The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

March 19, 2007 -

John Heald

First, I want to apologize for not being able to post a blog over the weekend as I have to do them via the office in Miami. Anyway, here I am writing to you at 12:32am.

I have just enjoyed the incredible music of Penny Matheson, our guest entertainer. Penny is a beautiful songstress who charmed our audiences with her spectacular renditions from The Sound of Music, Phantom of the Opera as well as some opera classics. It marked a pleasant end to an otherwise very mixed day, hence the title.

Let’s start with the bad

We have had some teething problems with our public address system and this morning after most of the guests had left the vessel in Izmir, Turkey, I had to do an hour of testing the system. I was very conscious that I would be disturbing the remaining guests onboard but it had to be done. Thank goodness we ironed out the problems and all is now well. This got my day off to a bit of a grumpy start, however.

Things did not improve when at around 1:00 pm I received a phone call to tell me that I had a guest wanting to speak to me at the Information Desk. I went to meet him and was immediately met by a torrent of anger and waving of fingers.

The guest (who will remain nameless) was so very upset and getting so irate that I actually was concerned he would do himself harm. Anyway, I asked him into my office where I discovered what was wrong. It turns out that he felt it was very wrong of me to promote tours that featured visits to mosques in Turkey (The Blue Mosque etc). He felt that for various reasons I will not mention, it was wrong, and by doing so, I was promoting terrorism.

I have been doing this job for twenty years in June and I have heard and seen a lot of things but I was not prepared for this.

I explained that The Blue Mosque is visited by hundreds of thousands of visitors each year from all over the world and, in fact, tomorrow we would have over 2,000 guests from the ship on tours visiting this and other Islamic treasures. He would not hear my reasoning and, as I tried to explain further, he left by calling me “the Sperm of the Devil.” I sat there stunned and somewhat angry myself. I then got even more angry as I started to second guess myself. Had I done a bad thing by suggesting guests visit these places? Then I realized that I was an idiot just for thinking that. I hope you all agree.

I will try and talk to this gentlemen again tomorrow if for no other reason than to see what new name he has for me.

Now the good

Being a cruise director is a funny thing. Just when you think that it’s just not worth it and that nobody appreciates you, along comes something that makes this the best job in the world. Here is a letter from a disabled guest with obvious challenges in life but she has taken the time to write to me and, without her knowing it, rejuvenated me.

Here is her letter.

Dear John,

I wanted to write and tell you that I think you’re a witty and hilarious cruise director. This is my first Carnival Cruise, and though I’m disappointed with my stateroom choice (I should have gotten an outside accessible room) I do love the entertainment on Carnival versus Royal Caribbean….The show was excellent, the female singer brought me to tears with that voice of her’s.

I also have talked with other disabled guests and we all agree that the crew is excellent. They are helpful and caring. This cruise has been a great birthday gift for me. It has been a wonderful experience so far.

…was able to surprise me with a birthday cake and a great fruit basket. I am so happy to be part of this experience. I hope to see you on my excursion tomorrow in Izmir.

Thank you so very much,

Jeanette McGurty

You can also view our guest’s letter.

Now the ugly – photos of me on stage
(Click on the image to view it in a larger format)

Pictures from the Morning Show Pictures from the Morning Show Pictures from the Talent Show
Pictures from the Talent Show Pictures from the Talent Show Pictures from the Talent Show
Pictures from the Welcome Aboard Show
Pictures from the Welcome Aboard Show Pictures from the Welcome Aboard Show

A special hello to Ayr’s mum (she is one of our backstage managers) – Mum, your daughter is a wonderful employee and you should be very proud of her.

So, it was a mixed bag of a day but at the end of it I find myself writing to my new blogging friends and thank you all once again for your valuable time.

Goodnight from me ………John Heald………………………The Sperm of the Devil

Hi, I’m John, and this is my blog. So please don’t mistake my opinions — or those of my dear friends, fans or commenters — for those of Carnival Cruise Line or Carnival Corporation. My apologies in advance for anything I may say that upsets you, but this disclaimer covers Carnival and puts the blame directly on me………….. bugger.