A Blog on Two Wheels

March 3, 2009 -

John Heald

Guest: Mr _______ Ref: 835005386A
Cabin: _____ Booking#: ________ Added-Changed: 03/02/09 – 03/02/09

WANTED TO SPEAK TO CRUISE DIRECTOR.
Guest called the desk asking to speak to the cruise director who was at the time hosting the Captain’s Party. Guest said he would not hang up the phone until she had spoken to him. GSA asked if she could help. Guest said that he had just finished watching the cruise director’s port orientation talk where he said that guests must not rent Mopeds in the ports. Guest was very angry about this as he owns a moped rental company in the Florida Keys. GSA apologized and said that it was company policy to advise guests not to rent them. Guest then started to shout and then put down the phone. Guest called back but there was no answer. E-mail sent to CD

Good morning everyone from Grand Cayman………well………sort of……………and I will explain what I mean about that later. Firstly, let’s talk about the comment above. Yes, I did indeed advise the guests that renting mopeds is not a good idea as I and my fellow cruise directors have been doing for many years. All of us have seen first hand the accidents that these machines can cause. This includes guests coming back to the ship having left various bits of skin on the road for the iguanas to nibble, guests having to stay in the islands’ hospital, and in a few cases not coming back at all.

While I am sure this guest has a reputable company that provides safe and maintained mopeds and motorcycles that is not the case in many of the Caribbean ports of call that our fleet visits.

This, along with the somewhat reckless way road users in the Caribbean sometimes drive, are two reasons why we as a company continue to alert guests to their danger.

So, I called the guest who may told me he owned a successful company and that he was a “millionaire” because of its success. I congratulated him not bothering to mention that he may think about spending some of his millions on going to charm school and learning how not to swear every other word.

I also didn’t bother telling him about my own personal thoughts on all things mopedy.
You see, in places like Cozumel and Jamaica they will rent you a moped without any safety message. I have seen some places that will rent to anyone just to make money ………even Stevie Wonder would not be turned away.

However, in the UK as I am sure in North America, it’s a little different. The legal driving age to drive a car in the UK is 18 however you can drive a moped from the age of 16 providing it is less than 100cc…….and so like every other 16-year-old desperate for independence and not to have Dad collect them from a party……….I bought a Moped.

However as I said there are rules. You can’t just get on one and drive away on your Vespa. Nope………..this means that before climbing on board you must go to a parking lot, put on a high-visibility jacket and spend the morning driving round some cones while a man called Bob — all motorcycle instructors are called Bob — explains which lever does what.

Afterwards, you will be taken on the road, where you will drive about for several hours in a state of abject fear and misery, and then you will go home and vow never to get on a motorcycle ever again. This is called compulsory basic training and it allows you to ride any bike up to 100cc. If you want to ride something bigger, you must take a proper test. But, of course, being human, you will not want a bigger bike, because then you will be killed immediately while wearing clothing from the local Adult Rumpy Pumpy Shop “dungeon” range.

The moped is not like a car. It will not stand up when left to its own devices. So, when you are not riding it, it must be leaned against a wall or a fence. I’m told some bikes come with footstools which can be lowered to keep them upright. But then you have to lift the bike onto this footstool, and that’s like trying to lift up an obese elephant.
Next: the controls. Unlike with a car, there seems to be no standardization in the world of motorcycling. Some have gearlevers on the steering wheel. Some have them on the floor, which means you have to shift with your feet — how stupid is that? — and some are automatic.

Then we get to the brakes. Because mopeds are designed by moped drivers and they haven’t worked out how the front and back brake can be applied at the same time. So, to stop the front wheel, you pull a lever on the steering wheel, and to stop the one at the back, you press on a lever with one of your feet.

A word of warning, though. If you use only the front brake, you will fly over the steering wheel and be killed. If you try to use the back one, you will use the wrong foot and change into third gear instead of stopping. So you’ll hit the obstacle you were trying to avoid, and you’ll be killed.

Then there is the steering. The steering wheel comes in the shape of what can only be described as handlebars, but if you turn them — even slightly — while riding along, you will fall off and be killed. What you have to do is lean into the corner, fix your gaze on the course you wish to follow, and then you will fall off and be killed.

As far as the minor controls are concerned, well . . . you get a horn and lights and indicators, all of which are operated by various switches and buttons on the steering wheel, but if you look down to see which one does what, a truck will hit you and you will be killed. Oh, and for some extraordinary reason, the indicators do not self-cancel, which means you will drive with one of them on permanently, which will lead following traffic to think you are turning right. It will then undertake just as you turn left, and you will be killed.

What I’m trying to say here is that, yes, bikes and cars are both forms of transport, but they have nothing in common. Imagining that you can ride a bike because you can drive a car is like imagining you can slam-dunk a basketball over Dwayne Wade’s head because you once saw the Harlem Globetrotters on TV when you were seven.

However, many people are making the switch because they imagine that having a small motorcycle will be cheap. OK, the moped may only cost $2,000 but then you will need a helmet ($300), a jacket ($200), some Tom Jones leather trousers ($100), porno movie boots ($100), a pair of Kevlar gloves ($90), a coffin ($1,000), a headstone ($500), a cremation ($280) and flowers in the church ($100).

In other words, your small 125cc motorcycle, which has no boot, no electric windows, no stereo and no bloody heater even, will end up costing more than one of those cheap Korean-made cars. That said, a bike is much cheaper to run than a car. In fact, it takes only half a liter of gas to get from your house to the scene of your first fatal accident. Which means that the lifetime cost of running your new bike is just $1.

I think you will agree with me that it’s probably best I didn’t mention this to the guest ………….. Instead, I apologized and sent him some fruit. I had better move on before moped drivers of the world unite to have me chained to the back of one of their mean machines and drag me through the streets.

Here is the next group of questions marked for my reply.

Irene Garner Asked:
Dear John, .Please reply
I’m not sure if you are answering questions now that you are a busy CD again, and I am also wondering whether you would have answers to my questions considering you prefer not to spend time on the beaches, so maybe someone else has some experience and could answer these for me.

On my upcoming cruise (27 days and counting….I’m so excited) to the Eastern Caribbean on the Carnival Destiny, my grandson and I have booked shore excursions that include “Swimming with the Dolphins” at the Atlantis Resort, and two days of snorkeling at Half Moon Cay and Grand Turks. I know we will need money, credit card, passports and sail-and-sign-cards and other stuff with us while we are off the ship, but is there going to be anywhere for us to store our valuables while enjoying the water activities?

I remember on our Mediterranean cruise last summer on the Carnival Freedom, we did the trip to the beach in Messina, Sicily, but there was no place to leave our valuables so I didn’t feel right about leaving our things unprotected while we went into the water, especially as the loungers provided to us were quite a hike away from the water’s edge. The only way we could do it was for only one of us to enjoy the water at a time.
I am assuming there will be lockers at the Atlantis Resort, because of the water park there too, so I am wondering if we’ll need US coins to operate them or will they take Canadian money? We’ll be snorkeling off a small boat at the other two locations, so will we be able to leave our belongings safely onboard somewhere?

Just as a side note I am looking forward to showing my grandson this part of the world and know the pleasure he will get from his snorkeling experience. Many years ago, in 1974 my husband and I moved our family from England to live in Freeport on Grand Bahama Island for 2 1/2 years and my kids spent all of their spare time swimming and snorkeling as we did, until we moved to Canada in 1977.

I really enjoy reading your blogs everyday, and they just get me more and more excited about our upcoming cruise, and I just wish my late husband and I had tried cruising before he passed away. We always thought it was way beyond our means but now that I have tried it once I feel it’s the only way to go. If I lived closer to one of the embarkation ports I think would take a cruise every other week. For us, living in Alberta, Canada the airfare costs more than the cruise, but it’s worth every minute I spend standing on my feet for 8 hours a day working at the local Safeway supermarket. Maybe I should send in my resume (CV) after all, to the company that hires the gift shop personnel.
Thanks for listening…Irene Garner

John Says:
Hello Irene

I am indeed enjoying being a busy CD again but I am never to too busy to answer the questions of my friends in Blog Land. You are correct, I am not a big beach fan but I do know that the excursions you have chosen are simply wonderful. All the tours have places and or lockers for guests to leave their valuables while in the water so you will have no concerns their. We send hundreds of guests each and every week on them and I can assure you they and you will be well look after. I know the beach you refer to in Messina and that was indeed a problem but it was also a very European thing. However in the Caribbean it is very different and there will be places for you to leave your essentials. I just checked with the Carnival Sensation who informed me the lockers at Atlantis are $5 which is refundable so you will not need coins of any kind. The other trips will have containers on the boats for you to leave individual items………..you will not have any worries with that I promise. I can see for your comment how important this cruise vacation is to you and please therefore let me know if I can help in anyway.
My best to you and the family

John

Melissa D. Asked:
John, (please reply)
I have just recently discovered your blog thingy and have quickly become a huge fan and avid reader! My husband and I along with another couple will be on our first cruise this May on the Carnival Legend. It will be our 10th anniversary and our friend’s honeymoon they never had. I was wondering if you know who the cruise director will be. I am excited that you will soon be visiting the same western Caribbean ports that we will visit. I look forward to any information or recommendations you may have. Best to you and Heidi and Thingy!
Melissa

John Says:
Hello Melissa
Welcome to the blog thingy and I am so happy you found us all here. You have chosen a fantastic ship for your first cruise and the Carnival Legend’s CD will be a wonderful young lady called Jen Baxter. Please take the time to introduce yourself to her and mention you are a blog reader and she may even have a little gift for you. I wish I could be there with you to celebrate this special anniversary and if I can do anything for you please let me know
Cheers
John

Bill Heck Asked:
Hi John:
Please Reply
Sir Richard Branson owns an Island, Necker Island and you can rent some cliff houses. There is one that has an outside bathroom. Is this in your book? On TV several years ago, Sir Richard had a show about picking a new executive out of a group of survivor type applicants and the semi finalists spent some time on necker and the “loo” was outside with a spectacular view of the ocean. As I recall, the one that undressed at a Wimbley concert got the job, could be mistaken.

John Says:
Hello Bill
How funny…….yep……..the toilet on Necker Island is on page 47 and how I would like to sit on it. Sir Richard has done very well for himself with his own airline, train company, record label and private island. However, his greatest achievement surely must be having one of his toilets listed in the top 100 places in the world to take a poo.
Cheers mate
John

Mark Brass Asked:
Please reply.
Hi John, hope you are not too upset with me for teasing you about your spelling or more aptly, your typing mistakes – but I couldn’t resist. You don’t seem to be the kind of guy that doesn’t mind a bit of ribbing! I wanted to take a moment to comment on the beautiful pictures taken at the Cape Horn and was wondering what a great thing it would be to have a fleet photographer or one of your photography folks present a talk on photo composition, lighting, and all that good stuff.

The one thing I was really disappointed about in my first cruise was my poor picture taking ability. I have read a number of blogs on taking good pictures…but to no avail. I may have to buy some of those photos in the Photo Gallery during my next cruise.
Pictures are indeed worth thousand words or at least the money you paid for your cruise and worth a ton of memories. Thanks John for your blog, really a lift me-upper after a long day at work in the “real world”.

John Says:
Hello Mark
I love being teased…………….preferably with a peacock feather. Seriously though I loved your comment and I hope you will continue to tease me and check my spelling. Now, lets talk abut Radu our top photographer. It’s funny you should write what you did because after publishing some of his photos here on the blog thingy I thought it might be nice to have an interview with him which included top tips on taking photos at sea…………so look out for that in the days ahead. I am so glad you are enjoying my mussing and long may the teasing continue
Cheers
John

Ray Czenszak Asked:

John (please respond)
Wow! As I read about Jaime’s Splendor adventures around the Cape Horn and see the pictures, I am so disappointed Jeanne and I where unable to book the Trip.
My question is will this be a future itinerary for Carnival ships.
We loved the Baltic Cruise on Splendor and Jaime was a Fantasy host and I am sure this trip was a true Gem with her.
She is truly following in John Heald’s footsteps.
Jeanne and I are counting the days till our New Years Eve celebration on Carnival Miracle and seventh Carnival Cruise.
My hope is we get to do this around the Cape Horn trip in the future on Carnival, maybe with you John.
That would be a blast, but who knows.
We would Love to do a fourth Cruise with you.
Maybe if we get married on a Carnival Cruise we can pick another trip with you.
All the Best to you Heidi and The Thingy.
Ray and Jeanne

John Says:
Hello Ray
I am so glad you are enjoying Jaime’s adventures and another one will be posted later on in today’s blog. These exotic destinations are very exciting and I am sure had the economy no stalled faster than a Caribbean moped than you would have continued to see more South American and European itineraries. However, we need the fleet to be closer to home and the decision to do so has proven very prudent. Carnival more than any other line is best positioned during these difficult times but as you do I also hope that it won’t be long until our ships are back in Europe and beyond. I wish I could be there with you on the Carnival Miracle and if you do get married on a Carnival ship I will do all I can to be there………….can I be a bridesmaid?

Cheers
John

Cheryl Donofrio Asked:
Dear John, Heidi, and Thingy,
I loved your blog today. The only problem is, I have never been able to read the letters. The only thing I could see today was “D Day”. Everything else was white. I got the gist of what was going on by your comments afterward. I think that guest was being oversensitive. After all, no one else complained, did they? I agree with Big Ed about the soup lady. Maybe she WAS blacklisted by HAL. Hee hee. Besides, as someone else said, who would want warm strawberry soup? Bleah.

Jaime’s pictures and commentary were wonderful. The next time CCL goes to South America, they should use that picture of the ship sailing around the horn in their advertising and/or brochure.

John – please reply. Is it really true that Carnival suite passengers get NO other perks besides a nicer room? I was really surprised to hear that yesterday when I asked. I know on other lines they get butler service, priority tender tickets, etc, similar to VIP perks. I was told yesterday that they only get priority embarkation. Hmm. Thank you for your reply.
Your Friend,
Cheryl D.

John Says:
Hello Cheryl
Thanks for the lovely kind words and I am sorry you are having trouble reading the letters. Maybe Stephanie has a word of advice about that as she is a worshiper of all things computers even though she doesn’t have a beard…………..Steph – any reason as to why Cheryl cannot view the letters?

Hi Cheryl,
This probably has to do with how you connect to the internet. Dial up connections sometimes just can’t load content. Where you are connecting from (work vs. home) and the version of your browser also affect what you can and can’t see (Some work places block certain kinds of content, etc.)
Stephanie

As for the suites………although we do offer VIP Check In for suite guests well, yes, you are correct, once onboard we offer the same first class service to everyone regardless of what category stateroom they are in. I know some other lines offer butler service, etc. but I think you will find the attention our fabulous stateroom stewards offer will be as brilliant as any. The benefits that you mentioned do come with Platinum status (10 cruises or more) and I wonder if anyone else has an opinion on this………….should we offer guests who book suites extra service, etc?………I would appreciate your opinion. Anyway, I thank you so much for saying how much you enjoyed the blog and I do hope that this will continue for a long time to come
Cheers
John

cindy56 Asked:
JOHN, PLEASE REPLY
Could you please find out if there are hair dryers in the cabins on the Carnival Sensation after their retrofit? I can’t remember how to check that kind of stuff out on carnival’s website.
Thanks John!

John Says:
Hello Cindy
Yes indeed, I am informed that if you look in the top drawer of the desk in your stateroom you will find a bible and a hair dryer. Please let me know if you need anything else
Cheers
John


retirementman Asked:

PLEASE REPLY JOHN
Good evening John. It’s a shame about that taxi driver. The one we had in St. Thomas was fair and even joked with us as he took us around the city. I think we were lucky that day. There is a question I would like to have you answer if possible. On our last cruise they sent us a sheet asking us if we wanted us to be involved with. It was called
“EXPRESS LUGGAGE” allowing them and the airline people taking care of our luggage and we would pay $20 each, our boarding passes would be sent to our cabin and once our luggage was taken off the ship we wouldn’t see our luggage until we arrived at the Detroit airport. My wife and I did it and it was fantastic. No luggage to the bus and the airport in Ft. Lauderdale. My question is will this be done in all the ships and all the ports next year? I’m not sure which cruise I plan on taking next year but I do know that one of them will be at Port Canaveral, Ft. Lauderdale or Miami so we were wondering if the “LUGGAGE EXPRESS” would be used again next year. I think it is an excellent thing for those that fly.
Say hi to Heidi for us and that Jaime is fantastic and also very beautiful. I’m surprised that some guy hasn’t married her away. Thank you for your assistance John.
Paul F. Pietrangelo

John Says:
Hello Paul
I was glad to hear you had a good experience with your taxi driver in St. Thomas. It appears that this is not always the case though which is disappointing. I am also glad you enjoyed using the LEX luggage system. This luggage express does indeed take away some of the stresses and strains of today’s flying experiences and we are proud to offer it. Most of the major American-based airlines now offer this and we just added Air Canada as well to the program. It is available from all the Floridian homeports and I will check to see if it is available in Alabama, Texas and California and if it will be in Baltimore and let you know. I am always pleased to hear from you and as always I send you and your wife my kindest regards

John

Carol Asked:
Hi John, Please reply
Well John I thought I would take you up on your offer of the picture of you naked. We will be on the Carnival Legend leaving March 8 cabin #. I thought your picture naked would just make my cruise .This is my 56th birthday celebration and what better fun than to have you there in our room in your birthday suit. FUN FOR ALL ALL FOR FUN.
This will also be a great way to make some money imagine if your bobble head brought $47. What could I get for your picture on eBay? Thanks for the offer because I would never thought of this myself.
Love your blog.
Jamie is doing a great job hope she
keeps the letters and pictures coming.
This is the first of three cruises we have booked for this year.
Thanks,
Carol M

John Says:
Hello Carol
I want you to have fun not spend the entire cruise looking at a photo of me naked and consequently needing psychiatric help when you get home. Have a wonderful cruise and as you spent $47 on my bobblehead you can expect a gift or two. Have a brilliant time and wish I was there with you
Cheers
John

Catrin Asked:
Hi John,
((( Please do NOT post on the Blog – but a generic reply that you did receive it would be appreciated!))
John… I am writing to you in a bit of frustration… only to vent, really… because I know you are someone who deeply cares about what the loyal Carnival Customer thinks….
The day after our eighth and most recent cruise, we booked our ninth. Carnival Cruises are our vacation of choice… especially for my kids, who are 14, 10 and 4.
When we booked, we booked an 8A Balcony Cabin, which was upgraded to an 8C. This is on the Carnival Pride, which has a sailing in Miami, before it goes to Baltimore. What a great opportunity to sail a ship we have not been on before! Anyway, there were AFT Cabins available in the 8C category… and my husband was very excited to book one of these!
In late fall, the categories changed for the cabin we booked, and it was now considered an 8I. We watched the prices of this cruise go down considerably – but not for the 8I. When I called Carnival Reps, I was told that, although we booked when it was an 8C, we now have to look at the 8I prices if we wanted a reduction.
The price difference between the 8A and 8I eventually became $250.00 per person – and we booked two cabins, since my mom is traveling with us. So, for the aft cabin, we were now spending $1000.00 more, than the 8A originally booked. BUT, now Steve (my cruise fanatic husband who reads your blog the second he comes home from work) had his heart set on this aft cabin, and we stayed.
TODAY, however… for the first time, if you book an 8A you were upgraded all the way to the 8I. WOW! Now, the price difference was a little less… $110.00 per person, for a total of $440.00. BUT>>>> the kicker…. is that we have made our final payment. Carnival Reps will NOT BUDGE and WILL NOT offer any On Board Credit or Refund.
The Early Saver Program was not offered for this cruise until AFTER our final payment was made.
What was our incentive to being loyal and booking early?
Cabin choice really isn’t the issue, since the cabin exactly next to ours is wide open.
Couldn’t Carnival “Grandfather us in” >those who booked 6 months or more in advance?
I know with the economy and crazy cruise market… that if Carnival let every customer lower the cruise fare, it would be a financial nightmare. But, I do feel a pit in my stomach, knowing that Joe Schmo, who doesn’t care who’s cruise line he is on, or even the fact he is on a cruise… will be in the cabin next to me for a LOT LESS MONEY!
I guess I just feel that I am being “ripped off” – although I deep down inside know it isn’t the case, and it was a business decision. It won’t turn me away, since we are already discussing our 10th and Platinum Cruise for next year….
But I wanted to share my frustration with someone I know, who genuinely cares about the Loyal Carnival Customer! The reps were certainly following a specific script….. And although she was very pleasant, it was as if she was not hearing me at all. It would have been a nice gesture to offer a “token” on board credit or something for those of us who could not take advantage of this new pricing strategy – which, by the way, we would have jumped at – since we book so far in advance anyway.
If you could pass this along >> so that the “powers can be” can see an opinion from someone caught in the pricing shuffle.
Thanks for listening,
Cathy Moses
Booking # Carnival Pride 4/11/09

John Says:
Cathy
I can totally understand how you feel and I am very glad you took the time to write to me. I want you to give me a few days and allow me to investigate this further. First though I need to know if you booked this directly through a Carnival sales agent, a Carnival PVP or a travel agent. Let me know and also please include your booking number. Don’t upset yourself and let’s see what we can do
I will await your response
Thanks and regards
John

Cathy Asked:
I have been cruising with Carnival since 1980 (on the Carnivale) and have been lurking your blog for the past few months. Some time ago, I stumbled onto your blogs and did not care for all the bodily function references. However, after my last three cruises, I have a new regard for the cruise director position – and have gotten used to your humor and enjoy all the info you post. My recent cruises with Malcolm ‘In the Middle’ Burn (Whoo Hoo) and Shawn Bussey (on her last run before her thingy arrived) really got me quite interested in the role of CD as well as the captain. So now I read your blog to feed that interest and hopefully, I will have the chance to cruise on one of your future sailings.
Now I know there are special attributes for a person to be a CD – like – loves people, has thick skin, is funny, likes to eat, does not get seasick, has an attention to detail, yearns to be on stage, is immune to viruses, can manage unusual situations and can be away from home for months on end.

My question to you – other than having a huge personality, what training do you receive as a CD? Now I am one of those Wall Street bankers you hear about on the news daily – and would never qualify – but am very curious and will probably be more selective with my cruises – taking advantage of sailing with the most interesting staff available.
Thanks for promoting Carnivale so well – your company has always provided great fun with a lot of value. Keep all those fun ideas and cruises coming!!

John Says:
Hello Cathy
First of all let me congratulate you for a brilliant post. Now, let’s start with the bodily functions you mention. I often wonder if I have a fetish when it comes to this subject but then I remember I am British and grew up on a diet of comedy where number twos and bottom noises were the main dish……………..my apologies if they are not to your liking.

That’s the thing about being a CD – as I will mention at the end of the blog today – you can never please all the people all the time. Oh, you might think you can. I know did for years and would get so upset when it was obvious that this was not possible. Now, I look at the big picture and try to listen to what the masses are saying. You still try and please everyone but while 1,000 people will laugh at something you say there will be one or two who will find what you say totally insensitive especially in the world we live in today.
You asked about the training a cruise director gets. Well, they spend time as an assistant cruise director learning the paper work and all the boring stuff you and Mr. Dell have to do each and every day. But the real job of a Carnival cruise director is to provide the fun we advertise and for that………well………in my humble opinion there is no training for that. You either have it…….or you don’t. A love of people, a love of life and as you said a skin as thick as 10 Paris Hiltons is a must. I know these are difficult times for you and your colleagues on Wall Street so hang in there and if you see anyone from AIG who lost all my pension savings please give him or her my kindest regards……….and then push them off the 29th floor. I will try and keep my bodily function remarks down to just two or three per blog and hope you keep reading

Cheers
John

Jeri R Green Asked:
Please reply: Great blog – as usual. I’m so glad you witnessed that bully and put a stop to his actions. Host Mach assumes he, the manager, is now to be unemployed by Carnival. Is this the case? I hope so! Jamie, your blogs have been a delight to read and I look forward to them every day. The photos make me want to visit the places you are seeing even though I hate cold weather, snow and ice! By the way, our very favorite photographer and one we now consider to be our friend is on the Splendor. He is Jonathan Manaog and a great young man. While we were on four (Wow! I can’t believe we did that including the Transatlantic!) Cruises on the Liberty he helped make the time even more special. Could you try to see him and tell him how much we appreciated his good work?
Jeri and Larry

John Says:
Hello Jerry and Larry
I can’t really comment any further on our bully but let’s just say the situation was taken care of. I am glad Jaime has so many fans and she deserves each and every one of them. I also am a big fan of Jonathan and he is still from what I understand on the Carnival Splendor so I will indeed pass on your regards and thanks. Please let me know if you need anything else. My best wishes to you both
John

texaskit Asked:
Dear John (please reply)
Why can’t the price of the “sold on board” excursions be posted with the excursion description? My husband and I are going on the June 24 Northbound Alaska cruise on the Spirit and I am trying to plan excursions for us. Having the price posted could be the difference between waiting to book on board or saying “Nope too expensive” and booking something else we’re less interested in online. Hope you’ve decided to make the June 24th cruise your choice for Alaska (after all it’s still all your fault that I’m getting on a ship…going to a cool climate…with a balcony cabin
Texaskit (The one with the shaking knees, hanging on to her husband…….but still having a wonderful time)

John says:
Hello Texaskit
That’s a good question and do you know what as I sit here and reply to you I do not know the reason why. I am sure there must be one so let me find out and at the same time let me pass on your suggestion to the ladies and gents in our shore excursion department. If you have any specific questions on any specific tours please let me know. I am still working on my June schedule but if I do an Alaskan cruise I promise the June 24 will be my first choice. Your knees should stop knocking because I promise you that you will have a safe and fun time onboard and the only reason you will need to hold on to your husband is to tell him you love him
My best to you both
John

Elaine Asked:
I’m going right to the source because the rumors are flying again… Will you be CD on the March 29 sailing of the Valor???? Some are saying yes, some are saying no… lol
And is there anyway that we can request The Rocky Horror Picture Show to be played on the Lido Deck one night? I want my kids to see me “just a jump to the left” etc etc and look at me in a new way… crazier!!! Thnx..
And here’s one I don’t think you’d expect… What size t-shirt do you and Heidi wear (pre-pregnancy!!)…????

John Says:
Elaine
I am going to answer the first part of your question later in today’s blog. How are you by the way? I wish we had the Rocky Horror picture show here but I am sorry to say we don’t have it on our current inventory. However we do have the following kids big screen movies.
PRINCE CASPIAN AND THE ADVENTURES OF A BANANA OR NARNIA OR SOMETHING
KUNG FU PANDA
ICE AGE 2
JOURNEY TO THE CENTER OF THE EARTH
and others
As for T-shirts…..Heidi wears a large and I wear a XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXL
Thanks for thinking of us and best to you and all the family
John

Lauri Asked:
John,
Please Reply:
I recently found your blog while researching for my upcoming honeymoon cruise. (Legend Sept 27, 2009) First I would like to thank you so much for all of the entertainment, information, and much needed levity!! I also have gone back and read all of your past posts and have had a hoot of time doing so. Keep up the good work and I am hoping to someday be on one of those blogger cruises!
That being said (I bet you love to hear that huh?) I cannot believe the people that have to deal with on a daily basis!! The taxi driver, the junior manager bully, and the forgotIamonacruiseshipwithpeoplefromatleast10othercountrieswhomightnotbeinterestedinUSPresidentObamaspeechwhileonvacation guy! All I can say is my job as a bean counter isn’t looking so bad!!! (Ok I lied)
Now to my questions, finally! As it is my honeymoon cruise is there seating for two in the Legend dining room and if so will we be able to request that with the open seating we have chosen? Secondly are their refrigerators in the rooms as I would like to surprise my hubby with a cold bottle of bubbly when we get on board.Thanks and I so look forward to your daily dose of life!!

John Says:
Hello Lauri
I m honoured (spelt correctly) that you have discovered the blog thingy, you are most welcome. As you can see there is so much that happens on every ship behind the scenes and I am glad to be given a chance to share it all with you. As you are sailing on your Honeymoon cruise please post again with the dates, ship and your cabin number and I will see what we can do to help your dreams come true. Keep counting the beans and if you have any sugar free ones please send them to me
Cheers
John

Kathy Leblanc Asked:
Hi John,
I am hoping you can help me. I have been reading your blog since the very beginning, and have posted once or twice (mainly about you being too hard on yourself), but this time, I need some help.
I work for a Canadian organization which grants dreams to children with severe physical disabilities or life threatening illnesses, and currently have a young man who has requested a New England cruise. We have booked this trip on Carnival – of course – and he is set to sail Aug. 1-6 of this year. His family has requested an early seating for dinner as this young man needs to get a good deal of rest, and will likely be asleep by the time the late seating rolls around. When our travel agent requested this through your reservation centre, she was told the request would be noted, but could not be guaranteed until the family checked-in. She explained the special circumstances, but felt her plea has fallen on deaf ears. Is there any way you could help us to ensure that the family is given an early seating? Because no one from our organization travels with the families, we like to ensure that everything is smooth sailing (pardon the pun) for them when they arrive, and would prefer if they didn’t have to worry about making any changes once they arrive on board. If this is possible, please email me at —— and I will provide you with the family’s reservation number and any other information you may require.
Thank you so much John for being the outstanding gentleman that you are…this world could use more John Heald’s!

John Says:
Hello Kathy
It will be my pleasure to help you in any way I can. Please send me the booking number, dates and all your requests for the family and I will make sure they are honored. Look forward to hearing from you soon and thanks you for all the wonderful work you and your organization do
Kind regards
John

John Friedman Asked:
John – Please reply
We, along with Bill Todd, will also be on the Panama Canal cruise. Please post very publicly the excursions as we have had the same problem as Bill, and even some concerns for safety. Wish you were going to be with us!!! Our best to Heidi and “Thingy.”

John Says:
Hello John
Thanks for the kind wishes for Heidi and the Thingy. I just spoke to our tour operations department and they promised me the final list of excursions will be ready this week and that as soon as they are they will send the link to me and I will post it here on the blog thingy, I know we are keeping you waiting so please except my apologies but I promise you will have all the information soon. Now………you mentioned you were concerned about “safety” so I wondered if there was something specific I could help with there and provide some answers. If there is, please let me know
I will write again soon
Cheers

Louise D Asked:
Dear John:
I am in a bit of a pickle and asking for help. We are booked on the 4/11/09 Pride sailing and have paid in full.
I purchased a Scrip Fun Ship Dollars ($100) through my children’s school (it is a fundraiser). To my surprise when I received the certificate it states not valid for on board credit! Exactly what I wanted it for. Am I to assume I have thrown $100 away in this economy?
Looking forward to your response.
Louise D.

John Says:
Hello Louise
Thanks for taking the time to write. I will have to check this out as I have never heard of this before. Please let me pass this to someone and they will advise me as to what exactly this “credit” can be used for. We’ll check it out and let you know. My best to you and your family and as soon as I know something I will pass it along to you
John

Cheri Bolchoz Asked:
Please Reply
John
Hope you and Heidi are doing well.
Have you had a chance to mail the ornaments out yet? I have not received them yet.
Looking forwarding to sailing on the Fascination out of Jacksonville (only 4 hrs from home)
Also looking forward to going to Half Moon Cay
have heard lot about the port.
Hope to meet up with you soon
Tell Heidi to take care of herself
Cheri & Michael

John Says:
Hello Cheri
Oh please tell me you got them. I mailed them two weeks ago while I was in Miami from the post room at our head office. I am hoping that by the time you have read this they will be with you ready to hang on the tree in December. Please let me know
Best to you both
John

Jim Schlottman Asked:
John, you were are first CD and we have measured everyone since by the great experience you provided. We are cruising again in late March with Ralph Valente as the CD. What can you tell me about Ralph?

John Says:
Hello Jim
Ralph can never measure up to me……………….because he is 5 feet 4 inches tall. However he is a brilliant young Scott who the guests and crew call Wee Jimmy. He is very funny and his energy levels are constantly set on high so you are assured of loads of fun, laughter and big surprises……….unless you look under his kilt where you will find a very small surprise. Get ready for a brilliant cruise………..said in a Scottish accent
Thanks for the so kind words and my best to you and the family
John

CruisinSue Asked:
John (PleaseReply)
First of all, let me say how much I enjoyed the Bloggers cruise on the Fantasy. How amazing it is to be a part of Big Ed’s Krewe family. Unfortunately I had to depart NOLA in a hurry for a family emergency, so I was unable to say goodbye to my newfound family and friends. We so enjoyed being a part of the Beacon of Hope project. I hope our little bit of work helped them out.
I am booked on the Valor on March 29. I need to know if a certain bar waitress is still on the Valor. Her name is Jurghita and she is from Lithuania. She was on the Freedom in Europe with us in Oct. 2007. She is absolutely precious and we would love to see her again. Please, if you can, let me know if she is still there and I will definitely get in touch with her. (My hubby thinks she is terrific too) Thanks in advance.
Give my best to Heidi and thingy. Also tell the Stephanie’s hi for me. See you on March 29???
Gloria aka Sue

John Says:
Hello Sue.
Great to hear from you. I was sorry to read about your family emergency and I hope things are OK now. Jurghita is currently on vacation so I am sorry to say she won’t be hear when you sail on the 29th. I am glad you enjoyed her service though and I know you will be very impressed with the service from all the crew here on the ship. Thank you so much for all the help you gave us in New Orleans and I hope we will all be together again very soon
Best wishes
John

Maribeth Kring Asked:
Hi John, Please Reply,
I was just chatting online with Ralph Valente. He is such a great CD! Sailed with him twice on the Conquest and my daughter and I had a ball. He said that you were the one who tagged him with the name Wee Jimmy and said to ask you who Mr. Robinson and the friend cha is. Soooo, I’m asking….
Maribeth “CarnivalJunkie” Kring

John Says:

Hello Maribeth
It’s funny that someone was just asking a few questions ago about Weeeeeeeeee Jimmy and yes I did give him that nickname. It was either that or “small Scottish sweaty man who never spends any money and smells.”………………but we went with Weeeeeeeee Jimmy. Mrs. Robinson is Weeeeeee Jimmy’s alter ego. He sometimes puts on women’s clothes and likes to dress like a 1950’s schoolteacher…….he actually looks better as Mrs. Robinson than he does as Wee Jimmy. Please send him my regards……I miss him and her.
Cheers
John

That’s it for now…………….please let me know if there is anything I can do for you by marking your comments John, please reply.

So, today my schedule changed …………again and with it comes the knowledge that I will be letting some of you………….my friends…………..down. I am leaving the Carnival Valor from Belize on Thursday March 19 and flying via Houston to San Francisco to join the Carnival Splendor. I will be hosting some special events in my role as brand ambassador there as well as hosting a similar event in Los Angeles. Then………..on Sunday March 29th I will be involved somehow in the Sunday Funday events which means I will not be here on the Carnival Valor.

I just had this confirmed today although I had my suspicions for a few days but didn’t want to say anything until I was sure. Please allow me to apologize sincerely to people like Carolyn and others who I know booked the cruise hoping I would be here. I am so sorry I won’t be but I know you will still have a wonderful time.

Please, anyone who reads this blog thingy who had booked that cruise or the one before it (22nd) would you send me your names and cabin numbers so I can ……. well …………just send me your information please…….and know I am truly sorry I cannot be with you.

After the Sunday Funday event I am going home to be with Heidi and the Thingy although I will be returning to the States on 24 April to host the special events in Baltimore to mark the arrival of the Carnival Pride.

Then we have a Thingy and then I come back to work to be CD again on the Carnival Freedom for two glorious months.

OK, I will leave some of you to be angry at me for not being here when you sail and pass you over to Jaime.

March 2, 2009

Dear John,

Just a quick note to you this morning to let you know what we have been up to on the Carnival Splendor during the last of our sea days on cruise number two of our South American adventure.

We just finished debarkation here in Valparaiso, Chile, and it could not have more smoothly. By this time in the cruise, guests are truly learning our procedures on board. Our team of cruise staff, guest services representatives, security and all involved in debarkation are working together seamlessly in order to accommodate the multiple guest schedules for the day. Today, we have 2,300 guests returning to the ship, 900 guests leaving us for their safe journey home, and 700 new friendly faces joining us later on ready to begin their vacation of a lifetime.

We had a very special event this cruise that I had never before seen during any of my previous Carnival cruises. As you may have read a few days ago, Bill was disappointed that we were not conducting a formal past guest reception as we typically do on shorter cruises. Now when he wrote this message he was not aware of the brainstorming that was going into play in order to properly thank and honor our 2,500+ loyal guests. I overheard many suggestions including holding the reception on Lido deck, since that was the only place to accommodate this high number of people.

The only problem with this idea was that we did not have enough plastic cups on board to quench the typically extremely thirsty past guests =). In addition, the captain would never allow that high quantity of glasses by the pool area on Lido. The solution to the problem ended up being a completely open bar for an hour before each of our dinner seatings. My friends that are bartenders and bar waiters said that they had prepared so many drinks in order to be properly equipped for this huge event, but they could hardly keep up with the guest consumption! Different bands lit up each lounge throughout the ship, guests were merrily dancing and having a great time. I know that all of our guests both previous guests and first time cruisers were all extremely satisfied with this alternative to a formal past guest reception.

Since this is an extremely unique cruise, these last few days I have been paying special attention to the behavior of the hundreds of guests who have been spending an extended period of time with one another. Now this does not apply to everyone, because some people are genuinely here to spend time with loved ones, enjoy these fabulous ports of call, meet new friends and create lasting memories. However, for some this extended cruise is a perfect opportunity to go backwards in process of evolution in terms of manners.

Over the past 31 days, I have witnessed people cutting in line at the buffet in order to get some sugared walnuts and completely disregarding the long line of individuals waiting their turn to eat. I understand how food is such a scarce resource on board any cruise ship, but really this type of inconsideration has the likelihood of creating a stir amongst their peers. Plus, I think there are enough sugared nuts to go around! I have seen guests literally jockeying for position to be the first to board a tender boat. If one of their friends were to get injured, I think they would rethink this rude behavior. I have also heard stories of the chaos that broke out when the gift shop displayed their $19.99 on-sale watches.

This morning however, my faith in humanity was restored. During our debarkation process, one of our guests had a medical emergency. Without going into too much detail, a gentleman fell to the floor while standing on Lido aft. One of his fellow guests, a former EMT, ran to his side to aid to administer CPR to his comrade. 911 was called, and the medical team was on the scene in the blink of an eye. As the guest was carried down the stairs all the way from deck 9 to the deck zero infirmary, I helped to make announcements to clear the path due to a medical emergency. Usually on debarkation morning everyone is in such a rush to get off the ship. However on this morning, guests parted like the Red Sea as if it was their own family member whose life was in danger.

I am happy to report Becca and our amazing medical team had stabilized this guest before the ambulance turned up. Today is going to be a great day.

More soon about Valparaiso, as we begin our final 18-day voyage!

img_0540
The prepared drinks and guests in the atrium lobby enjoying our unique Past Guest Reception.

img_0539
The show band performing their Dixieland set in the atrium lobby.

Your friend,
Jaime =)

Great story once again Jaime and I hear your whirlwind romance with Bill Zydecocruiser is already over and you are on the prowl again. We all want you happy and married my December.

So, here we are bathed in sunshine in Grand Cayman. However we are not in our usual place outside of George Town the capital but instead we are on the other side of the island at a place called Spot Bay. This is because the swells in the harbour (spelt correctly) were too great to have a safe tender operation so the port authority moved us to Spot Bay…………….well, they moved some of us because there is room for just three ships so the Carnival Legend and the Norwegian Graffiti were told to bugger off and spent the day at sea. Now, I said just now that there is a place for three ships here………there may be a place just about for one ship to tender but three?……….that’s a real stretch….as my New Yorker friends would say “forget abart it.”

Spot Bay is rather tiny – it looks like it is made up of bits of 2 by 4 — and tendering guests into this pier is about as much fun as getting your zipper caught on your thingy.
Today, we have the Carnival Valor, the Grand Princess and the Neverusedclimbingwall of the Seas……………..that’s 9,500 passengers…………..plus crew. This means that only two tenders can dock at a time and this means long lines coming back and very little room in which to operate in. Also, instead of just walking across the road into town guests have to pay $6 each way to get there…………….and that makes some very grumpy.

It’s now 4 pm and we were supposed to have left as was the Grand Princess. We have 300 guests still waiting for tenders and this means we will sail late, of course. The lines on the pier for the RCI ship are even longer as they have many more passengers of course……….imagine what it will be like on a 5,000-passenger ship.

So:

The next statement is mine and mine alone and is not affiliated to Carnival Cruise Lines ………..please………..Cayman……..build a bloody pier…………I will, even come and help mix the cement myself.

OK, I had better get ready to welcome everyone home and face the music. Just before I go there are two things I want to share with you. First, we have the piano bar schedule. I know Divetrash (hi Laura) will already know this but for those who do not here is the current list of the men and women who provide brilliant entertainment in our signature bars.

MI Laurie Anne Gardner 02/25/09
EL Peter Rossetti 02/26/09
HO Lisa York 02/28/09
FD Peter Brenner 02/28/09
SP Steve Brisley 03/12/09
SL Greg Gallello 03/19/09
IS Barry Miller 04/06/09
GL Gayla Smith 04/11/09
TI Angela Johnson 04/12/09
FS Mikael Smith 04/13/09
PA Jordan Heppner 04/13/09
PR Duane Lewis 04/18/09
FA Richard Canter 05/02/09
EC Lorraine Ingle 05/02/09
VI Eric Fischer 05/03/09
LE Jason Davis 05/03/09
IM Josh Tuckman 05/04/09
CQ Milburn Dumas 06/07/09
SE Robert Stiel 06/11/09
LI Larry Maconaghy 07/08/09
DE Brad Alexander 07/23/09
VA Roger Concepcion 08/23/09

I thank them all for all that they do.

Finally, I mentioned that I was anxiously awaiting the ratings from the comment card after my first Caribbean cruise as CD in a long time. Well, here is my personal rating.

CRUISE DIRECTOR – 92.8%

Now, this is a rating I am very happy with and let me explain how it is arrived at. All the comment cards are counted and then people with beards put them through a computer which……….well………..I have no idea what happens but a rating is formatted based on what the guests say and which of the three ratings they have chosen.

They are:

EXCEEDED MY EXPECTATIONS………………1337

MET MY EXPECTATIONS ………145

OPPORTUNITY FOR IMPROVEMENT – 12

Now, this means that 1,494 guests out of 3,100 filled the cards out. With that you have to consider the 400 kids who mostly don’t take the time to do so……..why would they ….. they’re kids?

This also means that while 1,337 people thought I was funny………145 thought that I was …well, OK….but nothing special…….and 12 people thought I was …… well ………….. crap.

I have no idea who these people are but I apologize that I wasn’t to their liking and I hope they have a safe flight back to Paris.

Goodnight
Your friends
John, Heidi and the Thingy

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.