The Things Guests Ask

May 9, 2007 -

John Heald

Hello to my friends in Blogville.

I want to apologize for the late blogs over the weekend. I know some of you get disappointed when you turn on the computer to find no fresh blog but it is something to look forward to on Mondays instead.

Oh, I just learned we got promoted. Congratulations we are now on the front page of www.carnival.com. Thank you all very much for your help and if we can keep going with this we may make the front page of www.angelinajoliewantstobethegodmotherofthecarnivalsplendorandhaveacloselookatjohnsblogthingy.dream.com

A beautiful day today with the open decks full of sun worshipers in various stages of undress listening to the band and enjoying the deck games.

Indoors, I hosted my Barcelona and Cannes talk and afterwards the shore excursion desk was busy with Barcelona Shopping and Highlights and The Colours (spelt correctly) Of The French Riviera being the most popular.

Today I had another interview this time with Mr. and Mrs. Seldon for their Web site and Porthole Magazine which is run by an old friend of mine Bill Panoff who used to be a cruise director before becoming editor and also running a successful cruise ship promotions company called PPI.

The blog thingy, at the time of writing, stands at 209,000 thumps, hits or whatever they are called……………..all I can say is WOW and I am still mystified as to why.

I had better get on with the Q & A as it will soon be showtime………..tonight’s show features the Beautiful Penny Mathisen who is firmly becoming one of my favorites and I wish you were all here to hear her angelic voice.

Oh, just wanted to show you these photos from our Venetian Mask Sail Away Party. We had hundreds (yep, hundreds) of people wearing masks and some were obviously very expensive……it was a great party and a great atmosphere.

Pictures from the Venetian Mask Sail Away Party Pictures from the Venetian Mask Sail Away Party

I must also tell you that during the party I got a phone call from the bridge. They had received a message on the VHF radio from the port authority saying that the music and the noise of the guests was too loud and we should turn the music down immediately which of course I……….fill in the blank here 🙂

So, it is time for me to type my fingers to the bone all in the aid of the Q & A.

And we start with……………………

EDWARD THE LARGE – The Web site you are putting together of all of the Carnival Fun Photos is amazing and because of this work I have decided to honour (spelt correctly) you with an award, I PROUDLY PRESENT LARGE EDWARD WITH THE ” BLOGGERS INTERNATIONAL GRAND BRITISH UNIVERSAL MEDAL” — B.I.G.B.U.M. award. Congratulations
GLE AND LEANNE – Tell you what, bring me a hat and I will provide the champagne. You can indeed provide surprises on board. We have a shop on Deck 5 called FORMALITIES. From here you can order cakes, cabin decorations and other in-cabin surprises. The currency onboard is all U.S. dollars. I do hope you have a safe flight over and please let me know if there is anything else I can do for you before you arrive. See you in June.
ADAM – I am glad to hear you had such a great time on the Leg End, it is a wonderful ship and I have so many great memories from there. In fact, some of those memories are going to be repeated on the Carnival Splendor as we sail back to the Baltic. I am glad you liked the photo of the I Nengah and I just asked him which ship he would have been on with you and it appears you met him on the Carnival Glory. I will indeed keep bloggin as long as y’all keep readin (not spelt properly but spelt Southernley)
SUSAN – Congratulations on becoming a Platinum Club Member. Thank you for your kind words about the entertainment and I agree that I think our entertainment is second to none. I remember the cruise you mentioned very well and with a lot of emotion. Katrina changed the lives of many thousands of people some of which were on the cruise with us and who had no idea what they would find when they got home. Carnival sent the Ecstasy, Sensation and Holiday to assist with housing and I wish I could have also gone to help. Also I wanted to mention that the Carnival Freedom has dedicated an entire show to the city called THE BIG EASY. It features our very own Mardi Gras parade and is a reminder of what an exuberant city New Orleans was and will be again. By the way, did you know that our director of production entertainment is from the West Midlands. Her name is Kerry Stables and before she had that job she used to race pigeons 🙂 Please keep reading the blog thingy.
DAISY AND KRYSTA – And excited you should indeed be. It will be June 6 before you know and you and your daughter Krysta will be here. What an amazing gift you are giving her for her sixteenth birthday. I got a pair of socks!
I am glad the blog thingy has helped you prepare for the cruise and for me that is the most important aspect of me doing this every day. If I and the fellow bloggers can help people decide which ship to cruise on, what to do and what to expect then it is worth every minute I spend at this computer. See you both soon.
LANCE AND ILDA – You sound so excited to cruise on the Carnival Miracle and indeed you should be. There is a special “something” about sailing in and out of New York. Your cruise director is a chap called Chris Roberts. He is a great cruise director and if you can please pass on my regards to BUBBA as we call him. He is from Alabama. Now, you mentioned that we should publish an article about the blog in Carnival Currents and use the photo of me in bed as a centerfold. My only concern is that two pages will not be enough 🙁 Thanks for reading and please let us all know how your cruise was on the Carnival Miracle. Bon Voyage.
BOB MEANS – Ahhhhhhhhhhhhh, the Carnival Pride, please do not miss the supper club there! The cruise director is Jeff bronson from Ohio. Although I did not train him I know that he will provide you with much fun and you and your family will have a brilliant time. A nervous time tough for the fiancée, sailing with the future in-laws! Please keep reading the blog and write soon.
LINDA THE MOUSE – Thanks for your comments about your cruise. The fact that you have sailed on so many different cruise lines and find our food to be “on top of the list” is a wonderful testament to our shipboard and shoreside staff who have taken this line to new heights. I respect WEATHERMANS views and I hope he still enjoyed his cruise and thank him for his opinion.
You want to meet an Italian, may I suggest that next time you sail you let your Cruise Director know so we can send one your way. I am sorry that you did not get to meet anyone at the singles party and maybe we should run a  “lonely hearts” column in the Carnival Capers. Thanks again Linda it was great having you onboard.
JO AND DAVE – Etna was indeed very naughty and we were there. Please read below. Now, as for the aquarium I think it will be to far for you to go. Valencia is about 100km from where the ship docks and as all guests are back on board by 4:30 pm it may be a little too far away. However, I will check with our shore excursion department and we can see what they think. The Carnival Splendor is going to be a beautiful ship with an outstanding itinerary and probably there will be a Bloggers Cruise there next year…………….if my fingers haven’t fallen off.
PAUL – Just as my Mum and Dad were for me, I am sure you were the perfect role model for your son. If he decides to take a honeymoon cruise and needs advice on what ship, etc. please just let me know. As for you, just drop me a line and say  “Hi, it’s Paul from the Blog” and I will give you a call straight away. I am with you on the nude cruise thing however maybe you me and Big Ed and my mate Alan Adkins (the ugly one) should all go together. See you soon.
BILL AND SUE – And large it shall be. See you soon.
KERSPLOTT – Sorry to hear about the rain in Juneau. We have been luck here because after Venice the rain has stayed away, touch wood, can’t find any wood so I touched plastic, that should work as well. Thank you for your kind words towards Kay our single cruiser. I am hoping she will book soon so I can make sure she sees why taking a cruise is the best vacation experience in the world. I am counting with you by the way so see you soon.
ADIAS.ANGEL – You asked how cruise directors get assigned a ship. This is done by a man called Chris Prideaux who is our director of entertainment. Chris started life as a bandleader on our ships and after a few years in our corporate office in Miami, he was promoted to director. It is a big job to schedule cruise directors on 22 ships and it is not just a case of filling spaces. Chris has to work out the right cruise director for each specific ship — a job which he does nine amongst many others very well indeed. I am not sure who your cruise director will be when you sail but rest assured whoever it is I promise you that he or she will be part of the best group of cruise directors at sea.
CARL AND BARB, THE TWO BEARS – I can’t wait to meet BUSTAH. Thank you for considering the Bloggers Cruise which I understand has many people already booked. As for the Splendor, well there is a lot of excitement about this ship and yes, I think we will be doing another Bloggers Cruise on it. Please keep reading and best wishes from Heidi and I.
BIG ED – fantastic photos from a fantastic guy, thanks mate.
GLORIA – Sorry I made you cry. The comments you have posted are so great to read and they and others like them continue to give me the reason to continue be a blog man. Thanks again. By the way, I have decided to go all out and go  for Angelina to be Godmother…….that way Heidi gets Brad as a consolation prize….personally I don’t know what the girls see in him.
NATE’S MOM – he is doing a great job by the way. You asked how a godmother is chosen and honestly, I have no idea but I will ask my PA to let me know what goes into the thought process as I am sure many of you will find that interesting. We will wait for his/her answer with great anticipation and once we know how a godmother is chosen we can see if Angelina meets the requirements………………she certainly meets mine.
CARLA SCHILLEREFF – Sorry I addressed you as Carol, sometimes I begin to squint after staring at this computer all day. Thank you for your kind comments and I hope that you can indeed sail with me again. A 2009 Bloggers Cruise is looking promising.  Please keep reading.
DAISY – Sorry that the Leonardo Museum is closed now in Florence. You will indeed get an automatic refund and may I suggest that you take our BEST OF FLORENCE tour which will include a VIP pass to the Academia Museum and the Statue Of David. There is lots of shopping which should please the duck and the mouse:) See you soon.
CAROL SCHOENBERGER – Two excellent suggestions which have now been read by the powers that be. I intend to get the cruise directors to be guest bloggers very soon so they can tell you about their ships and ports they visit. Watch this space. Thanks for reading the blog and I appreciate your suggestions so very much.
BIG ED – You are a natural food critic and I think you should adopt a screen name of PETE ZARIA !
ESSEXMAN – You need a cruise !
MARTY – It will soon be here, your Carnival Freedom cruise awaits and I had better get down to answering your questions otherwise I will be still writing this blog when you get here.
1. The Butterfly Farm Excursion in Rhodes is seasonal and as of yet we have not run it. We start next cruise and I will send a report to you and the bloggers straight away.
2. In Turkey, the Grand Bazaar will except U.S. dollars and euros and bargaining is allowed and expected.
3. There are many good restaurants in the Old Town of Rhodes. There is one right at the gated entrance which serves the BEST Gyros. I will check on the name for you but I think it ends in the letters OS  🙂
4.If you cannot find the magazines for Stephanie maybe you get her a menu from a Waffle House, she misses something called smothered, covered and chunked on or up or something.
See you soon mate.
NANETTEALI – Heidi says she likes your idea of a secret handshake whenever you meet and whenever you see a handsome Italian, I have actually never met one though. Hurry up and get here. See you soon.
KERSPLOTT – Heidi just heard the words “Electric Toilet Seat” and has told me to order one. I think that would not be a good idea, supposing it comes down during the actual process of ……….well you know……………… Thanks for the kind words as always.
CANUCKCRUISER – I also am disappointed that we did not meet, did you get the little gift I sent you. Your kind words on THE BEST VACATION YOU HAVE EVER HAD have been passed to the heads of department and I thank you for making their day. I hope that you will keep reading the blog thingy until the next time you cruise.
SOUTHERNDREAMS – Thanks for the info on PODUNK, sounds beautiful and maybe this blog will help make it the new Metropolis of Georgia. The seat is down ……..for now.
ARLIN GUESS – As always myself and the people in blog land salute your wife during her Active duty in the U.S. Army. Your advert for Disney vs Carnival Is so fantastic to read and while I will never say anything negative about them or any other cruise line to hear that you think our “Camp Carnival” program is the best has made me and a lot of others who read this blog very happy. As for the Carnival Splendor, I think that this will be one heck of a ship, COME AND JOIN ME !
LATERIZER – I am going to have some conversation with our photo department about readers suggestions as I think they have a lot of merit. Carnival sells more photos than any other cruise line and if we can make that process easier for the guest, then indeed we should. Please stand by for an update soon. See you in June.
JAMESEMM – If you send me your address I will see what I can do mate.
CATHY NYC – I remember with fondness our conversation during the Morning Show. Your comments are so kind and again they have been passed around the vessel. I especially am glad you liked Ticket To Ride, we are very proud of that show. Our President and CEO Bob Dickinson said it was his favorite show as well as it is mine. I will keep blogging and keep posting photos as well and I send my best wishes to you and the family.
VICKI AND MATT – I seem to have done a lot of interviews these past few days so I guess another one won’t hurt………….here we go
5.) If you could picture yourself being an animal, what would you be???
I think of myself as an Buffalo. Calm, built for comfort and horny  – as in ready to take a challenge head on, not the other horn.  Never mind.
Heidi has just seen my answer and says that right now and because I had a Curry for dinner I am a Skunk 🙁
4.) If you could walk off the boat and be anywhere, where would you be? (Now remember I didn’t say be with anyone, I said anywhere)
SIMPLE……………….HOME
3.) If you could possess any three items; what would they be?
Angelina Jolie, An Aston Martin DB9 Volante with her in the front seat and faster typing fingers
2.) Your favorite holiday on a boat?
I really want to do a Trans-Atlantic, New York to Southampton but I think a carnival Cruise anywhere is hard to beat.
And here we go with our number 1 question ….
1.) If you turned the corner and saw Angelina Jolie standing there you would say ……….
Would you be the Godmother of the Carnival Splendor…………….and “Have you ever seen Wife Swap ”
KATHY HADOULIS – I miss George the Greek. He is one of the great characters that still works for us and I have not seen him in years. You will love KEN. He is from Ireland has the charm and wit that usually is associated with that country’s people and sings just like Frank Sinatra. See you and the rest of the Mellow Yellows very soon.
SHELEE – .there is indeed a formal night on the three-day Sensation cruise. This will be on the second night and is a wonderful tradition on all our ships and a chance to meet your captain. Have a wonderful time and let me know how you get on.
JAN IN WA – June 6 will be here before you know it. Please write me a note when you get onboard.
This blog is a perfect example of how long it sometimes takes me. I started this on the sea day and am finishing it after leaving Messina, Sicily. Talking of that, what a thrill for Captain D’Aita to dock the ship in his home town, you should have seen the grin on his face as he family came to visit and he also got to go home (I think he needed some of Mom’s cooking). I had mentioned to guests that I would not be able to get off the ship today and if they saw a canoli shop could they get me one…………I got 29. Being Diabetic I have passed them on to the staff and next cruise I am going to ask someone to bring me a Rolex ! We just sailed past stromboli, here are a few photos.
Picture from Stromboli Picture from Stromboli

NOW, HERE IS SOME NEWS.
Do you remember how I mentioned that all the Destiny, Spirit and Conquest class all have the word CARNIVAL in front of them, well know during a series of refits the FANTASY CLASS ships will all now be changed to have the name, CARNIVAL in front of them: carnival Fantasy, Carnival Ecstasy, etc. I think this is a great idea, here is the press release for your reading pleasure. I wonder if they thought of this after reading my blog………………I think I just stepped into the realms of Fantasy there, or should I say Carnival Fantasy.
 
Today, I would like to feature a guest blogger who has agreed to answer some questions. May I introduce carnival’s 21st best looking Casino Manager………MR. GARETH MILLAR.

 Gareth Millar

1. HOW AND WHERE DID YOU START IN THE CASINO BUSINESS – I started working in casinos in London (Barracuda Club) in 1993. I had just got back from traveling in Canada, was unemployed and finding it hard to get a job that didn’t involve fast food. I saw an advert in the Evening Standard for a training college for croupiers that guaranteed a job or you got your 500 pounds training fee back. I had to borrow the money but I suppose it was the best 500 pounds I ever spent.

2. WHAT WAS YOUR FIRST CARNIVAL SHIP AND WHAT IS YOUR HISTORY WITH THE COMPANY – My first Carnival ship was the Fantasy, which I joined in 1995 and  I worked for Carnival as a dealer until the end of September 1997. I took a couple of years off during which time I spent about a year at home in England and then I went backpacking to South Africa, Zimbabwe and Australia. In 1999, I returned to Carnival as a casino dealer, worked my way up through the ranks and was promoted to casino manager in 2003.

3. HOW MANY EMPLOYEES DO YOU HAVE ONBOARD AND FROM HOW MANY COUNTRIES – The Carnival Freedom has a casino staff of 46 and between all of us we have pretty much worked on all of the cruise lines operated by Carnival Corporation. There are 15 different nationalities working here. We even have someone from SCOTLAND!

4. EXPLAIN THE ROLE OF THE CASINO HOST – As a job description our casino hosts are responsible for all of the marketing and promotional activities in the casino, including the operation of the Ocean Players Club; much the same way as a land based casino host.

5. WHAT MAKES A CARNIVAL CASINO IN YOUR MIND A BETTER EXPERIENCE THEN LAND BASED CASINOS – Our casinos are more relaxed and friendly than land based casinos. Playing in a casino for the first time can be quite intimidating and our staff appreciate that and are more welcoming and helpful than you may find on land. Our staff are from the four corners of the world and the guests enjoy that diversity.

6. WHAT IS THE MOST POPULAR TABLE GAME – In North America blackjack is still the most popular table game, Europeans tend to favor roulette.

7. FOR A FIRST TIMER IN THE CASINO, WHAT GAME WOULD YOU SUGGEST THEY PLAY AND WHY – I would say Blackjack. Most people play card games so they understand the value of the cards and nearly all of us have played a variation of blackjack at home, 21’s, Pontoon etc. so it’s probably the most familiar game. In reality though Roulette is the easiest game to play, put your chips on your favorite numbers and if they come in you win…that’s it!

8. WHAT IS THE MOST OUTRAGEOUS OR ANNOYING THING A GUEST HAS EVER DONE IN THE CASINO DURING YOUR TIME AS MANAGER – As a manager there are quite a few, it comes with the territory. The most outrageous thing though happened to a mate of mine when we were dealers. He was dealing Caribbean Stud Poker to a rather well endowed young lady who said if she got a good hand she was going to flash him! A few hands later she got a full house…..she stood by her word! 

9. OBVIOUSLY WE CANNOT MENTION WINNIGS ETC BUT WHAT IS THE LARGEST AMOUNT OF MONEY YOU HAVE EVER SEEN ONE PERSON BET ON A HAND OF BLACK JACK. – Blackjack not much, maybe a total of $4,000 on one hand. When I worked in London I saw a guy win over 200,000 British pounds on one number on roulette!….he lost over 1 million pounds that night though!

10. YOU HAVE ONE MILLION DOLLARS TO BET OF CARNIVAL’S MONEY WHICH YOU HAVE TO DOUBLE IN 30 MINUTES….WIN AND YOU ARE PROMOTED TO VICE PRESIDENT OF CASINOS, LOSE AND YOU GET TO BE A DEALER IN A GAME OF STRIP POKER IN A MEN’S PRISON. WHAT DO YOU BET THE MONEY ON AND WHY – If I had 30 minutes I would probably play blackjack. By playing proper strategy you can almost get the odds to 50/50 but as with any gamble your never guaranteed a win. If I only had one bet then I would play roulette and put the whole lot on red….for no reason other than 19 is the date of my birthday it is red. I just hope I would double up…..the option of losing that bet just doesn’t bare thinking about.
So, all in all a busy few days and now it is time to get ready for the Talent Show. There is just enough time to tell you a story from yesterday at sea. I was chatting with a guest after my Travel Talk who was telling me — or at least trying to tell me what he wanted to do — in Messina and Barcelona.
I really did not understand what he wanted to do and I could see he was a little uncomfortable, so I asked him not to worry and tell me what he wanted and did……………he wanted me to tell him where he could find …….ummmmmmmmmmmmmm, some entertainment provided by some of the local ladies ………….if you know what I mean.
Heidi and one of the other Entertainment Hosts were with me and they they both looked a little shocked and somewhat embarrassed. Now I know of many such places but of course I could not admit to that with Heidi there………………KIDDING……………..I AM KIDDING.
I was also a little embarrassed as was about to tell him no when the devil inside me said  “I have no idea sir, but please have a word with Ken your Maitre d tonight as he is the ship expert on such places.  Needless to say he did, …and Ken is not happy 🙂
It never ceases to amaze me what guests think they can ask…………………..and long may that continue because as long as it does, so will this blog thingy.

GOODNIGHT

YOUR FRIENDS

JOHN AND HEIDI

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.