The Wrong Cruise

July 14, 2008 -

John Heald

Good Evening – Let’s start with an ………………….Oopps.

Guest: Ms __________ Ref: 002800930A Owner: (ELBA) Elisa Bortolin
Cabin: ________Booking#: _______ Added-Changed: 07/14/08

Mrs ________ came to the desk at 11:30am saying that she had just listened to the Cruise Director talk about the ports and that she is on the wrong cruise. Guest was shouting and slapping her hand on the desk saying that she was supposed to be going to Venice and Italian ports. Purser explained that the ports were correct and that the ship was going to the Baltic ports. Mrs ________ said that her travel agent had phoned Carnival who had confirmed that the ship was going to Italy. Guest was asked to calm down as she was disturbing others at the desk. Guest then demanded to speak to someone in charge as she demands a refund. Mrs ________ also said that the food at dinner was not hot and that the waiter did not speak English. Maitre D Ken was advised and will visit the table tonight at dinner. Guest also stated that the ship was too cold and that on previous cruises she had always been upgraded to a suite. Purser advised guest the ship was full and no other cabins were available. Guest is currently in a cat 3C. Follow up with Chief Purser and guest will meet with guest this afternoon. Letter sent to cabin with appointment information.

What a brilliant lady………..what an absolute brilliant lady……….what courage it must take to walk up to the front desk and say you are on the wrong cruise……….I almost feel like giving her a refund just for having the front to try this and get upgraded to a suite……….even if she is as mad as a rabid bat.

Here though is something much more pleasant

Guest: Mr _________ Ref: 002800977A Owner: (LEES) Judith Lerato Sefako
Cabin: _______Booking#: __________Added-Changed: 07/13/08 – 07/14/08

Mr. ________ stated that he wanted to say thank you to a crewmember called I Made. Guest said that he had left his wallet on the table while having breakfast and the crewmember who had served him coffee had run after him to make sure he got the wallet. Guest wanted to say thank you and to make sure his manager knew. Purser thanked guest and promised this would be sent to the Food and Beverage Manager.
Nothing Further.

So, congratulations to I Made and how nice of the guest to say those kind words.

Well, I already feel better. Routine on a ship is always important in some kind of strange, almost military kind of way. This morning I presented the Morning Show and then held the travel talk for Helsinki and Berlin. This seemed to go off well although I know I can do better.

Do you remember reading my report a few months ago about my trip to the Sachenhausen concentration camp in Berlin? Well, that was emotional experience I will never forget and those emotions returned…………………somewhat unexpectedly……………and I found the words to describe what I had seen difficult to express. Anyway, I guess people understood and I received a few compliments about the words I had used afterwards. This included a chat with a Mr. Fernley who told me that he had lost his Grandfather at that very camp and this was his chance to visit and pay his deepest respects.

What do you say to someone who will see where his Grandfather and 26,000 others died? I did tell Mr. Fernley that the tour guides do go into a lot of detail and that I found very upsetting and obviously he would too. However, he is determined to go and so are many others…………….the tour is sold out. Anyway, the talks have gone well so far and I still have the most challenging one to come yet in St. Petersburg.

The biggest problem today was the bloody TV system. The interactive part was as active as dead slug and this meant for a few hours guests could not order tours or movies through the cabin TV. Murphy and his law dictated that rather than this happening at 2 am when everyone was asleep it happened 20 minutes after my talk when the whole ship wanted to buy tours……………..bugger. Anyway, I apologized and we had all the staff mobilized to take tour sales manually. It is obvious that people are excited about the destinations that the Baltic offers………………so am I.

Goodness, there are a lot of Bloggers on this cruise. I will be having a little bloggers get together at the end of the voyage so we can all get to meet. ………..I guess this may be something we will need to do each and every cruise. I will also be placing the daily blogs in binder in the Library …………. OK………….Heidi will be doing that as I will forget and I also have no idea what a binder is, where I would find one and how to use it.

Stephanie is flying back to the States today by the way so if you don’t see this posted at the usual time you will understand why.

Here are one or two letters from today’s Morning Show…………….in their own words.

I feel a bit guilty after watching the video I made the other day where I came upon two French Ladies who were lost………….and ummm……….I may have suggested that they …………. ummm …………………… pong a bit.

Yesterday, I told you the story about Alan and I in France and I have decided to tell you one more. After this, hopefully my frustration with all things French will be explained and then …………….that’s it………….no more French references………………….it’s time to forgive and forget.
But not before this true story from 1994 …….and a prime example of how the French hating the British thing………………. is absolutely true.

We begin at Nice airport in front of an immigration official who, like all his French colleagues, was selected for having no grace, no manners, no humor, no humanity and the sort of IQ normally found in goat. He scanned my entry form and noted there was no street number for the hotel that my ex girlfriend and I would be staying at.

“I’m going to need a number,” he said doing his best Inspector Closseau impression. “Ooh, I’m sorry,” I said, “I’m afraid I don’t have one.”

This didn’t seem to have any effect. “I’m going to need a number,” he said again, and then again, and then again. Each time I shrugged and stammered, terrified that I might be sent to the back of the queue or worse, into the little room with the men wearing Latex gloves. But I simply didn’t have an answer.

“I’m going to need a number,” he said again, giving the distinct impression that he was on autopilot, and that this was a conversation he was prepared to endure until one of us died. …………So with a great deal of bravery I decided to give him one. And the number I chose was 108,000

This, it turned out, was fine. He’d been told by his superiors to get a number. I’d given him a number. His job was done and so, just an hour or so later, I was on the streets of Nice trying to prevent my girlfriend from bleeding me dry in the Cartier shop.

I vowed never to return to France after that and indeed I didn’t………………until the Carnival Liberty came to Europe and Heidi and I went to Cannes to film the FAM trip videos……………..and I just realised I have never told you this story.

So, there we were. The Shore Excursion team, myself, Heidi and James the Australian Cameraman from our Audio Visual department. We had just broken out the tripod and I was just about to do a piece to camera from the steps of the theatre where the stars walk the red carpet at the Cannes Film Festival…………..when, a policeman pulled up and demanded that we show him our permit. We didn’t have one………… So we were moved on by Constable Le Rude.

The tour operator who was showing us around Cannes and the area got us a permit for the next day.

The next day I was told to stop again by the Le Police because the permit I had didn’t cover the part of the sidewalk I was standing on………… Eight inches away was fine.

It’s strange that the fact that I did not have a permit had the Le Police so mad and devoting their efforts to making sure that I didn’t try and film yet there in the Le Cafe opposite where we stood was a young man sipping a glass of wine ……..who wasn’t a day older than 12.

You find this a lot in France. It seems that at a very young age they are taught to drink wine with every meal………say “oh la la” and “Voila” at the end of every sentence, told that soap is dangerous and must never be used and that anyone who speaks with a British accent must be treated as rudely as is humanly possible.

And, unfortunately, trying to change them is impossible………….trying to reason with the police that we were filming their gorgeous town so thousands of tourists would see the movie and spend money here was like reasoning with a tree.

So, there you have it. Over the last two days you have discovered why I have the occasional pop at the Frenchies……………but it stops now………….no more…………..its time to turn the other cheek…………….its over………………time to move on.

So, after all the hoopla (is that a word?) surrounding the naming ceremony things are going to start settling down. Tomorrow we are in Copenhagen where I was hoping to visit the new Holland America ship Eurodam. Unfortunately, I cannot because I have to host a first call plaque ceremony and lunch. The Carnival Splendor leaves at 4 pm so there will be no time. I will though visit soon and I hope you will join me on many other visits as I explore Cunard, Costa, Princess, P&O, AIDA, Holland America and Seabourn ships.

Please keep the comments coming. The blog is getting more and more popular every day as we race by 2.5 million slaps. However, I never want to loose the personal touch and therefore if you need anything please mark your comments PLEASE REPLY _ URGENT and I will be there for you.

I want to leave you with one last look at some photos from the naming ceremony. The press coverage we received was huge not only in the UK but around the world’s travel press………it featured in Germany, Denmark, Holland, Canada, Belgium and the United States……………in fact everywhere………..except France……..their press covered a story that has the country so excited, apparently a Frog has been genetically engineered to have 12 legs.

You didn’t really think I meant it did you?

Here are some photos courtesy of Michelle a blogger who lives near me in the UK. Thanks Michelle.

Click here for pictures from OK! Magazine

Bonne Nuit
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.