August 25, 2015 -
I have decided that there’s no sodding point to chefs like Gordon Ramsey and his mates on the Food Channel. Every night, someone in a white outfit with their names stitched across it comes on the television to explain how to make a fois gras sauce for your breast of duck and how chili peppers go very well with strawberries. But I’m afraid Gordon, Emeril, Jamie, Marco, Bobby, Anthony and the countless others I’ve forgotten are wasting their breath because we all know that what we want is bacon and fried eggs.
You can have it for breakfast, lunch and supper. It works with ketchup just as well as it works with beer. You can make it in five minutes, even if you are crap in the kitchen, like me. And it’s impossible to get the recipe wrong. Indeed, I have decided there is a simple answer to every choice we face in the world today. Brand of television? Samsung. Music? Queen. Pin-up? Megan Fox. Food? Bacon and eggs. Car? Range Rover. And that brings us on to sports. Baseball is too complicated. Hockey is too fast. Golf is for freemasons or men with a strange pants fetish. The fact is that you can’t beat soccer. It’s easy to understand. It flows nicely. And there’s always another team you can have a fight against. It turns out, there is an answer to cruises, as well.
Over the last few years cruise lines have battled and fought and built bigger and taken our beards to try and beat us in the hopes that they could become the most popular cruise line in the world. But they have failed. Our ratings from guests are positive and there are brilliantly exciting times ahead with new destinations and new ships and so much more. Carnival Cruise Line then is the vacation equivalent of Freddie Mercury, the Range Rover, bacon and eggs and Megan Fox’s bottom.
Time for today’s Q and A session……………..off we go.
Phyllis Chinault asks:
Do you know who the cruise director will be on Conquest November 28, 2015?!??!?!?!?!?
Hello Phyllis Chinault
Your CD will be the very talented Jason Apps, so I know you will have fun. Please let me know if there is anything I can do for you. Best wishes.
Charles Martyn asks:
Do you know how stupid and uneducated you sound when you promise your “cheerleaders” champagne just because they tell you how great you are blah blah blah. What you call champagne is actually sparkling wine. It is only called champagne if it comes from the Champagne region in France. Therefore, all champagne is sparkling wine but not all sparkling wine is champagne. Get your facts straight, Heald.
Hello Charles Martyn
Thank you so much for alerting me to this. Please send me your cabin number the next time you sail so I can send you a bottle of champa…..bugger……..sparkling wine. Best wishes.
Kevin Redding asks:
Now that relations between the U.S and Cuba are starting, will Carnival or any other of the sister companies make that a cruise stop?
Hello Kevin Redding
You may have read that our new sister company, Fathom (fathom.org), will start sailing to Cuba next year. Bear in mind that these are “social impact” voyages with volunteer work and other people to people activities. There is tremendous interest in the island and it really has the potential to be an exciting cruise destination, that’s for sure. As you know, the U.S. flag was raised in Cuba for the first time in more than 50 years, so the entire cruise industry is watching the political developments happening between the U.S. and Cuba with great interest. Cruise lines like Carnival, however, are not in a position to begin operating cruises to Cuba at this time but it is something that we’re certainly keeping an eye on. Best wishes.
Kevin Cornelison asks:
John, Let me first say January 16 we will be sailing on Carnival Fascination to The Bahamas. This will be my fifth cruise with Carnival. It will be my 11-year-old’s fifth cruise, my eight-year- old’s fourth, and my seven-year-old’s third cruise. We are a Carnival family!! Unfortunately, after 10 years of marriage their mom left us going on two years ago. For some reason beyond my understanding she decided she wanted to be a part-time mom. The good side to all that is I have full legal and physical custody and wouldn’t have it any other way. I cherish every day with my kids. And I actually get along great with their mom (for their sake). And she is genuinely excited for us to be going on another cruise, even if it is without her. But on the brighter side, a blessing came along a little over a year ago, that is my girlfriend Amber. She is a Godsend and not only the light of my life, but my children’s, as well. They love her so much. The Carnival Fascination will be her first ever cruise. She is already a huge Carnival fan, just like us, although she hasn’t set foot on one of your amazing Fun Ships yet. We sit and spend countless hours planning, reading the forums, and watching other cruisers’ videos online, and, of course, reading your blogs. She asks me every day, “Has John posted anything new yet?” She has become such a fan of yours. Almost every day she says to me, “Wow wouldn’t it be amazing if John ended up being on the Carnival Fascination for our cruise”? I, of course, tell her the likelihood of that is probably not too high, as I know you have a huge schedule. But just thought I would put the impossible question out there and ask if there is any chance you are on the Carnival Fascination for our January 16 cruise. And of course if you are not we are still going to have an amazing cruise. And we are going to keep watching all those hilarious videos online when the people were fortunate to have you on board. You always make us laugh. And she will probably continue to tell me how amazing it will be if you happen to be on the Fascination for our cruise. Thanks for being “our Fun Ship ambassador.” The Carnival family could not ask for a better one. Kevin
Hello Kevin Cornelison
I want to thank you for sharing your story here with us and for your kind words. I can understand the challenges you have faced and I am sure that your family are all very proud of the way you have continued to bring them up. I do wish I could be with you for your cruise but, instead, I wonder if I could ask that the day before you sail on the Carnival Fascination that you contact me on my facebook.com/johnheald page so I can see what we can do to make you smile so please include the cabin numbers. Thanks again and I send you all my very best wishes.
Mica Howard asks:
Mr. Heald: I was one of the people who were affected by the recent Carnival Breeze/Carnival Splendor switch. We decided to switch to the Carnival Magic rather than go on the Carnival Splendor again. I heard that the Carnival Magic is going into dry dock in 2016. Is this indeed the case and will she be getting the full 2.0 upgrades (BlueIguana Cantina and Guy’s Burgers in particular)? We had picked Carnival Breeze in the first place because of the ship so these upgrades will really make this situation more palatable. Thanks so much for your assistance. Mica Howard
Hello Mica Howard
Thanks for writing and I am sorry that we had to switch you around ship wise. We have not released details on the Carnival Magic’s dry dock but we’ll certainly keep you posted once we do. I am sure, though, that you will still have a brilliant cruise and if there is anything I can do for you please do let me know. Best wishes.
John, my question involves the deposits on our Sail & Sign accounts. I know that when using a debit card, they put a hold of $200 on your card and that’s fine, but into weeks I will be traveling with my 14-year-old daughter. What I am trying to figure out and can’t seem to find a straight answer about is are they going to put a $400 hold on my debit card because my daughter is on my account although she will not have charging privileges? I always put cash on her account for the arcade, candy etc., when we get there, anything else that she wants she comes to me and I charge it on my account. Hoping there is a way around the $400 hold and it will only be $200 hold, so I have more money for the casino, LOL. If you could please let me know, thank you for all you do for all of us. I enjoy reading all of your comments and questions. Was a little saddened to hear there may never be a chance of you being my cruise director? Cheers.
In this case, we would only take a $200 deposit on your card so please do not worry about that. I am sure you will both have a brilliant time together and one day I hope we can cruise on the same ship. Until then, I remain here at your service. Best wishes.
Sign of the Fish Cruiser asks:
The sick blasphemous words that spew from your mouth are sinful. John Heald, you will regret this when the roll is called up yonder.
Hello Sign of the Fish Cruiser
I am not sure what the context of your post is referring to but if I have upset you please do write to me so I can understand what has happened. Thanks so much. Best wishes.
Mandy Craven asks: Hi John: We are considering booking a cruise out of LA. We will be flying in for business the week before the cruise. Is there somewhere I could secure my laptop? I feel certain it would be fine in the room but my company has a very strict rule that it is locked in a secure place. I do not believe it will fit in the safe. Are there any other options? Thanks. Mandy
Hello Mandy Craven
I am sure it will be fine in your cabin but the only thing I can suggest is that if you’re OK with handing it to the guest services desk they can keep in their safe there. If you would like this to happen please let me know two days before the cruise via my facebook.com/johnheald page and I will make it so. I do hope we see you soon. Best wishes.
Frank Portland asks:
There should be a separate gangway for us Platinum passengers. It took 20 minutes or more to get back on the ship today in Cozumel. Sickening!!
Hello Frank Portland
I am sorry it took so long for you to get back on the ship. I know that in this port 45 minutes before the back-on-board time, there is usually a line. However our security teams work as quickly as they can but, of course, they have to be thorough and make sure they keep the ship safe. We have no plans to add a separate gangway for Platinum guests so I do thank you for your patience and, of course, your loyalty. I do hope we see you soon. Best wishes.
Jodi Hinz asks: Hi John, in the past, my husband and I have considered purchasing the Cheers program. During the at sea days and the first day of sailing, I feel like to program is completely worth the extra cost. On port days however, it is a waste of money as we always go to the ports and explore. Has anyone at Carnival ever considered making various plans within the program so that people like us would be more likely to purchase it? Thanks in advance for your response.
Hello Jodi Hinz
Thanks for sharing your thoughts and, while there are no immediate plans to change the Cheers program I will send your post to the chap in charge so he can see your thoughts. The program remains very popular so let’s see what happens as we move forward. Please let me know if you have any other questions or concerns and hope we see you soon. Best wishes.
Richard/Dee Oswald asks: John: Has Carnival consider giving a “Fast Track to Fun” pass to its Diamond members. It would be a great perk in getting your luggage quicker.
Hello Richard and Dee Oswald
Actually, the express luggage delivery is already included with the Diamond benefits, so there would be no need for this. I will keep you informed as to any other changes to our loyalty program and I hope to see you both soon. Best wishes.
John my DW and I cherish your blogs, we heart the way you are so diplomatic even when insulted so hard by people with hate in their hearts. My question is has there ever been a time when you said that’s enough and tried to get the passengers thrown off the boat? There must be time the steam gets too much and you explode. See you on the bloggers cruise on the Carnival Miracle. We cannot wait.
Thanks, Giles, and I look forward to seeing you on the BC9. That is a great question and to be honest, we really like keeping our guests happy and content and will do everything in our power to resolve the situation on board. Now I remember that there was this one time where a guest’s behavior simply could not be tolerated. It was on Carnival Freedom in 2009. I was in the then-cigar bar. It was elegant night — or may have been called formal night still as I can’t remember when we changed the name. Anyway, I was with my Assistant Cruise Director James and other staff members having a cigar (I miss the cigar bar so much, had to say it, sorry). It was all very nice; we were chatting about something and relaxing in between the two Captain’s Celebrations. I had my Diet Coke (haven’t had one for two years now and, shockingly, don’t miss them at all) and my Monte Cristo. The only thing spoiling this ambience was the loud and obnoxious conversation of two males in their mid-thirties a few feet away. They were both having a conversation as though instead of being just three feet apart, they were on opposite ends of the ship.
One man had a mullet and another had long greasy hair that you could have cooked bacon (and eggs) on. Anyway, there I was trying to have a conversation when I heard the conversation grow louder behind me and, eventually, it go so out of hand that they even propositioned – and then insulted and eventually accosted – the Thai waitress who was in the bar. He tried to give her his Sail & Sign card saying “Do you take this or would you prefer cash?” The waitress broke free and quickly walked away. The three of us were totally shocked and my first instinct was to go over to the guest, introduce myself and then use my cigar cutter on his gentleman’s sausage ….just one snip…but my thoughts turned to the young lady who had been abused in such a way.
I walked over to the bar pantry where she had run to and, sure enough, she was there sobbing. I gently asked her to confirm what I had heard and she seemed to be too scared to make a complaint, she didn’t want to get him or herself in trouble. But I was not going to let this greasy-haired troglodyte get away with this and, after a few moments of reassurance, she did indeed confirm that my hearing was 100% perfect. So then I had a choice to make……cigar cutter and a right hook or call security. I called security. A few minutes later the assistant chief security arrived along with one security guard and we convoyed over to where Mr. Yak Breath was sitting. I introduced myself and explained what I had heard and that the chief security and staff captain would now need to talk to him. He stood up on and tried to square off at me but, being big in the stomach as I was back then, has its uses. OK, I may not have been built for speed but I think he knew that between me and the two ex-military security personnel, he was never going to win that fight. And so, he started to say it was only a joke and that he didn’t mean it and ….I told him to be quiet and listen. And so, the guest was led away followed by his mate “mullet man” who was uttering the words “lawsuit” and then turned to me and said, “I am a U.S. Citizen and you are the alien here”… alien …….I know I’m ugly……….but alien?!………..I was going to tell him he should probably spend his money having a haircut rather than hiring a lawyer but I let it go. So, the guest was warned and told that any further reports of any bad behavior would result in him being removed from the ship.
And….that was that, or so I thought. The bar waitress was given some time off and offered counseling and we all got on with our busy lives…..until 2 pm two days later while the ship was docked in St. Thomas. I was busy blogging or doing something at the computer when my phone rang. It was the staff captain (second in command) who asked me to pop over to his office. I wasn’t prepared for what followed. When I arrived, the staff captain looked troubled and I saw that he had been joined by the chief security officer…….something was not right……who had done what? The conversation went like this and I will try and type with an Italian accent
STAFF CAPTAIN……..eeee……….Johnny………..you zee…….we have a sexual harrasmenta case against you John
ME: Bollocks, staff captain
STAFF CAPTAIN: Nooo, is noa bollacks, I ama nota talking s**ta
OK, you get the drift. I couldn’t believe it……..sexual harassment …… me ……. with whom? …… when?………had someone made a complaint about me from years ago?……. had Sally Poole called to say that I had tied a mirror to my shoe to look up her skirt when I was 12?
“Who?” I asked……..……….what did I say?……….what did I do? The staff captain then made it even more of a concern when he told me that the complaint had come from a guest. “Bloody hell,” I thought………and my mind raced through the last few days and the spoon game and the lady whose blouse lifted up when she pulled the string too hard and the lady I had hugged at the cocktail party and……..who the hell was it?
The staff captain told me then the lady’s name…….and then showed me her A-PASS security photo…it was a lady in her forties whom I had never seen before but, according to the staff captain, it had been alleged that I had made some unwelcome advances to her. I had nothing to say…..I just stood there……my stomach churning. Then, the staff captain said, “Someone had phoned the Miami office and asked for the security department and had said that you were harassing a woman.” And then…….and without warning…..I suddenly became Columbo with a huge dollop of Sherlock Holmes mixed in. It was him…….Yak Breath ………. the guy that I had caught asking the waitress for ……..well……..you know.
So, the investigation began both on board and by the head office in Miami led by my old friend and ex-New York state trooper……..well…….I can’t write his name but I have always called him Mr. Cannoli……because he is Italian, of course. Anyway, an hour later I was called back and, sure enough, I was right. The guest who apparently I had alleged acted improperly with knew nothing about this and even said that she had cruised with me before and thought I was very funny, etc. Mr. Cannoli had discovered the cell phone used to phone in the complaint did indeed belong to the passenger who had himself sexually harassed the bar waitress……..and this was his pathetic attempt at revenge. I had been right……and after the staff captain had apologized and I had called Mr. Cannoli to say thanks, I turned to leave the office…….and stopping at the door entrance, I turned…….and using my best Columbo impression, I said, ”Ah, just one more thing.” So, the guest was immediately disembarked at the next port of call where I truly hope he was given a very hard time by Customs authorities and he got to experience the touch and feel of latex.
I then had the embarrassment of having to face this lovely lady and her husband and apologize for the terrible questions she had to answer ……..I spoiled them as much as I could for the remainder of the voyage. This event also highlighted our shoreside security and surveillance department who never get any thanks or praise……….until now……..thanks, guys. And as for Mr. Yak Breath……..well…….I have a feeling that maybe he has been arrested and is in jail sharing a cell with a 350-pound man called Billy Bob who will play some banjo music and….well, I digress. I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s on my Facebook page writing under a false name and use this forum as chance of revenge.
Yep, this was very much an isolated incident, a one-off if you will, and I know how our guests, how much you, value the service and fun the crew give you each and every day you are on board. That’s the story and, of course, the victim in all of this was the bar waitress. She should not have been spoken to like that and I am glad I was there to help and support her. She is part of what continues to be the best part of a Carnival cruise, the crew. They remain the heartbeat and certainly they never deserve to be spoken to as she was. I am so thrilled that the bar waitress is still with us, still serving our guests and doing so with a smile that would lighten up the darkest room.