The Oscar Goes to….

February 26, 2008 -

John Heald

There are complaints that make you go “Wow, you know what, they are absolutely right; why the heck didn’t we think of that?” 

Here is such an example.

Guest: ______ Owner: JEAZ) Jessica Zanolari _
Booking#: _______ Added-Changed: 02/23/08 – 02/24/08

Sanitary Bag SuggestionMs _______ approached Purser’s desk stating that she had wanted a sanitary bag but had discovered that as per the notice in her cabin she should ask her State Room Steward for some. Ms __________ felt very uncomfortable doing this as her Steward is male. Guest was given some sanitary disposal bags and Purser apologized for the inconvenience.

I read this in our daily log report this morning and I realized that yes she must have felt very uncomfortable asking for this. Now, obviously we know why we need the bags as anything heavier than the regular toilet paper can easily block the vacuum system but surely we can put some of these things in the cabin…………..why make someone feel uncomfortable if it can be avoided?

Anyway, I discussed this with the Housekeeping Manager and Hotel Director and they agreed and we are now placing the bags in the cabins where female guests are staying with a polite sign asking them not to deposit them in the toilet. I personally called the guest and thanked her for bringing it to our attention and I wonder how many guests have left the ship having felt the same embarrassment but told us nothing. It is these sorts of comments that make us a better company.

Then………..well…………….there are ones like this.

Guest: ________ Ref: ________ Owner: (TAJD) Tamara Djukic
Cabin: _____ Booking#: _____ Added-Changed: 02/23/08 – 02/24/08

Unhappy that there are no African American Entertainers.Mrs ______ came to the desk to make a complaint about the show last night. She stated that the Cruise Director had all the entertainment staff on stage and introduced them all and none were African American. Then tonight at the show she also said that none of the dancers and singers were as well. Guest wants very angry and shouting at Purser. Purser asked guest to not shout, please. Guest said she would expect an answer from someone immediately and left the desk. E mail sent to Cruise Director.

Now, this is, of course, a very sensitive subject and please remember that the only reason I share this with you is that this blog thingy is all about sharing the good, the bad and the difficult.

We have 16 dancers and two singers in our cast and the lady is correct — none are African American. Auditions for our casts are held throughout the year all over the world and our production entertainment team employee the most talented…….it’s that simple. If the lady had sailed on here two weeks ago she would have found that our featured singer in the show was Lawrence Neals, a brilliantly talented singer who has been chosen from all of our vocalists to be the featured entertainer on the Carnival Splendor…………he is an African American.

So, armed with this information I met with the lady and told her everything I just mentioned and even told her that two of our fly-on entertainers Marvin Bell and Marcus Anthony who will both be performing this week were both African American………….it resolved………………….absolutely nothing. The lady even was bold enough to call me a “racist”…………….and I admit………it took all of my willpower not just to tell her what she could do with her comments……………..and walk out of her meeting.

But, I didn’t……………..

I sat there and took it on the chin (chins) and explained that her comment could never be true considering I have worked onboard for 20 years among crew members of every creed, colour and religion…………I said that and her response was to do what I felt like I had wanted to do……………she held her hand up stopping me in mid-sentence …….. and told me that she would not be coming to any of the shows and would be writing to somebody or some organization that I did not understand and she walked away.

I felt utterly deflated………….

I truly felt that after my explanation she would understand but I had failed miserably and, if anything, I had made the situation worse. I admit that as I walked back from the lobby to the cabin I did so through crew only areas as I really didn’t feel in any mood to smile and say “good morning.”

I have calmed down a bit now which is a good thing as I am due on stage in a minute to host “Battle of the Sexes” with Heidi but, boy, did I let that lady get under my skin.

I know many of you will feel you need to comment on this and let me tell you that I can never ever remember such a comment in all these years…………..it was a one of and I am sure for the lady in question it goes much deeper than the colour of our dancers’ skin.

I have not given up though…………….I am determined to win this lady around and have sent a personal invitation for her to see Marcus Anthony’s show which is a Motown review tonight. I sent a letter to her cabin asking her to please come and then I will follow up with her the following day………………I hope she does come because he is a great entertainer and I will not let her beat me………..I will have her giving me a hug by the end of the cruise………………I want to go from racist to a big cuddly teddy bear who she wants to take home with her…………………………I will let you know how it goes.

I feel a little better today. I took the Ibuprofen last night as well as some cough medicine that contains something called codeine and I love it……………………I took some, put my head on the pillow and the next thing I remember it was morning. It was the best night’s sleep I have had in three days but there are two side effects.

The first is something that only affected Heidi…………apparently it made me snore ………. and it was very, very loud. So much so that I awoke to find Heidi sleeping on the sofa………………I had no idea that she had got up in the night and moved to the sofa bed. Now, she said that she didn’t want to wake me but deep down beneath those pretty blue eyes I could see that she was debating if I belonged in the doghouse or not.

The second side effect is that my nose although not running had decided to grow crops in it. I delved into my nasal passage and pulled out various vegetables and one huge green thing that looked like a ship with a pointed end at the front and a flat end at the back…….. it was the “booger of the seas”………….I showed Heidi that it was docked on the end of my finger………………and that was me in the house of dogs.

Here are today’s random photos

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While you are at the party, she is cleaning your home

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Preparing hors d’oeuvres for the Elegant Night party

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John and Captain D’Aita

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Heidi and Captain D’Aita

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A friendly smile

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Cocktail Pianist Przemek

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Here are today’s letters – “In Their Own Words.”

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Time for the Q and A…………….and away we go.

SUZANN…………….Chicken soup………….I love chicken soup and it does indeed help. My favorite is my Mum’s homemade soup and I wish she was here to make it for me. Anyway, I am slowly starting to feel better and hopefully I will be fighting fit by the time you cruise. Best you both and see you soon.

BETTYBOOP1BIGKAHUNA………………I am glad you enjoyed Mr. Antonini’s interview and hope you also enjoyed the one with Pieter from Holland America Line. I am hoping that Heidi does not get my cold but the chances are of course are that indeed she will. Thanks for your kind words and our best to you and the family.

PRINCESS ELAINE……………It’s so funny that chicken soup has been mentioned by four different bloggists as a cure for my cold. You asked what happened to all the gifts I received on the Bloggers Cruise…………well…………it was all packed up and sent home and the scrapbook and birthday gifts will indeed become part of my Dad’s shrine. You also mentioned you hoped Alan would join us on the Bloggers cruise and I hope so to…………..there is certainly a good chance the way things are going. Thank you so much for all your kind words and hope we see each other soon.

JEFF…………….I have asked the Carnival Pride for a location and time for your Cruise Critic meeting. I will make sure you know very soon and I will also ask the Cruise Director to put this in his Capers. Thanks for the kind words and I will get back to you shortly.

JULIA BARNES…………..G’dday Julie and thanks for the update of the Queen Victoria’s whereabouts. It seems that this particular brand has an audience wherever the famous smokestack is seen. I know many people like you who would travel a long way just to get a glimpse. Imagine what sailing on her must be like. Anyway, I hope things are well down there in the land of Kangaroos and Fosters and please send our best to all the family. Aussie, Aussie, Aussie!

GIRLDOC……………..Ah yes, the breakfast of champions……….Mimosas. You are I see sailing back to back on the Carnival Destiny and in answer to your question, yes, you will need to reactivate your Sail & Sign card for the new voyage. Fear not, though, as you can use it immediately and there is always a bar open for you to enjoy your champagne and orange juice. Try my favorite, champagne, tequila and prune juice for breakfast ………it’s called the Mexican Roadrunner……………….drink 10 and we will give you a free pair of Nikes …………you will need them. Thanks for the posting and your continuing support of my thingy.

JAKE SILVERBERG……………come and sail again soon Jake, mate, and we will run around together.

GINA………..Thanks for the kind words and let me know how the bubble and squeak goes.

DEBORAH ROSATO……………….Do you know we have a musician onboard called Frank Rosato?…………….Of course you don’t know that — but I thought I might tell you anyway. Thanks for the get well message and hope you are enjoying the blog thingy.

PATTI HOPKINS……………I was so happy to read your posting that said how much you enjoyed your Carnival Freedom cruise last week. It was an honour to have you onboard and I hope that until you cruise again that this blog thingy will keep you going. My best to you and your family and please come and sail with us again soon.

DAWN P………….Thanks to you as well Dawn for wishing my cold better. You asked about Supper Club reservations for the Carnival Splendor. I promise Roberto will add this to the link thingy on June 1 — one month before we sail to give everyone chance to book their choice time. Looking forward to seeing you soon and thanks again for the get-well wishes.

MARK…………..Thanks for link and loved the “Lego” reference. I hope one day you dream of touring the shipyard comes true……..it is fascinating to see. I agree with everything you said and the “floating continent” remark was very apt. Cheers mate.

MARK CHAMBLISS……………….What date are you coming for lunch onboard mate?

LUCINDA MILLER……………..hello Lucinda and I cannot believe the last time we met was when you sailed on the Carnival Sensation when I was filming with the Olsen Twins…………goodness that seems ages ago. I am so glad you have discovered the blog thingy of mine and that you enjoy reading it along with the other 1.6 million visitors. I also hope that you will come and sail with me again, it has been too long.

KEN COOPER………………….I read the letter Ken proclaiming how great you thought Heidi was and you, of course, are right. She is so lucky to have me and …… oops ………….. sorry…………..I meant…………….I am so lucky to have her and I know I often take her for granted. Thanks for doing this and I hope you and your wife had a fantastic cruise. Cheers mate.

HEIDI – BETH – AND KEVIN………………….let’s make a deal. Come on the bloggers cruise and I will buy a bottle of champagne for each of you……………that’s 3 bottles…………………are you coming?

SUSAN B…………….The problem with eating Jelly Beans when you have a cold is that when you sneeze violently it causes an immediate explosion from the other end …….. wish you were here.

SHELLY…………….. How wonderful that you should write having just returned from your Carnival Freedom cruise. Of course, I remember meeting you and your husband. Yes, I walked out on stage to host the Marriage Show and your husband noticed that the mouth of the cave was open……………..I was so embarrassed but thanks to your husband he made sure that the entire audience of 1,000 people knew all about it ……… still…………..the cave was open but the beast was asleep. It was great meeting you both even under those circumstances and I hope that you come and see us again soon. My best to you both.

That is all the Q and A for today……………..there will be more tomorrow and as always I apologize if I have missed anyone’s questions and please send me them again.

Let us congratulate BIG ED on an amazing 50,000 slaps on his blog. We are all very proud of you mate and I know many people have become friends with each other through your site. Congratulations and here’s to the next 50,000…………Cheers.

I awoke this morning feeling much better. My head still feels like Rosanne Barr is sitting on it but at least my nose has stopped depositing pints of pea soup into my one and only handkerchief…………I must remember to have Heidi wash that by the way.

Anyway, last night we showed the Oscars on the Seaside Theatre big screen which, surprisingly, many people decided to watch in its entirety. I have never been a big awards show fan. They go on forever and after a while the speeches are so boring as they thank their sisters next door neighbors cousins brother who inspired them to act at the age of 3.

Heidi, of course, loves it………….she loves the glamour and the dresses and I of course have to sit there and answer the “Do you like that dress?” question a dozen times. Of course, like a good house-trained husband I pretended I care when really I would rather be watching anything but this……..eve Richard Simmons dancing in a pair of tight red hot pants.

Anyway, I did see a beautiful lady called Marion Coltillard who won Best Actress and was the Godmother to the Costa Serena…………good choice. I actually started to think of all the possible Godmother possibilities as I watched last night………..Cate Blanchett, Cameron Diaz, Penelope Cruz, Jennifer Garner, Elton John, Renee Zellweger …………. the list was endless. I keep thinking as well that we could hold a fantastic movie premiere on board our ships now they have the giant screens…………..sail with the stars ……….. watch the movie premiere…………..that would be superb……………….we could do it………………we really could.

In between listening to Heidi tell me how she wishes she had a dress that big and a bottom that small, I watched the Big Easy shows in the theatre and then had an early night and was in bed by midnight. I then remembered that the clocks went forward an hour as well………..bugger.

My day has been spent thinking about how mad that lady got me and how upset I was that I had failed to win her around and that failure has left me even more determined to do so. I was so upset that she had called me a ………you know what………..I cannot even bring myself to type the word. Anyway, I was just going to send this blog to Stephanie to post when yet again fate intervened and proof positive that the Carnival crewmembers are the perfect description of the words “United Nations.”

Last week we arranged a group of crew to go to a very small village 75 km west of Ocho Rios to help paint and decorate a new orphanage. We supplied all the materials, the paint and members of every department went to help.

Here are some photos

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And the Oscar for the most generous, giving, caring, don’t-care-what-colour-or-religion-you-are crew in the world goes to…………………….Carnival Cruise Lines.

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.

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