Fat Friday

July 31, 2009 -

John Heald

I made it to Friday……..I had one day to go and it would have been an entire cruise without me posting a single guest complaint or negative comment. I had decided to not to do so just because I felt like I was concentrating on the one or two negative comments and therefore I had promised myself that this week there would be none. And it hasn’t been too much of a struggle. There have been no outrageous claims or demands and so far…….nobody has taken a crap in the swimming pool. So…….all was going well until yesterday evening when the Guest Services Desk sent me this charming e mail.

 
From: FREEDOM GUEST SERVICES SUPERVISOR
Sent: THURSDAY, JULY 30TH, 2009 7:32 PM
To: FREEDOM CRUISE DIRECTOR
Subject: PERSONAL MESSAGE FOR CRUISE DIRECTOR FROM CABIN NUMBER 6324
Importance: NORMAL

John

Mrs. ______ came to the desk and asked to speak to you. I tried calling but you were at the repeaters party. The guest insists on speaking to you as she says that she wants to help you with your weight problem. I am so sorry John I feel embarrassed about writing this but the lady was very rude to me because I would not give her your telephone number. She says she can help you lose lots of weight. Can you call her please?

Sorry again

When I first read this I suffered mixed emotions. I was angry, embarrassed for the guest services lady who had to write the e mail and disappointed because I have actually been doing well with my diet and lost weigh………OK……not enough and I have a long, long way to go but I felt …..Until tonight………..that I was on the right track.

I also felt offended that this lady felt it was within her rights as a guest to insist on having my phone number so she can tell me I am fat………..thanks………I had no idea…….although the two X’s in the back of my underpants were a clue.

At first I had no intention of calling her but after thinking for a moment and knowing that she would be persistent and continue to hassle the pursers (can’t get used to not calling them that) I decided to get in touch with her.

And so, after the first show I met her in the lobby and spent 20 minutes of my life that I will never get back listening to a this lady tell me about a book she wrote. Now, I have decided not to post the name of the book for obvious reasons but I can tell you that it’s about food and peace and how we nourish ourselves as individuals and as a society……I quoted that from her business card by the way.

So, she sat there and to summarize what she told me is easy. I’m fat……I’m going to die……..I must never eat meat ever again…….and I must learn to love the vegetable……oh……and she wants to do a lecture onboard for all the “overweight guests” and she has books and recipe cards to sell.

She told me I had an eating disorder. I wanted to tell her is that in my opinion vegetarianism is an eating disorder. It’s a better eating disorder than many others, because at least it doesn’t make you fat. But it does make you pale, and flaky, and unbelievably boring……but I didn’t……..I just sat there……………and looked thankful.

I may sound cruel when I say that her motives seemed to be more about me allowing her to host a seminar and sell her books than shaving a few pounds off me…….and if I am wrong then well ……I’m sorry. But it takes an awfully confident person to feel they have the right to tell a stranger what’s wrong with them.

Time for today’s questions…………oh hold on…………….just give me a moment to munch on a carrot, kick of my sandals and listen to the Carpenters……….OK, let’s go.

Robert Kruczek Asked:

John please reply,

I am leaving this Monday and was wondering if there is any way I could reserve a table for 2 by the window for late seating, I know this is short notice and I apologize in advance, this cruise is for me and pop who usually try to cruise CCL once a year if able to (this is our 3rd)..Thanks for everything you do and if unable to fulfill this request I thank you for taking the time to read this

Booking #: ******

Thanks John and your daughter is really beautiful.
Bobbyfk

John Says:
Hello Robert

Thanks for writing Robert and I will do all I can to make this happen for you. I am guessing you are going on the Carnival Fascination but let me check your booking number just to make sure and I will ask the Maitre D to do what he can.

Have a wonderful cruise. Best wishes.
John

Linda Hartwick Asked:

Hi John, please respond. I have been cruising on carnival for the past two and a half months. I wished you came on the Paradise. I have to ask you have you met Felipe Couto? He was filling in for Jeff on this ship. He is a great guy so funny and does an outstanding job filling in for a cruise director. I have cruised on 12 ships with carnival in the past two months. My goal is to hit number 25 on the dream; will you be on the dream from Italy to New York? My good friend Ken from Ireland told me you are a great guy, I do hope to meet you soon, take care…..Linda Hartwick

John Says:
Hello Linda

I have indeed met our young Brazilian friend Felipe. In fact he was part of the Social Host training college that Heidi ran a few years ago and he has proven to be one of our rising stars. I couldn’t believe it when I read that you have cruised 12 times in the past two months……..that is extraordinary and we are all applauding your loyalty to this great company. I am not sure yet about the TA on your Carnival Dream. I am thinking that there may be a chance to join the ship in Bermuda and sail her into New York. I am hoping this is so for many reasons and one of those is so I can meet you. Ken is a great guy and I am sure you will have an exceptional crossing with him and the great crew of your Carnival Dream……..what a way to celebrate must what be one of the fastest recorded times to reach our Milestone reward. Please keep us appraised of your adventures and on behalf of all of us………..congratulations

Best wishes
John

JP Kraus Asked:

John, please reply. It’s JP from Holland again. A couple of weeks ago I asked about buying my friends a “Bon Voyage” gift certificate for the Steakhouse (Supper Club). You would pass it on to the people at Miami HQ. Have you heard anything from them?
Doei, JP

John Says:
Hello JP

Quier Morga
Ich hept ein e mail schriefer ………….I had better stick to English i think. I did indeed ask the Miami office as I think this was a brilliant idea. I have yet to receive an answer from them but I will chase them up today. I promise to let you know as soon as I hear anything. Hope all is well in Holland and ich will ein frickandel speciale mit potakyers orlock.

Doeeeee
John

JimC Asked:

John Please Reply-
Hi John! I don’t write in to the blog much but have been reading it for a very long time. I moderate for Cruise Chat and watch in great interest the attention that Cruise Critic bloggers get (which is fine as they are a much bigger forum than us but thought I would let you know about us too)

However, the reason I am writing to you is that I wanted to ask you a favor. We are loyal Carnival cruisers and we talked my sister and brother in law on a Valor cruise at the end of September. This would be their first cruise on Carnival. They are new to cruising and have tried “Oursshipshavegraffitionthem” and “Behemothshipswithmountainsonthemisallwebuildnowoftheseas” and I want to show here that Carnival ships are top notch vessels that will show her a great time and make this cruise special. She asked where we would be seated in the dining room and if we could “request” a window table. I told her that Carnival doesn’t take requests for tables because then…well everyone would be asking for window tables.

Is it possible for you to pull some strings for me? Or do something else to make her cruise special?

We are sailing on the Valor Sept 27th, 2009 cabins 6219 and 6215.

John Says:
Hello Junkbucket – great name by the way

I am so sorry that I don’t mention your site much because to be honest, just now was the first time I had a look at …….and it is excellent and I encourage the readers to pop over to have a look for themselves……..here is the link thingy http://cruise-chat.com

Thank you so much for persuading your family to try the Fun Ships of Carnival and I promise they will not be disappointed. I will speak to my Maitre D friends and I am sure we can sort something out for you. May I kindly ask that you remind me two weeks before you sail. Please may I invite your readers to pop over here should they need anything at all and thanks so much for all you do.

Don’t forget to write. Best wishes.
John

Jackie Asked:

Hi John and Stephanies, Please reply
I posted a comment about Carnival gift certificates over a week ago. You responded on July 13th and said I would be contacted within 7 working days. I still have not heard from anyone. Thought you would want to know.

John Says:
Hello Jackie

Thank you for letting me know. I will ask Stephanie to peruse this again. If you hear nothing by the middle of next week please contact me again. Please accept my apologies for the delay and I will do all I can to help.

Best wishes
John

Annette Kamps Asked:

Hi John (reply appreciated)

You may recall that I wrote you a LONG message which you posted with a reply on your June 30th blog.

To recap quickly, I wrote about the conflicting information given out regarding the certificates that can be purchased on some ships and how based on the information given I did not purchase and now realize that I could have and should have.

My comment here was more of a request that maybe Carnival should train all of their PVP’s and sales people so that they all have the same info.

My second point was about purchasing early saver fares and a group cruise. I was annoyed that I am now booked in a group with an early saver rate that is not the true early saver rate. I have all of the restrictions of early saver but I did not receive the full benefit of a lesser rate. Based on the early saver rate posted at this time, the difference between that and my rate is about $50. The difference at the time I did the booking was about $70 – which would go a long way toward a spa treatment.

You were kind enough to respond and tell me that you had passed this information on and that I should be receiving a call from a Carnival representative and to let you know if I did not receive this call.

Well, I think they may have called about a week ago but did not leave a message. My call display showed a number with a 305 area code, which I think is a Florida #. So, that may have been them or it may not have, I’m not sure, but they did not call back again.

I’m hoping you can give them a little nudge again and ask that they call me and leave a message if I am not home. I will also give you my cell number at the end of this note. I know I don’t have to say this but, please do not publish the cell number 🙂

Thank-you very much! Hope all is going well on the Freedom and best wishes to you and Heidi and of course, the precious schat, Kye!

Annette

John Says:
Hello Annette

It seems that you were contacted and missed the call but I am surprised my colleagues have not called back. I will send this to someone at VP level and make sure someone contacts you to discuss your concerns. Please stay in touch and let me know if nobody has called by the middle of next week. Once again my apologies for the delay and thank you so much for your kind words.

Best wishes
John

Sallie Asked:

Hi John, (Please Reply)

I always knew you were a ladies’ man. 🙂

I have a question about the Anytime Dining and ordering wine.

Since there is no assigned seating with AT, if I order a bottle of wine the first night and do not drink it all will I have to take it with me and bring it the next night or will the wait staff take it and keep it as they do if you are in assigned seating?

I love Berenger and just my luck Carnival serves it but I really don’t want to be lugging a bottle to and from dinner each night.

My Pride cruise is getting real close now and I am starting to think of all the little things. 🙂

Thanks for helping out with this and so many other things you do for us.

Princess Sallie of Big Ed’s Evil Krewe

(The one that is sad because she won’t be on the Dream in December. 🙁 )

John Says:
Hello Sallie

That’s a great question. First of all let me say that the ships that have the anytime dining options on them are reporting that the guests that are taking this option are all enjoy it very much. It will continue across the fleet throughout the rest of the year. So, as for the wine……….well the answer to your question is a simple yes. You can purchase a bottle of wine and if you do not drink it all you just need to tell your team head waiter that you wish it kept in the wine cellar until the following night’s dinner. He or she will label it with your stateroom number and it will be available the next night for you to continue to enjoy.

If you can think of any other “little things” please let me know and I will do my best to help you.

Best wishes and don’t be sad……your Carnival Pride cruise will be brilliant.

John

Jack & Geri Asked:

Hello John,

We are sailing on the Carnival Dream B2B cruises this Nov 13 and the Bloggers cruise right after. We see on the CC site for the Nov. 13th cruise that the Official launch will be in New York on Nov. 12. We are coming from Canada and staying the night in NYC. Is there any way that we could attend the Inauguration or part thereof of this great ship as we board the very next day? We are celebrating our 51st Anniversary and what a thrill that would be for us if this is at all possible. We are staying right across the street from the Dream on the 12th of Nov. Please let us know if there is any chance.

Take care and best wishes to your beautiful family.

Your friends and soon platinum friends,

Geri & Jack

John Says:
Hello Gerri and Jack

You are correct that the naming ceremony will be conducted in New York but that’s the only details that have been released so far. I am hoping that I will have an insight as to what exactly is going to happen soon and when I do I can let all of you know. I have been asked to host the ceremony which is a great honor but as far as what form it will take and who will be invited…..I truly have no idea…….yet.

Please keep reading the blog and as soon as I know what’s happening I will let you all know about it. Your back-to-back Carnival Dream cruises will soon be here and I am very excited for you to see your wonderful new ship.

Best wishes to you both
John

Mike Ceglio Asked:

John, don’t know if this is the proper place to ask you a question but here goes. I tried to send it 2 weeks ago, but don’t know if you received it. We will be on the Glory on Oct. 31, 2009. We are very big fans of anytime dining. As of now, it states that the glory will be implementing this in December. I have heard, (but I don’t know from whom), that some ships will be starting up the anytime dining before the scheduled date. Do you know if this is true? And, if it is, would the Glory have it by 10/31. Thanks very much for your answer, as I love reading your blog, and hope to sail with you in the near future. Please reply in your column if you can. Mike Ceglio

John Says:
Hello Mike

I apologize if I missed your comment the last time so I am very pleased that you took the time to write again. As I just mentioned the anytime dining is proving very popular and I see that you are also a fan. Unfortunately I checked and the Carnival Glory will indeed start this option in December as you stated so you will just miss it this time. If you need any help with seating for your cruise I would be happy to help.

Please continue to keep reading the blog thingy and I remain at your service.

Best wishes to all
John

Gina Asked:

Hi John – please reply.

My husband and I had the pleasure of cruising with you on the Ecstasy in 1992 (my first cruise) for our honeymoon. We thoroughly enjoyed you back then, and I was thrilled to find your blog! I have since cruised 5 times, all on Carnival. My question has to do with my most recent trip, April 16 – 20th on the Destiny, which had stops in Key West and Cozumel. My 9 year old son and I contracted the dreaded H1N1 (swine flu) – however, my husband and 7 year old son, also on the same cruise did not. It was honestly a mild form of flu – I have had worse! I assume that Carnival was contacted by the CDC, because I had to give a timeline of where we were, etc. I was wondering if there was a way to find out if anyone else on the ship came down with it. Again, it was just a flu, I am not pointing fingers or plotting lawsuits, just morbidly curious. Thanks and I look forward to reading more of your blogging!

John Says:
Hello Gina
My goodness…..1992…..I was such a hunk back then. I am glad you have found the blog and if you were to cruise with me again you would find that I have not changed at all since 1992. …… OK ……….maybe a bit.
The cruise industry follows very strict guidelines that are put forth by the Centers For Disease Control and the World Health Organization. The health and well being of our guests and crew is our top priority – nothing else even comes close – and we follow these guidelines to make sure that we provide a safe and healthy environment for everyone on board. I’m going to have to look into your question about your particular situation and let you know.
Not to make light of this but I read something extraordinary about Swine Flu the other day. H1N1 parties are sweeping the world like, well, swine flu. The idea is that if you catch it now, when it is relatively mild, you might be immune in the future. A bit like chicken pox.
Anyway, I am so sorry that you and your son were unwell and if you wish any further information or have a follow up question to this please let me know.

Best wishes
John

Stef aka Hockey Addict Asked:

Hi John!! (Please reply)

First of all… CONGRATS STEPH! I wish you the best of luck with your new duties!

Secondly… I FREAKED out when I started to read about the bridge and engine room tour! We want to do this SO BAD…. BUT… we can’t take 7 day or longer cruises! Why can’t you offer them to all of the cruises? We are limited to 5 days! With work there is no way possible for us regular Joe Schmo’s to take a 7 day cruise… oh how we would love to though! I’m bummed… please tell the powers that be to reconsider!

Thanks again to Heidi for the Heidi & Kye update. They are beautiful… you are a lucky man!

Stef

John says:
Hello Stef

Thanks so much for congratulation Stephanie on her well deserved promotion……she has already started growing a beard. The Behind the Fun Tour does feature the engine control room as you mentioned and it is also correct to say at this time that the tour is taking place on seven day or longer voyages and we are planning to introduce them on three- to six-day cruises in the future.

Thanks for all your very kind words and my best wishes to you and the family.
John

That’s all for today and if time permits I will answer more questions over the weekend as I am really behind. I promise to try my best to catch up as quickly as I can and as always thanks for your patience.

Let’s take a break from the photos of your Carnival Dream and instead have a look at one of our most popular shore excursion destinations in Ocho Rios, Jamaica. This is the stunning Chukka Cover river tubing tour which the Shore Excursion Manager Magda and the Musical Director Alan took today………..they both described it as the most relaxing and visually stunning tour they had ever been on……………….have a look for yourself.

White River Valley

White River

Tubing

Here’s some exciting news………..within the next two weeks I will be launching the first ever Bloggers Cruise Grand Prize Contest …………no………..I am not going to give you any details yet………….but I will tell you the prize is very special.

Hello all bloggers, Steph here. Just another followup on the fare code for the Dream Bloggers Cruise coming up.

If you have already booked your DREAM cruise and did not use the bloggers fare code…email socialnetworking@carnival.com with your name and booking information. Make sure that the subject line of your email says: Bloggers Fare Code so that the email can easily be identified and not get lost in email cyberspace.

We want to make sure that ALL of our very important blogger guests are included in all the FUN activities as well as receive the really cool gifts we have in store for you.

Now for the very very very important part.

The deadline is now August 10th.

Sorry there are no exceptions. After this date you will be required to enter the bloggers fare code when making your DREAM reservations. If you need help or have any questions please feel free to let me know.

Thanks to Lorraine and Mum Susan for posting the video of Jim Royale of the BBC sitcom The Royale Family which highlights one of the great British sayings…………..”my arse.” I grew up listening to my Dad and my Uncle Norman say this and I have kept the family tradition going and I hope you all teach it to your kids as well.

Many of you have been commenting on how the upgrades on the Fantasy class ships have rejuvenated this already brilliant class of ships. I saw this for myself when I visited the Carnival Fantasy for the Bloggers Cruise this year. Well, the next ship to go into dry dock and receive some evolution of fun additions is the Carnival Ecstasy. She heads into dry dock on September 19 – October 17 and will come out of dry dock with the fantastic Carnival WaterWorks, Adults Only Deck, Serenity, a new resort style pool, Circle C entertainment and activity area for the 12 – 14 year olds, our massively popular Mongolian Wok and Rotisserie. In addition 98 cabins will be converted into balcony staterooms and eight penthouse suites will have their balconies extended……………and anytime dining will be available in the aft dining room.

So, once again we are spending lots of money to make sure that all of you who prefer the shorter cruises continue to do so but with many of the superb facilities offered on newer ships and on longer itineraries.

Time for Heidi and Kye to say hello.

Kye

I am sitting here (no, not in my underpants….) in the living room and it smells lovely.
I just realized it smells of lavender….

My mum, always the creative one, made 2 bouquets yesterday from flowers and branches from the garden only. I won’t moan about the fact that the kitchen floor was just cleaned and we now have little creepy crawlers living in the sink, the creations she made are worth it.

My look on tidyness has changed a bit in the last 11 weeks I suppose. Where as before I couldn’t leave the house without the cushions being in the right place on the sofas, I don’t think about that anymore. Now I am thinking “Do I have enough nappies and a clean set of clothes for Kye with me?”.

How life changes, for the better, especially for John as I would drive him mad with my “obsessive tydiness”. But, I think I reached the point of admitting it, isn’t that a good step? He will probably fall of his chair (in his underpants) when he reads this.

It’s Friday again and Kye is 11 weeks old today and getting more fun every day.

She is having her morning nap at the moment holding her rabbit as if to say “You are not going anywhere!!”.
I had her weighed last Tuesday and she now weighs 11lb 4oz which was a good result, the Nurse said.

She smiles more every day and tries to “talk” in her own funny way.

The other day I called my friend Emma to ask if it was normal that babies don’t do a “number two” for a few days. Yes, she said, perfectly normal, some don’t go for a week. That was me satisfied with a few days of just wet nappies, no problem. Well, at baby massage we learned a new skill to massage the baby’s tummy to relie ve them from wind. (getting John’s attention now!) That night, I took Kye upstairs to have her bath and when I unbuttoned her …………..Muuuuuuuuuuummmmmm!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

(Moooooooooooooooooooooooooommmmmm! for Americans…:)) )I didn’t know where to start, she had her number two EVERYWHERE……..So, she ended up having 2 baths that night, one to rinse it all off and one just to enjoy and chill afterwards. Kye smiled through the whole process……any guesses who her Daddy is??

The weather is getting better again so we are outdoors a lot, visiting the pier and the lifeboat station the other day but Kye got told off by John’s friend and Coastguard Commander Alan for parking in the wrong spot…..(see photo).

Stroller parking

Thank you once again for all the cards and presents we are still receiving, I am sending Thank You cards to all and hope you have and will receive them.

We wish you all a great weekend and till next week.

Heidi and Kye

I am not going to say I miss them anymore as I think you all know that. Instead I am going to concentrate on the fact that I will see them in 24 days time and how proud I am of my wife and the way she is raising Kye……….I want her first words to be “my arse”………..is that wrong?

I was shocked to read about Heidi not caring if the pillows were plumped up enough or if the magazines were stacked in date order on the coffee table……..of course none of this matters to me either because quite frankly apart from seeing my girls again…..all is care about is rumpy pumpy.

Back before Kye arrived in Heidi’s tummy, rumpy pumpy was a magical thing. When we worked on ships together there were port days and evenings and once, even a lunchtime to indulge ourselves for four blissful minutes before I hosted the Marriage Show. But when the stork arrived ………I was buggered. The windows of opportunity for any rumpy pumpy decreased immediately, and eventually stopped all together.

I have no doubt that even though I will be raring to go the moment I walk in through the door that I will end up with nothing as we will be forced into stopping every few minutes because we think we heard Kye crying……….bugger.

This has been a fantastic cruise and I am confident that the comment card ratings will be very high. The comments I have received both written and verbal have been extraordinary and the audience have been amazing at the shows………..yep, it was a great cruise.

Well, we never found the youths that stole Southerndreams’ (Empress Bee’s) motor scooter and damaged it badly. I had the upholsterer and the electrician do their best to make it drivable again and of course Bee has been so wonderful about this terrible situation. What kind of idiot would steal and then purposely damage an electric scooter…………what kind of low life scum does that?

Then, talking of kids, look at this letter.

Letter 1

Letter 2

Cheeky little sod…………absent……oh you mean apart from:

The welcome aboard show

The marriage show

The travel talk

The newlywed game

The debarkation talk

Hosting three shows

The talent show

The bedtime story

2 elegant night parties where I shook hands with over a 1,000 people

3 morning shows

One afternoon show

OK, I admit I wasn’t playing with my Wee Wee at Circle C but come on……absent. And not only do I get a bollocking from this 13-year-old….. She then demands I give her Mum the microphone because she wants to be a cruise director………….unbelievable. Anyway, I read her letter out and apologized for being “absent” and sent her Mum a gift ……………bloody hell ………what a day.

I guess I have not gotten over the vegetarian bollocking I got yesterday.

The beginning and middle of the conversation was bad enough as I described above…however, at the end of the conversation she really made the hairs on my arse stand on end. She sat there in her long flowing tie dye dress, all high and mighty and told me that me being overweight was “a sign of weakness” and that my overeating “was a cry for help,”…….it took every ounce of control not to lose my temper……..but I managed……and sat there ……..and smiled………looking thankful ……..secretly wondering how loud her cry for help would be if I shoved a raw Porterhouse steak down her knickers.

Goodnight
Your cuddly friend
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.