A Public Relations Dream

June 24, 2008 -

John Heald

After spending years scorning the Eye Pod I admit that since Heidi bought me one I have accepted it into my life and confess that I am a born again Poder.

However……………after today…………….I wish I never had.

In the beginning, listening to an iPod was a solitary pursuit. No one knew what you had on there, so you could load it up with all your favourite tunes, no matter how embarrassing and full of sugar they might be

But now you can plug your personal music library into all manner of systems for all your friends and family to hear…………………..bugger.

We all have guilty secrets, things that we’d rather leave buried in the deep recesses of our cupboards. I, for instance, used to have erotic dreams about Wonder Woman.

I’ll admit to this. In fact I just have. But I would never have admitted, even to my closest friend, that I recently paid $1 to download Mariah Carey singing Hero.

I know it’s a terrible song. I know there’s a horrible segue in the middle. I know that its mostly listened to by teenagers wearing pants with the word Pink or Cool on their bottoms or by single middle aged men who wear glasses with tape round them and who read Stalkers Weekly magazine……….. But secretly I like it, so one day, when Heidi was out and the house, I downloaded it to my EyePod and since then have spent many happy, albeit slightly guilty, hours on planes listening to it.

But then today while working in the office surrounded by my staff I foolishly plugged my EyePod into a pair of loudspeakers. To begin with all was well. There was a bit of Clapton, some Deep Purple and a smattering of Def Lepard. People tapped their feet approvingly as they worked …………..all was well as Smoke on the Water came to an end.

But then on came Mariah and one by one everyone stopped talking. Slowly their heads turned to me. “Did you download this?” “Yes.” “On purpose?” “Yes.”

You could have cooked sausages on my face…………….and things were about to get even worse…………..Michael Jackson and Paul McCartney were about to sing Ebony and Ivory.

Since then, Heidi has been giving me funny looks. It’s almost as though she’s suddenly found out that I’m weird and maybe wear her clothes when she is out. She thought she knew me. But since she found I have Mariah Carey on my Eyepod she realizes that actually she doesn’t know me at all.

Nor I her. Because recently we were listening to hers, and in among the Dutch Music and light and breezy pop I was attacked — and that is the right word? — by something called Amy Winehouse.

I can only assume that Amy won a competition at some point to see who could make the worst noise on earth. It’s an extraordinary sound: like she is drunk and high or is singing with a baseball shoved in her mouth. As she is singing she has hired that athlete Flo Mo to run her huge fingernails down the side of a blackboard as her background music.

As a result I cannot have Heidi’s Eye Pod on any more than she can have mine……..thank goodness she never found out I had downloaded some Liza Minnelli and Cher!

Well, its Tuesday morning now and I am up very early as I received an unexpected and special invitation to explore the Pacific Princess which is docked down the road in Portofino…………..actually…………..I think its at anchor. Anyway, never one to say no to seeing one of our sister ships I will be collected by car and whisked off to visit her. A full report with pictures will be with you on Wednesday.

I have not had chance to read your comments about the interview with Stein Kruse the President and CEO of Holland America. I know though that you will have enjoyed his comments and will have checked out the Eurodam blog.

Talking of comments a quick public thank you to Stephanie…….you have no idea how hard she works for this blog each and every day……..including the weekend. Thanks Steph.

Sometimes, I get a little complacent about this blog thingy and I must never let that happen. The fact that we have interviewed the Presidents and senior executives of Cunard, Princess, Seabourn, Holland America, Costa, AIDA P&O and, of course, Carnival should not be overlooked. These busy ladies and gents do not give interviews often and when they do they choose the publication they are talking to carefully …………..the fact that we have been allowed to look through the key hole and into their lives is something to rejoice about. I thank them all so very much.

I have not spoken about the diet much. It’s going OK and I am staying strong. I thought I had lost lots of weight today because my pants fell down…………turns out the elastic had snapped in them.
Still, I feel good but I am also tired and not helped by the fact that the cheap sods in the shipyard keep turning the dam air conditioning off. I spoke to one of the Fincantieri engineers today and asked why it was so hot. He told me it was to prepare the ship should we ever need the heating on in colder ports of call and Atlantic crossings…………I didn’t say anything………………preparation …………..mmmmmmmmm……………….so instead of saying anything I just patted him firmly on the bottom……….”What’s that for?” he asked …………”It’s to prepare your bottom for my foot going in it if you don’t turn the damn air on”………………..Now that’s preparation!

Here are some striking photos of the Red carpet Dance Club and the 15 – 17 year old Club O2.

The dance club as you can see features the mannequins standing at the door. As you enter one says in a voice slightly reminiscent of The Borg from Star Trek “VIP, come right in” Then, as you enter your photo appears for all to see on the many plasma screens festooned around the dance floor………….I can only imagine how much fun that will be for the poor security guard standing at the door checking I.D’s……………….we should program it to say other stuff just for a laugh…………..”You are too ugly to enter……….you will now be assimilated……….resistance is futile”……………….”Madam, you are living proof that not everyone looks good in leather”……………or………….”Your husband is by the bar kissing a man called Bob”……………….ahh, the fun we could have.

Club O2 is teen heaven……….Xstation 3 and Wee Wee games……special activities and most importantly parents and anyone who can’t sing the lyrics to “Slap My Bitch Up ” can’t come in.
We finished the 12 day Capers today, the show Vroom had its first full run through, Mouna the Karaoke Host arrived and oh yes ………….did I tell you that the ship was hotter than a bowl of lava.

It’s now only a few days to the 30th when Carnival takes full ownership of the vessel……………we can clean the ship, stock the bars, make the beds, tune the TV’s, fluff the pillows, fill the pools, and turn the air on.

Many months ago I mentioned my shock at how popular scrap booking was onboard. Since then all our staff have been trained and earned black belts in this ancient art form. Seriously, it is really fantastic and its popularity grows day by day……………..so much so that we have launched a new on-line tool called “scrapblogging.”

Scrapblog Partners with Carnival Cruise Lines to Create and Share Vacation Memories in a Digital Way

Cruisers can now create fun Carnival Cruise Lines-themed multimedia digital scrapbooks with Scrapblog

MIAMI, FL – June 24, 2008 – Scrapblog, Inc., the first web-based service for creating and sharing multimedia scrapbooks, announced today a partnership with Carnival Cruise Lines to provide its guests with a unique and easy way to share memories from their “Fun Ship” cruises. Carnival is the only cruise line to offer this on-line feature to its guests.

Scrapblog is the latest addition to the line’s popular social networking site, CarnivalConnections.com, and offers cruisers an entirely new way to interact and connect though shared vacation experiences. Cruisers can add digital pictures, videos and audio to a customizable Carnival theme to create a personalized, one-of-a-kind multimedia scrapbook of their “Fun Ship” vacation.

Five different “Fun Ship”-themed scrapblogs are available, each patterned after the line’s most popular destinations: the Caribbean, Bahamas, Mexico, Alaska and Europe.

Scrapblogs can be shared with fellow cruisers through the Scrapblog Gallery on CarnivalConnections.com or through direct publishing on popular blogging and social networking platforms including Facebook, Blogger, Typepad, WordPress, Flickr and MySpace.

“Carnival is all about creating a lifetime of wonderful vacation memories and Scrapblog’s easy-to-use, highly interactive platform enables our guests to relive their ‘Fun Ship’ vacation experience through these on-line digital scrapbooks,” said Ruben Rodriguez, Carnival’s executive vice president of marketing and guest experience.

“Preserving and sharing stories of travel experiences is one of the top reasons for creating scrapblogs. This, and the fact that Carnival values community and fun as much as we do makes this partnership ideal,” said Carlos Garcia, CEO and co-founder of Scrapblog.

To view the Scrapblog Gallery on CarnivalConnections.com please visit:
http://www.carnivalconnections.com/scrapblog. Launched in January 2006, CarnivalConnections.com is the cruise industry’s first social networking site and houses a variety of interactive message boards, videos and features, as well as the widely popular blog of Senior Cruise Director John Heald which has generated more than 2.5 million hits since debuting last March.

About Scrapblog, Inc.
Scrapblog is the first web-based service for creating and sharing multimedia scrapbooks online. It enables everyday people to express themselves online in creative ways. Users can aggregate their photos and videos from multiple online sources and mix them with music, audio, text and thousands of creative elements in an environment that is truly drag-and-drop-easy and free. Scrapblog, Inc. is privately held and based in Miami, Florida. For more information on Scrapblog and its features, please visit http://www.scrapblog.com.

About Carnival Cruise Lines
Carnival Cruise Lines, a unit of Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE/LSE: CCL; NYSE: CUK) is the largest and most popular cruise line in the world, with 22 “Fun Ships” operating voyages ranging from three to 18 days in length to the Bahamas, Caribbean, Mexican Riviera, Alaska, Hawaii, the Panama Canal, Canada, New England, Bermuda, Europe and South America. The line currently has three new ships scheduled for delivery between now and 2011. The first of those, the 113,300-ton Carnival Splendor, is scheduled to debut in Europe July 2.

That’s wonderful and I am sure many of you will take advantage of this great partnership.

I received an e-mail tonight from my friends in the Public Relations Department. It appears that I am going to be taking part in a few interviews over the next few days for newspaper, radio and magazine. Obviously the subject will be the Carnival Splendor and possibly the Carnival Dream and maybe the Blog.

I don’t mind interviews and always try to give fresh unregurgated (is that a word?) answers. As I sit there conducting these on the record chats I know by my side are Vice President of Public Relations Tim Gallagher, Director of Public Relations Jennifer De La Cruz and Manager of Public Relations and Blogging Vance Gulliksen.

I have become great friends with these three and I know some of the things I have said to reporters have made them squirm over the years and now it’s even worse as I get to write what I want everyday. Still, the stress of working with me aside I know I could never do their job.

Yes, PR works for celebrities and PR put a fully loaded idiot into No 10 Downing Street who then handed it over to another one, but mostly there is no tangible measure of success. Did the cell phone become a global phenomenon because of great PR? Did the Segway bike thingy that was supposed to revolutionize transportation fail because the PR wasn’t good enough? Nope…….it failed because it was crap… PR people sit in that grey area between the vagaries of making something a sure fire hit or a Laser Disc style failure.

In theory what you try to do in PR is raise awareness and shape public perception. But in reality what you do is take journalists out for lunch and hope you bought them a more expensive meal than the competition did.

Let’s say you are the PR Executive for casual shoes with holes in them called Gators.

You spend weeks trying to get a mention of the Gator shoe you’re promoting in any publication, no matter how small or insignificant. And you’ll find yourself punching the air in red wine-enhanced moment of ecstasy when you find that two dozen phone calls, the promise of a trip to a lap-dancing club and six redrafted press releases have got the product on to page 18 of Foot Fetish Weekly.

However, today, I salute the PR department of Carnival Cruise Lines whom are simply the best………..and following on from PA 007’s breaking news they decided to give me these magnificent renderings of the dream which has come true. ……………the Carnival Dream

Aft Lido

Aft Lido

Dance Club

Dance Club

Dance Club


Outdoor Cafe

Outdoor Cafe


Your friends
John, Heidi, Tim, Vance and the other one

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.