Pandering to the Passengers

August 5, 2008 -

John Heald

The Baltic Sea has been in a great mood for the last 21 days. The sea has been flatter than a three week old Diet Coke (I was going to say flatter than Kate Moss’s chest but Heidi said I couldn’t) until last night when it got all moody. The wind picked up and the skies darkened and by 5 pm the ship started to pitch and roll. It felt strange to feel this motion because honestly it’s been so long and you can forget you are on a ship. By 8 pm the Baltic’s bad mood had changed and we were back again sailing on Kate.

The mood of the guests though is mostly sunny with the odd cloud here and there. I had a conversation with a guest last night who was commenting that the entertainment should not have included a Talent Show and the Carnival Legends show. He felt that Carnival was being “cheap” in asking guests to provide the entertainment……..I explained that the audience reaction to both shows showed through their ovations that the shows were brilliantly received………but, maybe again , its something we need to consider. I am certainly going to press on with trying to get more lecturers. David Bright’s was so well received that I really want this to be part of our program on longer cruises.

So, here we are in Amsterdam and it’s a beautiful day. I had to force her and promise that if she refused I would put the underpants I have been wearing all day on her head while she was asleep…….so she agreed …reluctantly………..but Heidi took the day off…………her first since June 2. She got off the ship early and went home to spend the day with Mum ……….. nobody deserves a day off more than her and of course it made her Mum so very happy. They had a great day together……………….I am still going to put my underpants on her head though.

Heidi left early and I had a whole day of work planned. Next week we have the new itinerary and this means new schedules, etc. but all my plans of a day with Mr. Dell were dealt a severe blow when I was informed that something called the main frame was going to be down for 5 hours of maintenance…………bugger.

It’s amazing that without a computer and all my files how bored I got in just a few minutes especially with Heidi gone. By 11 am I had drunk 4 cups of tea read a 2 week old newspaper When I am bored I get hungry and I kept making trips to the refrigerator in the cabin to see if I had somehow missed a plateful of ham on the previous 200 trips to the fridge………..I was so bored.

Boredom makes you do things like calling people you haven’t seen for twenty years which when you do, you realize why you left it so long……….I was so bored today that I nearly took up golf. I know a guy who just retired, I spoke to him a few weeks ago and he tried to sound happy but I could tell he wasn’t. He knew that the next two months would involve him breaking appliances around the house that didn’t need fixing, killing everything in the garden and before he knows it he would accept an invitation to tee off and that was it……..the rest of his life would be spent in silly trousers wading through swamps and marshes looking for his ball. Anyway, in the end I had a 90-minute nap…………..and now I am mad at myself.

Here are some photos of Amsterdam taken by the wonderful Jaime.

The ship at the port in Amsterdam

Congratulations to Princess and their new and shiny Ruby Princess

SANTA CLARITA, Calif. (August 5, 2008 ) – Ruby Princess has completed another major milestone in preparation for her November 8 debut, with the completion of her sea trials. The new ship set out to sea from her construction dock at the Fincantieri shipyard in Monfalcone, Italy, and was put through her paces with a series of maneuvers to test her propulsion, steering and navigational equipment. After a successful four days of trials, the ship is now back in the shipyard for further exterior and interior finishing. Ruby Princess will be ready for her maiden voyage from Ft. Lauderdale, a seven-day Western Caribbean sailing taking passengers to Ocho Rios, Grand Cayman, Cozumel and Princess Cays.

Ruby Princess is a sister ship to Emerald Princess and Crown Princess, and will feature the same dramatic piazza-style atrium that have become so popular on those ships. Other ship highlights include Princess’ signature adults-only retreat called The Sanctuary, an Italian trattoria, a seafood and steak house, a “Movies Under the Stars” giant outdoor movie screen and 900 cabins with private balconies.

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About Princess Cruises:
One of the best-known names in cruising, Princess Cruises is a global cruise and tour company operating a fleet of 16 modern ships renowned for their innovative design and wide array of choices in dining, entertainment and amenities, all provided in an environment of exceptional customer service. A recognized leader in worldwide cruising, Princess offers its passengers the opportunity to escape to the top destinations around the globe, with sailings to all seven continents, ranging in length from seven to 107 days. The company is part of Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE/LSE:CCL; NYSE:CUK).

Princess Cruises is a proud member of World’s Leading Cruise Lines. Our exclusive alliance also includes Carnival Cruise Lines, Holland America, Cunard Line, Costa Cruises and The Yachts of Seabourn. Sharing a passion to please each guest, and a commitment to quality and value, our member lines appeal to a wide range of lifestyles and budgets. Together we offer exciting and enriching cruise vacations to the world’s most desirable destinations.

You will remember the last time we were here in Amsterdam I was apologizing to everyone for the long, long lines at Immigration and the long lines at the gangway. Well, I am happy to report that after a productive meeting with Immigration this cruise it has been much better. We divided the lines into European Union and non European Union and this allowed the lines to move quicker as Dutch Immigration did not want to spend time looking at the E.U. passports. We also opened the deck 0 gangway as well which we were refused permission to do last time so although the lines were still longer than we would like we have received no negative comments from guests………and that makes me very, very happy.

Now, I want to show you a special video. During the 3-day cruise myself, Roger Blum Vice President of Cruise programming and Ken Byrne Senior Maitre D were interviewed by our charismatic Senior Vice President of Sales and Guest Services Lynn Torrent. These are designed to provide some insight into our fantastic new ship and also help travel agents sell the ships of Carnival and have proved a massive hit not just with our travel partners but with the general public. So, here are the links to the videos……………..I trust you will enjoy them.

Two comments worth sharing and oh yes……….the second one is one of those I have to say that I promise on all I love that this is a true comment……….I have to say that as its pretty unbelievable.

Let’s start with this one though.

Guest: Mrs ——— Ref: 002802327A
Cabin: ____Booking#: _____ Added-Changed: 08/04/08 – 08/04/08

Guest came to the desk to request to disembark in Amsterdam tomorrow. Purser asked if all was OK and guest stated that there had been an earthquake in California and that his swimming pool had cracked and lots of water had flooded his home. Purser arranged paper work etc and follow up call with debark time etc.

I read this and felt I needed to call the guest as he had been with me in the Welcome Aboard show and I new he was a blog reader as well. So, I spoke to Ryan and his wife Magda both of whom are very sad to leave and not looking forward to going home. Apparently the swimming pool was his pride and joy and he had only had it built last year. The pool cracked and the water all seeped back flooding his yard and some into the house itself. ………what a shame…………..hope it isn’t all too bad mate and let us know via the blog when you get home how everything is.

Being from the UK swimming pools in gardens is as pointless as me applying for a job with RCI. Of course this is because we live in the UK where summers are shorter than Joe Peschi and the only pool you want to get into is a hot bath.

My Mum and Dad’s friends had one in their garden though and we thought Norm and Doreen were millionaires. It was only a small pool and because they lived close to the sea they could only dig down to a depth of four feet. Therefore, the pool had two shallow ends connected in the middle by a shallow middle. You didn’t exactly swim in it so much as walk around looking like Jesus.

And now for something completely different.

Guest: Mr ———Ref: 002802318A
Cabin: ____Booking#: _____- Added-Changed: 08/05/08 – 08/05/08


Mr. ____________ was reported by Assistant Cruise Director Stephanie Meads to be shouting at her during tour dispatch this morning about the TV content on the screens in the lounge. Stephanie had brought the guest to the desk as he wanted to make his complaint official. Guest states that he and his family were in the Spectacular Spectacular Lounge waiting for their tour to depart. On the screen was a program that should two animals having sex. Guest felt that this was very inappropriate as his son and daughter was there as were other children. Purser apologized to Mr________ and said his comments would be passed to the Cruise Director.

Apology letter was sent to the cabin.

Can you believe this? That’s two cabins that are angry about TV content. The first because of the Cage Fighting thing on ESPN and now this. I investigated with Stephanie what the program was. We were playing BBC News which was broadcasting from China in the run up for the Olympic Games and this feature was about the mating program to increase the number of Giant Pandas.

I called the guest a few minutes ago and he was on his way to dinner but made it no secret that he thought I was a the devil incarnate for allowing his 8 year old son and 5 year old daughter to see such behavior………the guests were British by the way and he told me I should be ashamed of myself.

I apologized, he went to dinner…………..and I considered which wall to bang my head on……….he was so nasty…………..spiteful ……..he honestly believed that I seen his kids in the lounge and thought “right, lets put the animal porn channel on.”

I mean, its nature……..where is he telling his kids baby animals come from……..IKEA? That’s what nature programs are all about, honestly, all that birds and animals do is eat, sleep and mate. If you take the rumpy-pumpy out of the equation, what’s left?

You can’t even show them having lunch these days because a bird wrenching a worm from the ground would have vegetablists putting the producer’s name on an internet hit list. Anyway, the panda porn, the rampant carnivorism and the Meer cats having sex with their sisters are not the problem. No. It’s the awful syrupy way that all nature’s little creatures are judged and measured by human standards.

We are shown some footage of daddy bird tenderly picking each of his little babies from the nest . . . and dropping them onto the floor, where they will gasp for a bit, in great pain, and then die. It’s presented as though we are watching On Golden Pond, but we are not. We are watching an ounce of feathers and bone killing its kids, not because it’s stupid or psychopathic …………………but because it’s a bird.

By all means tell me that an Owl can fly all the way to Africa and find the same barn in Iowa that it left six months earlier. That is amazing. Or find one that can’t. Because that would be hysterical. But do not try to convince me that birds have some great intelligence that we humans lack………. Because they don’t.

It’s much the same story with dolphins. Time and time again, nature presenters portray them as bright. But compared with what – a chair leg? A squid? The fact is this: my Eye Pod, by any measure, has a greater power of reasoning.

Of course, we can get sentimental about animals. We had a family Dog called Ringo. Sometimes I would to talk him as though he were human. But this is futile because they are not human.

I know this because Ringo spent most of his day in the garden sniffing his own poo…….sometimes, when we went for a walk he would eat other dogs poo. When he had had his fill, he would come into the house and vomit onto every flat surface he could find.

You see the problem. Because television presenters tell us that lambs are sweet and salmon are clever that some people are so confused by the heart-wrenching nature of nature programs that they have descended into madness and become vegetarians.

Every time an Australian gets washed up on Bondi beach with one leg and half his head missing, there’s always some shaggy-haired dope head on the news saying the great white that attacked the poor soul was only being a shark. Absolutely. And we’re only being human, which is why we’re going to cluster bomb the thing next time we see its fin sticking out of the water.

You see, that guest has me all worked up. I am sorry that he was upset but the way he was shouting really upset me…….he was sitting in the lounge for 20 minutes and never said anything about the news showing war, famine and terrorist activities…………but two humping Pandas………and that’s me in the dog house.

Well, we have left Amsterdam heading for Dover and I leave you with great news. During the past few weeks I have been speaking to various people at our sister companies. They have realized that the popularity of this blog and the immense popularity of the Eurodam’s that they are going to start behind the scene blogs as well.

This means that more than ever before we are going to get access to what’s going on onboard. This view through the keyhole will unparalleled in the travel industry and thanks to you all this blog thingy has become a trendsetter. So, the near future will include many more blogs from Cunard, Princess, P & O, AIDA, Costa, Seabourn and Holland America. There will be blogs from the building of new vessels for Princess and Seabourn and a look behind the “crew only door” onboard the ocean liners of Cunard………………………..I hope you will enjoy them all and I hope that when people read them they will all realize what you and I already know………………..taking a cruise ……….. is quite simply…………..the most brilliant vacation…………………in the world.

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.