I bet right now most of you reading this are wearing a T-shirt. Yep, T-shirts, we all have them, we all wear them and we all wear them on our cruises. Most are plain or have a fun pattern or logo on them. The T-shirt is the most popular daytime thing to wear and I, of course, love it when I see people wearing Carnival logo wear. It does make me smile when people wear T-shirts with a place they have visited on it, particularly if it’s the exotic-sounding name of somewhere far, far away from where you are at the time. There are some people who do think it’s alright to wear another cruise line’s T-shirt on a Carnival ship and this always makes me giggle.
On June 24, I will be flying to Trieste, Italy, to see your Carnival Vista. I will be joined by Peter the Hair, Jay the Latino and their film crew who will capture the special “coin ceremony” which I will share with you here and on , and I will also be joined by a special guest.
Let’s leap in straight away with today’s Q & A – here we go.
Jean Reid asks:
Dear John: I am traveling with my children on the Pride in August. My daughter has a severe peanut allergy. We always travel with EpiPens and we both are very careful to quiz staff about ingredients in her food. I am aware that I need to let Carnival know before we sail about her allergy, but am unsure of that contact information.
Hello Jean Reid
Please do not worry as we are well prepared to help all we can here. I do advise that you send this to the guest access services department in Miami and also if you can send me a reminder on my facebook.com/johnheald page the day before the cruise with your cabin number, I will let the ship have one more reminder. Please let me know if there is anything else at all I can do for you and I will be here. Best wishes.
So a couple of weeks ago I mentioned about an incident that happened to me when I was a kid that has given me a pure and utter hatred for anything to do with the dentist. And tomorrow I have my first dental appointment in….and I am embarrassed to say……20-plus years.
I will pause here for a bollocking from you.
Yes, I know. I am an idiot. An idiot with bad teeth. But, honestly, asking me to go to the dentist would be like asking someone who is afraid of spiders to put their head in a bag of tarantulas and have a bird-eating spider shoved down the front of their underpants and not worry about it.
Yep, I am dreading it even though it is something called sedation dentistry, so I will be unconscious but I have no doubts this will be one pair of underpants that I will never be able to wear again…………not without an industrial wash anyway. (more…)
It is almost June which means we are only a couple of days away from Hurricane season. It’s hard to think about hurricane season when you are sitting in your underpants writing from the UK where hurricanes are as rare as finding a Jehovah’s Witness actually inside a house. But at this time of year, it is on our minds and I hope will be as quiet as a mouse with laryngitis. I thought, for the sake of new readers and new cruisers, to explain a few facts. (more…)
Yes, the blog is back.
After ignoring it for far too long, I have decided to put more time and effort into this and so I hereby pledge to you with my right hand on a photo of Megan Fox’s bottom, I shall sit here in my underpants and write as often as I can.
In my defence, the blog received the 20 million page views it has had because it documented my life as a cruise director and because I answered the questions posted there. So I hope that, as I do breathe new life into this page, you will continue to read and comment and although Facebook remains the main course, that a twice-weekly blog appetiser will be to your liking. OK, let’s crack on and talk about…………ummmm…………..me. (more…)
Re-posting here for those without Facebook
(May 6, 2015 12:30AM) So here I am in Hawaii, it’s 6:30pm or 12:30am Miami time. I will try and stay up for a while but feel totally drained after two very very long flights. I will be back tomorrow with news and conversation but I wanted to share the news now of a change to our VIFP party.
As a part of our new VIFP loyalty program we have decided to make some changes to the party which let’s face it has become very challenging to service properly.
Now these challenges have come about for great reasons and that is the rapid increase of the number of Gold Card holders. Many of you have seen and indeed many of you have commented on how busy the party has been and in many cases we have had to hold two parties to accommodate the large numbers of invited guests. These numbers can, on some ships pass the 1500 mark which again makes the high standards of service you expect and the standard of service that we strive to provide quite challenging.
The party also loses that intimate feel that a party that is designed to celebrate your loyalty should have and so with these reasons in mind we will 5/15 departures change to inviting only Diamond and Platinum guests to the VIFP party.
Hold on…………..before Gold card holders start to burn effigies of me in my underpants let me tell you this.
To say thank you for your loyalty we will provide each Gold card holder with a drink coupon to the value of $9 which will be usable on the last sea day of the cruise from any bar on the ship on voyages of 5 days or more. This is along with the complimentary bottle of water we already provide. Hopefully you will appreciate and enjoy this amenity and meanwhile let me thank you for your loyalty and I hope soon you will be holding your bright and shiny platinum card and be on your way to diamond.
Now for my platinum and diamond friends, the VIFP party is being revamped ready for this change. Most of the time the count will allow us to hold the party in smaller lounges to the main theater and you can look forward to a more intimate party, details coming soon. The diamond guests will continue to receive their special event with the Captain and there are no other current changes to the VIFP program.
Thank you all for your time and your loyalty, long may that continue
It is with great pleasure that I introduce you all to our new President and the lady at the helm of your next brilliant Carnival cruise vacation. Please say hello to Christine Duffy
I guess we should start off with a simple but important question………….how do you feel?
Excited, honored and so very proud to be given the opportunity to lead this iconic brand and the Carnival team who serve our guests!
Can you tell us where you are from and about your employment journey so far?
I started my career as the receptionist at Rosenbluth Travel in Philadelphia after being turned down to be a Pan Am flight attendant. I had gone through several interviews with Pan Am, and in the end, was told I didn’t meet the height requirement. I then spent 20 years at McGettigan Partners, another Philadelphia agency that specialized in corporate group meeting and incentive travel programs. After 20 years at McGettigan, we sold the business to St Louis-based Maritz Travel Company in 2001, and I was appointed President and CEO of Maritz Travel in 2004 and served in that role until 2011 when I joined Cruise Lines International Association.
Some of the readers here may not be aware of the superb work that CLIA does for the cruise industry. I think it is very important that we fanfare this and your role there so please could you explain what CLIA is all about and your role there?
I have been President and CEO of CLIA since 2011. CLIA is the trade association representing the global cruise industry. With 62 cruise line members, 275 Executive Partners representing industry suppliers including ports and destinations around the world, and more than 12,000 travel agency members with over 50,000 agents, CLIA is the largest cruise industry association operating under our “One Industry, One Voice” mission. CLIA works to promote cruising by providing training and certification to travel agents and promotional events, like CLIA Cruise Week and the annual Cruise3sixty conference. CLIA’s Global Technical and Regulatory team represents the industry at the International Maritime Organization in London. CLIA committees bring cruise line members together on a regular basis to share best practices and implement policies that go above and beyond international requirements in the safety, comfort and care of our guests along with a commitment to continuous improvement around environmental impact.
So here you are ready to take the helm of the world’s most popular cruise line. What are your goals for the first few months in the job?
Listen, listen, listen and learn as much as I can from our guests, from Carnival team members shoreside and team members on board our ships who serve our guests every day. I plan to visit our ships and meet team members and guests on board as much as possible.
I know you and your family just spent a week on the Carnival Breeze. Can you tell us about this experience, what you enjoyed and anything you saw that you feel we can do even better with?
We had our best family cruise ever on the Breeze. It is a FUN ship! I went down both slides in the water park, enjoyed the spa for relaxation, visited the indoor and outdoor fitness areas to work off the calories from the great food on board. From the specialty restaurants to the dining room to Guy’s burgers, Bonsai Sushi and the Cantina we loved it all! The crew was amazing and constantly go above and beyond for our guests. There is so much to do on board and, of course, we had the opportunity to experience great destinations. I can’t wait to do it again!
Do you have a message for the thousands of Carnival customers who are reading this?
Along with our talented team, I am very proud and honored to continue the legacy of Carnival Cruise Line creating lasting memories for our loyal customers and those who may be sailing with us or cruising for the first time.
And some getting to know you questions.
Sunrise or Sunset ?
A Wonderful Life
A port of call you have never sailed into but really want to?
Real books or a Kindle/ E Reader?
Who makes you laugh?
Our son Sean
Finally………..On accepting the role of President, the now retired Gerry Cahill had to sing a Karaoke song in front of all the shore side employees in the Carnival Cafeteria. He chose “Just A Gigolo.“
This is now a tradition for our Presidents to do this so………………what song can we look forward to hearing you sing?
We are Family!
Thank you Christine and we all look forward to sharing our Carnival journeys with you.
I will be very sad to see our President and CEO Gerry Cahill retire at the end of this month. Now some may be thinking that it’s the sort of thing that an employee with a Facebook and blog read by many thousands of people has to say in public………… but I genuinely mean it.
During his time in the big chair, Gerry had some challenges for sure, including a leviathan of a recession to maneuver through and, of course, the incidents on the Carnival Splendor and Carnival Triumph.
Through it all Gerry was there. I remember how I personally saw him carry guests’ suitcases from deck 7 to the gangway on deck 0 when the Carnival Splendor arrived into San Diego –something he repeated on the Carnival Triumph. The anguish and care he showed every single minute anything challenging happened was absolute and anyone who says different truly does not know the man at all. (more…)
As this will be my last blog for a while. I wanted to cram in as many questions as I can, so let’s start today with some immediate Q & A. Off we trot (more…)