Thinking Of The Future……A Blog Survey Thingy

October 20, 2007 -

John Heald

4:30pm – Thursday – getting ready for the Captain’s party.You won’t believe this – I now have two cut fingers, the new one happened this evening and I had to tell you about it. So, there I am in the shower (steady girls) washing my hair when I get shampoo in my eyes which stings more than being surprised by a Turkish hose pipe.

The pain of Head and Shoulders in the eye was nothing compared to what was to follow. There I am in the shower, my eyes stinging and unable to see nothing I groap for the tap to turn the shower off…………….and then as my hand headed for what I thought was the tap……………I caressed Heidi’s ladies razor thingy which was placed on top of the tap…………and that was me looking like an extra from some B Horror Movie. Now, as I screamed in pain, my eyes still stinging from the shampoo and blood pumping from my 4th finger that my darling wife would rush to my side………………you would be wrong………..she strolled in, looked at me and said “you are so clumsy”……………….bloody hell, it’s not my fault that she had rigged the bath up like some Delta Force assault course. Just once it would be nice to have a bath or shower and not be surrounded by an entire Wal-Mart store.

I miss my single days when the bathroom was mine………..it was just me and my soap………………on a rope.

Here is a photo of my two fingers.

Here is a photo of my two fingers.

Good Morning again. It is now Friday morning at 8:05 am and we are on the way to Venice and should arrive on schedule around noon. Last night was very eventful in oh so many ways. Let’s start with the weather. We had bright sunshine yesterday at sea and the sea was as flat as pancake that’s been run over by an 18-wheeler truck……..twice. I mean, there was not a ripple (that’s a hard word to type with just one finger) anywhere. The Lido deck was full of people relaxing in the sun and even though the average age onboard this cruise is 67, everyone was sun worshiping in their bathing costumes……….some should not have been allowed to…..you know, rather than just putting a size on the label they should also put an age limit as well. Anyway, it was a beautiful day that turned into a wonderful formal night. The Captain’s parties were busy and everyone had changed into their formal attire except the poor 28 cabins whose luggage is missing who as usual I encouraged to come wearing whatever they had.

From the parties guests went to dinner and the lobster, prime rib and chocolate melting cake were the most popular items as per usual. Then it was off to the Big Easy show and both received a standing ovation and rave reviews from the guests. After the second show I returned to the cabin, tired and with two fingers covered in plasters (band aids) that had subjected me to much ridicule over the last few hours from guests and crew…………….sympathy was in short supply while laughter at my misfortune were now getting on my nerves.

As I sat down to finish the night with some work at the computer it started. Heavy rain began to lash the window in the cabin, some of the heaviest I can remember for a long time.

The bouncing began……………I know it was Thursday and I wish it had been recreational bouncing but nope……..the ship decided to have a little dance, which turned into a bit of Fred Astaire and by 1 am she had merged break dancing and head banging together and was having a wonderful time. I looked on channel 14 on the cabin televisions and saw wind speeds of 80 knots coming across the bow and the once placid Mediterranean sea which only a few hours ago had been as smooth as silk had changed completely. Large swells created potholes for the ship to dance in and out of and foam and spray decorated the ship and up past my window on deck 5.

This went on for some hours and even though I never, ever get seasick when the ship is like this I do have trouble sleeping. Eventually at around 3 am things calmed down and I must have fallen asleep and here we are this morning at 8 am and it’s like it was a dream. The sea is calm, the skies blue and it is as though last nights storm……….never happened. I am off to my morning show soon and I will discover how the guests handled our dancing ship last night……..hopefully they were all OK an non of them said any prayers in front of the god of porcelain…………….I will let you know.

Just before we leave this subject here is a report from the Purser’s office from last night…………have a look at this.

Guest: Mrs __________
Cabin: ____ Booking#: ____

____ – Complaint about window washingMrs. _________ called Purser’s Desk early in the morning (2:20 am) to report that someone was washing her window and that it had woken her up. Purser said that this was not possible as we are at sea and what she hears is the rain. Guest said thank you and hung up. Tasked to Housekeeping.So, it is off to the Morning Show and past guest party and then our arrival into Venice. Just before I go have a look at this wonderful couple who were on stage with me. This is the aptly named Mr. and Mrs. Shrimp from Arizona. Mrs. Shrimp is 5 foot nothing and Mr. Shrimp is 6 foot 5…………..they have been married for 52 years…………….priceless.

Mr & Mrs Shrimp

Back soon.

OK, here I am again and it is now 12:32 am. Today, in Venice I expect a few difficulties. Here is an e-mail from our agency in Venice which we received just 24 hours ago.

We just had very bad news about the shuttle service. The coach supplier informed us that shuttles for private services are not allowed to take people from/to Piazza Roma anymore. This regulation was actually in force even in the past but it was never applied. Therefore, the shuttle service will not be operating during the upcoming call of the Freedom.

What does this mean? Well, it means that all the cruise lines that used to offer a shuttle service to the Vaporetto (waterbus) station at Piazza Roma. This means that guests now need to walk there. This will take approximately 15 minutes and is fine if the weather is OK but if not…………well, lets just hope we can sort this out before next season………….we have to. Anyway, I have passed on the information and let’s see what happens. I will let you know. One thing is for certain is that the weather today is on our side, the sun is shining and it’s 70 degrees.

Here are some photos of………………..food. These are from Naples and I hope you enjoy them……………..I did.

1. OUR FAVORITE PIZZERIA IN NAPLES – VESUVIUS PIZZERIA

1. OUR FAVORITE PIZZERIA IN NAPLES - VESUVIUS PIZZERIA

2. HEIDI’S PIZZA

2. HEIDI’S PIZZA

3. A SFOGIATELLAS – THIS IS A PASTRY FILLED WITH DAIRY CREAM……….NOT SUGAR FREE……..THEREFORE NOT MINE

3. A SFOGIATELLAS - THIS IS A PASTRY FILLED WITH DAIRY CREAM……….NOT SUGAR FREE……..THEREFORE NOT MINE

4. THE BEST ICE CREAM SHOP IN NAPLES

4. THE BEST ICE CREAM SHOP IN NAPLES

5 THE MOST POPULAR RESTAURANT IN NAPLES

5 THE MOST POPULAR RESTAURANT IN NAPLES

Here are the letters from today’s In Their Own Words section……………….by the way, I had no idea what a Red Hat Lady thingy was and why I should be ashamed. I now know and a meeting was arranged for today………four ladies were there………I hope they had a good time.

Also, please see a letter from Southern Dreams, a longtime blogger. She is having a wonderful time and Heidi and I are taking great care of her.

In Their Own Words

In Their Own Words

In Their Own Words

In Their Own Words

In Their Own Words

In Their Own Words

Here is the joke of the day sent to me by Chris Roberts a Cruise Director from the Deep South who we call ” Bubba.”

One day, Jimmy Jones was walking down Main Street when he saw his buddy Bubba driving a brand new pickup.
Bubba pulled up to him with a wide grin.
Bubba, where’d you git that truck?!?”
“Tammie give it to me” Bubba replied.
“She give it to ya?
I know’d she wuz kinda sweet on ya, but a new truck?”
“Well, Jimmy Jones, let me tell you what happened. We wuz drivin’ out on County Road 6, in the middle of nowheres. Tammie pulled off the road, put the truck in 4-wheel drive, and headed into the woods. She parked the truck, got out, threw off all her clothes and said,
‘Bubba, take whatever you want.’
So I took the truck! ”
“Bubba, yore a smart man! Them clothes woulda never fit you!”

Now, the bit of the blog I have not been looking forward to. The comments and questions. As you can see I have had over 350 plus comments and honestly, I don’t know where to start. There is obviously no way I can answer every one of them and if I did there would be no chance to actually write any blogs. I am also extra busy on board helping prepare for the crossing as well as winding down everything from the European season. Therefore, and only with your permission, I am not going to answer any more questions or comments for the remainder of this cruise and therefore the following thingies will apply.

1. I promise you a blog every day from now until the day I leave the ship.

2. If you have any urgent questions or need my help in anyway shape or form, please post a comment marked URGENT – PRIVATE and Roberto will send it to me.

3. Please note that I promise to read each and every comment that is posted………..really………I promise faithfully that will happen and I hope you understand that I need to do this.

4. When I return home and after a few days I will blog at least twice or three times a week and will return to answering questions and comments……………..every one of them………..promise.

I hope you will forgive me, especially my friends who have been writing every single day…….you know who you are……….sorry 🙁

Anyway, normal service will be resumed on vacation and I hope I have your understanding……………..I really do.

There is however one comment I wish to reply to specifically and one general observation I would like to make. Let’s start with this posted comment as it really concerned me and I felt the need to publicly address it………………..here it is.

christmascor
John,
I guess the comment section of the blog is reserved for your special friends because my comment and request for help; went unposted AND unanswered. Since you can’t be bothered with an issue I feel is important to many, could you tell me how to provide input to Carnival management on how passengers 18-20 are completely left on their own and there are NO social activities to that age group. I really don’t want to wait till the comment card at the end of the cruise, because no one apparently read those comments either

Let me start by saying to the author of this comment that I am sorry that I have not replied before. Maybe you have not been reading the blog thingy for long so I just wanted to point out that I am just one man…………ok…………one and half men with a light fluffy shell………….and the blog was created to be a source of fun, family and information. Yours was one of 3oo-plus posted comments and I am sorry that you feel that I ignored you but now I am positive that you will understand that not only do I have this blog to write but I also have a full time job as the Cruise Director on the Carnival Freedom.

In answer to your comment I wondered if I could kindly ask for your help. I guess, we as a company and myself as a Cruise Director do, as you state, not emphasize too many specifics for people of 18 – 20 years of age……………….why?…………..well, I guess that we anticipate that people of your age will likely enjoy the sun, the shows and the nightlife without needing a specific list of times and places to meet etc. Therefore, maybe you can educate me on what it is you are looking for us to do that will enable you to enjoy the cruise experience more…………please be my guide as it was a few years ago that I was your age. I look forward to hearing from you and also just wanted to point out that the blog now has 970,000 slaps and everyone…………..even if I don’t have time to reply to their comments……………is someone I consider a special friend………………including you. Therefore, I hope you write another comment soon.

The second subject I want to address is regarding some people (just a few – but some) who wrote comments on the blog called Fun Ship Reborn indicating that they were not happy with the service on the Carnival Inspiration and that some felt the ship was not ready to receive guests after coming out of dry dock.

This blog does not have the facilities to replace our guest relations department but I do want to say this.If you did experience some issues on one of those first sailings relating to the ship having just come out of its massive renovation, I strongly encourage you to please contact our guest relations department and tell them what you feel and be as specific as possible. I saw one or two comments like this one.

I can’t believe it is the same ship….I wish we waited, I really was un-impressed the first time. I would love to try it again, but I don’t think I can talk the wife into it. She had some problems w/ the service as well.

In every barrel of apples there is going to be one bad one and that is the same when you put 1000 crew on a ship. I promise you though that nobody is more committed to service and crew friendliness than Carnival and specifically………me. Please, let Carnival know who or what you feel needs to improve and come and sail again……………I promise you we will all make sure you will see just why we continue to be the World’s Most Popular cruise Line. If that title is something we want to keep………then we must listen to our guests, find out what they want and act upon those suggestions.

With this in mind I want to ask for all of your help…………….as many as possible. In a few days I will be joining some of Carnival’s top executives (I will be in the back row) for a meeting in Miami. This meeting will be led by Gerry Cahill our new and exciting President and CEO along with Ruben Rodriguez, our new Executive Vice President of Marketing and Guest Services. This meeting will be the first ingredient in a new recipe that will assure the future is as bright or brighter than it’s illustrious past.

Therefore, who better to tell us what you want than you……….the thousands of bloggers who read this every day.

This is what I ask.

Please list your top three reasons why you continue to cruise with Carnival. Is it the value for money, is it the food, the entertainment, the service or just because we have unlimited chocolate melting cake every night?

Then, I would like you to list the top three areas you feel we can improve on. Now, with this one I would like you to generalize if possible. Rather than say that you found an old sock in your cabin when you boarded (and if it’s a blue one with a photo of Pamela Andersen on it , it’s mine) ………….say cleanliness…………..is it better facilities for younger cruisers ………..more space for ????

I am sure you get the picture.

Finally, I want you to dream. I want you to close your eyes and imagine that you are Micky Arison, Gerry Cahill and the entire Carnival team. Close your eyes and picture yourself at the head of the boardroom table…………the entire cruising world is waiting for your earth shattering announcement when you say…………”here are the new THREE facilities or guest experiences we will be placing on board our next generation of ships”…………….and with a stroke of your diamond encrusted Mont Blanc pen you sign off on new features……………………..oh, by the way…………….you also announce that I am getting an Aston Martin.

So, that’s your homework for the next few days. Roberto and I will collate all the information and it will be passed along to everyone at the meeting in Miami. I promise I will read every list of which I hope to have many. Even if you have never posted or slapped on a reply before…………….make this the one time you do…………..that little idea in your head could become reality.

Just a reminder of what we need.

1. TOP THREE REASONS YOU LOVE CARNIVAL

2. TOP THREE AREAS WHERE WE NEED IMPROVEMENT

3. YOUR DREAM OF WHAT YOU WOULD LIKE TO SEE ON BOARD

Now, I would like you to see Maurice and Angela……………both bloggers. Angela was on stage with me and I asked her if her husband was romantic …………well ……………the first mistake was using the word “husband.” They have been together for 12 years but are just …………well…………..together. Therefore, I have set Maurice a challenge this cruise. Using his city name of Chicago as a starting point, anytime I mention this he has to come running on to stage, jump up and down for joy three times, do a sexy dance, go down on one knee and repeat this speech.

ANGELA, IT HAS BEEN 12 WONDERFUL YEARS

I LOVE YOU

I WANT YOU

I NEED YOU

AND TONIGHT – (THEN HE HAS TO DO A SEXY FRENCH LAUGH)

IT’S GOING TO BE A YABA DABA DOO TIME

So far he has done this four times and each time with such gusto and wonder. I once had another blogger do this (hello John) and Maurice is doing fabulous. He even has to do it when I mention “Chicago” over the PA system and this morning as we were coming into Venice it was reported to me that he did his “number” on deck 9 and the whole deck was clapping and cheering him on.

Here are a few photos from the Welcome Aboard Show of Maurice and hopefully his soon-to-be wife.

ANGELA, IT HAS BEEN 12 WONDERFUL YEARS

I LOVE YOU

I WANT YOU

I NEED YOU

AND TONIGHT - (THEN HE HAS TO DO A SEXY FRENCH LAUGH)

IT’S GOING TO BE A YABA DABA DOO TIME

IT’S GOING TO BE A YABA DABA DOO TIME

Just to finish with today I want to tell you about Cynthia Quevedo. This cruise we received another batch of ON THE DECK FOR THE CURE breast cancer awareness T – Shirts and wristbands. Within two hours we had sold out and raised another $5500. The walk this week will be led by Catherine. After my little chat with the guests at the travel talk that we would be doing this she told us all her story at the Q & A. She is 85 years old and is a survivor of breast cancer but her story is even more incredible as she has been blind all her life. She raised three beautiful children one who she lost to breast cancer a few years ago. Her husband will help guide her and make sure she leads this lap of honour and I will make sure we take a photo or two for you all to share.

I also know that Southern Dreams will be there as well………………we will do this as we leave Venice tomorrow and although Cynthia will not be able to see I will make sure she and hears everyone’s support for her and all the people who will do their bit to help find the cure.

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.