Please and Thank You

October 23, 2008 -

John Heald

Manners cost nothing…………..these are words that were drummed into me from a very young age by my Mum and Dad. Unfortunately, while my parents were banging on that drum, it seems the parents of people I have met today were banging something else.

Please and thank you………two small words…… John Cleese’s character Basil Fawlty said “Please is one small word, not the Gettersburg address.” I am sitting here on the plane having been subjected to new levels of rudeness which, I am sorry to say, are commonplace…….and we all accept it.

“Have your boarding pass out”

“Remove your laptop from your bag”

“Can I see your passport?”

Now, add the word “please” after all the above and the whole phrase takes on a new meaning.

I know flying and intense security go together these days but why and when did we all agree that along with pat downs, removing shoes and being surrounded by a SWAT team because you have a cigar cutter in your bag did we all agree that it was OK for people with iron-on patches to be arrogant and rude?

I am not suggesting they smile and give everyone a hug……just say “please” ……that’s all.

Then we come to please’s cousin “thank you.” I have a little old lady next to me who looks like Joan Rivers and I think she just ate a Botox sandwich.

The flight attendant just asked if she would like a drink ……Joan Rivers replied, “water” ……..the attendant complied and passed her the beverage………nothing…….no thank you…….no please ……. just her two saucer lips slurping down the water. Why couldn’t she just say thank you?

Sorry to moan but it’s a pet peeve of mine.

Oh, one more thing ……….why oh why is there always one idiot who ignores the instructions of crew? Literally, just a minute after take off a chap got out of his seat and headed to the bathroom. The attendant made the usual announcement to kindly sit down but he ignored it. A few moments later he came out and sat down again. Now unless he had just eaten 3,000 prunes and needed to urgently drop the kids off at the pool, why did he ignore what the other 200 passengers were obeying?

So, back to my day and good evening from 34,000 feet as I head for Dallas. Stephanie is here with me and I watched as her and her handsome partner, Shane, did the whole “I will miss you” kiss goodbye as I stood by looking at my shoes. Shane is a good lad and I am grateful to Stephanie for taking care of all the arrangements for the next few days.

One of the senior vice presidents of Carnival once said to someone, “John is very good but not organized.” Well, maybe he is right although in my defense I have got much better and having delivered 10 new ships as CD I guess I must be doing OK. However, today, he was right because I had to pack on my own after the three nights in the hotel……..and boy……did I bugger that up.

Heidi has always been with me when we travel and as you know the packing is all done by her. She therefore would never have had my cigar cutter in my carry on. I knew something was up as soon as my bag didn’t appear from the machine thingy……..I knew I was in even more trouble when the girl waved a supervisor over and they both stared at the TV.

Now, either they were both laughing at the pair of underpants I had packed in there in case American Airlines sent my bag to Botswana or……………it wasn’t the pants.

“Is this your bag?”

“Yes Ma’m”

“Come with me,” (note, there was no “please”)

“I am going to open the bag.”

“OK M’am”

She then opened the bag and pulled out the offensive item. A $5 plastic cigar cutter. Then the fun started as she searched my entire bag. As usual in these cases I tried to be as polite as I could. I saw from the lanyard I’d that her name was Laquisha ……after she had discovered that my bag contained no other weapons of mass cigar destruction she told me that my cutter “would be confiscated and destroyed.”

Destroyed……..does that mean its just going to be placed in the garbage or be placed in a bath of acid? Anyway, I said “sorry Laquisha, that was a stupid mistake, normally my wife packs for me.”

I waited for a response……..some sort of sentence stating that it was OK and for me to enjoy my flight.

What I got was “Mmmm mmmm.” This guttural sound was followed by a strange sucking noise made with her lips…….and then she buggered off leaving me standing there with an open bag, all my stuff strewn on the table and my shoes still sitting there waiting for my large arse to bend over and put them back on.

OK, I had made a mistake………I had apologized and received nothing but rudeness. Security is paramount ……….but it’s time we taught some manners to the people who do have a very important job to do but do it with the manners of a large piece of poo.

I heard from Stephanie that around 80 of you will be flying, driving and walking to visit me in Dallas. We will all meet on Sunday morning. I am going to see if we can do so in the hotel lobby or in a special room. Stephanie will let you know tomorrow for sure. Thank you all for taking time on a weekend to come and see me. I hope you are going to stay and be part of the world’s largest beach ball event later that day as we kick off our new vision of fun.

Have you seen our new tag line? “Fun for all…….and all for Fun”? This, of course, is similar to the famous line the Three Musketeers used to shout “one for all and all for one.” Well, they had a mission to protect the king of France who had been found doing something terrible and against the laws of his own country…….taking a bath.

So, the Three Musketeers protected him from the evil thingy and their motto became famous. And…….so will ours. We all need fun……especially these days ……..and the word “all” means amongst other things that we can “ALL” meet together onboard a “Fun Ship” and share in the fun that this great cruise line delivers.

With this in mind, I have decided to do something special. While 2009 is a year that is a little uncertain for me I know I don’t want to stop helping provide Fun For All. So, we’re thinking about some exciting ways to keeping building blogging community, particularly as it relates to the Carnival Dream next year.

Last night I had dinner with all the important VP’s, SVP’s, EVP’s and, of course, Gerry Cahill, our president and CEO. Also there was Ruben Rodriguez, Carnival’s executive vice president of marketing and guest experience, second in command……..think Gerry as Captain Kirk and Ruben as Mr. Spock.

We discussed a number of exciting options for you, my blogging friends, to provide even more opportunities to get together and have some fun.

Now, I know people like my mate Big Ed and others can’t fly, so for those of you who can’t then we’re looking at hosting a nine-day Bloggers Cruise on the Carnival Dream from Port Canaveral in early December 2009……. . Let me know your thoughts, please.

Of course, this will be in addition to the spectacular Bloggers Cruise in February aboard the Carnival Fantasy to showcase that ship’s “Evolutions of Fun” upgrades.

We’re also kicking around a few other ideas and we’ll be sure to let you know as soon as something gets finalized. Whatever we decide, it’s going to be great, I promise you. Actually. . . . . Mr. Spock came up with an idea and I thought it was brilliant but I can’t tell you about it just yet . . . . Oh yes I will, 16 days together on the Carnival Dream’s trans-Atlantic crossing. Now, I wouldn’t be the CD but would be able to spend everyday with you. So, stand by…….Stephanie will work on this in the next few days. Kuki, Mac……..what do you guys at CM and CC think? What do you all think……….anyone interested?

Bear in mind, all of this is still in the early planning stages; we’re just trying to get a feel on what everyone would be interested in.  Look forward to hearing everyone’s thoughts.

Heidi sends her best. I just spoke to her and I am sure I will be getting a bollocking when she hears about the cigar cutter incident. I am sorry I can’t do a full blog today although I am going to ask Stephanie and Vance to include Jaime’s Dear John letter and photos at the end this badly written and badly spelled raspberry blog. I can’t tell you how hard it is to type on this small thingy but I would be lost without it.

I will be answering your comments tonight before I go to bed by the way. We are meeting other Carnival executives and our brilliant new advertising agency. They have put some programs together which I am proud to be part of.

In the next few days I will be telling you about some of them as well as telling you what Roger Blum and the brilliant entertainment team have in store for you next year. We are making changes……..changes that will allow everyone not just to have fun…….but to have fun…..together… part of the Carnival family. It’s going to be just brilliant. OK, time to switch off……..we are beginning our descent into Southfork …….da da da da ….da da da da da da.

If the Captain has problems with the plane’s flaps, he could ask the lady next to me to stick her head out of the window……..those lips could stop a 747 on a dime.

Oh, quickly…… last thing………..I just farted……….no, I really did……nobody heard it as the engine noise on landing is very loud but any minute now…….any second…….. yep ……. there it is ……the unmistakable smell of my Egg McMuffin……that will teach old Botox lips not to say thank you

And here is Jaime’s post:

October 22, 2008

Dear John,

I was always good at math as a child, so I thought of a little equation to sum up the morning. Expected arrival time (9:00am) + actual time we receive clearance (9:43am) = loads of fun. Yes, the Captain of the Splendor just may be the next Italian George Clooney, but that still does NOT get the ship cleared by customs any faster! On top of this, the group of 80 Brazilian guests decided that the elevator lobby would be an excellent meeting place before they disembarked to go on their private tour. I do have many talents, but unfortunately, speaking Portuguese does not even come close to making this list. Thank goodness for Owen, our Colombian host, who was able to assist. Once we finally started getting guests off the ship, the most efficient host team in the fleet managed to disembark 2000 guests in 30 minutes =).

With only 174 guests left on board, I was able to get off the ship with Lauren (my roommate), her fiancé, Andy, and her grandmother who is sailing with us this cruise. I could finally breathe a sigh of relief. The sigh was followed by a deep breath in, however, since we are in Turkey and that country has what I would call a “unique aroma.” I finally had a chance to enjoy the city. Last cruise when I visited Istanbul I had the pleasure of seeing The Blue Mosque, St. Sophia and Topkapi Palace, so this time I was able to focus on the most culturally enriching aspects of the city – shopping at the Grand Bazaar! On the drive to the greatest shopping Mecca in the world, I had the fortunate pleasure of talking to Lauren’s grandmother about her career in Los Angeles as an actress. Her grandma has been a series regular on “Scrubs,” has worked with Sarah Silverman and had national ads with JIF and other large corporations. Coming from a theatrical background (who would have guessed?) her life and career were very interesting to me.

Once we finally arrived at the Grand Bazaar, I realized that this was no place for a person that is friendly, and has made it second nature to say hello to everyone and smile… For anyone who this describes, please note that Turkish salesman will NEVER leave you alone. Their daily plan includes taking you into their shop and giving you the once in a lifetime opportunity to mother one of their 9,123,810,238 children! I must admit I did become friends with one shop owner named Ali who offered us all some traditional apple tea to enjoy. After spending nearly half an hour being nice to everyone and not being left alone, my friendliness wore off… not forever though, don’t worry!

The four of us negotiated cheap prices for all of the “genuine fake” items that we could dream of! Then, we managed to find a quiet café with the freshest, most delicious food I have had for a long time! Toward the end of the afternoon I even found a handmade, hand-painted dish for my mother. It reminded me of her because it was loud and did not match itself! Anything I think is tacky, I know is a great gift for mom! No offense mom =).

To bargain for this item, Lauren came to help and offered the shop owner a kiss on the cheek for a $3 price reduction. Now, I typically would charge more than $3 for a kiss, but for Lauren apparently that is the going rate. Before heading back to the ship Lauren and Andy explored the bazaar to purchase his engagement ring for their upcoming wedding. Surprisingly, she did not use the three dollar kiss tactic to negotiate for that item! Our last stop before catching our taxi was our most beloved, fabulous, Turkish treat of the day – coffee from Starbucks. After being deprived of this savory, spectacular experience for almost five months now, my skim milk, sugar free vanilla latte was a perfect end to my Turkish experience.

Of course, we could not head back to the ship before one more adventure. During our cab ride home, we got to experience the downtown area of the city for what seemed like 30 minutes. If you have ever been to Istanbul, you know the traffic is absolutely atrocious! I have seen my fair share of bad drivers – my parents are New Yorkers… today’s traffic reminded me of rush hour in Manhattan when the Pope is in town. Also, I have never actually been on a jackhammer, but I have a feeling the jerkiness of our taxi was comparable to that experience. Thankfully we made it back to the ship in one piece!

The evening is again filled with activities and fantastic shows. I am using my math skills once again to be the bingo accountant – the newest of our entertainment staff responsibilities.

See you tomorrow for our sea day =)!

Lunchtime at the Grand Bazaar Jaime, Grandma, Lauren and Andy

The entrance to the Grand Bazaar

Your Friend,

Jaime =)

Your friend

Ps – I miss 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.