Brad…..In His Own Words

May 2, 2009 -

John Heald

It’s Saturday and I am bored. I have done everything Heidi has asked of me. I have emptied the dishwasher, done the grocery shopping and after blogging I have nothing else to do. I have no hobbies. I could be like my friend Danny who every weekend stands in testicle high freezing cold water trying to out wit a fish. My mate Alan buggers off to The Cliff pub and spends his Saturday afternoons playing chess for the pub team………………………me………………….well………………I have bugger all to do once this blog has finished.

There is nothing to look forward to unless the Thingy arrives which if he or she is anything like Heidi it will decide to be born right in the middle of game 7 between the Heat and the Atlanta Pigeons. Ohhhh………..well there is one thing I can look forward to and that’s the arrival of my new cell phone.

I’ve been waiting in for three days for a replacement cell phone since I was asked by Vodaphone if I would like an upgrade for free I said yes and the man from the British call center ………….based in India……….said it would be here yesterday. Of course I knew it wouldn’t come. Oh they said it would, but they lie.

This happens to me all the time. And probably to you as well. Once, all we had was blind hope, as we crawled on our knees to beg the vengeful god of deliveries Fedus Expressius to take pity on us and make sure that the courier company would deliver our thing when they said they’d deliver our thing, because we’d stayed in all day waiting for it.

But now we have more than hope. Now we have a “unique tracking number”, with which we are invited to track our delivery online. I became obsessed with this. Every few minutes I would go to the courier’s website, enter the 13-digit number and check its progress. I first did this at lunchtime. It said: “7.46am. Your goods are scheduled for delivery today.” Woohoo! Oh hang on, that much I know already. I checked again at two o’clock. Again, it said: “7.46am. Your goods are scheduled for delivery today.” It also said the same at 2.30, 3pm and four o’clock.

I may be wrong, but to me the phrase “tracking system” implies that there is some sort of system in place that does some tracking. I want it to tell me exactly where my parcel is. To track it, in fact. I want it to say: “1pm. The driver is on I95. He’s just stopped for a Mcburger and a can of Diet Seven Up and had a shit. He has to take Mr.A. Norwegian his package containing a book called ” Marine Architecture……..A Basic Guide “…………..then its a 10 minute drive to Mr.R Caribbean’s house where he will deliver a parcel which contains a cool box with a slab of steak inside………….oh the delivery man may be a little delayed at this address because he has to collect $14.95 from the client…………………….and then he will be over to you. That’s what I want because at least I would know the truth.

Then: “4.46pm. The driver is stuck in a traffic jam and is picking his nose. And: 5.30pm. The driver has decided it’s getting late. Truth be told, he couldn’t be bothered to find your house and has buggered off home.

Come on, tracking system, tell it like it is.

At 5.50pm I checked again and the tracking system had been updated to say: “Unable to deliver. The package has been returned to depot.”

I called India and spoke to Mr.Patel. “Why were you unable to deliver?” I asked calmly and not like a baying mob in the lobby of a cruise ship. “No one was in,” they said. “I was in. I was in all day. I’ve spent eight hours with my face pressed against the window like a child going to Disney World.

Let me check the tracking system. Oh.” “What?” “Well, sir, it seems your item was incorrectly scanned. It never even left the depot. Your goods are scheduled for delivery tomorrow.”………………… Aaargh.

That was four days ago. The parcel has yet to arrive. In the olden days, before tracking systems and India and bollocks, what we had were men on horses. These men would take objects and messages the length and breadth of the land, avoiding gangs of armed bandits…………… and animals with the flu. …………………………….Federal express my arse.

Time for today’s questions.


Mike Richardson Asked:

John,
Please Reply
I wrote to you about a month ago regarding a family reunion cruise on the Fantasy this August. There were 11 of us going and we all wanted to sit at the same table for dinner (only 10 seats at the biggest table). You told me to let you know about 2 weeks prior to sailing and you would set up a table for 11, even if a little crowded.
Well to make a long story short, my mother, who came to our house to watch our kids while Michelle and I were on the Splendor, passed away the night we got back from our trip. While we were all shocked, at the same time we were greatful that she got to spend a wonderful week with our children.
My question is do I still need your help in making sure the 10 of us will be at the same table, or will this just automatically happen? If I can take care of this myself, just let me know. I know you have a lot of things on your plate right now and don’t want to bother you with something I can take care of myself. Just let me know and I will appreciate it.
Best wishes to you, Heidi, and the Thingy,
Mike Richardson

John Says:

Hello Mike
I know I speak for everyone who read your posting when I say that we all send our deepest sympathies at the sudden promotion to glory of your dear mother.
Can you please send me a posting with the cabin numbers of all concerned and I will send your request to the maitre D Mercin on the Carnival Fantasy.
Thinking of you
John

missingthesmokefreeparadise Asked:

John – lease reply (hey, it is what you wrote)
Carnival has cancelled the Mexican ports of call because of the swine flu.
Could you please contact all the CDs on boats with cancelled ports of call and ask them to forward their best story regarding passenger complaints about this decision?
After you have compiled the stories, we can vote on the Biggest Swine of All.
Just another example of the deviant mind of
JustJon

John Says:

I have one coming up in a moment mate. Mostly the reports from the fleet are that everyone has been just wonderful and have taken the changes we have been forced to make with total understanding. As always……..there are exceptions. If only everyone could be just like you…………….well……………not exactly…………but you know what I mean.
Best to you and Mrs MTSFP
John

Melissa D. Asked:

John, Please reply.
Hello again! I am getting really excited about my upcoming cruise on the Legend. As I wrote a couple months ago, this will be our first cruise as well as the first cruise for our friends travelling with us! We are sailing on May 17th and we can hardly wait!!!! Your blog has been a wonderful source of information and of course a daily dose of humor for me! I was just wondering about the wireless Internet on board. We will be leaving our 2 young children (age 3 & 1) home with their grandparents and we need a good way to keep in touch. We are going to bring a laptop so that we can communicate that way. Are we charged to access the internet if we bring our own laptop or only if we use the ships computers? Do you have any other suggestions for communication??
Thanks for your help and as a side note, I was telling my sister about your blog – come to find out she cruised with you in May of ‘05 (I believe) on the Liberty. I am sooo jealous! Anyway, she said you were hilarious and she looked forward to your announcements every day! She remembers you very well and still laughs. I am just going to have to make sure my next cruise is with you after all of the glowing reviews!!
Best to you, Heidi and Thingy! Hopefully it won’t be long now!!
Melissa

John Says:

Hello Melissa
It sounds like you are indeed getting excited about your Carnival Legend cruise and not long now and you and your friends will be walking up the gangway to experience the brillinat fun of a Carnival cruise. Now, you can bring your laptop but there will be a charge to use the wireless system. The entire ship is wireless so you can use it in the cabin or in one of the public lounges. However, I would say this. If all you are going to do is e mail Mum and Dad to check on the kids then I suggest you leave the lap top at home and just use the ship’s Internet Cafe. It would be a shame to have to travel with a computer and take it in and out of your carry on bags at the security lines in the airport and again at the ship. If it were me…………..I would just use our computers…………the cost is the same. Now, we also have the “36” direct call line from your cabin. You will call 36 – then the area code – then the number. I will tell you that the charges for this are quite expensive so maybe you should take your own cell phone. We have a system called Cellular at Sea which will give you 24 hours a day coverage even when the ship is at sea. I would check with your provider as to the roaming charges but at least you will have the comfort of knowing that your parents can contact you and vice versa as and when needed.
However, I should also say that with two little ones I am sure you need a week of relaxation so maybe a call every other day is all that’s needed…………..just a thought.
Let me know if there is anything else you need and I send my best to you, your sister and all the family
Cheers
John

Uncle Doug Asked:

John, please reply.
One of the guests from our Carnival cruise party decided to host her on cruise party this week. We have been working with her looking at prices and ports of call for a few weeks. We stopped by her party to answer cruise questions. By the time we left they were on the phone and had booked 8 cabins on the Holiday in October. They picked up another couple today also for a total of 23 guests in 9 cabins. Most are first time cruisers on Carnival. My wife Donna will be their tour guide for the ship and in Cozumel as I am unable to get off work that week.
Here is the question. While they all used the same TA it was not booked as a group cruise (as far as I know). If I could provide the booking numbers and sail date could you help me ensure they all end up in the same dinner seating and hopefully early seating? Donna is the only Platinum guest in the group. Also it is a church group so is there a room they might could use on a Sunday morning for about an hour?
We will be sailing on the Holiday on June 1, 2009 with our 2 granddaughters. Hopefully we will be able to stop in Mexico by then. After speaking with some of the bloggers who have sailed on the Holiday we wanted to sail on her before she moves on.

John Says:

Hello Uncle Doug
That’s great news and I am sure everyone will have a brilliant time on the Holiday. I wish I could sail on the Holiday one more time. She was my first ever ship. I joined her in 1987 as a bar waiter and it would be nice to say goodbye………..maybe I will pop over before she says farewell. Thanks again for helping book so many cabins and two weeks before sailing please send me the list of cabins and I will assist with your dining requests and help reserve a lounge for a church service.
Thanks Uncle Doug and I hope you have a wonderful weekend
Best Wishes
John

cruisin’lovebirds Asked:

John Please Reply
My son and his girlfriend will be on the Glory May 2. They would not dream of cancelling, they plan to enjoy the substitute Eastern route, but they are disappointed they won’t have four port experiences as planned.
This is going to be a very special cruise for them. Is there any way you can nudge Carnival to give the 5/2 Glory a fourth port?
Michael B and Nicole A, booking # .
They understand safety, they’re not complaining, but they chose the four-port itinerary. Thank you John if there is anything you can do!
Gary and I would happily switch tickets with them, tell them “enjoy our house for a week, don’t forget to feed the dog” and hop on the Glory with Butch. Hmmm. A great solution.
Best to Heidi and Thingy, Chris, Malcolm and Laura.

John Says:

Hello Cruisin Lovebirds
I am sure once Michael and Nicole step onboard the Carnival Glory they truly won’t care if they don’t go to the fourth port. I wish I had the power to change the itinerary but three ports in the Eastern Caribbean is really all we can offer. Nassau, St.Thomas and St.Martin coupled with three sea days is , trust me, a fantastic voyage and considering everything that is happening I think they actually have some of the best replacement ports in the fleet. So tomorrow I will ask Butch to send them a little welcome aboard gift from me and I promise that the Butch and his staff will make sure this is the best cruise vacation they have ever had.
I hope we get to cruise together sometime soon.
Best to you and all the family and thank you for the kind words
John

Cruzin2some Asked:

Please Reply
Dear Heat Heald,
First thing will be for the guys with beards. The “Jumpto Comments” button does not work. It only scrolls down from the bottom of the screen to the top.
Second, will all of the “Mexican Riveria Cruises” be cancelled as all of the ports on these are in mexico except the ones that also go to Catalina. I know the Spirit, the Splendor, the Paradise, and the Elation all do these cruises. Please tell me they are not going to reposition these ships.
James & Nancy
The Cruzin2some

John Says:

Hello Cruzin2some
Thanks for the heads up on the ” jump to ” thingy. Even though Stephanie does not have a beard I know she will look into this immediately………….everyone else in her department does have a beard though………….even Betty.
Well, once again I have to apologize for the time lag from your posting of this question to me actually answering it. As you will have seen we have cancelled all the Mexican ports for the next week of cruising across the fleet. However, we are monitoring the situation very carefully and I can tell you at this time there are no plans to reposition any of the fleet from their current home ports. I will be posting the new schedule for the ships in a moment.
Hope that helps and please let me know if you need anything else
Best wishes
John

Frank and Bridie Rist Asked:

John Please reply,
John on about the third or forth night of our past cruise on the Miracle we tried a Chilled Peach Soup and we ended up about 5 bowls later full of this soup and unable to move they carried us out of the dining room. They served it in a bowl with a single peach then poured the soup into the bowl. We have searched all over the internet for this with no luck. Is there anyway we can get this recipe?
Big Fans as always,
Thanks
Frank & Bridie

John Says:

Hello Frank and Bridie
I personally cannot understand the chilled soup thing. To me soup should be hot and preferably Tomato or full of bits of clam with dollops of chowder. However………..as you ate a whole vat full of the stuff………..here is the recipe, which the Chef has changed from serving 400 to serving 4
200g caster sugar
200ml water
6 ripe peaches
1 cinnamon stick
2 cloves
2 large fresh sprigs of mint
200ml champagne
2 tbsp crème de pêche or vodka
3 tbsp cream

1 Place the sugar and water in a small heavy-based pan. Stir to dissolve the sugar, then place on the stove, bring to the boil and boil for five minutes.
2 Add the peaches, cinnamon and cloves and poach for 10 minutes, or until tender when pierced with a sharp knife. Remove from the heat, add the mint and cool.
3 Drain the fruit into a bowl. Discard the cinnamon and cloves. Reserve the liquid.
4 Tip the fruit into a food processor and whiz until you have a smooth purée. Slowly mix in the champagne and then the sugar syrup until you have a thin soup. You may not require all the sugar syrup.
5 Add the crème de pêche or vodka, and the cream, and process for 30 seconds.
6 Strain the soup through a sieve and chill.
7 Divide between four chilled serving bowls.
By the way………..I have no idea what caster sugar is……….I hope you do.
There you go and please keep this recipe just between the three of us. We don’t want to have anyone from the Quickstealanotherofcarnivalsrecipesandpretendourfoodisbetterthantheirs Of the Seas getting hold of it.
Bon Appetitio
John

Jesse Asked:

John! I’ve been following your blog for a little while now, and I want to say thanks for the pictures of the Dream! My wife and I will be cruising on the Dream on October 13th and we’re incredibly excited! Our first Mediterranean cruise!
However, I have a slight problem. You see, I am a huge Formula 1 fan and I watch all of the races (which is not easy being in the U.S. – not to mention Alaska where the majority of the races are in the 2-4am slot), but unfortunately the penultimate race of the season, the Brazilian Grand Prix, will be during my cruise. Will the race (and qualifying?) be shown on the ship at all or will I just have to wait until I get back to Alaska?
I would love a reply if you’ve got the time. Thanks so much.
Jesse

John Says:

Hello Jesse
It’s rare that you find someone from North America who is a F1 fan. What with the popularity of NASCAR and Indie car F1 really has it seems taken last place in the racing car world. However, the good news is that yes we will show the race on board. It wont be on the Seaside Theatre big screen but we will show it at the casino/sports bar and on the stateroom TVs. F1 is huge in Europe and the Italian officers and many of the European crew will be watching Jensen Button lift the world driver’s championship. So you have the Carnival Dream to look forward to and the Grand Prix………….how brilliant is that?
Please let me know if there is anything else you need
Cheers
John

stefani Asked:

Please reply…
Wow what a week… I go from doing Mexican cruise to going to Seattle, Victoria and San Francisco. Seattle is 2 hours south from me… we are just laughing though… always an adventure I guess. Since we are doing a different itinerary, I changed our cabin to # on the Carnival Splendor, May 3rd. Just thought I would let you know since you were going to get me the coveted ship on a stick. I can’t wait… even though we are doing a much colder cruise, I am still looking forward to seeing the Splendor.
Hope all is going well for you and the baby comes soon. Love your blog… thanks for taking the time to do this for us people who have no life LOL
Stefani

John Says:

Hello Stefani
I know for many people who live near Seattle the fact that this beautiful city has now become one of your ports of call must be a little frustrating. However, we are so limited on where we can send the ship and I thank you so very much for looking on the bright side of life and for that……………Adele from the Entertainment Staff will indeed be sending you a solid gold plastic trophy. Have a wonderful time and my best to you all
John


Linda Hernacki Asked:

John PLEASE RESPOND. I see my buddy Frank and his wife Bridie beat me to being the first to respond to your blog today. First off, you are NOT ugly, you are a very handsome man, and you were NOT an ugly kid, and Heidi’s baby picture is adorable. Yes, Frank and Bridie are friends of my son’s and we met them on Sunday at my 4 mo. old grandsons baptism. We are ALL going to BUG you till May 2010 to get you to be the CD on the Dream. By then Todd will need time off, as he will have been on the ship 6 mos. AND, the Thingy will be old enough to travel, so bring Heidi and Thingy along! I hope this swine flu epidemic does not cancel Cozumel from our 6/1/09 cruise. I booked a cruise online, if they did cancel it how do I get my money back? I hope they don’t substitute it with Nassau, I am sick of the Bahamas’s. We LOVE Cozumel! We will be on the Imagination, and got our travel documents today! Hurray! We will be in Cabin —, I will remind you when it gets closer, as you told me to. How is Heidi doing? Won’t be too long now! Are you excited? You 2 will be great parents! I hope Heidi will like all the gifts I sent with you to bring home to the U.K. Can’t wait till your first blog after the birth! And pictures too, PLEASE! Your friends forever, Linda and Mike (the handy dandy handyman-light bulb changer)! HA! HA!

John Says:

Hello Linda
It’s always wonderful to hear from you and I will do my best to be the CD of the Carnival Dream for your cruise. I will chat with Todd nearer the time and see when he would like to go on vacation. It certainly would be an honour to cruise with you all. Please don’t worry about June yet. Lets see what happens and when the travel restrictions to Mexico are lifted. We’re taking it one cruise at a time and I promise to keep you updated here on the blog thingy. Heidi and I thank you once again for the beautiful gifts and anyway now I will be a Dad. I still can’t believe it.
My best to you both and hope to see you soon
john

Rick Asked:

Hello John,
We are back from our Conquest April 19 sailing we loved the ship and rebooked for a November 29, 2009 sailing while on board. Thank you very much for your help and the extra’s, it was all well received and greatly appreciated. The bon voyage department came thru with all of my requests including the tuxedos. With three trips to The Point (wonderful food and experience) and the two formal evenings in the Monet, I never wore the same one twice.
Has the Carnival line ever considered allowing people who do three or four cruises in a suite or balcony with-in a years time to be upgraded to Platinum status? It might be another incentive for people to book while on board.
A question regarding the pictures, they are great if you can locate them (obviously we had a problem finding ours) for purchase. Is there a way to review them after the sailing and purchase those that you like? Do you think there might be a way for a guest to give the photographer your room number when they are taken and they can then be either grouped or stored that way for purchase?
It would be nice if a few more guests showed their appreciation for the hard working employees that help to make the cruise enjoyable by either thanking them or extending a small tip. Even a simple handshake and a thanks for your help goes a long way to show appreciation, not to mention a extra buck or two for the bar staff where it is deserved.
I was glad to see that Carnival stepped up to the plate in regards to the swine flu outbreak and was proactive instead of reactive as some of the other cruise companies were. Kudos’ to those at corporate that made the decisions.
Thank you again for your blog, we seem to think alike and it’s a nice break during the day.
Please tell Heidi hello from both myself and Jeanne, we wish the best for the both of you and your upcoming new addition.
Rick
(you may reply or answer the posted questions at your leisure)

John Says:

Hello Rick
Thanks for the wonderful review of your Carnival Conquest cruise. I see you ate three times in the Supper Club…………that’s great to hear and I am glad all went well with the Bon Voyage gifts you ordered. I can tell you that a full review of how we take, sell and manage the photos on-board is currently underway and your suggestion on having the ability to view them once you have disembarked via the internet is excellent and I shall make sure I pass this along. Carnival has always believed that having the photos on display and asking guests to find theirs has always created a sense of buying excitement but I also know that we are looking at ways of making this easier. It was wonderful to see your comments and praise for the crew and your thoughts on how some people do not seem to to be able to show their appreciation is well noted and I am sorry to say very true. However, I do think there are many people like your good self who understand just how important the crew are in making your cruise vacation that extra bit special and I thank you for mentioning them her in the blog. I am glad you enjoy the blog and maybe one day we will get to sail with each other.
My best to you and all the family
John

Stef aka Hockey Addict Asked:
Hi John!
(please reply if you want)
First of all, you were not and ARE NOT ugly!
I have a question… will you seriously be updating us if Heidi goes into labor if you have time? Will it be on Twitter? I created a account just because of this! Is it CarnivalCruise on Twitter that it will be posted on? Please let us know! I already have you on Facebook. (or whoever updates it for you)
I really don’t have much to say today but I really wish you would tell Brad and all of the other CD’s and crew members that I am sorry for the stupid people onboard that are giving them a hard time! If I were onboard with them I would go up to all of the crew and the CD and tell them I was sorry for their behavior! So please…. seriously…. tell them there are people out there that think they are doing a awsome job and we appreciate them!
I can’t wait to see the 2010 CD schedule… I hope you will be somewhere in FL in the fall so we can sail with you!!
Tell Heidi hi….. I can’t wait for the news of the Thingy making HIS grand entrance to the world. (I think the Thingy will be a boy!)
Have a great weekend… maybe this will be THE big weekend!
Stef

John Says:

Hello Stef
Thanks for the ” you are not ugly ” comment but may I respectfully suggest you have your eyes checked.
I will not be twittering but I will be sending blow-by-blow and push-by-push comments from my raspberry to Stephanie who will post them immediately onto the blog here. I know Carnival has a twit page and maybe she will be putting them there as well.
The CD schedule is in Chris Prideaux’s in box and once he is fit and well and returns to the office I will make sure I post the schedule here for you all and I will also be able to let you know about my 2010 schedule.
Thanks so much for the kind words and Brad is coming up in just a moment
Hope to see you soon and thanks for all the kind words
John

Clair Asked:
Hi John – Please reply
You were a cute baby!
A month or so ago, I wrote in on the blog and asked if you would be able to forward my request for a table for 2 in the dinning room at dinner time to appropriate person or department. You asked that I resend me request to you a few weeks before our cruise, so that’s what I am doing. If it’s not possible, no worries. We are on the Carnival Splendor on May 17th, and the last name is Peterson. Thank you!
Clair

John Says:

Hello Clair
I have e mailed my friends Ken and Miguel the Maitre Ds on the ship and will of course present your request to them. Have a wonderful time and I look forward to reading your review of the cruise when you get back.
Best wishes
John

That’s all for today and there will be more on Monday.

Just in case you missed the latest news on the changes caused by the swine flu H1N1 thingy, here is the latest statement from Carnival and all the ship changes.

Miami – May 1, 2009 10:00AM

Carnival Cruise Lines has cancelled all port of call visits in Mexico for 16 of its ships that were previously scheduled to stop in that country.

Itineraries for vessels departing between Thursday, April 30 and Monday, May 11 that included stops in Mexico have been modified. In many instances, the modification simply involved substituting an alternate port. Full details on the modified itineraries to date are available by clicking here.

Guests who do not wish to sail on a modified itinerary may opt to receive a refund in the form of a future cruise credit equal to the full amount paid for the voyage. The credit may be applied to an alternate sailing departing through the end of 2010. Compensation for missed ports/altered itineraries (where applicable) for guests who sail varies by itinerary.

With four and five-day cruises from Galveston and New Orleans that are being converted to seven-day voyages, those guests may opt to receive their refund in the form of a future cruise credit or money back.

For cruises departing after May 11, an update will be provided in the near future. Guests are encouraged to check carnival.com periodically for further updates.

I want to take a few moments to say congratulations to everyone at Carnival. I cannot describe sufficiently the herculean task that these changes involve and once again Carnival has led the way in getting this done. So, thanks to everyone involved and again we hope that we can all get back to normal soon.

A few days ago I mentioned the situation on the Carnival Splendor where a few excitable guests decided to complain about the cancelation of the Mexican ports. I also mentioned who brilliantly the situation was handled by our rookie CD Brad. It was his first week on the ship as Cruise Director and I thought it would be very interesting to get his thoughts on what happened……………so……………here is Brad to tell you a little something about himself and then in his own words tell us how he handled a quite difficult situation.

Morning John,

Here is a little about the journey…

I began my journey with Carnival in hopes of seeing the islands and the skylines of the Caribbean. I was teaching English at high school in New Brunswick which is in Eastern Canada where I am from, and was reading the paper one day seeing a recruiting add for cruise ships into the Caribbean and it occurred to me that I hadn’t checked off the Caribbean from my list…I make lists, started doing it about a year out of University, as the world became a lot bigger once I had finished that part of my life and by making lists of 5 places to see/and things to try, it was a way of keeping my excitement and thirst for experience more alive. Anyway, I came out as a youth counselor at the age of 24 turning 25, as this was the only job that I fit the requirements for in the add I had seen in the paper. The cruise ship industry was very foreign to me, but was the option presented to me as a way of seeing the Caribbean…so I went for it, not knowing what was in store. I joined the Carnival Glory at the tail end of its inaugural year and spent 8 months as a counselor in the youth program onboard. I remember the smile that was permanently on my face for the first 3 months onboard and seeing the beauty of the Caribbean and enjoying the life aquatic, amidst an international staff who all shared the same enthusiasm for travel and for the excitement of new experience. I was approached by the Assistant Cruise Director at the end of my contract who suggested I come try being a Social Host, for which I said no thank you as I had no real experience in any field of entertainment. Eventually my curiosity got the better of me and I started asking more questions and before I knew it, I had talked myself into a new opportunity and new skill set that had yet to be explored. I began my first contract as host on the Paradise in 2005-06, doing 3 & 4 day runs out of Long Beach. I really didn’t take much from the experience and decided that I would do one more contract and move on…however, that’s when I met Chris Roberts the Cruise Director on the Inspiration out of Tampa Fl on my next contract and he changed my life forever, now a very close friend, he challenged me to grow and to ask questions and to learn about the industry and the value of not only the entertainment that we provide but the product that we delivered to the guests which was a vacation of a lifetime and I was hooked from that moment on…I have never had a job that was so dynamic in every aspect, that gave me the opportunity to work with so many talented and wonderful people, that challenged you daily, as each day could bring with it a whole new set of variables that you hadn’t even considered yet. I really enjoyed being apart of a guest’s vacation, giving them an experience that made them forget the trappings of daily life that keep us from really appreciating the value of being happy. I learned to love that moment as a host when you could make someone feel special for 5 minutes, 15 minutes, or 5 days and I have kept that agenda always in mind even as I grew and took on more responsibilities and moved into the world of management and programming. I have now been in the position of Acting Cruise Director for a year and a half, a role that is like no other, as being Cruise Director is the most rewarding job I have ever had, second only to teaching, where a grin becomes a smile and a smile becomes a memory and a memory becomes an experience; an experience that you made possible by caring a little bit extra to make it special and I have not yet found a job that allows me to do this with as much success as it does with being a Cruise Director.

PART TWO

Morning John,

Sorry for the late reply, still trying to catch up with everything and get new capers out, appreciate the feedback and support. It has been an interesting first cruise to say the least, started off well and took a hard turn on the third day when it was finally decided to not make a call on any of our intended ports. We made the announcement from the bridge at around 3pm, first Captain Cupisti and then myself just readdressing the decision to avoid potential
illness and head to San Francisco as a confirmed port of call. I was called by the back office about 20 minutes later saying that a large crowd had gathered in the lobby and were shouting and chanting at the guests services desk…it was about 150-200 strong in the beginning and when I arrived there was about 90 or so who were being very vocal and amping up the situation. I walked right into the middle of them and started addressing the 4 or 5 most vocal guests, stating that I was here to listen, not to be yelled at, but to address the concerns each of them had (which in the end amounted to really 3 main points: compensation for a cruise vacation they didn’t pay for, but were being now forced to endure without a say in the matter…2) return to Long Beach and at least give them the option to get off as most are from the area and this would be preferred to just get back to work…3) to have stayed in warmer weather and had a 7 day cruise to nowhere, instead of turning back to where they were from originally.)

The most important thing was that I never let my voice waiver and stayed calm, I could see they were pushing me to see how I would react, but I kept my body language open and addressed the entire group once the initial edge had been quieted, that in order to give everyone a chance to speak and to be heard that we should move into the main lounge where we would all sit down and I would listen to everyone. What this did was it allowed the group to spread out and completely took away the negative energy that was building in the tight lobby space…I had the techs in the lounge make sure the windows were open, natural light very calming and I sat down with them, not above them, but literally eye level and I listened and I made notes and I deflected the anger with humor when appropriate, but mostly with sincerity and no stock answers but straight forward I need to have all your main concerns so I can relay your feedback to the office and this could impact their decision and said I would follow up in a day with
more information and the outcome of their concerns. Which I did the next day, once it had been advised we would make the courtesy call into Long Beach and let those who wanted to disembark the ship.

To be honest we still went out and did 2 shows and the rock & roll deck party that night and had great turn out for both with guests saying how much they appreciated the effort and consideration for not taking them into Mexico…the next day we had the past guest reception and John, the comments were so positive about the staff, the crew, and the understanding of the importance of such a decision…very thankful and sincere…it was humbling, so I went on stage and told both seating’s that this company began on this very concept with people like yourselves, who despite the unforeseeable circumstances chose to have a good time no matter what the situation was and this is a testament to the success of this company because of that support…I empowered them and readdressed the positive feedback that so many of them were giving to the staff and crew onboard and kept saying that let the Splendor be their vacation
destination. We all banded together and those guests who were complaining and being agitators began to lose their volume as the positive vibe was stronger…even yesterday, we had approx. 500 guests get off in Long Beach and I went down and was on the gangway with the host team and Guest Services Manager saying goodbye, so many guests came up to shake my hand to say thank you for listening, for caring enough to get them home and for all the service that was provided to them…again, unexpected, but empowering and last night it was like a whole new ship, the energy everywhere was through the roof…it has been an experience, but you need to have moments like this to gain wisdom and perspective for the future.

Thanks for taking the time to write John, best regards to you and hopefully speak to you soon.

Regards,
Brad Calabrese
Cruise Director
Carnival Splendor
carnivalentertainment.com

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Well mate, I am sure everyone agrees when I say you should be very proud of how you handled this. Your calm demeanour and the ability to listen was I am sure paramount in turning these guests around. Congratulations and I know you will have a highly successful career as a Carnival cruise Director. I am sure that many of the bloggers will also wish to express their thoughts as well. Well done mate.

I don’t want to make fun of a killer illness but you know me…………….I always have to try and find some humour in everything………….its the way God made me and in this day and age humour is one of the only things we have left. If the swine flu doesn’t get us, it’ll be the collapse of the economy. Should we survive that, an ice cap will most likely melt on our heads and we will all have to be rescued by Nicholas Cage, and if that doesn’t happen, there’s always Mr Musthafa Shite the terrorist who wants to blow you up. How many terrorist plots and “threats” have the Governments of the world uncovered and informed us of, when they could have just as easily kept quiet and allowed us a good night’s sleep?

Well there is a cure to all of this and its not going to Blockbuster to rent the movie Outbreak. I think in times like this we have to have huge fun vacations

So…………………go to Blockbuster and rent a comedy……….Heidi and I are going to watch The Odd Couple tonight starring Jack Lemon and Walter Mattau……………..last night we watched 6 episodes of Fawlty Towers……………..and we laughed.

Of course laughter is still what you will be hearing across the Carnival fleet as our brilliant staff from around the world will, despite all the upheaval of itinerary changes…………………………… be making sure that the guests receive their vaccination of Carnival fun.

I will say this though…………one of the things that’s bugging me is that hey can’t even decide on a name. Some prefer the H1N1 virus some are saying swine flu, some are saying Pig flu………..how can we find a cure if we can’t even decide on a name.

Me……………….I am going to keep calling it “swine fever”, hoping the Bee Gees do a remake of one of their greatest hits: “Swine fever, swine fe-ver-er. We don’t want to catch it.”

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.

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