What Not to Wear

June 22, 2009 -

John Heald

I was talking to a mate yesterday about age and getting older…..and I was trying to explain that getting older has advantages. Behavior that was once unacceptable is becoming what’s expected. Let me explain, when I was a younger cruise director and wanted to stay in my cabin and watch a movie rather than go out to the disco, everyone thought I was a loser. My fellow crew members would nag me to join them: “C’mon, you’re young! Live it up!” and I would tell them to bugger off.

And when I did people got very offended. The tension got so bad it resulted in a relationship ending. My (now ex) girlfriend Sarah the Hairdresser screamed at me one night. “You don’t like to go out, you don’t like to party, you don’t like to drink, you don’t like to dance – what DO you like?” I thought about this for a few seconds. “Sitting.” I replied. I enjoy sitting. And I enjoy thinking. Sitting and farting. Three days later she was having rumpy pumpy with the chief engineer.

Now that I’m past 40, I’m glad that the bar has been lowered and last night when I was asked by Todd to join him in the disco just as I did 15 years ago I told him to bugger off as well.

Still, I need an excuse. 44 is a tricky age because you’re old enough to get away with not going out, but not old enough to get away with not giving a reason. When I tell someone I don’t want a late night the usual response is, “Oh, you must have to get up early for work, right?” Not really. Can’t I just want to stay in, watch a movie, read and a book and not have to listen to Pee Diddley rapping about slapping his bitch up?

And so I was in bed by 12:30 am and after looking at the photo album Heidi had made me full of Kye photos…….I fell asleep. I awoke at 6:30 am and was e-mailing friends in Italy soon after and then after a breakfast of melon and bacon (no carbs) here I sit in the cigar bar which is nice and quiet at this time of the day………writing my blog to you.

I was thinking again about Wimbledon which many of you will be watching and like most sports the referee or umpire will be preparing themselves for lots of abuse. It happens in every sport and so I was thinking we should change the rules in sport

From now on, games should be played with no officials present. It would be glorious chaos – they would soon turn on each other demanding that their “people” officiate the match. Take basketball………each player would be surrounded by little entourages – squabbling and fighting with other entourages… it would be a smash hit……..if I’m being honest, I do enjoy a good bout of unsporting behavior.

Ice hockey is, famously, a series of fights interrupted by a game. The sport itself is OK, but when two lumberjacks lock horns, down helmets and start going at each other – it’s dynamite. Fighters (sorry players) are always allowed a good 30 seconds bash-time before the officials intervene.

Meanwhile, vast swathes of Canadians, normally a passive people, scream “kill, maim, cripple, disfigure, rip the bastard’s head off……..eh……..” while downing huge vats of Molson beer.

I remember watching Wimbledon as a kid – my dad tut-tutting over John McEnroe’s outbursts and applauding the ice-cool Bjorn Borg. To me, it was a part of the punk-hippy situation. Borg was the hairy hippy firing off incredibly long guitar solos, while McEnroe was the punk pretender – short and spiky and full of backchack. I would pretend to agree with my Dad that McEnroe was awful while secretly being totally in awe of him.

I would watch with hushed reverence as Mac the Mouth abused line judges, swore at the umpire and then, for a grand finale, demanded to see Alan Mills, the tournament referee.

After lengthy, hushed discussion into walkie-talkies Mills would eventually come on court. By now, Mac would be sitting in a huge sulk, like a big angry baby with no toys left in his stroller. My Dad would start making motions to turn the TV off in disgust. I would have to attempt to distract him by asking some technical question about foot-faults while keeping an eye on the action.

Eventually Mac would be placated, return to the court and serve three aces in a row …….. brilliant.

Enough of my ramblings………….lets push on with some questions that need answering ………….. here we go.

Wes and Liz ,Manchester England Asked:
Hi John,
Reply if you can…..
What the hell is a welcome home credit? I have been reading about this on the Cruise Critic website, and saw a question on one of your responses. We will be on our 7th Carnival cruise when we take the Dream’s inaugural and have never had any form of credit added to our S+S. Although I am assured that having been bumped off the Liberty this summer when her season was pulled, we will have a credit added to our account.
I also saw that bit about no fish and chips on the Dream…..I am devastated, how can a Brit go a full 12 days without our favorite( spelt correct, as you say) meal. The fish and chip bar was also the first time Liz and I met you and Heidi on the Freedom, on embarkation day at Civitavecchia. I thought that was your hangout place!!
Never mind we are really looking forward to what the Dream has to offer.
One more thing .Do we book a cruise because of who the CD is, well my answer would normally be NO. However we are looking at the 20th February cruise with you from Port Orlando and now the English soccer fixtures are out for the new season I can see which games I will miss!!!
Regards.
Wes and Liz

John Says:
Hello Wes and Liz
Great to hear from my fellow Brits and I hope the sun is shining there in Manchester. OK, let me try and explain the welcome home credit…………….actually you know what? Let me explain it tomorrow as I want to make sure I give you the latest and correct information. I will contact someone in Miami today for you and be back with the answer tomorrow.
Please don’t worry about the Fish and Chips being taken away. It will feature as part of the lunch menu on Lido and in the dining room and of course being a Brit you will be excited to hear that the Tandoori Grill will be featured on your Carnival Dream. I always eat my lunch on deck 10 by Fish and Chips and when I am on the Carnival Dream I will be there again. You will be glad to know that ESPN just signed up to show the Premier League matches so next year we should be able to see Manchester City lose 5-0 to Liverpool together. Looking forward to seeing you both next year.
Best wishes
John

Elizabeth Asked:
Dear John, Please reply
Thank you for the picture of Kye. Please do them as often as you can. She is adorable.
What is a Welcome Home credit that Gerri and Frank asked about?
Elizabeth

John Says:
Hello Elizabeth
The welcome home credit seems a popular subject .If you will allow me a little time today I will make sure the description and details of what this involves is posted in tomorrow’s blog as Vance is investigating this for me as I write.
Thanks so much for the very kind words and yes………..Kye is adorable………….just like me.
Best wishes
John

Tracy Fisher Asked:
I had taken your cruise line for the first time NOT as a cruise group tour agent but for a personal tour that knew I could sell out if it were true last Dec. to the Panama Canal. Needless to say it was a horrible (to say the least) experience and I SWORE I would NEVER use your cruise line again. I was sent a certificate for I think 30 – 40 % off a cruise in lieu of compensation and have lost it. If you could produce another certificate (Quickly) for me I would consider another cruise with you cruise line, between my family and myself all being retired (almost) recently and coming into some money we travel extensively by cruise ship. What I am saying in short is that there is a cruise I am interested in that you offer for next month (July 2009) that I am interested in taking with a couple of my grandchildren and would give your cruise line another chance. However, the higher ups are choosing not to respond to my letter so if you can work some magic and have them make me another deal or give me some kind of compensation then I am still interested in trying your cruise line one more time. I take probably close to (35 cruises approximately) per year and would like to spread the wealth before taking all our business elsewhere. We also prefer suites if and/or when you have them available. Thank you.
Tracy Fisher

John Says:
Hello Tracy
I was sorry to read that you had such a bad experience the last time you sailed. I know that sometimes corporations start their letters with similar sentences and they can seem a little impersonal. However, I promise you that we truly are sorry that your Carnival experience was not as you would have wished and that why it’s important that we show you that today’s Carnival provides the most affordable value for money fun and relaxation you can possibly have on vacation.
I am going to send this to someone at vice president level who will make sure that you are contacted forthwith and then once they have please feel free to write to me again should you wish my help in choosing a ship and or itinerary.
hank you in advance for giving us another chance and we will all do our very best to make sure this time you have a brilliant time
Best wishes
John

Patti&Wayne Asked:

John, please respond……
Hello from Boston! This past Jan we enjoyed hitting our platinum membership on the beautiful Splendor with Goose. He was very nice with lots of energy but seldom saw him except for the shows (which are always incredible!) I feel bad saying that because from what you’ve told us, their responsibilities have grown considerably over the years but it sure would be nice to have them more visible. Not to make everyone else jealous but out of our past 10 cruises, YOU, my friend, have been our CD on all but 3. Talk about lucky odds for us. AND to top it off…….we are booked on the Dream Feb 6th and guess who will be the CD! Yep, YOU!!!! The best part is we are going with our family this time, some of who have not cruised before and are sick of listening to me rave about you…now they will get to see firsthand why I go on and on. To be more specific in answering your questions about whether a CD is the deciding factor on booking, I want to say YES but the #1 priority would be the ship itself. We usually try to book the new ships when they first come out. The ship is EVERYTHING to us. I could care less about the islands; it’s all about the ship. The CD would be #2 on our priority list. Obviously pricing plays a role but with the “early saver” opportunities, Carnival has made it that much easier in deciding to take a cruise vacation or go a different route. John, you light up our days with this blog and make our cruises so much more enjoyable with your warped sense of humor…don’t ever lose that. Carnival Big Brothers……..if you are reading…….please don’t ever let this man get away!!! He is a gem that can never be replaced. Thank you John for all the time you put into this even though it takes time away from your girls. (I have Kye’s picture as my screen saver). Our best to Heidi and we’ll see you in Feb. I promise to stop you to introduce myself on the Dream.
Patti

John Says:
Hello Patti
I know of some people who upon discovering that I would be their cruise director for a 4th time would need immediate medical assistance and would be found later that night sat in the fetal position dribbling on themselves. So, to hear that you are overjoyed that I am going to be your CD again makes me……well…….overjoyed to. It was interesting reading your comments about Goose and your perception of the cruise directors position. I think I have said before that the role has changed and that there is much more behind the scenes work these days but I think I also said that this must not……it cannot change the primary role of the cruise director which is to be visible on stage, on TV and where possible in guest areas as well. I am in discussion with Roger, Chris and Roberta at the moment on what we can do to make sure this happens and that why the feedback from all of you regarding myself and my colleagues is so very valuable.
Thank you so very much for the kind words and I am really looking forward to seeing you again next year
Best wishes
John

Cheryl K Asked:
JOHN PLEASE REPLY
Valor 6-7-09
This was another great cruise!!
There were seven of us traveling together—my daughter and her husband and my 3 grandchildren and my best friend and I. We had two balcony cabins. We were directed to Lido and we fed the little ones lunch and when they finished we were able to go to our cabins. I had a message on my phone from Big Tex when I arrived wanting to make arrangements for the back stage tour that you had so kindly arranged for us! We had great cabin steward (Java) and his assistant. We were assigned an absolutely awesome table in the Washington dining room (322) that gave us a beautiful ocean view each night and our waiter and assistant were awesome! Siggie was Employee of the Month and we got to see him receive his award and he got to have a night off to have dinner with the Captain in the Lincoln dining room! His assistant Indra was so good with the children and took time with them even though we knew he was busy—he was a fantastic artist and would draw them pictures each night that they would take back to the cabin and color and bring back to him the next night! The Valor’s food was as good as it was on the Splendor so that says to me that fleet wide Carnival has consistently the best food of any line. The entire week there was only one thing that we did not like and it was not a quality issue but rather something one of the children thought she wanted try but didn’t care for but Siggie was Johnnie on the Spot and quickly replaced it with another choice. One cannot ask for better service than that. Going to dinner each night with the children was something we looked forward to, as it was not only delicious but a fun and relaxing time. We also had some fun with Wilson our Maitre ‘D and even Captain Cupisti had a sense of humor when speaking to us after introducing his crewmembers.
The ship was clean and the crew friendly everywhere we were. The shows were good and Big Tex was so funny and we loved hearing his “Brief Tex Messages” throughout the day. Most funny is his “dance routines” which really made everyone laugh hysterically and the kids remembered and were trying to do them after the show. After seeing both production shows on the Valor, I still think Vroom wins hands down BUT G Force was awesome! They later drew a huge crowd to watch them in the Atrium and the rails all the way up were packed with people on each level to see them. The twins got to sit on the floor in front and were in awe! Least favorite show was Rand Woodbury best comedy was Al Ernst—he is so funny and he played the routine well with Big Tex too. The live music throughout the ship was good
Grand Cayman—daughter, her husband and 3 kids chose the Pirate adventure Carnival tour and they loved it. The 5 year old jumped off the highest point they would allow off the ship causing Grandma to gasp in horror when she saw the video! My daughter said this was a great tour for families and it was very reasonably priced as well. It was the only tour that we did on this cruise. In Roatan, we arranged to go to Fins N Flippers and that was awesome and in Belize the kids just wanted to get their hair braided and get tattoos—the adults had all been there before so this was about what the kids wanted to do. Key West we shopped some and came back to the ship—the kids were in awe that they virtually had the pool to themselves and no wait on the slide so they ran up those flights of stairs 27 times before they finally gave up on the slide.
We were off the ship and out of the terminal in record time.
There were 3 things that I thought were worth mentioning that could use some improvement. Since I am a stockholder as well as a loyal Carnival cruiser, these are not complaints but constructive criticism.
Embarkation: Still could use improvement in this area. VIP Check in is a very nice area in the Miami terminal but there should be information outside the building directing people that are VIP. If you ask, they tell you to bypass the outdoor lines and go directly inside but the problem with this is that everyone who has been in the outdoor cues waiting think you are “cutting in front of them” and there are angry confrontations. Due to VIP status, we were on the ship in 15 minutes after arriving at the terminal from the airport—I love VIP status!
Photos: I know you have brought this up previously for suggestions on the blog. The ship was full and most were families. The area where the pictures are displayed was so crowded that you couldn’t even move through or see to find your own. We tried at different times and did manage to find some and bought them but there were many we knew had been taken and we couldn’t find them and one of them was the kids with Fun ship Freddy on the pier one of the places we were and I hated that I couldn’t find it. The lines were long at check out as well and it would make things so much easier if you were able to view them on the interactive TV in your cabin—then I wouldn’t have missed any.
Game Room: Without the kids I wouldn’t have known this but there were many games that took the tokens and didn’t work. The air hockey tables were not working properly which is one of the few games that young children. There wasn’t an employee who was in this area and my daughter was told to get help or her money back she had to go to the casino. This really is inconvenient and I was surprised that the area seemed to be in disrepair. The only other ship we have cruised with the kids was the Splendor and it being new, all the equipment was working.
That’s all!
John:
Thank you so much for arranging the back stage tour. You are so good to everyone but especially your bloggers! We never got to do it but not because Tex didn’t try to work it out but we just had so much going on! When I met him and told him that I appreciated his effort and didn’t want him to worry that we weren’t going to be able to do it he said if I was ever going to sail with him again and I wanted anything, I should just let him know and he would make it happen! It continues to amaze me how each Carnival employee will go the extra mile to make guests have everything they want. I saw Tex later that day and he called me by name. Little things make a huge impact with everyone.
I know that you will miss your girls terribly and do hope that you will be able to do the Dream just so that you will be close to them during this time when Kye will change so much and so quickly. Ok, I know that you are tired of reading all this by now but I had a couple photos of the kids with the G Force dancers I wanted to sent to you but I don’t know how to get them to you. Can you tell me? Ok, that’s all—really. Thanks John.
Cheryl
PS—I can’t even picture you as Simon or Len judging a dance contest. I can’t wait for the Dream either!

John Says:
Hello Cheryl
What a brilliant review and one that I will be sharing with everyone on board and in the Miami head office. It is so great to see that as a Platinum cruiser that we continue to exceed your expectations despite the fact that you have cruised so often. I was so glad to hear that the crew performed their duties with fun and friendly service and that Big Tex made a lasting impression on you as did Al Ernst……..I would also be interested to know more details regarding your opinion of the magic show.. I have passed your comments on as I said highlighting your suggestion for the VIP Check In area which I am sure will be acted on.
Then, with regard to the photo gallery I know that when we have high guest counts as we do in the summer that the deck 4 galleries do become very busy with people trying to find their photos. Carnival has always had this policy and I have to say that for many years it has worked. It creates a passion and a somewhat frantic excitement for guests to find their photos. However, times have changed and that is why the whole way we take and sell photos on board is currently under review and I thank you for taking the time to write about it.
I was though so very disappointed to learn that the games room was in such a bad way. I have received another comment about this and so I am acting on this immediately and making sure that we do all we can to make sure there is an immediate improvement.
I want to thank you so much for your continued loyalty to Carnival Cruise Lines and as a fellow stock holder I promise we will continue to work hard to make sure we always exceed yours and everyone else’s expectations and have you leaving with a huge smile on your face.
Thank you so much for taking the time to write and I hope everyone will take the similar time to write their reviews……….it’s one of the ways we will stay the World’s Most Popular Cruise Line
Best wishes to you and the family and thank you so much for all your kind words for my family. Please post in the photos, I would love to see them
John

Deborah Asked:

Hi John, Heidi and Kye,
1st – regarding the CD, I never much paid attention to the cruise director on my previous 6 Carnival Cruises. Yes they were funny, but that’s about all I noticed. Then, in 2007, after booking the Freedom, I discovered your blog and had you as our Cruise Director and now, I’m spoiled. I think a CD makes a difference if you have cruised many times and I do feel they set the tone for the ship’s crew. Case in point is Kirk, he is a blast and is very engaging with the guests. He is the first CD, after you, that makes a point to get out there and meet the guests. He was great!! I was on the Valor in 2008, and don’t remember who the CD was, it didn’t ruin my cruise, I loved the Valor, but I had a better time, with you and Kirk as the CD.
Question: Please reply if you can. We are looking at booking our 2010 cruise. My parents really wanted to cruise and spend a week on the Beach in Florida, but neither can walk the beach anymore due to the sand and their not so sure footing. So we are thinking about doing a B2B on either the Freedom or the Dream. I know which ever one I choose, you will probably be the CD on the other and my parents really want to see you again. So any idea, which ship you may be on? I will probably book after I return from the TA Dream and I’m so excited that Pam (Pam from Texas) and I will have a chance to visit with you again. Hopefully by the end of the year, when I’m ready to book, you will know which ship you will be on….if any???
Love to you, Heidi and Kye,
Debs (from the City of Champions – Pittsburgh, PA)

John Says:
Hello Deborah
Once again, fascinating comments about the impact a cruise director can have. The way you described Kirk is how we wish all of our cruise directors could be described and with this current crop of young ladies and gentlemen. I think that we in fact are as close to having the most personable and most professional group I can remember in a long time. I will make sure Kirk sees your kind words as will Chris and Roger as well.
It is always such an honor to be asked what ship I will be on so people can come and sail with me. So, in 2010 the only dates I have for sure are the two months of late January to early March when I will be on the Carnival Dream. After that……..well I don’t know just yet but I will be discussing my options very soon and of course let you all know. It would be great to say welcome home to you and your family. Please keep reading the blog thingy and until then I send my best wishes to you and all your family
John

Luc aka Tangocherie Asked:
John, please reply,
Thank you so much for your splendid interview of Boris. It seems to give one a greater personal attachment to the ship I am so very much looking forward to sail on next November.
I certainly would appreciate as much information as you can possibly give us regarding the new state room category, the “cove” balcony. Many thanks, and keep a stiff upper lip in light of your upcoming separation from your lovely family.
Luc

John Says:

Hello Luc
I am glad you enjoyed the interview with Boris and hopefully you will have also enjoyed the one with Captain Queirolo as well. Later this week I will introduce you to the chief engineer of your Carnival Dream as well as posting interviews with the entertainment staff who will be joining Todd. Very soon the cove balconies cabins will be furnished and ready and as soon as they are I will ask Boris to send photos from the ship and I will tell you more about them. I can tell you know they provide simply stunning views and are part of the new collection of state rooms available le on the Carnival Dream. I personally love the cabins with the family bathrooms ………………. and so will the families that stay in them.
My lip is stiff…………most of the time……………….but I miss them terribly
Best wishes mate
John

retirementman Asked:
PLEASE REPLY JOHN
This will be a very short question John. I found out this evening that Empress Bee and Sarge Charlie will be on my January cruise. Could you please remember to have many photos of Kye, Heidi and of course you the fantastic father? Sime Bee and Charlie will be there, I hope to sit with them and hopefully we could all have a chance to see your beautiful daughter Kye. Please would it possible to make sure that Bee & Charlie sit with Marylou & I and whomever is added to the table. I just love meeting new people. Thanks again.
Paul F. Pietrangelo

John Says:
Hello Paul
I was thinking of you a moment ago when I was writing about ice hockey. Anyway, it’s great to hear from you and on Friday I will be posting an update on Kye and some more photos. Heidi and I are talking about when she and Kye can come and sail. Obviously there are inoculations and flying restrictions to think of but as Jon Missingthesmokefreeparadise mentioned a few blogs ago we may even consider taking the Queen Mary 2. It looks like we have quite the collection of bloggers sailing in January and I will be thrilled to show you around your amazing Carnival Dream.
My best to you all
John

Leroy & Pat Asked:
Dear John,
Please reply……
I finished the gift for Kye & popped it in the mail yesterday. Can you please let me know when it arrives and if it reached you safely. Lots of hours on that. This is what I had hoped to bring on the ship when we were on the Valor a few months ago, when you got taken to a different ship. I was going to include the Rhubarb wine, but was concerned it might not make it with the way packages are handled. Anyway I just wanted to let you know it is on its way and we love seeing & hearing all about Kye. We will be on the Dream Oct. 3rd and in regard to the CD, yes it does make a difference when we book as to who the CD is. I guess we were just expecting you would be the CD on the Dream, so we were a little disappointed that you were suppose to be on the Valor with us and now we will miss you on the Dream as well. I’m sure we will have a fantastic time anyway, just it would have been fun to sail with you again, but I’m sure we will in the near future. Say Hi to Heidi for us and hug Kye.

John Says:
Hello Leroy and Pat
Heidi and I thank you so very much for taking the time to make such a lovely gift for Kye. I can’t wait to see it and I will let you know as and when it arrives back home. I am so very sorry that I will not be with you in October. I know you are disappointed and it would have been so wonderful to thank you in person for your kindness. However, you will be onboard the best ship in the world and I know Todd and his staff will make sure you have the very best of times. I can’t wait to hear all about your voyage. Thank you again for everything.
Best wishes to you and the family
John

VegasVick Asked:

Dear John (Please reply);
I have been reading your blog for quite some time and every day it makes me smile, thanks!
My question: My family is sailing on the Dream during the holidays. I want to make supper club reservations, but the ship is not listed in the online RSVP yet. When might she be listed online for supper club ressies?
Your family is beautiful! Before you know it, Kye will be driving and dating boys…just thought you should know.
Thanks,
Vicky

John Says:
Hello Vicky
I am so glad you have discovered the blog and that it makes you smile every day. The family must be so excited to be sailing on the Carnival Dream and make sure you keep reading the blog because over the next few weeks I will be telling you more and more about our new leviathan. Please do not worry about the supper club reservations. We are not going to start making online bookings until August once the crew are onboard but I will make sure that you get the time and date you require. Please keep checking the blog thingy and I will let you all know once the reservation system is ready.
Until then I send you all best wishes
John

That’s all for today and I will answer the next batch tomorrow. May I also take the time to say thank you on behalf of Suzann for all the kind and deeply sympathetic postings regarding the sudden and tragic loss of her husband and true Carnival fan Robert. The funeral is on Wednesday and I am sure that we will all be thinking of Suzann then and for a long time to come. I truly wish I could be at the funeral and will forever feel guilty that I cannot be. So, thank you so very much for once again showing the true family spirit that is the foundation of this blog.

Things here are going well. Todd has added some sparkling new activities including a human “Facebook” event, some new pool games and bingo on Lido deck utilizing the big screen. I am still undecided on that one. It seems popular but I am concerned that it may take away from the morning’s pleasure of just lying peacefully in the sun. I will see how it goes.

As always I am already regretting spending these eight days onboard and just want the microphone now………but I have to be patient. Tonight we arrive in San Juan and Jaime will be joining us. I am looking forward to seeing her and she will have a big part to play here. She will be producing the Carnival Capers and basically managing the department as Heidi did so wonderfully for many years. This leaves me time to blog everyday and of course to spend as much time as possible out with the guests and performing on stage and on TV. Anyway, talking of Jaime here is her last Dear John letter from the Carnival Pride:

June 20, 2009

Dear John,

I have finally arrived at the hotel in San Juan, eagerly awaiting the arrival of the Freedom 2 days from now. After leaving the Pride, traveling all morning, having a wonderful dinner with my pal Erik Hatfield, and an extremely frustrating and unexplainable two-hour flight delay I made thankful to have made it to the hotel safe and sound. My room here is kind of small, and I must say small relatively because there is still a space to walk without actually stepping on the bed. I am excited to have two days to catch up on sleep, go online, and go shopping, regardless of the fact that I may be having a slight bit of trouble communicating with the locals. After a long day of traveling, the shuttle driver who took me to the hotel informed me of his instructions to meet me in the hotel lobby tomorrow morning at 7:30am in order for me to join the Carnival Victory. I laughed and denied the offer, trying to explain that I was going to the Freedom.

Then I walked inside, and I asked the lady at the front desk if there was anywhere I could get a bottle of water. She gave me directions to the 24 hour market, across the street, around the corner and two blocks down. I thought to myself “Yes, that sounds like the place I want to go at 2:00am in a place where there are few street lights, and I don’t understand what the people are saying”.

Then as I was walking away from the desk, she suddenly remembered that there was a vending machine to the right of the elevator on my floor. I must admit I may be a bit paranoid, as I sit hear writing I thought I could hear someone snoring in the room next door… but it was really the fridge. And I may or not be contemplating requesting a room change because the deadbolt doesn’t line up with the door properly and I am a bit scared. After looking through the peephole and my overweight luggage which bursting at the seams… I shrugged off the noises and the lack of security and decided to risk sleeping in the room I am in.

My last cruise on the Pride was simply wonderful. I am truly going to miss the ship, my team and my responsibilities over there. Leaving the people you care about and the friends you have made at the end of a contract is one of the hardest parts of this job. Waiting in the customs building this morning, getting numerous IC salutes (I know you don’t know what that is, and I can’t tell you, HA!) made me smile. I always wanted to do something in life that helped a lot of people, and Kirk my cruise director has helped me realize that is exactly what we are doing each and every week. Helping people escape from reality, their daily grind, or whatever hardships may be going on at home and aiding in the delivery of their fun and memorable vacations.

Not that I would concede that Kirk is right by any means, but he may have one moment of semi-sanity once every 39 years. He made me think about some of the some of the personalized, loving, and impacting things we do regularly on board in order to provide first class vacations to our guests.

Each and every cruise on board the Pride we provide an opportunity for our guests to do something good for humanity while they are vacationing. Each week we offer a non-competitive walk that benefits the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation. Guests are encouraged to donate $10, receive a Breast Cancer awareness T-shirt, and a pink bracelet, and then meet on the last day and walk one mile in search for a cure to this life changing condition. It truly has become a huge event, with an average of 150 people participating weekly in this donation and walk. Each week, I host the event, we take group pictures, and I encourage survivors or those with experiences to come forth and share their story. Even if guests don’t want to walk, they are still encouraged to donate, it doesn’t really matter what they do after they have given their donation, Kirk always stops by the Formalities shop, gives his $10 contribution and heads of up Lido Deck and eats pizza for the cure! Last year Carnival raised more than three-quarters of a million dollars to donate towards breast cancer research.

This past week, one of the hosts on the Pride, Rebekah also did something for a guest that brought a tear to my eye. We had a wonderful lady named Felicia sailing with her whole family this past week in celebration of her 32nd birthday. Felicia has faced numerous surgeries and medical complications within recent months and she every time she has pulled through fighting strong. Her whole family put together money to offer her a wonderful vacation on the Carnival Pride. Felicia may have Down syndrome, but she has an incredible spirit. One of my favorite things to do during this cruise was sit next to Felicia during the shows, or really whenever music was playing, because she absolutely loved to dance. Rebekah brought Felicia to the stage one afternoon before bingo and asked Felicia to twirl like a ballerina. After asking permission, she encouraged all guests to twirl Felicia if they ever saw her throughout the rest of the cruise. After this game of bingo, Felicia approached Rebekah and said “it has always been my dream to dance on stage in front of people, thank you for making my dream come true.”

We experienced another exciting and emotional situation on board this past week. One that I have never before experienced on a ship and I most certainly will never forget it. On the first sea day, around 10 am Kirk received an emergency phone call from the bridge. He was informed that one of our guests had suffered from a heart attack and we would have to work with the coast guard to do an emergency medical helicopter airlift. When the chopper began circling the ship, Kirk informed the guests what was happening. It is so important in this case that the motto of Carnival has always been “the life on one individual is more important that the vacation of the others.”

I am sure that each and every one of our guests understood this mantra, and would want the same care and compassion extended to one of their family members if they were faced with this terrible trauma. The helicopter circled the Pride many times before slowing down and lowering the air-lift basket onto deck 9 aft. Deck 9 aft was filled with ship security guards, fire fighting professionals, and one crew member who was directed by the captain to go watch the procedure because it is truly breathtaking. The upper decks were filled with guests watching and praying for their fellow passenger. The blades from the chopper were within a few feet of the ship and I watched the basket be lowered up-close, they brought the guest and a nurse onto the helicopter as we all prayed for their fast recovery. You will be happy to know that the captain received word the next morning that this person received treatment just in time, they were in stable condition thanks to the hard work of the shipboard personnel, the US Coast Guard, and all of the understanding and compassionate guests on board.

Finally, one additional impacting occurrence that happened this week was top comedian Lewis Nixon’s family show, and the proceeding conversation about how Carnival would be different if John Heald was the President. I don’t think I can share those things on the blog, so when you come sail I would be happy to give you the details. Catch the pigeon.

I guess we do make a difference. Happy Fathers Day to John, my dad and all of the wonderful men out there who make their children feel loved and special. I am looking forward to the new adventure of joining the Freedom in a few days, but for now it is time for bed. Until then, take care. Hope to see you soon!

Cure-On Deck for the cure group picture!
Cure-On Deck for the cure group picture!

P6130060-The Chopper circling the Pride before the Emergency Airlift
The Chopper circling the Pride before the Emergency Airlift

P6130070-The nurse going up into the Helicopter
The nurse going up into the Helicopter

IMG_1639-The Pride Family that will truly be missed
The Pride Family that will truly be missed

Your Friend,
=) Jaime

That’s another great Dear John letter……….and I am intrigued by me being President of Carnival thingy you wrote. I of course have about as much chance of being Carnival President as the Norwegian Epic being called a beautiful ship. Anyway, you will hear more from Jaime throughout the next few weeks and I congratulate her as I know will you on another wonderful piece of writing. She will be working hard here……..although it might do her some good to stay out of bed ……..and thus get some rest. Still, I was like that once. I was a sex object …..I would ask every girl for sex……………and they would object.

Just a quick note to my blogger friend who asked about adding sugar free cake to the bon voyage list. Well, I got confirmation on this today and we will be adding this week a sugar free celebration cake to our bon voyage gift list and they will be able to be ordered from the Formalities shops on board…………..and that’s a good thing.

Talking of sugar free I met one of my staff members yesterday who has recently been diagnosed with diabetes and she asked me for advice. She has type 1 and has to inject insulin 4 times a day. What makes her remarkable is that she is in her twenties and is one of our brilliant dancers. In fact, she is one of the best dancers I have seen and you can imagine how hard it is for her to manage her fitness levels and diet in order to look fantastic on stage…….and now she has to manage her diabetes as well. While many may have given up she has come through this difficult period with courage and her fun and positive personality have proved to be invaluable. I offered her my support and we are going to help her with her food intake by having the chef assist by cooking her special meals…….I am very proud of her and while I am here I will help her as much as I can.

My diet is going well and will be even better when I am working as a CD. I will be going to the Gym today to walk on the machine and I really am going to try to get healthy again.

Well last night was “Elegant Night” here on the ship and as there has been some comments about people dressing appropriately I decided to pay attention to who was wearing what. I can report that at least 90% of the ship’s guests were dressed elegantly both at the cocktail parties before dinner, during dinner and for the shows. I walked around the dining room and I did not see any guests who were not dressed properly. Admittedly there were a few who had nice jeans and a polo shirt on and they tended to be middle aged and usually were sitting with their kids. I did not see anyone (and I checked both main and late sitting) who could have been described as wearing something inappropriate thus spoiling the taste of the meal for Mr. and Mrs. Noseintheair at the next table.

One thing I did notice was that very few men were wearing tuxedos and had opted as did I for a business suit. I am not sure therefore why we still bother renting tuxedos on board as they do seem to be slowly slipping out of fashion. When I was younger I had to hire a dinner jacket and for stag parties and the odd function and would always hate having to explaining to the man on the returns desk that it was covered in sick when I rented it. And that, no, despite the strong smell of chlorine and the fact it was only six inches long, it had most definitely not been in a swimming pool and that the cigar burn on the right sleeve was done by the previous hirer.

Many of you remember the days when you couldn’t go to dinner on a ship without going back to your cabin first to get changed? On formal nights Maitre D’s would turn you away if you weren’t wearing a tie. Gentlemen were required to wear jackets. Shorts were for the gym and Lido deck. It was the same in restaurants on land but then……..for the most part things changed ……and so did we here at Carnival. At a posh eatery in London called The Ivy not that long ago it was all veils and tails. Now they will let you in your underpants.

So, I guess my view is this. It is absurd to tell our guests what they must wear. That would be like insisting that all the vegetablists eat meat. If you are a cruise director, then it is your duty to make sure that your guests have as fun and relaxed a time as possible. That means letting them wear and do and eat whatever takes their fancy.

If I invite you round to my house, it’s because I want to spend an evening in your company. And I don’t care about what you come in. Dwyane Wade basketball shoes and a jockstrap? Fine. Naked? That’s fine too. Especially if you are Megan Fox (just saw a movie with her in ……..godmother material for sure.)

I think it’s great that we here at Carnival offer choice. We advertise elegant night and suggest what to wear on the flyer we place in the cabins. If you wish to dress up in an elegant fashion …………….and as I said………..most do…………….then I think that’s wonderful.

However, it genuinely baffles me because if you reach a point in your existence where you start to worry about what others are wearing…….then you must have considered and done everything else that life has to offer. ………meanwhile everyone else is having the best cruise vacation in the world……..and some are doing it in a pair of jeans.

Goodnight
John

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.