A Long Meeting…And A Short One

July 21, 2009 -

John Heald

I have a runny nose, a sore throat, and a head that feels like Amy Winehouse, Lindsey Lohan and Paris Hilton are having one hell of a party in there. I have then all the ingredients you need to make a convincing claim that a pig has sneezed over me and I have HN1PIG flu. But I don’t………according to the ship’s doctor…… I have a cold. This means the American Navy will not come to the ship, board the vessel and take samples of my snot and bits from my scrotum to their biochemical warfare centre in Atlanta.

I do feel like crap though and I could therefore spend the first few paragraphs of this blog thingy getting you all to feel sorry for me……..but……..I can’t……..and the reason that I can’t………..is because of a young lady……………..called Alison.

Alison is not very well at all and has fought the bravest of fights and continues to do so. She is here thanks to Carnival’s association with the Make A Wish Foundation that as you may know grants special treats for children with life-threatening medical situations.

We are really taking wonderful care of her and her family and what a sweet young lady she is. Alison is 9 years old. She is originally from Africa and was adopted by a family from Vancouver and although I can’t tell you what is wrong with her I can tell you that it is very serious. And yet her smile and the way she looked up at me and said “Thank you” …….well…….how can I possibly complain about having a stupid cold………I can’t ………. and I hope that all the special surprises we have planned for Alison will rejuvenate her to face her fight to live and also help her family to face whatever the future brings ………….. and I hope and pray that her future is a happy one.

Here are a few photos of Alison and the cast after the big easy show and Alison and I making a video show for her family to treasure……………forever.

Alison 1

Alison 2

Alison 3

Time for today’s questions…………….here we go.

Millie S. Asked:
Thank you so much for getting back to me regarding the price of the “Pearl Harbor/City and Shopping w/Airport Transfer” excursion. That little bit of information will help us indeed.

As for our cabin we did indeed get our cabin-category 4E #8257.When we booked our cruise we specifically advised our PVP (which by the way has done a marvelous job) that were 3 grown women that needed and wanted three separate beds and not bunk beds. Our PVP stated she will write our preferences down but she could not guarantee anything since we were booking inside guarantee. Now between all three of us we have about 15 Carnival cruises under our belt and thought that possibly that would get our preferences. I know the cruise is coming up in about two months but is there possibly a way we can obtain a stateroom with 3 individual beds and not bunk beds. Our booking number is ******.

John Says:
Hello Millie
I am glad that your PVP has been helpful and that you found the Pearl Harbor information useful. I will be interested to hear about that excursion, it sounds excellent.

I can understand that when three women have to share a bathroom how difficult that must be. Heidi and I have trouble with just one…….although that may be because after I have been in there it is not safe to enter unless you are wearing a Hazmat suit. Anyway, I will put forth your request and although I cannot make any promises I will certainly try as hard as I possibly can to help you out with the bed options you would prefer. I will let you know if and when I have any news or you may hear directly from someone at Carnival.

Have a brilliant cruise and my best wishes to you all

Hitesh Asked:
I have sailed with you twice on the Destiny. You my friend are the best. I will on the freedom on Aug 15 will you be the host on it? I am coming there with 4 families.
Hope to see you there.

John Says:
Hello Hitesh
I will indeed be with you on August the 15 which will probably be my last cruise on the Carnival Freedom before returning home. Thank you so much for all the kind words and I hope that you will take the time to leave me a note at the guest services desk when you arrive with your cabin number, etc.

See you soon and best wishes to all.

Dave Asked:
You mentioned in your response to Patricia that the CD on the Liberty for her 9/5 sailing will be James Charlton… but the CD schedule still shows Butch. Will James still be the CD for my honeymoon sailing on 10/17? Just trying to figure out who I’ll be scheming with against… er… for the amusement of my new bride.
All the best to you, Heidi and Kye!

John Says:
Hello Dave
Ahhh……I see where you are going with this. We can scheme together on this one with Butch who will be the cruise director in October. Please have a think about what you want to do and let me know so I can help plan with my mate Butch.

Have a wonderful wedding and my best wishes for a long and happy life together with your beautiful bride.

Melissa Asked:
John (please reply)
Ok, I am going to break this in to 2 parts (maybe I am too long winded) I have posted my questions 3 times and they never appear on the blog thingy just says waiting for moderation.

1. You answered a question for a lady a couple of days ago regarding an estimate of how many children were going to be on her sailing, wondered if you could do the same for us. My husband, 3yr old son, 7 yr old daughter, my mom, my step-dad and 2 family friends of ours are all sailing on the Carnival Dream 2-13-2010 and since I know from my travel agent that this sailing is almost sold out I wonder if you could give us an idea of how many kids will be on ship during that sailing?

2. We discovered on our last cruise (Carnival Miracle) that an aft dining room does not work for us. My husband and the other gentleman traveling with us can’t handle the motion. We were wondering (if I let you know closer to the sail date) if you could help us make sure that we are in the Crimson Dining room not the Crimson II dining room.
I will post this and see if it goes through. If so I will post my last 2 questions later. Hope everything is well with Heidi and Kye and I can’t wait for Kye-day (Friday) for new pics.

John Says:
Hello Melissa
I am sorry for the time it is taking to post and reply to your comments. As you can see the comments and questions are getting more and more each day but I promise that I will eventually post and reply to the comments where I am asked to do so.

OK, let’s answer your questions. The official counts have not yet been calculated for the 2010 Carnival Dream sailings although you are quite correct, the voyage of 2-13-10 is close to being sold out. The kid count (as we call here) is already over 200 although I don’t have the exact breakdown of the ages just yet. I will be able to provide you with more information much nearer the time of course but it seems your kids will have lots of playmates. I will be happy to help you with the dining request you mentioned although I think the “ride” of your Carnival Dream may be a lot different to that of the Carnival Miracle. Regardless, please let me know a few weeks before you sail and I will ask Ken to help you with a table in the forward dining room.

So, your post made it and I again apologize for the delay.
My best wishes to you and all the family

Bill R. Asked:
John, Please Reply
If I read between the lines I guess we will be accepted at Blogger functions but not receive the gifts, etc, that the bloggers with the code get. Still doesn’t seem fair. Might cancel the cruise though I don’t want to. I really want to see you again; you were super as CD the last time on the Glory I think.

John Says:
Hello Bill and Joan
Never read between the lines…………….and don’t cancel…………..all will be well…….and you will have fun, meet new blogger friends and enjoy the gifts…….promise.
See you soon.
Best wishes

Brett Asked:
John, please reply,
I am cruising the Carnival Destiny in August. I am planning to propose to my girlfriend of 5 1/2 years on the cruise and would appreciate your suggestion as to the best way to do this on the boat. I have some ideas myself but would love your expert advice. We met on a cruise and this will be our 4th Carnival cruise together. Great job on the blog thingy, definitely the best on the web!

John Says:
Hello Brett
Thanks for all the kind words and I think your plan to propose to your hopefully bride to be is superb. I would suggest this. We make it as though you are planning to sing in the talent show. The CD will invite you on stage to sing some outrageous song……..maybe “Oops, I Did It Again”……..anyway…….you don’t actually sing but instead you invite your girlfriend to the stage and with romantic music being played by the orchestra and in front of 1,500 people……….you ask her that special question.

We will record this for you and you can play it time and time again and if she says “no”…..you can play it backwards and it will have a happy ending.

If this is something you are interested in doing please drop me a line a week before you sail so I can arrange it for you.
Best wishes

Leroy & Pat Asked:
John Please respond:
Hi John,
I’m just wondering if the afghan I made for Kye arrived. I had asked that you let me know when it does and I haven’t heard yet. I don’t know if I should put a tracer on it or not, so please let me know. I mailed it 6/17/09.

John Says:
Hello Leroy and Pat
It is a strange world………it really is……….that’s because it has taken a month to get to us but yesterday Heidi told me that a package arrived with a beautiful handmade blanket in it. She has written a card to you and hopefully that will get there quicker than the one I sent to Big Ed recently. Anyway, it is beautiful. Heidi sent me a photo of it and I cannot thank you enough on behalf of Kye who will enjoy snuggling with it.

Please let me know when you get the card and your kindness is extraordinary…..thank you.
Best wishes to you and all the family.

Tracy Asked:
John please respond. What’s the difference between the regular dining room and the supper club (steakhouse) and do u know how much it is on the splendor.

John Says:
Hello Tracy
The Carnival Splendor’s steak house is called The Pinnacle. The main difference between this and the dining room is that not only in the steak house do we use only the finest cuts of meat but also the service and ambience is extraordinary. The price of a meal in a setting like this on land would be $100 plus but on the Carnival Splendor and in all our steak houses on the Spirit class and the Conquest class ships the price is only $30. You must try it Tracy…….it will be the best meal you have ever had at sea……try the porterhouse!
Best wishes

Wil-da Beast Asked:
Hi John and please reply…my best to you and your beautiful girls. When we were on the Freedom last Feb there was an entertainer named Amanda (red hair) who was very special to us. Is she still on the ship? Also she was hoping to be on the Dream. Do you know if that will happen? We were hoping to connect with her again as we will be on the Dream’s TA. We also heard word that Jaime will be on the Dream. That would just be the icing on the cake if we had both of them. Thanks for all you do…Regards from Texas…The Beast…

John Says:
Hello Wil-da-Beast
Thanks for the kind words mate. Jaime will be there but I am a little unsure as to which Amanda you are referring to. Was she part of the entertainment staff or was she a dancer or musician. Can you let me know mate.

I am sure you are looking forward to your trans-Atlantic voyage on your Carnival Dream and I think you may like the photos coming up in a moment.
Hope to hear from you soon.
Best wishes

Torbelinoblanco Asked:
John, (Please Reply)
On last fall’s Transatlantic on the Splendor we finally decided, after seven cruises, to try the Supper Club (AKA Steak House) and it was all you said it would be, plus some! My question is: We have some friends who will be taking their first cruise in December, how can we gift them dinner for two at the Steak House. While it appears possible to give certificates for bar coupons and drink coupons, there doesn’t appear to be a way to gift dinner. Megadittos! (Translation: We love what you’re doing, keep it up)

John Says:
Hello Torbelinblanco
There are some things which as a cruise director I have to promote that I truly know little about myself. I talk about the spa for instance and the various forms of massage they offer but considering the only time I have tried one I farted during the process so loudly that I have since been banned from the treatment rooms…….thus I promote what they do ……not from experience. However the steak house is another subject entirely… food … on which I consider myself quite the expert. I am glad therefore that you listened and tried a meal there and had a brilliant experience. A few days ago another blogger suggested we add gift vouchers to the bon voyage menu and our VP of food and beverage is examining this great idea as I write.

Hopefully we will have this in place before your friends cruise so that you can offer them this very kind gesture.

Thanks so much for the megadittos……….I will keep writing as long as I am able.
Best wishes to all

Ruth G. Asked:
I had posted a question on Wednesday and it’s now Friday night and still no answer and so I found your work e mail address which is on cruise critic. There is not much point in offering your customers a service if you are not going to answer them is there?

I am on the Carnival Glory and want a table for two as last time our table companions were hideous.
My details are:
Ruth and Al G.
October 24th sailing
Suite # – 7288
Want table for two by window – late sitting
Reply please when confirmed

John Says:
Hello Ruth and Al
I wanted to reply to your e mail which I did receive ………..I had no idea my e mail had been posted on cruise critic though.

I do offer a service and do my very best to send a timely response. However, I am only one man and I have a full-time job as a cruise director so there will be times when I am delayed in responding. Please accept my apologies for the delay.

I will be happy to help you with your dinning request but as it is not for another two months I wondered if I might kindly ask for you to remind me a week or so before you sail.
Best wishes to you both.

That’s all for today. Just a quick couple of follow ups. A blogger had asked about a specific cabin on your Carnival Dream …….here is the information you needed ……….. sorry I forgot who asked ………anyway…………….

Cabin 1001 on the Freedom is cabin 10201 on the Dream and the obstructed view are probably referring at half bulkhead of the ship looking forward same height bulkhead that is outside your cabin on deck five, they’re both outside cabin but don’t have a clear view of the sea.

That information was from Denato the hotel director for your Carnival Dream and I thank him for following up with me.

Now, another blogger had asked why they could not pay online when they book using one of our PVPs………and thanks to our loyalty and future cruise expert Jeff for this reply. Pay online…….This option is only available when someone books online. We do not keep credit card numbers on file (for the guests privacy and safety), that’s why they have to tell us the number again (it only takes a second to read the number so it’s not really time consuming and reading it can be quicker than typing it in for every booking).

There you go…….my apologies for the delay in answering but I would much rather get you the correct information.

As always, please let me know if there is anything I can do for you.

Now………let me introduce you to a new activity which is already on the Carnival Liberty and has started here on the Carnival Freedom this cruise. It’s called ………. mixology.

Here is how we present this to the guests.
• Do you have a favorite cocktail with that secret little something that only you know how to make?

• Would you like to be able to name that drink and call it your very own for the whole cruise?

• Well this afternoon you’re going to have your opportunity to mix it up and compete for the title of Carnival Liberty’s Master Mixologist.

• We’re looking for 5 contestants who will work with our best bartender to produce their favorite concoctions for a panel of “celebrity” judges.

• The winning cocktail will become the featured beverage for the rest of the voyage and all aboard will know that you are the ship’s Master Mixologist!

And so we had our five guests who were picked from more than 50 who wanted to try to participate at 1 pm this afternoon to create a custom-made cocktail which was then tasted by a panel of judges made up of the bar manager, one of the comedians, Phat Cat, Carnival Pride’s Cruise Director Kirk Benning (who is here to mix Jaime a cocktail) and a chosen guest.

And the winner was………..Sandra Suckling who invented a cocktail called “Love Potion Number Nine”………..which consists of rum, Southern Comfort, pineapple juice, and grenadine, poured over crushed ice…………add slice of orange with umbrella in it.

The winner gets a funnel hat and other goodies as well as her drink advertised in the Carnival Capers for the rest of the cruise and sold around the ship. We have already sold 50-plus drinks of Love Potion Number Nine.

I have invented Love Potion Number 10 which consists of rum, Southern Comfort, pineapple juice, grenadine and Viagra……poured over crushed ice……….it has an umbrella in it as well but you don’t need to put it in a piece of orange…….as the Viagra has the little umbrella standing up all by itself.

Here are some photos of the Mixology contest.

Mixology 1

Mixology 2

Mixology 3

Mixology 4

Mixology 5

Mixology 6

Mixology 7

Mixology 8

Mixology 9

Mixology 10

Mixology 11

Mixology 12

Here are today’s letters from guests that I shared in my morning show.

Letter 1

Letter 2

Letter 3

Letter 4

Letter 5

Well, as I mentioned we have some important folks from the office here as part of the QCC…..or Quality Control Committee. The captain led them on a tour of the ship to discuss what we are doing well and what help we need from our friends at Miami HQ to improve. Tomorrow we have a big meeting……..when I say big…I mean long……..and its going to play merry hell with my hemorrhoids….anyway, a long meeting to discuss as much as we can to make your already brilliant vacation experience even better.

Last night they met with the captain and senior officers for dinner…and as you can see ……….I had to take the photo.

Captains Dinner

From left to right we have:

Stefan Christoffersson – Senior Director of Personal and Manning and Hair Design

Roger Blum – Vice President of Entertainment and Polo Shirts

Alina Chefneaux – Hotel Director

Orazio D’Aita – Captain

Lynn Torrent – Senior Vice President of Sales and Guest Services

Alfonso Verdoliva – Chief Engineer

Raymondo Astroini – Ship’s Manager

Francesco Borrgogna – Staff Captain

Anna Dumitro – Guest Services Manager

Over the next few days I will fill you in as to what we spoke about and because I have to attend all day meetings me and my underpants will have to write a shorter blog than is usual.

However, there are still a few minutes for me to show you today’s live photos from Captain Queirolo and Boris of your Carnival Dream. These were taken Tuesday morning Italian time from a top the smoke stack………..hope you enjoy them.

Dream 1

Dream 2

Dream 3

Dream 4

Dream 5

Dream 6

Dream 7

Dream 8

OK, time for the 9 am senior officer and QCC meeting………back ………. Well ……… hopefully sooner rather than later.

Bugger…….it was later. It’s now 2:30 pm and the meeting went on and on and on and has only just finished at that’s only because the Miami team have a flight to catch.

We got a lot accomplished and would have got so much more done if certain people didn’t love the sound of their own voice as much as love my daughter. Honestly…..say what you mean……….and STOP TALKING…

I can’t say who this employee is of course or whether he or she is shipboard or shore side. If he or she had though kept talking a few minutes longer then the clue would have been obvious because he or she would have had my show sticking out of their arse ………… ”SHUT UP!”

I guess we are all born with our crosses to bear. Judge Judy made it even though at some point in her teenage years her face melted and someone then hit her repeatedly in the face with a frying pan. And every year thousands and thousands of people have to overcome the massive problem of being born French.

Then of course there are those who are ummmm………vertically challenged…….. He or she simply won’t be able to achieve a state of happiness if she or he has to go through life banging his or her head on coffee tables.

If you’re small, it doesn’t matter whether you’re rich, poor, British, American or French, you will be consumed with a sense that people aren’t just physically looking down on you, but mentally as well. This will make you permanently angry, and equipped with a chip so large you could be mistaken for a bag of family sized Doritos.

I am afraid therefore that during the six-hour meeting and as she (yes….OK….it was a she that wouldn’t stop talking……ssshhhh) there may have been times that I drifted off and I realized as I did that …….I am getting old.

The worst thing about being 44 is that may brain’s default setting have changed. Before, when I used to lose myself in thought I would be thinking about rumpy pumpy. Not now……oh no…I am sad to say that Angelina Jolie’s breasts and Megan Fox’s bottom have been replaced by what I can buy Kye for Christmas and worrying about how much money Heidi is spending on nipple pads.

So, here I am back in the cabin ready to face the 78 e-mails that have infested my in box thingy……..one of which caught my eye.

Guest: ———670006891A
Cabin: ____ Booking#: _____ Added-Changed: 07/21/09 – 07/21/09

Guest called into the desk from their cabin asking to be put through to John’s phone. GSA asked what the concern was and guest said that they had been to the shopping in St. Thomas today and that it had rained.

Guest said that no mention of rain was given by John and that their clothes were soaked. Guest said that if they had known it was going to rain they would have stayed onboard. Guest demanded that their clothing be laundered without charge.

GSA said she would pass on to CD

So, I guess I shall have to put my apology hat on and call the guests. Actually, the Carnival Capers does say “sunny with 30% chance of showers,” which is what we had ………..a shower…….it lasted for 30 minutes or so and was a heavy one but it is sunny again now. So, let me call their cabin…………hold on.

Oh well……..couldn’t win that argument and the only choice I had was to offer my apologies and agree to have housekeeping do their laundry for free.

I could have probably said no and have every right to do so but after a six-hour meeting …………I just couldn’t be bothered. I told him I couldn’t control the weather etc but he droned on about how on another cruise line every guest was given a free raincoat thingy and “a good cruise director should provide a correct weather forecast,” he said.

He would have still been talking my ear off if I hadn’t said yes to the laundry thing.

What he doesn’t know is that their clothes are being washed in the same machine as my underpants…….the same underpants I have been sitting in these past six hours and even the toughest wash won’t get rid of the bits of hemorrhoid that are now embedded into their clothing……….Willard Scott my arse.

Your friend

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.