A Commercial Success?

December 27, 2008 -

John Heald

Is it just me or is this dollop of days between Christmas and New Year ………. uummm ……….a bit weird? People sit around in a comatosed state of fatigue and flatulence. Their festive decorations already look as sad as Judge Judy in stockings and suspenders, and as you sit in your chair wearing your Christmas sweater you already know that yep …………. it’s leftover turkey again for dinner tonight.

Well, here’s something that’ll cheer you up. Let’s start planning Christmas 2009! Oh, why the sour face? Lots of people have it all boxed off already by now and some aren’t even mentally ill.

Yes, I know. It’s sick, isn’t it? The very idea of thinking about next Christmas when this year’s sprouts are still passing through the digestive system not is in my humble opinion ……………grotesque. Yet plenty do. Which is why, as we speak, there are people out buying reduced wrapping paper, slightly damaged cards, cut-price shirt-and-tie sets, just so that they can say smugly, around next August, “Oh. We’ve had Christmas done and dusted since last December.” ………before they climb into their Toyota Prius and drive home excited about the fact that there is tofu for dinner.

You could waste energy fantasizing about beating such people to a pulpy mass with a large joint of ham, but why bother? Probably best just to accept that Christmas now lasts for the best part of 12 months. January, of course, is taken up with sales and saying how glad we are that Christmas is all over. Talking about the sales……….why do we get screwed every year. We buy everything before Christmas and then discover that a few days later its a zillion dollars cheaper. The stores should if they were honest people put a huge sign in the shop window that says: “Ha! You see this thing you bought three days ago? Well now we are selling it for a third of the price, because you are a complete and utter idiot.”

The sheer inevitability of it makes me wonder why we don’t just put off Christmas and hand out our cut-price gifts today. I know that there may be religious issues with this one, but let’s face it – many of the people in this increasingly secular world are not into the festive period to give thanks for the birth of little baby Jesus. They are in it for the PlayStations, the iPods and the Nintendo Wee Wee’s.

Anyway, back to Christmas 2009. By late February, we have started taking down the dismal festive decorations. There’s a brief hiatus in March/April for Easter but we’re back on course by May when we’re selling unwanted Christmas gifts at local garage sales. By June/July, at least one relative will have said, “What are we doing for Christmas this year?” and by August, the children are asking, “How long is it until Christmas?” In September, the TV adverts for festive toys start; by October, glossy magazines are promising to “get you in shape for the party season.” On November 1, all shops start playing Christmas songs, your neighbor brings out his inflatable Santa again, and December is a constant loop of people saying, “All set for Christmas?”

So really, look on this as just the start of next Christmas. What are your plans, by the way? Well, this Christmas was mostly wonderful especially for my Mum and Dad who had the whole family together again. She worked very hard to produce a magnificent Christmas dinner which was devoured by all of us. Of course, Heidi and I have spent the last few days talking about how all our Christmases will be different from now on with the Thingy on the way. These conversations have been both exhilarating and if I am honest……….a little scary.

Of course, I have been humiliated as well these past few days as my niece and nephew and various other kids whose parent’s homes we have visited have proven that I am not a Guitar Hero and neither can I sing or kill a zombie with an axe. I have had other electronic problems as well. Yesterday I turned my computer on only to discover that it thought it was a piece of broccoli.

So I spent the next three hours on the phone to a man in New Delhi who had a set list of possible remedies, none of which made bugger all difference. I begged and begged for a technician to come round but the Internet provider doesn’t have any technicians who work over the holidays, only a room full of men in India, who think a wireless connection can be fixed by endlessly typing numbers into a laptop.

That night, the fury in your heart is so vibrant that it has become an all-consuming entity. A big jaggedy spike in your head. Sleep is impossible……………..how was I going to blog to the thousands of my friends who were waiting patiently for a dose of my daily rubbish?

All I could think about was what I would do to the boss of the Internet service provider if I were to encounter him in the street one day. Last night, in my mind, I spent two hours poking him in the chest asking how in the name of all that’s holy he ever thought a broken box in Essex could possibly be fixed by an uninterested man in India. And then I think I might have inserted a large turkey leg up his bottom and thrown him into a den of hungry lions. I also gave myself a buy one/get one free deal in my dream as the second turkey leg was inserted into the man who designed the Star Wars toy I bought my nephew for Christmas. Have you ever tried to get a toy out of the packaging? I have and there is nothing I would like more than for the chief executive of Toys R Us to come round to my house and show me how it is possible without cutting all his fingers off.

And then that was it. In my dreams I found myself with an unlimited supply of turkey legs ready to insert into the bottoms of those who had pissed me off these past months. banks. Why do you not equip your ATM cash machines with red flashing lights so that we discover they are out of service when we drive by? Not after we have gone to the trouble of parking our cars half a mile away and been mugged by a gang of glue sniffing teenagers on the way.

Oh, and let me start on the airports because I have a leg just for them. Why subject someone to a humiliating strip search when they are a blue-eyed six-year-old girl, or Tom Jones. It’s a waste of time for you and a waste of time for everyone in the line that results. If you know someone to be Tom Jones, then you know he is an elderly singer and not a crazed suicide bomber. So he can be waved through immediately, leaving you time to concentrate on the sweating man with wires poking out of his Reeboks.

Anyway……………..my computer still thinks it is a piece of broccoli and the man from India is still unable to help and so it is that I write to you from my parent’s house. This is fine except I have had to tell my seven-year-old nephew that if he promises not to disturb me until I have finished today’s blog I will reward him by allowing him to humiliate me yet again as I try to play Smoke On The Water on that bloody Air Guitar thingy …………… bugger.

OK, let’s get on with answering a few comments that were marked John Please Reply just before the holidays…………..once again my apologies for the delay.

Juan & Maria Asked:
John, please answer… A couple of times we used this system to asked you something and since we didn’t get an answer we mailed you a letter well over a month ago addressed to the “Fan Mail address” which appeared on the right hand side of the blog. We never heard from you. We are sailing from Port Everglades on the Splendor on 1/31/09 for 17 days several islands and then on to South America. We would like to know if we would again have the privilege (and fun, of course) to have you as our Cruise Director on that sailing. We even contacted Carnival by e-mail & by phone & their answer was that they wouldn’t know who the cruise directors would be for the cruises until a couple of weeks before the sailing!!! Their response didn’t convince us, so here we are again asking you the very same question. Please let us know. We would love to have you again onboard! Thank you. Merry Christmas & a Happy New Year! Congratulations to you, Heidi & the family for the beautiful present the New Year will bring all of you! The baby!
Best wishes & warmest regards,
Juan & Maria Santana

John Says:
Hello Juan and Maria
Firstly please allow me to apologize for not responding to you earlier. I did not receive a letter and if I had I would have, of course, replied. I am sorry Carnival could not tell you who the cruise director would be for your cruise ………..they, of course, should be able to do this and I will investigate why they think they can’t. I realize that many people factor in who is going to be the cruise director when they decide which ship to sail on and there should be a better way for folks to find out. I actually published the cruise director schedule recently here on the blog. Actually, that gives me an idea. I will ask Stephanie who manages the blog to put a permanent link onto the blog on the right hand side so that there is a permanent reference to who will be on what ship. Obviously there may be a few changes along the way but this should help.

Now, to answer your question……………well I am so sorry but I will not be the cruise director on the amazing 17-day vacation you are about to undertake. I truly wish I could be with you but I will be hosting the bloggers cruise on the Carnival Fantasy. I want to wish you both a magnificent time and I know that it will be the voyage of a lifetime. Please let me know if there is anything else I can do for you.

Best Regards
John

Rodney (Cruising Crazees) 
Asked:
John Please Reply
Hello
My family and I have just returned from the Splendor and WOW what a ship. We had 18 of us on the ship and we really enjoyed every port of call. I do have a question for you and hope you can help me out. My wife and I had a thingy of our own on September 4th. We went on the cruise last week and we obviously could not bring the baby. Well by the end of our week my wife was suffering from missing the thingy so much. We knew we were booked on the February Bloggers cruise and knew it was close to the minimum age allowed on the cruise which I know now is 6 months. Which we miss by 3 weeks and a couple of days. On the ship we talked to the loyalty rep. and she informed us that she did not think that it would be a problem but check with our travel agent and have them contact Carnival to see if it would be. Well we came home and did just that and we are being told by whoever our travel agent spoke with that Carnival makes no exceptions. If the reasoning is liability I am willing to have my Pediatrician give a physical and sign that the baby is healthy enough to travel and my sister who is booked on the same cruise will be along and she has worked in the special care nursery as an LPN for the last 25 years. Please let me know if there is any string you can pull to get this done. Please email me at the address above your answer. Thanks
PS
I am the one in Philly with the Piñata that had to get his mom from the tent after the commercial shoot. Thanks again in advance if there is anything you can do.

John Says:
Hello Rodney.
I remember you and that hat very well from our Philly shoot and it was wonderful to meet you. I was glad to hear you had such a wonderful time on the Carnival Splendor and of course I can totally understand how much your wife will have missed your thingy and therefore how much you would like the baby to be with you both. I will talk to someone about this on Monday morning and will be in touch ASAP.

Please leave this with me and I send my best to you and all the family
John

tamara
tammyfischer Asked:
Hi John, I will be on the Splendor on Jan. 31st for the South America cruise and was hoping you would be on the ship. I last saw you on the Liberty several years ago, and I loved you are so funny. Do you remember Willie Banger?! Let me know if you won’t be on the Splendor what ship and sail dates next?
Thanks so much

John Says:
Hello Tamara
How wonderful that soon you will be experiencing the wonders of a South America cruise. Unfortunately I will not be with you. I will be hosting the Bloggers Cruise on the Carnival Fantasy and then in February, March and April I will be on the Carnival Valor. I then return home to be with Heidi for the birth of our thingy and then back on a ship in the summer followed by the inaugural of the Carnival Dream. I truly hope we can be together again soon and who knows…….maybe Willy will be with us. Have a brilliant time on the Carnival Splendor.
Cheers
John

The Woodbutcher
woodbutch Asked:
John – please reply
I deleted and can’t find your blog on which you listed the CD’s for early 2009.
We will be sailing on Valor leaving Apr 26. Can you tell me who the CD will be?? We are disappointed that you will not be there, as we sailed with you on Liberty in ‘06.
Too, I talked with your Customer Service and they had not a clue!! Seemed a bit odd to me.
Thanx and Merry Christmas to you and Heidi.
The Woodbutcher – Ike Weatherholtz
Falling Waters, WV
PS: I tried your Caribbean Chicken recipe and it was terrific.

John Says:
Hello Ike – love your screen name by the way.
I am sorry I can’t be with you on the Carnival Valor on April 26 but I will be at home with Heidi getting ready for the Thingy to arrive. Here is the cruise director schedule for you to see again and if you have any other questions please let me know. I agree that our customer service department should know who is the cruise director and I will make sure this information is kept current and on their desk. I hope you have a brilliant time and I am glad you liked Heidi’s chicken recipe…………..she is very happy to hear that.
My best to you and the family

John

cd-schedule-october-2008-april-20091

MX Mom & Dad
peltonsfam Asked:
JOHN — PLEASE RESPONDS……….
Dear John: WOW …….. We are looking forward to seeing the Dream’s update in April! We feel so fortunate to be booked on the Dream’s Transatlantic sailing 10/27/2009. We’ll get 16 nights on this glorious ship with “The Heroes Cruise” group. If anyone is interested in booking with our group of police, firefighters, EMT’s, nurses, doctors and their friends and family, contact Tami @ http://www.flyingdutchmentravel.com or call her at 800-248-7471. This will be one FUN GROUP on the beautiful FUN SHIP CARNIVAL DREAM!!!!!
Thank you very much for all the Dream videos!
‘Looking forward to introducing you to the group! Many of them have had to listen to our stories, more than once, about our adventures on the Carnival Freedom in 2007! Hahaha … Here’s to your leading the conga line and basking in the sun with the rest of us!!
We hope you and your family have a wonderful Christmas and a healthy happy New Year!! Blessings to all of you and especially The Thingy!
Larry & Angie

John Says:
Hello Larry and Angie
As the time gets closer to the arrival of our Carnival Dream I am sure the excitement will mount. You will have a brilliant ship on which to host your group tributing the incomparable service of the men and women you will be honoring. I will bring you more news as it happens and I am positive you will have others who will wish to be part of your group. My best to you all.
Cheers
John

Brad
inthewaside Asked:
Hi John, (please reply)
Love the look of a lot of the Dream but I was curious…
Due to the centerpiece of the ship being an indoor/outdoor space and with SO many whirlpools onboard and around the Lanai area… Not to mention the balconies on Deck 1 (great concept by the way) it would seem that Carnival is targeting this ship for a warm weather destination year round?
I can’t very well see the Dream in its future ever being an Alaska or Canada/New England ship, or something that would regularly serve the Baltic region. Far too much seems centered around warm weather.
Second question is this – As their are Jacuzzis right on the Lanai Deck railings and balconies on Deck 1, will the maximum speed of this ship be drastically reduced (or is it already die to its size)? We all know inclement weather can happen anywhere and anytime, but faster speeds seem like they would subject the guests in these rooms to seas or waves that would at times render their balcony unusable. Has anything been thought up to combat this?
On a side note, I love your blog and can honestly tell you that the views of the Splendor and your coverage during the inaugural season is the specific reason that I have booked my first ever Carnival cruise, and that I did it on the Splendor next November 8, 2009. I look forward to seeing everything I’ve heard so much about and will be loving it all from my spa verandah!
A happy and joyous holiday season to you, Heidi and the thingy!
-Brad

John Says:
Hello Brad
Well, firstly let me thank you for reading the blog. When I read that because of my daily musings you had booked your first ever Carnival cruise I was overwhelmed with a feeling of pride …………so thank you for putting your faith in the blog and booking your first and I promise not your last Fun Ship experience.

Let me try and answer your questions. The Carnival Dream will in fact in her first few months undertake a varied type of voyages. She will sail through the calm seas of the western Mediterranean calling at ports such as Dubrovnik, Croatia and Barcelona, Spain. Then, it’s back to the States as she undertakes a trans-Atlantic crossing where the weather and sea conditions are at best unpredictable. Then, of course, she arrives in New York before heading to Florida to take up her regular Western and Eastern Caribbean cruising. So, as you can see she likely to encounter all styles of weather in her first few months. However, I think your assumptions are correct that she won’t be heading to Alaska anytime soon.

As for the cove balconies on deck 2…………..well, your question is a very good one. The ship will be able to travel at full speed and encounter all types of weather safely and securely. While the majority of the time these marvelous staterooms will provide an unprecedented view of the ocean should inclement weather suddenly arise then the crew will close the new “weatherproof” doors over the cabin protecting them from the high seas. This will be a rare occurrence and, of course, during the vigorous sea trial the ship will encounter in April this situation will be tested……..and tested again. I hope this answers your concerns and if you have anything else you feel I can help with please let me know.

Once again, thanks for residing the blog thingy and welcome to the world of Carnival
Cheers mate,
John

retirementman
retirementman2004 Asked:

Please Reply if possible
Hi John, the Dream is a very beautiful and exciting ship. Would you please tell me the exact date of the bloggers cruise in 2010 month and day so that I can now plan on setting my arrangements to be on that ship at that time and then finally I’ll have the opportunity to meet you.
Paul F. Pietrangelo

John Says:

Hello Paul
WOW. You mean we may actually get to meet. How wonderful that would be. The exact dates for the carnival Dream Bloggers Cruises are Nov. 15 and Dec. 3, 2009.
I hope there is a chance this will happen because we need to shake hands and cement our cyber space friendship.
As always I send my best to you and the family
John

cruzn buckeye
cruisecritic.com
cruisin2246 Asked:

WOW!!!! Thanks for the videos John! Looking forward to our cruise in 2010 on the Dream!
I have a question for you. I always buy t-shirts on every cruise. And while I realize that there are a few women’s styles/sizes there just aren’t enough. I always like the ones that show the ships and ports of call. But they are all men’s cuts. Which means narrower as they go down and long. I would love it if Carnival would add more women’s t-shirts! Could you look into this? Thanks!
Unfortunately, we will not be able to participate in the work event for the Feb. bloggers cruise. Our flights arrive too late. I am sorry to say that we will not be there on time.
Looking forward to the cruise though! Can’t wait to hear the info on the bloggers excursion in Coz!
Thanks again for the videos!
Hope Heidi and Thingy are doing well!
cruzn

John Says:
Hello Buckeye.
How are you?
You know, I would never have known this if you had not said anything at all. This seems an easy fix and I will be sending your wish to the company who provides the staff and merchandise for our onboard shops. I will let you know what they say. Great idea ……… got anymore?
My best to you and the family
John

Well, that concludes the outstanding questions awaiting reply. Please keep posting the comments and I will make sure I answer all that are marked for me to do so. I hope you all had a wonderful holiday and thanks for putting up with my two days vacation. I will be posting a blog tomorrow (Sunday) as I have already had a day off this week. Thousands and thousands of you read the blog over the last few days despite the holidays and for that I am extremely grateful. Now, let’s see how the holidays fared for Butch and his crew onboard the Carnival Glory.

Here is the penultimate Butch blog.

Holiday Cheer

Last night a little bit of home came to me…….just when I was having a fleeting moment of missing my family this Christmas a very nice woman ran to me at the coffee bar on the promenade to ask me where I was from in Minnesota…….turns out, she is from my home town, we had a nice chat, I bought her and her husband a cup of coffee and not more than five minutes later, like a little bit of Christmas magic I ran into the parents of a girl I graduated high school with and they were so surprised to see me here. We caught up on the last 10 years since my school days and I left the promenade to go host the show with a little extra bounce in my step and amazement of what a small world this truly is.

I am sure that you are all busy with all of the holiday festivities back on land and trying to figure out how you will fit into your schedules all of the parties and invites to events this holiday season. It is the same here on board the ship. Today alone was packed with so many soirées to make appearances at.

My day started with a full dress rehearsal of our Holiday Show that will be performed on Christmas day. And I can’t say that the rehearsal went very well, a couple of kinks that need to be worked out, but you know what they say in the theater business….”Bad Dress Rehearsal, Great Show!” Then it was off the ship in St. Thomas to meet up with some friends from the Carnival Splendor for a little Christmas brunch. After working on ships for a long time I have made some true life long friends…….but, because of the way our business works, friends often finish contracts and move on to other ships………of course there is communicating through e-mails and phone calls, and on special days, like today, you might just meet up with another Carnival ship. Two dancers from the Splendor that are like brothers to me came over to the Glory this morning and patiently waited for my rehearsal to be over so we could go and catch up!

After an amazing day with old friends it was back to work, hosted the show, walked the promenade to see how the guests enjoyed their day, and off to holiday party number one. The purser’s desk threw a small gathering with lots of sweet treats and wine of course (it is just not Christmas without the vino)……..after mingling with the purser’s office for a few glasses of goodness, I was off to the Glory senior management party. The captain and the hotel director transformed the conference room into quite the holiday shindig; complete with DJ, holiday decorations and an amazing spread prepared by out executive chef complete with a huge assortment home made Christmas cookies, ice and fruit carvings…….and of course, an open bar. After socializing for an hour too long and some glasses of wine I was late to stop by the sports bar for the casino department’s get together……a quick hello and a picture with Santa Claus (the assistant casino manager who was enjoying her role a Kris Kringle) and off to bed!

As I lay in bed thinking why did I have that last glass of wine, I suddenly realized that with all of these parties I had almost forgot that tomorrow morning I will be hosting my department’s gift exchange and I forgot to order the breakfast food to be delivered back stage……….up out of bed, a couple of quick e-mails and all is well again. Tomorrow will another day of celebrations as it is Christmas Eve……better get my rest!

What a wonderfully expressive writer Butch is and you can see now I am sure just why he is one of our rising stars. We will have one more visit from Butch tomorrow.

Now, as I told you a few days ago, our friend Jaime has been thrown right into the deep end aboard the Carnival Pride. She was a young and adventurous assistant cruise director suddenly to find herself as a young and adventurous cruise director. So, I thought I would ask her to write me a Dear John letter describing her first few days in the big chair ……… here is what she had to say.

December 25, 2008

Dear John,

First of all Merry Christmas/Happy Chanukah/Happy Kwanza/Happy New Year to you Heidi, Thingy, Stephanie, Vance, Butch and all of the bloggers! This holiday week has held more holiday surprises then ever for me. I remember last year around the holiday season I was a social host on the Imagination, I was three months into my first contract with Carnival, and I joined the entertainment department in an Ocho Rios River Tubing adventure. It was tons of fun. Coming from Michigan, it was the first Christmas I could remember not being absolutely freezing! (They have a foot of snow right now, hahaha.)

This year is a bit different… I am still working for Carnival, but I am currently on the Carnival Pride in Mazatlan, Mexico sitting in the comfy, yet slightly squeaky cruise director chair. Now I realize this is quite an honor because this very chair that I am sitting in was recently filled with the buttocks of Carnival Cruise Directing legends Jeff Bronson, Mark Price and Dan Ghilarducci (no wonder it smells sorta like rotten cheese.) I am looking out my balcony window and thinking “what the heck am I going to say when I conduct the debarkation talk in two days” as well as “wow, that is a grassy mountain.” Even John Edward could not have predicted this one =).

Now, I wish I could say that I had made such an incredible impression in the company that I was promoted to cruise director more quickly that anyone ever before. Unfortunately, that is not exactly the case. I signed off the Splendor on November 29, with the intention of taking a two-month vacation and returning to the same ship on January 31 to take part of the South America run. About nine days into my vacation, I received an email from my boss in the office and he informed me that they had a “situation” on the Pride and they needed an ACTING assistant cruise director for a month. Since I had been working toward this promotion, I figured I would give up the holidays at home and sign on the Pride with these new challenges to undertake. After sailing on the Pride for 5 days, the Cruise Director Dan informed me that in a week his father would be going in for surgery and he may need me to take over for a few days as the acting CRUISE DIRECTOR!

Saying I was nervous as hell (I don’t know if I can say that word) would be the understatement of the year. I know that I have tons of fun and can handle doing my regular activities like Hairy Chest, conducting interviews and deck party. But having the entire ship listen and watch you during boat drill, Welcome Aboard, Travel Talk, Holiday Show AND doing run down announcements periodically throughout the day is slightly more pressure. Not to mention being the go-to person and running the entire department! Yes, I had seen John do it for a few months, but even though he did practically beg me to be his shadow while we were working together, I never could quite nail the English accent, and all of his weight-related jokes that he makes about himself would not go over nearly as well.

I figured it was only going to be for a few days, and I never say no to a challenge, unless, of course, it has the potential of causing bodily harm and/or may threaten the lives of small children. I told him I would do whatever I needed to in order for him to be able to be with his father for the operation.

Our seven-day plan of mission “Jaime sitting in the Big Smelly Chair” suddenly because a two-day handover, with little actual instruction or guidance. I have been “thrown to the wolves” so to speak, and that most definitely has the potential of causing bodily harm…. (Well that and the freakin’ dress shoes I now get to wear every night as acting cruise director!)

I have the support and help of the entire department – I have an absolutely incredible team. I could not be happier with such a positive, helpful and supportive department. All of the senior management on board is looking out for me and checking in with me as well. Also, since I was on the Splendor I know a lot of the people from head office and I get to share with them the good news and in return they are all offering assistance if needed. In addition, the cruise directors around the fleet have been emailing me and telling me I can call at any time with questions, concerns, or if I just want to take advantage of actually being able to make an outside call without paying exorbitantly high cellular phone rates! I have asked everyone a few questions here and there but we are making it by just fine here on the Carnival Pride.

Sitting in the big chair is actually a great feeling. It is much cushionier than the chairs in the cruise staff office! I must admit I have not been the funniest or most comfortable cruise director this week. I am taking one activity at a time… in fact I made a checklist of everything I have to do in the week, and I have just been crossing things off the list as I go along (I am sure John will roll his eyes and not be surprised by this anal-ness.) I have been trying to go out and talk to guests as much as possible because guest interaction is my favorite part of the job.

Unfortunately, Dan may not be returning for next cruise either, please keep him and his family in your thoughts and prayers this holiday season. If that is the case, I will be more comfortable next week and I am already getting ready for the New Year celebration on board!

As far as I know have been told, I will still be on the Splendor during the South America run. But who knows, things can change at any time as I learned this week as acting cruise director on the Carnival Pride!

I look forward to keeping you posted with more updates during the South America run.
All the best =)

Jaime Deitsch
Cruise Director
Carnival Pride

the-entertainment-department-on-the-carnival-pride
The entertainment department on the Carnival Pride

the-balcony-view-of-the-cd-cabin-on-the-pride-over-looking-puerto-viarta
The balcony view of the cd cabin on the pride over looking Puerto Viarta

Thanks Jaime for taking the time to write. I know that your guests love having you as their CD and I know that everyone here is very proud of you. We all wish you continuing success and we look forward to your Dear John letters when you sail to South America on the Carnival Splendor.

Christmas Day was also a day when I helped put someone very special aboard the Carnival Imagination. I received an e-mail from PA 007 who was the duty officer in Miami. Yes…….we have duty officers and it was his/her turn this Christmas Day. So, as he sat there in his cubicle munching on a turkey sandwich he/she had purchased from Publix the day before his/her phone rang. On the other end was someone from reservations who had received a request from a very famous performer. This singing sensation wanted to sail on the Carnival Imagination the next day…………..and therefore special requirements were needed from the vessel.

And so PA 007 contacted me as every other bugger was ignoring him/her and I contacted my friend Miles, the hotel director who promised to make sure everything would be ready to welcome this very special and very famous VIP. So………who is it? ………. well …………I will tell you on tomorrow’s blog thingy…………and there will be a few photos for you to enjoy as well.

We spent yesterday with friends and family before going to the cinema last night. This is a Boxing Day (Dec 26) tradition and this year Heidi got to choose the movie.

She chose something called Australia starring Hugh Jackman and Gwyneth Paltrow. I can’t be bothered to tell you what the movie is about as most of the pitiful two hours were spent watching Hugh and Gwyneth humping each other like two Spaniels on speed ………. what a load of bollocks.

Well, it seems that our new commercials have been met with mixed emotion ………….. the perfect description of mixed emotion by the way is watching your mother in law drive of a cliff in your brand new Aston Martin. It seems that while many of you enjoyed the concept of bringing Carnival Style fun to the streets of North America some of you had a different opinion.

Those voices seemed to want more of the same. You know, the ones where we show ridiculously good looking people onboard sipping a cocktail and hammering down the water slide. The idea of the piñata commercial and the forthcoming beach ball commercial (which you can see here on the blog on Monday) is to get away from the old and in my humble opinion slightly saggy style of old and bring in the new. I can also tell you that these two commercials are merely the appetizer ……….. the main course is yet to be served…….and that is going to be……….well……….I can’t say anymore because it’s top secret and I don’t want the Envious of the Seas to get any ideas.

I read that some felt that there wasn’t enough reference to the commercials actually being ones for Carnival. You all loved the ships horn sounding but wanted more references to the ship………..and maybe you are right………..maybe we should have put a brief one second image of a ship bathed in Caribbean sunshine and the end of the commercial ………. but overall ………I really like them and I truly and honestly think they will work.

We want the first time cruiser to see the word fun………and associate that with Carnival Cruise Lines. Personally, I didn’t like the batch of commercials from a few years ago that had perfectly manicured ladies with perfect hair and perfect teeth sitting in the piano bar drinking a glass of champagne. Where were the ugly people? Where was the man with one tooth drinking a beer having the time of their life? I didn’t like the supermodel type they showed coming down the slide. Where was the huge guy (ME) whose shorts became a G-string as he shot down the slide and who would cause a small tsunami as he landed at the bottom? These are the real people who cruise Carnival………..they are me and you.

These new commercials show real people of all shapes and sizes and levels of ugliness having fun. It may not be onboard a ship……..but they are having fun…………..and I think what we are saying here is that these are the spirited people……..the people comfortable in their own skin. They are having fun breaking open the world’s largest piñata and playing with the world’s largest beach ball. Those are the people we want to walk up the gangways of our Fun Ships.

Now, I hope all of you know that I always speak my mind here on the blog thingy. I am never going to say I like something if I don’t…………and I hope you will do the same. Therefore, I invite you to be honest. I want to hear your comments. I want to know why so many of you enjoyed them and why a few of you thought differently. This is not just a request from me but a request from those with very important titles here at Carnival Cruise Lines.

So, over the next few days I hope the debate continues…..one thing is for sure. People never really expressed any kind of opinion about our past commercials but they are certainly speaking up about these two new ones……..and that in itself is absolutely brilliant.

In case you have not seen it yet………here is the piñata commercial and the beach ball one can be seen on Monday here on the blog thingy.

Click here to watch the Pinata commercial

Goodnight
Your friends
John, Heidi and the Thingy.

Comment Policy

Look, friends — there are a few things you should remember before you comment. The space below is for you to post your comments about the post I've just written above. Now, while I may not be able to reply to your comment below, I do sit in my underpants almost every morning and read everything that is here. So feel free to comment on the comments and then if someone wants to comment on the comment to the comment then go ahead as well. Please be courteous, unless the poster is French...........then you can say whatever you want.

56 Responses to A Commercial Success?

  1. John Friedman says:

    I don’t know where we log in on the commercials, but I must agree with those who don’t like them. The entirre experience has nothing to do with Carnival. Carnvial is about cruising – not Mexico, pinatas, candies, goofy people – but cruising. I think the commercials completely miss the point and don’t even lead you to Carnival. Of course, the “other” cruise line hasn’t done any better with their “why not.” Tiime will tell!!! Give our best to Heidi and the ‘thingy.” Hope to see you again. PS – Now, how is it that Willie Banger gets on so many cruises. We saw him on the Freedom in Europe.

  2. Sheryl says:

    Hey John,
    Just wanted to let you know that wasn’t Gwyneth Paltrow in Austrailia…..it was Nicole Kidman. Sorry to hear you didn’t enjoy it, hope Heidi did.
    Happy New Year to you and yours.

  3. KT says:

    Hello John, Heidi and Thingy,
    We had a wonderful holiday with our grandchildren. While visiting they began trying to speak with an English accent. I remember trying to do that as a child as well. I wonder if English children ever try to speak with an American accent. Have a very happy new year.
    KT

  4. Pismo Jim says:

    John,
    Isn’t that Hugh Jackman and Nicole Kidman in Australia? My sympathies for having been dragged to it…

  5. Squidly says:

    Dear John I think Carnival missed the boat literally with this commercial.Maybe a montage of pictures of Carnival ships and fun and Piñatas footage mixed in as Fun Fun Fun.Best wishes to all Gary and Bug

  6. mickeyspal says:

    Hi, John,

    Interesting post today. Enjoyed the input from Butch and Jaime.

    Hate to say so, but I’m not too impressed with the commercial. Watching it be made was a lot more interesting than watching it run now. True, it shows people having fun, but I don’t think it would convince someone who’s never cruised before to do so, nor would someone who prefers another line be driven to switch. It just doesn’t say anything about cruising…would kind of leave me wondering if I didn’t know what it was for. Sorry:(

    Your Pal, Myra

    PS: Hi, Heidi!

  7. Kathy B says:

    John, I’m afraid the commercial doesn’t do much for me either. On the plus side, I liked the use of “Bang the Drum,” which has always been a great song for getting away from work and having fun. I also like the idea of using real people instead of the central casting perfect people. I work for a membership organization in which some of our most successful marketing campaigns have included photos of real members instead of stock images pulled off a computer. On the minus side (and this tips the scales for me), there’s nothing that “sells” the first-time cruiser on the cruise itself. No ship, no waterslides, no deck games – nothing to tie the folks in a Philadelphia parking lot to a cruise.

    Over the course of our cruises, we have seen lots of great videos of ordinary people having fun on the ship, thanks to the videography work of the ship’s photographers. Those are the types of images that I think would work better in the ads, if the aim is to show real people and to sell potential new cruisers on trying a cruise for a vacation.

  8. Mary C says:

    Hi John,
    Honestly I do not think the commercial conveys the desire to cruise. The fun days aboard the ship and the visits to exotic locations are the main
    pull for me to travel. This is my own opinion but I know you appreciate honesty first. Thanks for giving us a place to communicate with you and your blog readers.
    Happy and healthy New Year to you, Heidi, and the thingy,
    Mary

  9. Jim [jleq] says:

    I can relate to the fears/joy you’re having with Thingy and Christmas. No–no Thingy here. But for the first time in years….more years than I care to think about…there is a “special someone” in my life this Christmas season. And, like you, I’m joyous one second/terrified “I’m going to screw it up” the next.

    The endless turmoil.

  10. Tim Kriebel, MCPO, USN Retired says:

    John:

    I have a very good family friend who is in advertising in London…for major car companies etc. She always told me that if you didn’t like the commercial…..then you were not the target audience!!!!! Same applies in the case of the new Carnival Commercials. As long as it is reaching the target audience…it’s going to be OK. Wouldn’t worry too much about the opinions of a lot of folks on the blog…if they didn’t like it, they were not the target, or part of the target group. Cheers!

    Tim

  11. John,
    thank you for your reply regarding the womens size t-shirts! There are so many times when I see a shirt that I want , then hold it up, and because of that men’s cut, just put it down.
    As far as the new commercials, I have to say that I have seen many more against comments than those that like it. I just don’t see how it could bring new cruisers to Carnival. Or any other line for that matter. It might make me want to go buy a bag of candy…..
    I am sorry, I certainly don’t want to make you feel bad, but I do feel that the new commercial was not worth too much. I agree that it did show people having a good time, but I could have a good time doing lots of things. I love watching the Ohio State Buckeyes playing football, and lots of people have partys for the game and have a great time! But if I saw that in a Carnival commercial, it wouldn’t make me want to cruise. I think it would be so much better to show people enjoying the pool area, or walking up on deck in the moonlight, or perhaps looking at the Carnival ship from a beautiful beach such as Half Moon Cay. I have beautiful pics of that and everytime I look at them, I want to go on another cruise! You could still use us regular people in the commercials. As a matter of fact, that is one of the things that I enjoy about cruising with CCL. Us regular people don’t care about size, shape, gender, or color. We are all having such a good time! Now there’s an idea of a good commercial. People of all shapes, sizes , and colors having a great time ON THE SHIP , having the time of their lives!!

    Cruzn

  12. jane says:

    I have to agree with earlier poster John Friedman – i could never quite figure out the whole pinata in Philadelphia and the beach ball in Dallas connection. A pinata to represent Mexican cruises – fine. A giant beach ball to represent fun in the Caribbean sun – great. But Dallas and Philadelphia say nothing about sea or ships or cruising, so it leaves you wondering ‘what exactly are they selling?’

    Yes it looks fun – but surely Carnival want me to see what I’m in for if i stump up $4k. I’m not paying that kind of money to watch a wrecking ball bash the bejesus out of a giant bag of sweeties, I’m paying for sundrenched balconies, fancy food on unfeasibly large plates, thumping music in glamorous nightclubs, sunsets on endless oceans, tuxedo-clad waiters bearing cocktails stuffed with a plethora of paper umbrellas – so, predictable or not – that’s kind of the advert that will get me.

    If I want to buy a Toyota, there’s no point showing me an ice-skating dog, and then right at the end slapping the slogan ‘Buy a Toyota’ on the screen. I want to see the damn Toyota 😛
    Just my 2 cents!
    Jane

  13. Mary Lou & Lee Lovelace says:

    Dear John: It sure did you good to take a couple of days off. You are so funny today. So glad you enjoyed your Christmas with Mom and Dad.

    As for the new commercials, I have to be honest and say I really don’t think they would encourage anyone to sail with Carnival. I loved the old, old, old commercials with Kathy Lee. Now she really looked like she was having fun!

    I saw Willie Banger on the Liberty on the Med cruise also — he sure gets around.

    Best wishes to Heidi & Thingy,

    Mary Lou

  14. Linda (Mom of DJ) says:

    JAIME:

    You go girl!!!!! Just be yourself ….and you will be wonderful!!

    John:

    I thought the commercial was cute. Something different … but then we know the “background” etc. It is hard to say how it will be received by
    “fresh eyes”. Perhaps a consistant Carnival Theme Song would help with the “brand recognition” ???

    Happy New Year!!!

    Linda (Mom of your friend DJ)

  15. Jeanette says:

    John, where is the complete list for 2009’s CD posted. I only see up to April.

  16. msqpon - Jo Myerly says:

    Hi John, You asked my opinion so here it is. I don’t like the commercial. I think Carnival wasted their money on them. If you showed them to most people then asked them what was being advertised most everyone wouldn’t have a clue what you were selling. If you want to sell me a cruise show me exotic places I have always wanted to visit. Trust me somebody whacking a big plastic horse only makes me want to get the heck out of there. Sorry but you did ask.

    Jo

  17. nyccruiser says:

    Working in the business field myself I am looking at these commercials from a marketing standpoint and all I keep seeing flashing before my eyes is ‘biggest waste of advertising money ever’. The commercial does not get the point across over what you are trying to sell and leaves the consumer clueless till the 29th second frame. I’ve seen many companies try and use this same concept. In fact about a year ago a car company created a commercial that was nothing more than fancy graphical designs and music flashing across the screen and then finally at the last second they said ‘buy our cars’! This commercial was the biggest flop in the industry and didn’t last more than a few weeks.

    It’s all about attracting your target market and getting those first time cruisers as well. Pinata’s and candy say… let’s go to a kid’s birthday party, when you want it to say, let’s go on a Carnival cruise!

    Personally I liked the commercials from a few years ago where Beyond the Sea would play and you had a Carnival ship sail off into the sunset. The perfect models are optional, I don’t care if they use ugly actors, but it got the point across and because of those commercials I booked my first cruise with Carnival several years ago.

  18. Grady says:

    I have been sailing Carnival for awhile, and I have never disliked their marketing materials. I withstood Kathy Lee’s chipper crooning. I rather enjoyed the photo mosaic technology. I loved the spots set to Bobby Darin’s “Beyond the Sea”, hands down the best ever produced for Carnival. It was simple and elegant, with exactly the right song for the occasion.

    I was hoping against hope that these new bits weren’t as bad as everyone is saying. “Surely it couldn’t be that bad”, I thought. Surely it must just be a dud, nothing too horrid or offensive, just some marketing mistake that will be forgotten in a few weeks. Well, I was wrong. Oh so wrong.

    To say that this commercial is bad is like saying that the surface of the sun is luke warm. The fact that the largest cruise vacation conglomerate ever to exist paid someone to make that for their flagship company is beyond reason. I don’t even fully understand what I saw, it simply boggles the mind. We went from images of ships and persons aboard them, to cretins beating a paper mache donkey? Did we skip ahead to April 1st and I just wasn’t told. Call me old fashioned but it seems like a cruise line’s commercial should feature something remotely relevant to the product. This isn’t Calvin Klein perfume here; this is a cruise ship vacation! Sometimes esoteric pretentiousness doesn’t work, and this is one of those cases.

  19. Sharon Dover says:

    Hope you and Heidi had a Merry Christmas.
    The commercial was horrible. Carnival needs to get their money back from the ad agency.

  20. Erin W. says:

    Hey John, Butch and Thingy (Please Reply)

    First let me say that I LOVE the new commercials – they are something new and unexpected that plays on Carnivals being the FUNships..and we all know that on the Funships lots of unexpected things happen all the time – i don’t know how people wouldn’t know its Carnival – they have the whale tail the horn and it actually says CARNIVAL!

    I love your blog John and was quite happy to see Butch doing the Christmas blogs. I just left Butch and the Glory gang – I sailed the week before Christmas and the ship was decorated beautifully. Butch is a awesome cruise director for those of you who haven’t been on the Glory yet- this was my second time with him (I was also on the Sept. 6th run) and I will spend my 30th birthday with him in April….thanks for posting the schedule John as I was told by customer service they didn’t know who was aboard the ships ever – Butch being the CD sealed my decision to go again.

    John will there every be any fun ships whose home port is Boston?? I saw that the Glory will stop here in 2010 a few times. We see a lot of ships here recently but we rarely get to see that whale tail sailing into this beautiful city.

  21. retirementman says:

    Merry Christmas my friend. I hope that you, Heidi, Thingy and your parents enjoyed the time together during this peaceful time. Next Christmas will be very enjoyable as well as challenging. You and Heidi will definitely enjoy it much more when you see Thingy oogle all the gifts he or she will probably get and just from you. Wait till your parents get the chance to start giving their gifts to the child. I’m so happy just thinking about the happiness that you two will have each and every year will your child.
    Now the commercial. I thought it well presented, great music but I would think there should more about the ships and the cruises with the fun that we the people can and are having on a carnival ship. Well John that is how I see it.
    You and Heidi have a great Happy New Year and this special year will give you two excitement, exthusiasm, love and especially a special child.Ciao.

    Paul F. Pietrangelo

  22. LambKnuckles says:

    The commercial is great!!! When I see it… I quiet everyone and just smile and watch!!

    My daughter asked why they would do a commercial not about sailing. “Are they just trying to break world records?” I asked her what she liked about the commercial, she said, “I want to be the guy coming out of the ear… It would be fun!!” And I said, “That’s why they play that commercial!! To let everyone know what fun Carnival is! And just to make you smile!!”

    But she did say one more thing… a criticism of sorts… “But that’s what the rock wall lets you do… climb up and pop out the ear. Carnival doesn’t have those…” So to a non-Blogger, she saw the rock wall in the commercial. Not a good thing.

    I love the color! I love the fun and energy!

    And I WANT TO SEE THE BEACH BALL commercial too!!!!

  23. cruisingrandma says:

    I enjoyed the commercial, but being a long time blogger I know the background of how the concept came about. I think that more should have been said about what Carnival was doing and where the candy went after the commercial was shot.

    John Please Reply.
    I am taking a cruise on January 1st on the Fascination out of Jacksonville. Now I know that Trevor deserves a vacation but I don’t remember you talking about the replacement Jacques DeLange. What can you tell me about him and what other ships has he been on? Also has the Fascination had the Waterworks refit?

    CruisinGrandma
    CarolAnn

  24. Maggie Lewis says:

    I saw the pinata commercial a couple of days ago. Had I not already been aware of it, I would not have known it was a Carnival ad. It is not a good representation of the Carnival product.

  25. Shakingheadinutterwonder says:

    That commercial is going to be the highlight of the year for every other cruise line.
    I can just see the head-honchos at RCI laughing their butts off.

    Somebody needs to be fired.

  26. Dave Myerly says:

    The Commercials,

    Fire the Marketing Company. Keep your money
    and put on the old commercials with Kathie Lee.
    I think they relate to more of the TARGET audience you are shooting for. Show ships
    and ports and things you do during port stops.

    I do not think this marketing company has CARNIVALS best interests in mind. If they do
    then they have not applied the RIGHT people to come up with ways to attract customers.

    Mickey, What were you thinking????

    Dave Myerly

  27. Tom & Jane says:

    Sorry I missed the commercial
    I was in the toiletten.

  28. Mr Derek says:

    Happy Boxing Day! (Even I had a dinner party to celebrate!!)
    I hope all is well in the Heald household since we have heard nothing about the plasma TV, I’m assuming that you are NOT in the dog house.

    I liked the commercial. I thought it was a lot of fun, it has a lot of energy and it looks like something I would like to be a part of… oh wait… I was! My only negative comment is that in the voice over at the very beginning, one radio DJ says “a cruise company is trying to break a record.” If they changed that to “Carnival Cruises” is trying to break a record, that would help identify the brand and you wouldn’t have to wait for the tag to see who the ad is for. I do like the idea of having the ships whistle end all of the new ads. It ties all of the ads together. Otherwise I think they got a good looking ad out of all that hassle!
    Too bad you were left on the cutting room floor! It can be lonely down there.
    All the best to everyone at CCL and on all the ships at sea!
    Cheers!
    Derek

  29. popcorngal says:

    Hi John and Heidi! When I started the thread on Cruise Critic regarding if anyone had seen the new commercial yet, I had no idea what everyone’s reaction would be. I saw it first on Gray’s Anatomy, and I’m sorry to say it left me scratching my head. I just wanted to know if I was the only one left going “Huh?” Had I not known the story behind the commercial I would have had no idea what they were selling until the very end. There is virtually no brand identity and it certainly does not evoke feelings of wanting to go on any cruise, let alone a Carnival cruise. I do love the horn though!

    Please, please don’t take my comments in any way personal. All of us here appreciate your honesty and hope you will take our comments in the spirit in which they were intended. I just think the marketing gurus really missed the mark on this one.

    As always, our best to you, Heidi and Thingy!

  30. dwa76 says:

    Hi John:
    Great to hear from you and read the guest letters. Also nice to hear from Butch and Jaime.
    Mixed feelings about the ads. Just wish we could see more of the ships/locations.
    Take care!
    David

  31. Amy says:

    Sorry Mr. Heald, but I have to agree with many and say the commercial was not the best Carnival has ever put out… Yes, I equate pinatas and beach balls with ‘fun’, but I feel it would help to tie it more to a ship than just the word ‘Carnival’ at the very end. You blink, and you have no idea why crazies are smashing a pinata…

  32. Mike Smith says:

    Hi John and everyone,

    This commercial is AWFUL… TERRIBLE. When i watched it, I was not only confused, but I was upset as I thought this type of ad would cause someone NOT to cruise or cruise Carnival (if the average viewer is able to figure out it is a cruise commercial).

    I then showed it to some family tonight who have been on and not been on cruises, and they started hysterical laughing… they thought the ad was a JOKE, put together by an elementary school student (no offense to elementary school students). The ad does not show ships, cruising, and it DOES NOT EVEN SHOW FUN. It shows immature people running for candy in a parking lot.

    FUN IS: having a drink, playing games by the pool, going on slides, dancing.

    This advertising company should 1st BE FIRED and NEVER, EVER reconsidered for a job again. NEXT, this company should take a cruise, and maybe then they will laugh at what they did… even after that though, they should NEVER be hired by or considered by carnival again.

    I apologize for the negativity, but I am embarrassed for and feel sorry for Carnival.

    Happy Holidays to all!

  33. Seattle Diane says:

    We like the concept of the commercial, but the husband and I thought that it needs a link to actually being on a cruise. You could show a person or couple wearing a piece of the pinata as a hat while sitting on their balcony eating a bag of candy as they sail along. Or for the beach ball commercial, show them playing with a beach ball in the pool or on a beach.

  34. DanB says:

    I think that this commercial and surely the ones to follow would make for a genuis Internet viral marketing campaign. For television? Not so much. When you’re buying space on Desperate Housewives or Battlestar Galactica, you should be showing ships, sun, sand, beaches, the get-away-from-it-all fantasy. A pinata in a parking lot? I saw that four weeks ago at a neighborhood church block party.

  35. Bill Heck says:

    The commercial presents a Carnival atmosphere. Have some fun. When you distill the reasons we cruise, the base is to have fun. The name of the cruise line is Carnival, you know a carnival, all for fun.

    There is a proposal here that Carnival will create a major experience, not just a ho hum vacation. Real people having fun is a powerful message.

    Maybe to reach some others, future commercials will build on the pinata image and the beach ball image and tie in to cruise activities. A big draw of cruising is to have no worries, no responsibilities, no packing and unpacking, no consequences, and a borgashmorg of locations without the hassle of getting there. Mainly the environment to have fun. Fun for all.

    I have a memory of a guy with a watermellon and a bushel of other fruit stuck in a bright floral pair of trunks he was wearing, and women with fruit jammed in their bikinis having fun in the pool. Still makes me grin. Not exactly a HAL image is it? Carnival people.

    There is probably a difference between promoting the Carribean cruises and the European cruises. Carribean about fun in the sun, European tending to focus on destination.

    I like the imagery that fun on Carnival is larger than life. Everyman, come to Carnival and you will have a spectacular experience. You know what you are John, and I like it.

    Too subtle for some?

    Different strokes.

  36. joyce geraci says:

    Sorry to say John, I agree with those who think the Pinata commercial missed the mark. Though it was fun to watch, it really had no connection to cruising. I am a long time Carnival cruiser, so know what the Fun Ships are all about. First time potential cruisers need to see what the experience is, not just candy falling from the sky. Show the real FUN!
    Sorry to be negative. On a more positive note, I am really looking forward to the SA cruise Jan.31. My sister & I are on all 3 legs. Wish you could join us, but are looking forward to Goose!
    Joyce

  37. Sandra says:

    Sorry John,did’nt like the commericial,
    Show REAL peaple having REAL fun on a Carnival vacation,nothing staged ,nothing fancy,but stay real.
    -Sandra

  38. gloria says:

    While I can’t really relate much to the pinata commercial, I do agree that the beautiful people commercials are rather off-putting to one of the less than beautiful vast majority (me!). I actually was very intimidated before my first cruise, thinking that the other guests were all going to be like the commercial. Fortunately, they mostly turned out to be regular people like me and we’ve now enjoyed 4 Carnival cruises over the past 3 years. While i get the “fun” part of the pinata commercial, I do think that a few more shots of Carnival cruise ships, flashes of warm ports of call, or even showing the pinata thing through a round white lifesaving ring thing would re-inforce the Carnival message. But I am glad that the people are more normal! Thanks to Butch and Jaime for the great blog additions…and congrats Jaime on your present situation…I know you’re impressing the powers that be at Carnival! Gloria

  39. phoenix says:

    John,

    It seems you have your adjectives of “many” and “some”, reversed, unless you are basing it on the reaction of your own blog when it comes to this pinata thingy.

    I am reading that MANY do not like it (more like most), and few (more like almost none) do not.

    I find myself in the latter category. It really does remind me of the crowds you would find in the parking lot of a closed Walmart.

  40. Catrin says:

    I do not think the commerical will do anything to help Carnival’s “Party Cruise” reputation that it has fought for years.
    A bunch of adults running for free candy? Those are the same adults who will hog up the buffet lines, order 10 cocktails duruing the Captain’s Cocktail Party, save lounge chairs, run in the hallways (never mind vomiting after the 10 drinks!), wear flip flops in the dining room, and who will remove their automatic tips! 🙂

    No, the crowds in a commerical do not have to be models. I do like that they feature everyday people like you and me. But I wish they featured these same people relaxing on a cruise and showing how the Caribbean air can melt the stress away.

    Catrin

  41. Mr Derek says:

    One more thing…
    A lot of people are saying that they want to see pictures of the ships and people on the ships. In my opinion, in a high energy commercial the fast glimpses of ships and pools could be any cruise line. There is no signature Carnival music to make that type of commercal a solid tie-in to Carnival. Yes you can show the funnel and the water slide, but they’ve done that… again and again. I think that the point was that taking a Carnival Cruise would NOT be the same as the others… yes you will have happy people sipping drinks around a pool, but so does Whatever of the Seas, the Grafitti Ships, etc. They all are the same. This commercial make Carnival stand out by saying it’s about the FUN.
    I have watched this commercial many times and I like it more each time, but agree that there needs to be a brand name mention a little earlier in the ad. I also like Seattle Diane’s idea about having a tie in with someone wearing a pinata hat on the ship.
    That’s my two cents for the day.
    Cheers!
    Derek

  42. Cheryl K says:

    Jaime–it was so good to have your Dear John letter again! I missed you and I know you are doing a great job ( and pretty cool being able to sign “Cruise Director” after your name. I know I am being selfish, but hope that you are on the Splendor for South America so that I can visit with you again. Sorry you missed being at home with your family for the holidays but what a great oportunity huh?
    Great blog from Butch too. Its nice to know that the crew gets to have parties too and the wonderful things Carnival and the crews do for the people on the islands we visit–you could probably take this further with passengers participating too–great thought.

    Glad you and Heidi had a wonderful Christmas and you are right, it will never be the same again. Although holidays are great family times, Christmas is so much better with little ones and Santa! Seeing them on Christmas morning will put a feeling in your heart you have never felt before.

    The commercial will be controversal since anything different is. My issue with it is that you really don’t know it’s Carnival until the horn and the logo at the end–its hard to put the two together and figure out what its about after the fact I guess. Don’t know exactly what the problem is but I just don’t get “take a cruise” from it but then I have the say neither does joining the “nation of why not?” by the mall of the seas. But then I have taken 18 cruises and love cruising so I don’t claim to know what would inspire 1st time cruisers to take to the gangway (except me insisting they will love it). You are right, nobody wants to see all the perfect faces and figures on the ship which leads you to think you should look like that to be able to cruise but somewhere in the middle would be a good step. No marketing speak here so I can only say what I like or don’t–still love the horn and “Towel Animal Theater” is really cute and funny–surely with computers the way they are today and I saw that server room in your video, they can tell how many hits the towel animals are getting and whether that might be something to build on.

    Ok, hope the guy in India was able to talk to your local ISP and get your broccoli functioning again.
    Nuff said.

  43. "BIG" ED says:

    When I saw them making the pinata commercial in Philly I thought they would put the busting open at the start of the commercial and as the candy falls you see a Carnival ship appear in the background.

    I was not at the beach ball party in Dallas. I hope it will go like this. It starts with the beach ball being bounced down the street then it goes up and comes down on a beach with a Carnival ship at the pier in the background.

    BIG ED

    PS, looking for a consultant job at an ad agency.

  44. cantcruzenuf! says:

    Hi, John! Just call me the “closet blogger”, as I have been reading your blog for some time, but have never replied before. I had the privilege of sailing with you and Heidi in 2003 on the Triumph, the week you were leaving to go back home to be married. And now you’re having a Thingy! Congratulations to you, both.

    Now for the commercial. I have to agree with the majority–I do not like it. I think Carnival wasted its money. I do not even look up when it comes on the TV. And the horn at the end is a sorry sort.

    In the past, whenever a Carnival commercial came on the TV, I would look up and watch it until it was finished (my favorite was “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun”). If I had the funds, I would have run to my phone and booked another cruise with my PVP. If I was passing through the TV room when the commerical came on, I would stop and watch and dream of future cruises and remember past ones until the commercial was finished. This new pinata commercial doesn’t do anything for me, and I’m a past cruiser. How can it entice any future cruisers? I don’t think it will. I agree with a former post–the other cruise lines must be laughing out loud and thinking of all the money they’ll be raking in on CCL’s lost business.

    Happy Holidays to you and all the other bloggers. And thank you, John, for blogging–my escape from life’s realities here at home!

  45. The Cruising Brewers says:

    Hi John, Heidi and Thingy!

    Terrific blog, and I am so sorry for your computer’s loss… Isn’t it the most maddening thing on earth to talk to those people in “Tech Support, India”? I know they are extremely knowledgable, but it is so hard to understand them sometimes, it just makes the experience and situation worse!

    I wanted to tell you I spent Boxing day at the movies too and was happily munching my popcorn and anticipating watching Brad Pitt for 3 hours, and low and behold up on the massive screen was the pinata commerical! The audience gasped at the candy flowing out, laughed as the people grabbed candy and made happy noises. It made me smile knowing more people would likely go on to experience the BEST vacation ever. It made me grin from ear to ear, recalling fond memories and happy times, aboard the FUN ships.

    BRILLIANT!

    Nancy

  46. Tom & Jane says:

    JOHN—PLEASE —REPLY
    Is the 12/03/2009 sailing of the ,,,
    CARNIVAL DREAM,,still going to be a bloggers
    cruise?
    we are booked on it we sure hope it is!

    please let us know A.S.A.P.

    sweet puffs from
    Cigar City

    tom & jane

  47. girldoc says:

    Hi John, I have missed your blogs recently but wanted to give you some good news and a plug for Carnival. My dad has been waiting for a liver transplant for quite some time. He has been unable to travel out of the country for the past year so that meant no cruises for him and his girlfriend. He has said for the past year that when he gets his new liver and is free to travel again, he’d really like to do a cruise in Europe, so I told him it will be my treat. Well, we got the call recently and he got his liver.

    I always wondered what I would do with those prints of the cruise ships I have received from the dining team at the end of a cruise and now I have figured it out. Dad is still in the ICU and on a ventilator but we expect that to be removed in the next day or so. About 2 days after his surgery, I took one of those prints and hung it on his wall. His nurse reminds him what the picture is when he wakes up and we got a thumbs up the other day!!! I am so glad I hung on to that print of the Glory!! He has this goal which is one of many! I am now going to try to catch up on what I have missed these past couple of weeks! I hope you, Heidi and the thingy are well.

  48. Shakingheadinutterwonder says:

    I felt the need to comment again. I can’t believe how off the mark this commercial is.

    When I see a commercial for a cruise line that shows the SHIP…and the OCEAN, I swear to you I run to the computer and start looking for something to book. NCL commercials don’t appeal for this reason (too much emphasis on dining with who you choose) but RCI commercials are the ones that appeal to me (and I don’t really enjoy RCI all that much)…ALSO the old CCL commercials with that song ‘By The Sea’ with the images of the ship, people all dressed up dancing….THAT commercial made me want to book a cruise on the spot.
    This commercial leaves me headed to the kitchen in search of candy….

  49. Robin in New York says:

    John–In all honesty, the two things that ever made me want to go on a cruise in the first place was the excitement of friends who had been on them, and watching the cruise commercials on television. The sea, the entertainment, lying in a beach chair, being served a special dinner–no insult, but the pinata commercial just does not say “cruise.” Now, if you had showed a commercial taken ON the ship with people having fun–a hairy chest contest, trivia, watching a movie at sea, going down the water slide, whatever, and shown the whole ship and Carnival logos throughout I think the idea of FUN would have been represented so much better. I get what you were going for, but in my humble opinion, it just did not work. Sorry (small voice)……

  50. RBGates says:

    John, I do not want to be negative BUT I really did not care for the pinata commercial. I saw a mob of people running for candy; nothing there that inspired me to want to take a cruise.
    OK, so I am old-fashioned. I want a cruise commercial to show the ship, beautiful sunsets, people having fun on the beach, kids at the waterslide; folks in the casino or by the pool. Show me the couple taking a romantic walk along the deck under a full moon; show me the waiter bringing that perfect steak, the great ship’s entertainers performing in a beautiful show lounge. Maybe it’s all been done before and that’s why the ad agency wanted something entirely different. But, for me, it just didn’t work.

  51. Linda Hernacki says:

    Sorry to say but I too was disappointed with this commercial, what was it advertising? Certainly not FUN on a Carnival cruise! I hope like Big Ed says, the Beach Ball commercial shows a beach at the end of the commercial with a Carnival ship in the background, because the Pinata commercial was a bit of a disappointment, I am afraid! Linda

  52. Bob Coultas says:

    Hi, John.

    I love the commercial. It is very good for past cruisers who are addicted. Assuming that the ad attracts absolutely no new passengers, and given our current (and likely future) economy, along with Carnival’s increased capacity, prices will have to fall, and I just may be able to get that penthouse suite I’ve always wanted.

    Seriously, I don’t think that Carnival should spend much money for ad buys for that commercial.

    Kathie Lee is still alive.

  53. I’ve been reading a few posts and i’m adding your blog to my rss reader , thanks !

  54. I really love going back to your site to read your story and see more pictures that are really taken with great care. . . . . .

  55. Thank you for the sensible critique. Me & my neighbour were preparing to do some research about that. We got a good book on that matter from our local library and most books where not as influensive as your information. I am very glad to see such information which I was searching for a long time.

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