King was camping out between my thighs.
And, on that note, let’s crack on with some Q & A, shall we? Off we go.
Joyce Hassnoot asks:
We will be cruising for the second time ever this October on Carnival Paradise. I never planned to set foot on a cruise ship, now after my kids and husband and I act like the world travelers we aren’t, I’m planning our cruise destinations for the next five years! I’m just curious about ice. It not the most important issue but we like our drinks cold, we use ice in everything. Not to mention my 10- and 12-year-old boys enjoy dropping an ice cube down the unsuspecting brothers shirt hoping to get a reaction from said brother and the annoyed mother. Which means more reason to keep the ice fresh so I can have nice chilled wine to make it easier! Will Carnival ever offer self- serve ice closer to the rooms? Our last cruise, we never once met our room steward or saw him/her. We did try to find him in the beginning. It was OK with me since the rooms were still clean and kept up great, but when we would call customer service to request ice (which was a good four times each day along with requesting from room service), we never once received it! It was a three-day cruise on Carnival Sensation. I don’t think it would take three days to figure out how to get to our room on a ship that size. I know with all the small requests the stewards get, such as ice, it can add up and they may backed up. So, wouldn’t it be easier to just have ice machines at the end of hallways or convenient locations close to rooms similar to a hotel?
Hello Joyce Hassnoot
Yep, I used to put ice down my sister’s back, too, and still do that today with my daughter, Kye. The concerns with public ice stations is public health and the regulations that we strictly follow in that regard. Whereas the staff know how to properly handle ice, some of our guests do not so we would rather serve it to you. Please do just tell your cabin steward that you would like some each day and it shall be so and there is absolutely no reason why they cannot do this. I hope this is OK and if you have any other questions, please do let me know. Hope to see you cruise again soon. Best wishes.
What lacks credibility, Heald, is making fun of banned people without giving them the opportunity to respond? If they cause enough thick-skinned butthurt to deserve banning, a decent man would cease to mention them. Or just get over it and reinstate…your followers dish out much worse day after day on the website than they ever did.
This will be the last post of yours that I respond to as there are far more important matters to discuss here. I do find it interesting that you use the word “credibility” when you are posting using a fake screen name that I know was designed purely by you and your group to attack one of our Diamond guests. I know who you actually are and won’t embarrass you by writing your real name here and maybe one day I will un-ban you from my Facebook site. The fact, though, is that you were banned because you made two people cry tears, two ladies actually, and at the moment, I don’t have the right frame of mind to forgive you. I think you should re-name your site because, in my opinion, your web site “Friendly Cruise —— “is as welcoming as syphilis. Best wishes.
Sharon Smith asks:
Carnival Magic is being repositioned to Port Canaveral in 2016 and, according to speculation,dry
dock as well. Will the Carnival Magic get Guy’s Burgers?
Hello Sharon Smith
I know there is a lot of excitement about the Carnival Magic coming to Port Canaveral and, indeed, she does have a dry dock before that happens. We will announce any upgrades she may receive closer to the time, so please stand by and I will share the news as soon as I can. Best wishes.
Ted Caffyn asks:
John, the start of American football is right around the corner. We are on the Carnival
ConquestSeptember 13-21. Well– the Sunday night game Giants vs. Cowboys– will it be on the
big screen or sports bar?
Hello Ted Caffyn
Yes, indeed, all the Sunday Night games will be shown in the sports bars and casino bars and on the cabin TVs. Enjoy the game and have a brilliant cruise. Best wishes.
Adam Warner asks:
Getting ready for our fourth cruise on Carnival Conquest October 12. Need you to get the cabin steward to move the chair off the balcony cabin **** and put a sun lounger on the balcony instead. Seems stupid to have to ask. Passengers should have the right to have a lounger. Not much point in us paying the $499 per person for a balcony cabin if we cannot use it to get sun – duh! Can you conform to my e mail address **********@mac.com that this will be taken care of. We cruised with you on our first cruise on Liberty!!!!!
Hello Adam Warner
Thank you for writing and for cruising with us once again. I am afraid that we cannot offer a sun bed to every cabin because we do not carry the inventory to do so. Plus, there is the fact that I think many prefer the chairs and to sunbathe on the open decks. However, please do contact me on Facebook.com/johnheald the day before the cruise and include your cabin number and I will see what we can do. I hope you have the best of times on this great ship. Best wishes.
David Varone asks: Word is you will be joining us on the Carnival Vista inaugural cruise in May 2016, but not as CD. I do hope, however, that you will be hosting the main shows and making announcements and such. We enjoyed you so much on our Carnival Magic cruise in Europe. I was wondering, since Venice has lifted their controversial ban on large cruise ships, whether any consideration was being given to adding Venice to the itinerary? We loved it last time. Hope we get to meet you, this time, like we did on the Magic.
Hello David Varone
You are very kind and, yes, indeed, I will be joining you there. I have a special gift for everyone on that inaugural cruise, by the way. So, I will be hosting the travel talks as I have some years of experience cruising to Europe and I will also be hosting my marriage show and some surprise events too. Matt Mitcham will be the CD and in him we have chosen a wonderful young man with boundless energy and a brilliant sense of humour. I will see you there and get ready for the best of times. Best wishes.
Aliza Fernley asks:
I am reading your Facebook page, Mr. John Heald. In the message that is in front of me, I see you say the word thank you to the Carnival workers. You translated this into 20 languages but not into Hebrew. There has been an alarming rise recorded in incidents of anti-Semitism across these United Sates and this is another example!! You should be fired immediately.
Hello Aliza Fernley
I am so very sorry that you feel upset by this. In my defence, I went with the languages that represent the majority of our crew such as Indian, Thai, Filipino and various European countries. To my knowledge, I am not aware of any crew from Israel working on our ships. Now I am not saying there are none but certainly none I am aware of but I will check. In days gone past, all our vide crews were from Israel and they were great chaps and we had a lot of fun together. So to them, and any crew we may have from Israel I say, תודה . Best wishes
Pat Lelinho asks: Any idea if the Internet package will be on the Splendor before my Nov. 29, 2015 cruise? Also, any idea who will be the entertainer at the piano bar for the Nov. 29, sailing? On the schedule, I only see until Nov. 22, 2015. Thanks for any help you can give on this.
Hello Pat Lelinho.
Yes, indeed, the internet package will be in place by the end of October so you will be able to enjoy the $5 a day, $25 a cruise social media packages. The piano bar player will be Christine Hetfield. Please do let me know if you have any other questions and I wish you a brilliant cruise
Judy Grant asks:
Hi John…we will be sailing on the Carnival Dream starting January 3, 2016, for 35 days. In that
Time, I know we will receive Carnival gifts for each of the four cruises since we are Platinum. Is
there any way to receive different items on each cruise? The last time we did three back to back
to back cruises we ended up with six Carnival insulated tote bags. We truly do appreciate but
would be fun getting different items. We NEVER have taken a Carnival cruise without wanting
the vacation to keep on going. We love the ships, the crew and all there is to experience. Thank
Hello Judy Grant
Firstly, a massive thank you for your loyalty and I am sure you will have a brilliant time on these marvelous cruises. There is, I am afraid, not going to be three different gifts. However, while I was in the Miami office last week, I saw a brilliant new bag which debuts later this year so I have no doubt that you will love this. I think it will be our best gift yet and I am sure you can enjoy or, indeed, re-gift two of them. I hope you will send me your cabin number the day before you board via my facebook.com/johnheald page so I can see what I can do to make you smile. Have a brilliant 35 days. Best wishes.
Alex Krupin asks:
I need to make all Cruise Critic members aware of a problem we had on our scheduled Cruise Critic M&G on the Carnival Liberty so I will post this here and on Cruise Critic. As group leader, I went to the piano bar, which you had arranged for us to have, John, to place out the name tags I had made and make sure we had enough room for the 20 attendees. When I got there- NOTHING was set up. There was no staff member at the piano bar. I asked a person in a white uniform to set the chairs up in a circle style so we could all talk but this seemed like too much to ask as he said he was busy doing something else but would have someone come. In the end, one tiny thing of a girl came but not before I had moved all the chairs myself. It was very embarrassing and very unprofessional. The meet and greet started late and we had no bartender but one bar waiter who had to manage all 20 of our drink orders which took forever. The door prizes you had offered did arrive with a staff member but he said he had to host a trivia and could not stay and entertain or do a question and answer session for us like before on Norwegian. If Carnival is going to sponsor these events, they need to do a much better job because this was a meet and greet disaster. Carnival could not have cared less it seems for our group of Cruise Critic members. I suggest you read the hospitality manual again.
Hello Alex Krupin
I am very sorry that this has you frustrated. I have to ask if you had written to me to request that seat arrangement and, if so, and it was not done, then that is my fault for which I apologise. We would not normally offer a bartender to set up and open that bar for one hour, close it again and then open later that night is the best use of our staffing resources, so we usually do offer bar waiter service from another bar already set up. I do hope that once you all met, you had fun together and met some new friends which I believe is the most important fact of these groups, right? If you have another one you wish me to help with, please do contact me via my Facebook.com/johnheald page. Thanks so much. Best wishes.
Dexter Swanstrom asks: We usually purchase a bottle of water and a carrier for it on our first excursion and use them both for the rest of the cruise. Will those bottles be allowed back on the ship?
Hello Dexter Swanstrom
Unfortunately not, we are currently not allowing any bottles of water to be brought on to the ship from any port of call. Please do let me know if you have any other questions. Best wishes
Stacey Chinn asks: It’s no more cruise to nowhere. That really was a hit in the Norfolk, Va., area. Let’s do a three- or four-day cruise from Port Canaveral with transport to Disney or just Key West. Cruises that extended over the weekend make great trips for the families with children in school. Also gives a great opportunity for the working family with a limit on vacation time.
Hello Stacey Chinn
I realise how disappointing this was for so many people but the new rules are not allowing any cruise line to operate a cruise to nowhere from the U.S. I do hope we will see you and your family soon though and if I can help you with anything, I will be here. Best wishes.
Dale Douglass asks:
John: I am seeing conflicting information. According to an answer I got in the forums about the
new Hub app, the list of ships that have this app is the same as the ones who have the new
Internet packages, In your blog on June 16 though, you stated only Carnival Breeze currently has
the new app. So which is it? I am sailing on my first cruise on Dec 27 on the Carnival Magic and
would really like to know if I will have the new Internet packages as well as the new Hub app.
Hello Dale Douglass
The new Hub app is currently only on Carnival Breeze but will be added next to Carnival Sunshine and I will let you know about that and any other ship that receives this great addition as soon as I am able. You will though have the new Internet packages on your cruise and if there is anything else I can do, please let me know. Best wishes.
Kyle Portes asks:
You obviously make a decent living out of what you do, Heald. I know you will not tell me how much you earn and others will flame me for being rude. I never quite understood what is supposed to be rude about it, unless you have a really shitty job and don’t want others to know. I think you should tell us as we pay your wages.
Hello Kyle Portes
Well I do thank you and everyone who cruises with us because, in a way, yes, you certainly do help pay my salary. I am not going to discuss my salary except to say how lucky and how grateful I am to Carnival Cruise Line for all they do for me. Best wishes.
That’s all for today. I will be here again next week and on Facebook.com/johnheald to answer more of your questions, although I do want to highlight one more and go a little more in depth with it.
We are just back from back to back cruises. The first week on the Carnival Glory followed by seven days on Carnival Breeze. Both were awesome cruises with great food and great people looking after us. We loved the décor of Carnival Breeze the best but our waiters Milo and I Made stole our hearts away on the Carnival Glory. My only beef is that the cruise directors Matt and Mike told all the same jokes and had all the same skits. Many of the trivia questions were the same and both Mike and Matt did a 70s Name That Tune game that was word for word similar. Do not get me wrong, they were both personable and friendly but not unique. We are booked on the Carnival Dream to do the Journeys cruises with you, John, and can’t wait to meet you.
Thanks Laura for this and for recognizing (yes, there is an S in that word, just bugger of bastard Dell) two of our very best cruise directors in Matt and Mike. I know them both well and both do give everything – and I mean everything – to ensure their guests have the best of times.
I want to comment briefly on the subject that some cruise directors do the same jokes….and that’s true, of course, it really is. But we always want our CDs to be individuals and I think it is safe to say they are. There are some “stock” jokes that can be heard on most ships on most lines. These usually concern the toilets, the top 10 silliest questions asked by guests and, back in the day, the one about the “male prostitute” which I stole back in 1990 when you could tell jokes with the word “prostitute “in it without the tofu PC people of the world complaining and suggesting you be tied to a chair in the atrium and have your buttocks whipped with a wet beach towel.
Look, CDs work with other CDs when they are assistant CDs and/or in training and they do indeed “borrow“ jokes – they all do, me included. In turn, I have had lots of my original material borrowed and, in many ways, I find that kind of flattering……..if they tell the story or joke right, that is. I still think the best cruise directors are the ones who have learned that the star of the show should not be them……..but the guests. When I was still a cruise director, that was my mantra and, when in this new role I still get to be on stage, it remains my philosophy today …. the guest is the star, not me, and I think many (not all, I admit) but most of our cruise directors believe in this too. Now one thing you can start to say goodbye to is the spoon game that most CDs still do on the first night of the cruise in the Welcome Aboard show. Some of you may think that was a boring bit but, for me, well, I never agreed with that because if it’s done right, it really should never be boring at all. For me, the first night Welcome Aboard show was the most important of the cruise. It set the scene for the entire week and for a cruise director, it allows a chance to sell ourselves to you…….what do I mean by that?
Well, if a cruise director can sell themselves as someone fun, then the following morning when he or she asks guests to come to the lounge to listen to them talk about the ports and the excursions, they will, hopefully, do so because the guest thinks, “Oh, that’s the chap who made us laugh last night, let’s go and see what he is doing.” Or, when the CD comes over the PA system with a rundown of the events of the day, then, hopefully, the guest will listen because, once again, they recognise the voice and know they need to listen. By the way, nobody gives you any training in the use of the PA system and, trust me, it’s harder to use than you might imagine. First of all, you can’t hear yourself, so it’s hard to judge volume and finding the right time to make announcements and, even more importantly, the right length is also very difficult.
Ultimately, you are always going to disturb someone. I don’t mean in the cabins as we only make announcements inside the staterooms when there is something we feel the entire ship needs to hear. What I do mean is that with speakers in the guest corridors, you may disturb someone who is still asleep at 10:30am or disturb someone having a nap in the sun. However, we need to get the information out there. Now, I read the occasional comment that says people think we should not use it at all and they don’t care about what’s on sale in the onboard shops or what the drink special of the day is. “You are just trying to make money ,” they say. Well ….. ummmmm ……..that’s a part of it, of course. It would be ridiculous for us to say otherwise but there are lots of people on board who truly use the announcements to keep up to date with what’s going on throughout the ship. I can tell you, there is definitely a difference in attendance at certain events when we make announcements and when we don’t. It’s just that simple.
Back to the Welcome Aboard show which, as I mentioned, is so very important to me and so very unpredictable………….here is one of my favorite first night memories. So, there I am on Carnival Triumph, way back in 2002, and I have my usual eight people on stage for the end bit, the spoon game. But even though that bit can be funny, for me, it was all about the interviews, breaking the ice and making stars of the people on board. Well, during the interviews, everyone was wonderful and I managed to find something worth sharing with the audience in them all and things were going well……except one lady who gave me one syllable answers to every question and, honestly, was as cold as a polar bear’s dangly bits. Anyway, we had some huge laughs from the audience for the rest of the guests on stage and things were going well.
After the interviews had finished, I started to explain to the guests how we play the spoon game.
For those who don’t know, a spoon is tied to a long piece of string and we pass it down inside the ladies’ blouses and down the men’s pants……..it was always lots of fun. Now, just before I continue, remember– each person on stage volunteered to come on stage. I went out into the audience and asked them to join me and they all said “yes.” So, back to the game and, as I walked down the line and approached Mrs. Frosty and told her what I wanted her to do……..she looked at me………and said loudly enough that my microphone picked up her words, “This is why we should have cruised on Celebrity” — and walked off the stage grabbed her husband by the arm and out of the lounge to mostly silence sprinkled with a few boos from the audience. Oh, FFS.
So, I made some joke…….can’t remember what but I think I recovered and then, of course, I was left with one short for the game. Well, this time, after what had just happened, I asked for a volunteer and up scampered another lady and after her introduction, the game got under way …..and all was going well … until……one man got the spoon stuck in his pants ……….he couldn’t get it out so do you know what he did ……… he waved me over……leaned on me and then……..he unscrewed his leg …….. took the leg off….the spoon was tangled in the framework ……….he untangled it and the rest is just one big blur of uncontrollable laughter and applause from 1,600 people. The man whose name I just can’t remember, was a hero and received hero status for the entire cruise………as for Mrs. Frosty……well, she was in her cabin dreaming of basket weaving lessons on her favorite cruise line.
The cruise director can, if he or she wishes, really set the scene and that’s why in my humble opinion we have the best in the business with some very young and exciting talent waiting in the wings as you will see if you cruise during the September 20 CD conference. One of the things the CDs will introduce to you when they return to their ships is a new Welcome Aboard show which is already debuting on the Carnival Freedom. It features the cast, the entertainment staff and, of course, you in a brand new game which I am sure you will find very, very funny indeed.
Yep, it’s time to retire the spoon game which, in many ways, is a shame……I guess we should actually wash the one from the Carnival Triumph as, after that night in 2002, it had things growing on it (I’m kidding, of course).
Over the years across the fleet, these spoons traveled up and down hundreds of blouses, tops, shorts and underpants and now they will be left unused for the new shows. I wonder what will happen to them? Who knows, maybe they will end up on your breakfast table 🙂