Swing Time

August 11, 2009 -

John Heald

Sometimes…when you are on stage, talking in full flow and with the auto pilot engaged it is easy to say something that ……….makes you go………..”Oops.”

So was the case yesterday afternoon during my welcome orientation talk.

Here is the outcome of my faux paus.

Guest: Mrs. _________Ref: 840027458A
Cabin: ____Booking#: _______- Added-Changed: 08/09/09 – 08/09/09


UPSET AT CRUISE DIRECTOR JOKE
Guest approached the desk wanting to complain about the Cruise Director who made a joke about small people. Guest found it offensive. GSA apologized and said she would pass her comments to John.

Now before those who bloggers who are less than tall start driving the pins into my bobble head to cast voodoo spell upon me…….let me explain…….and to do this I need to talk about ………..golf.

As I have mentioned of late, I have no friends and have not been ashore since June 24. However, the last few cruises I have been really getting into the game of golf. Now….. I don’t mean the Tiger Woods standard 18-hole, silly clothes, snobby bollocks…….. nope ……..I’m into the smaller version……..the one we have on many of our ships and on port days I have started a “beat the cruise director” activity …….which, considering I am total crap……..they usually do.

Our golf courses on board have been an excellent addition to our activity program and I enjoy promoting it………….the problem is………..what do you call the game itself?

In the UK it’s called Crazy Golf. However…….I’m not supposed to call it that here in North America as it’s deemed politically incorrect. If I did I am sure men and women with beards would put their sandals on and start to throw lumps of tofu at me.

So, I have gone through a few names while talking about this on stage and on the PA system. I have used “mini-putt” or “fun golf.” This seems silly to me. Calling it “fun golf” implies real golf is not fun……..which it isn’t….. if like me, you have the golfing skills of a Stevie Wonder.

Anyway, back to the comment from the guest. So, there I was, hosting my travel talk at 2:45 pm to 1,000 guests….. in free flow and on auto pilot giving a quick tour of the ship as I have done a thousand times. Lately I seem to have the ability to give a full talk or host a show and be thinking about something completely different at the same time. For example…I could be hosting the Welcome Aboard Show…….thinking on my feet, reacting to what one of the guests I am interviewing says….and at the same time be thinking about Megan Fox’s bottom.

So was the case yesterday…….I wasn’t thinking about Megan’s arse……..but rather about Heidi and the fact that a few years ago we played mini golf with Heidi’s Mum and Dad and what fun that was and……bugger………as I was thinking about that ……… and talking about the onboard course…….the two thoughts merged and I called the game what they call it in Holland……….which unfortunately……………….is “Midget Golf.”

Now, this doesn’t mean they use a very small person as putter…….it’s just what they call it. You see in Holland, there is no such thing as politically correct. What you see is what you get …….which in my humble opinion is quite refreshing. For example……….a skunk ……….in Dutch is a stinkdeer…………a polar bear……..in Dutch is an ice bear…………and the word French in Dutch is …..Well…………the same as skunk.

And therefore, small or mini golf in Dutch is “midget golf”……….and as Murphy is still on board…………..guess what…………….we have a little person onboard……………and that’s who complained at the guest services desk. Honestly……..what are the chances?………..I know many of you may think I talking bollocks but I truly am ……..I never describe it as midget golf…………and the one day I do……..there’s a little person on board …….. bugger and double bugger.

And so this morning I called the guest to eat a slice of sugar-free humble pie………..and she was not happy.
Her problem was that people would walk past, see her playing and start shouting “look, look at the little person playing golf………. John was right.”

I apologized unreservedly and after explaining myself she accepted my apology and I told her that she could expect some apology gifts from me…….I truly meant no disrespect.

I feel very sorry that I said this and I can truly understand why she is upset……….but I still cannot believe how unlucky I am……..and now I find myself sitting here ……..at the computer……..in my underpants……….humming “It’s A Small World”………….. bugger.

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

Dorothy Asked:
John,
Please reply
I’m sorry if I gave you the idea that the cruise I was taking with my sisters was my 1st, instead it will be either my 6th or 7th with Carnival. My son has no mobility at all; he can’t sit up for very long, so a short excursion would work, maybe a museum, a little shopping, and then back to the ship. The most he can sit up is for about 2 hours and then he starts hurting. I watched the video of the Carnival Dream and even though I did not know the words to the song, it was beautiful. The longer I watched the more I just wanted to jump through the screen and follow the Carnival Dream. so I thought I needed a shirt that said Follow me to what dreams are made of , Carnival Dream, a ship for all Dreamers and more. I’m not good at coming up with ideals, usually leave it to others. Thanks for the updates, we enjoy reading about what is new and what to come, we enjoy your blog so much. Hi to your lovely family also, they are very beautiful ladies.

John Says:
Hello Dorothy
Thank you for the information and those beautiful words about your Carnival Dream. It seems that the ship has captured everyone’s imagination. Thank you also for the information on your family and in particular your son. I am going to ask that a week or so before your cruise starts that you send me your cabin number and a reminder about your son. I intend to set up an appointment with the shore excursion manager so that you and he/she can sit and discuss the best options for you and your son. There are lots of options available but I think it would be best that you get the most current from the manager on board. So, please post that reminder and I will make sure we look after you all.
Thanks again and best wishes
John

Kim Risley Asked:
Please Reply
Dear John,
Thank you for answering my question earlier. I’m still waiting for that call 🙂 . I have another one. This is about the Behind the Fun tour. How to you make reservations for it? You had said in an earlier post that it has been sold out. How can we make sure we get a spot in it?
Oh PS I would agree with you just eating veggies. Is not healthy… 😉
Sincerely Yours,
Kim

John Says:
Hello Kim
I hope by the time you have read this that the call has come so please let me know. The Behind the Fun tour will not be sold anywhere else but from the shore excursion desk so my suggestion is that you book as soon as you board. In talking to Big Tex the cruise director on the Carnival Valor where the tour is currently being sold, I am told that if the first departure does indeed sell out that a second one is offered. I hope you do get a chance to take this amazing tour behind the “crew only door.”
My best wishes to you and the family and please let me know about the call.
John

Bob Haywood Asked:
Please reply
My wife and I are booked on the Liberty for Aug 29/2009 and although no one else is traveling with us this time…our 3rd cruise on Carnival…..we would like to be seated for dinner with one or two other couples to share our cruise with. We are confirmed for the early seating. Can you tell me how to arrange this? In the past we have traveled with our grandchildren or children so it never came up but I always noticed other travelers seem to be making new friends at dinner. Thanks in advance for your help.

John Says:
Hello Bob
This is a strange request. Not strange because you want to sit with others but strange because usually I get requests not to sit with others and from people who would like tables for two. Anyway, I will make sure you are seated as requested. I am sure you will meet new friends and have a wonderful time.
Best wishes and have a fantastic cruise
John

Eric Tully Asked:
Hi John, Please Reply.
First off, as I have said before, I love your blog. It gives me a laugh or two each and every day. Kye is looking so cute and changing with each picture you post. I have never had the opportunity to sail with you but one of these days it will happen!!

I am writing today regarding our sailing 8/8 on the Carnival Liberty. My parents have booked this vacation for all of us kids in celebration of their 25th Wedding Anniversary. Now, perhaps you are thinking what I still am … Why would they book a cruise for us kids for THEIR 25th Anniversary? All I can say is that this sums up who my parents are. They are always looking out for others and would put just about anyone before themselves (except maybe those nasty kids who stole that scooter that I just ready about — shame on them). So on what should be a time to celebrate them; they pass on the good times to us! I could ramble on for quite some time, but I will try and keep it short by just saying they are truly amazing people who do so much for others on a regular basis.

As a surprise, we have booked a Renewal of Vows package with a video, etc. Something needs to be about THEM for a change! We are not telling them about it until we are on the ship.

I was wondering if you may be able to put in a good word to Noonan about them as they would just LOVE to be on the Marriage Show. This would be an absolute riot and would be a memory to last a long time.

Thanks for anything you can do, and thanks for keeping up with this blog as I know there are so many who look forward to reading it each day !

I hope they will be putting a print out of the blog in the Library as I would like to keep up with it on board the ship as well.

Our Booking Info: 8/8 sailing on the Liberty. My cabin #8230, booking # ******. My parents are in cabin 8232, booking # ******.
Thanks again and sorry for the late notice.
Eric Tully

John Says:
Hello Eric
I hope you take the chance to read this on board. If not, don’t worry and you can tell me all about it when you get home? I hope your Mum and Dad have a brilliant time and they enjoy the renewal of vows which in turn will rejuvenate their love for another 25 years and beyond.
I have asked Noonan who by now you will have seen is an amazing CD and I am sure he will do his best for you.
Have a brilliant time and best wishes to you all
John

Chacooe Asked:
John, Please reply,
I feel so bad for Queen Bee, I wish there was something I could do for her, like maybe send her some money to help pay for a new one.

I was wondering, after the cruise is over, what do they do with all of the video tapes that are taken by the cameras. The reason that I ask, is that maybe even though the cruise is over, someone could go back over the tapes in greater detail than just a quick going over on board, to see if they can see anything like in the background or something. My feelings about having cameras around are, why not, if I am not doing anything wrong, then what is there to hide. Now when it comes to over private rooms they should be off limits.

Best Wishes from your Bloggy Thingy Fan,
Kathy

John Says:
Hello Kathy
We did our very best to help Empress Bee (Southern Dreams) to repair her scooter after the little buggers stole her scooter……twice. She as always was good natured and handled the situation as only she can.

We looked very carefully at the security tapes but unfortunately they did not capture the sods that did this. If we had seen who was responsible we would have charged them and their parents for the repairs. And…….if it was up to me I would have given their arses the good news with my Dwyane Wade shoe.

Thanks so much for your concern and I am sure Southern Dreams is grateful as well.
Best wishes to you and the family
John

LadyJag Asked:
Dear John, (Please reply but do not post)
I am embarrassed to make such a bold request, but as the saying goes, “nothing ventured, nothing gained.”
I will be sailing on the beautiful Carnival Dream at the end of May, and cannot wait to see her with my own eyes. I’ve heard that you are hosting a special luncheon in January aboard the Dream for a select few, and since my birthday is January 23, well…I guess you know where this is going.
John, is there any way I can procure an invitation to this luncheon for me and my hubby, Alex? We live in Jacksonville, so a 2-hour drive to Port Canaveral would be an easy trip for us to make.

I do apologize if my request has put you in an awkward situation, and I understand completely if the answer is “no.” In fact, the reason why I asked that this comment not be posted was so you would not be bombarded with similar brazen requests.

Anyway, thank you for your consideration and for providing us with such a great and informative blog. I can be reached via the above email address.
Laura Witte

John Says:
Hello Laura
I think the saying goes………..if you don’t ask you don’t get. I think the select luncheon you are referring to is a few bloggers Linda, Bridie, etc who are coming over for a visit and if you are willing to make the drive from Jacksonville then indeed I would be honored to invite you as well. Please never apologize, you can ask whatever you want and if it’s possible I will say yes.

I will be in touch nearer the time regarding arrangements
Best wishes to all
John

Peter Asked:
Hi John (pleeeeeeeeaaaaaaseeeee Reply with a blog…),
I have to get something of my chest. This is my cruise history, starting with the first one… Carnival Triumph, RCCL, RCCL, Festival, Princess, Costa, NCL, Celebrity, Carnival Splendor, RCCL, Carnival Dream.

For the Splendor and the Dream, they were/are the maiden voyages. I must say I truly like the Dining now on Carnival and of course you.

There is one thing bothering me, why not say anything about Oasis of the Seas. Of course you have to pay for a lot of stuff onboard. But as a real cruise enthusiast you should admire the size and options available on that ship! I am absolutely sure that if RCCL would have been a Carnival brand you would have praised the ship to stardom.

So please, find it in your heart to write a real, non biased – non carnival influenced blog about the truly remarkable ship oasis. With all the options available there must be some of them you find interesting.

Ooooh yes, I have to say I totally agree with you on the Epic thing, boy how ugly is that, and those tiny cabins…
And what a bummer you will not join us on the Carnival Dream Maiden voyage and we (once again, just as on the splendor) lost our inaugural status and festivities.
Regards,
Peter

John Says:
Hello Peter
Thanks so much for the posting and just before I start I do want to point out respectfully that nothing I write here on my blog thingy is influenced or scripted by anyone but me and the day that happens will be the day I hang up my underpants and stop blogging.

As far as the Oasis of the Seas is concerned I am sure that many of the aspects of the ship are astonishing and as a cruise director it would be ridiculous for me to say that I wouldn’t like to see the arena on the ship’s aft section and have some of the other entertainment options on our ships as well.

But, as a sailor and someone who has been at sea for a long time I also think that we have to be careful that a ship stays a ship and not become just a mall at sea. I wish them much success with their new ship because if cruising is in the news then it’s great for the industry period.

As you can imagine there is bugger all chance of RCI’s Adam Goldstein writing anything positive about your Carnival Dream in his blog and I am sure his seven readers don’t expect him to ………so I am not going to be focusing too much on the Oasis except to say I wish the captain and crew good luck and calm seas.

Thanks Peter and ………..we may indeed have chance to talk about this on the crossing as I hope to join you all in Bermuda, so let’s pull up a chair, pour a Diet Coke and talk about our love of this fantastic industry.
Best wishes and hope to see you soon
John

Dave & Diana Asked:
Please reply John
Well with 122 Days to go and biting at the bet to be one the Dream. As per your request John I am making contact with you. I am sure you don’t remember my request as you been a very busy man. So I will ask again I posted to you that my Wife and I along with our youngest daughter and her soon to be hubbie will be sailing the Dream on Dec 3 2009. And as we are wishing to sail with you and your blugger cruise guest but I made our plan with the military plan as it was less cost. Now I sent my details to your lovely assisted in an email but I still don’t know if she got it and that we will be able to be with your group or not so I am sending you the names and cabin number and booking number so we can be added to your wonderful blogger cruise group. Along with that I wish to say you and your lovely wife are blessed with the birth of a very sweet and cute daughter of your own Kye is so sweet. And I am proud to be one of her many many blog uncles and aunties. Here is the information of our cabin and those who will be there cabin #9357 booking number ****** and the name are David Diana and Letha Conway and hubbie to be Alan Caha. I sent this about two weeks ago when you asked about it but I don’t know how to check and see if we have been added or not.

2. And with so many thing going on I would invite you to our dinner table one night if you can to help me surprise my lovely wife on two special days her birthday and anniversary 35 loving years together. I know you may not be able to be there but it would be great if you could. As I told you in another letter I tried for many years to surprise she and she always seem to find out before hand. But this one I hope to pull it off.

3 and for my last request I would invite you for a drink (I know only diet coke) and a good cigar with me.
your very good friend and Fez warer ( A Shiner)

John Says:
David
I know Stephanie (one of them anyway) has taken note of your information and we will make sure that you are part of the bloggers cruise and all that this involves. Thanks so much for the kind words for Heidi and Kye and I will promise to stop by and wish Letha a very happy birthday. The cigar and the Diet Coke……well……that’s definitely going to happen.

Very soon I will be working on the schedule of shows and activities and slowly will let you all know what to look forward to.
Thanks again for the information and my best to you both
John

Wanda Asked:
Hey John;
Hope everything is well…I have been reading your blog for quite some time but today is the first time I write to you. I am a huge fan of CCL and a VIP member of course 🙂
The reason I write is to ask you a favor if u can.

my nephew Andy turn 18 last month and he is sailing in the freedom right now, he is quite a smart and nice young boy and I will like to know if u can do something special for him like congratulate him or have the audience sing happy b-day or something ha-ha! I would like to see his face if that happen 🙂 this probably cannot be done but I just want him to have a good time since this is his first cruise being an adult ha-ha! I hope he and his family is having fun aboard the freedom. Take care John and God Bless you and your beautiful family.
Wanda Sandin.
Wanda

John Says:
Hello Wanda
How brilliant that you have posted a comment after being a reader for so long and thank you for being a loyal blog reader and a loyal Carnival Platinum guest as well.

Unfortunately I just read this and I now realize I received this posting a day or so after the cruise had finished. I am so sorry I let you down.

Please keep reading the blog thingy and the next time you or a member of family sails please let me know as soon as you can so I can look after them.
Best wishes
John

That’s all for today and you can see how behind I am getting with the questions. I will be able to answer more from home but for now please forgive me for the time it takes from posting your comments to me answering them. I will answer yours as soon as possible I promise.

Time for a photo break and today we are going to take a break from your Carnival Dream but there will be more spectacular photos from Boris tomorrow. Today though let’s focus on here…….the Carnival Freedom and enjoy some photos from Jaime of the ship and her mini, fun, putt putt but midget free golf course.

Funnel 1

Funnel 2

Funnel 3

Minigolf 1

Minigolf 2

Minigolf 3

Minigolf 4

Minigolf 5

Did you know that soon it will be Romance Week? No? Neither did I. But Princess Cruise Lines seems to know and so do my friends at Cruise Critic and they have come together for a special and very romantic partnership.

Princess-Romance-Week-Article

Do you have a romantic seagoing story from your Princess Cruises to share? Let them know and lets all remember to me more romantic.

This blog has spawned other blogs which makes me feel very, very proud. For example there is Big Ed’s blog (ekonefe.wordpress.com) and even our 12-year-old blog prince Jake Silverberg has one. And so now does Host Mach, longtime Carnival supporter and leader of the crazies group sailing on the Carnival Conquest soon. Here is his first fantastic effort and I wish him much success. You can find him at:

http://hostmach.wordpress.com/

The weather was fine and warm in Key West yesterday and so far the guests are all having fun. Jaime’s replacement arrived yesterday. Her name is Tina Noble and she will be the new ACD here. Ralph…..Weeeeeeeeee Jimmy arrives on the 15th and I am looking forward to taking the piss out of him……..I mean……..I am looking forward to seeing him again.

One chap I have had the pleasure of working with here on the Carnival Freedom both in Europe and in the Caribbean as well as the Carnival Splendor in the Baltic is another Jamie……spelt correctly this time…as in Jaime Frasier. He joined us as a fly on entertainer and is now studying to become a cruise director. Jamie was born in the wrong era. He should have been born in the 50’s when the people were cool and the music was even cooler. Each cruise as well as learning the cruise director ropes he sings the songs of Sinatra, Bobby Darrin, Dean Martin and more and each time he does he has old memories flooding back and reminds the younger generation of what real music sounds like. As Jamie will be a face of the future I thought you might like to learn more about him……..and his music.

Jim

Q & A with John Heald

1: Jamie, can you tell us about your journey in show business so far?

My career in Show Business has been wonderful to date. As a child I would always be the one who wanted to sing and dance. I’d be the first one at Christmas to sit on the piano with my Mum and sing a rendition of Bing Crosby’s “White Christmas.” I’d volunteer at school to be in all the productions and continually badger my parents to pay for me to attend the extra curricular drama classes. Although music was a huge part of my childhood when I was at school all I wanted to be was an actor. It wasn’t until I left the Oxford School of Music & Drama at the age of 20 did I actually start to use my singing voice. I’d always sung but it was never actually my goal to be a singer…. until I found Bobby. I started going back to all the “greats” my Grandfather would listen to on the old record player when I was a kid. He was a wonderful man, tall, dark and handsome and a real role model for me to aspire to be like. My Grandmother, my Sister and I, were his life. He taught me many things about how to be a good person including opening doors for ladies and how to dot my ”I’s” and cross my “T’s.” He also taught me about melody and vocal intonation. I always do two things before I step on stage. No.1 – I look up in the air as my intro plays and mouth the words, Thank You. No.2 – I check to make sure my fly is done up…but that’s another story for another blog.

I was singing in a bar in London one night trying to earn enough money to eat that week when a guy who ran a Big Band in London approached me. He filled my head with utter rubbish about how one day I could be the next “Frank Sinatra.” I’ve always been a streetwise kid and knew he was just after his 15%, which coincidentally he took from me for a further three years. He ended up putting me in the spotlight as a vocalist in the City, which was all I was after, and I soon went from not being able to afford a portion of Fish & Chips to being able to buy a can of 7up at the end of the night as well. Times were good! I played with a few other Big Bands in England over the next few years and soon my name was becoming known around town. The rest of the story is filled with up’s and down’s but the general progression led me to forming my own Big Band called the “Majors” and touring not only the UK but Europe as well. We played for Celebrity Birthdays and even Sunday night at the Palladium to name but a few. This then naturally led to the Cruise Ship industry where I find myself today. I don’t believe in fate, I believe in luck and most importantly, myself.

2: What was your first memory of entertaining?

My Mother is a very musical lady and when I just a wee little Jamie Frasier (aged 6) I can vaguely remember being dressed up as a chimney sweep from the 1920’s with soot on my chops (face) and being pushed onto stage to sing Chim-Chiminy from the movie Mary Poppins. I had a little broom in one hand and a dirty white cloth in the other. Dick Van Dyke would have been so proud. She has pictures of this occasion but to this day they’ve never been released to the public, Thank God.

3: When did you first realise you were in love with the Big Band & Swing era of music?

*I remember the day I first listened to the recording of Bobby Darin singing “Artificial Flowers” on a record given to me by my best mates dad. It was track no.2 on the record after “Swing Low Sweet Chariot,” another amazing arrangement of a classic song. I remember being so in awe of what I was hearing; I played it over and over again until after a couple of months my Mother told me she was sick of hearing the same song! For the record I didn’t listen to her and I still play it to date. I later found out that Bobby had walked into that very studio and counted 1, 2, 3, 4…… and sang the song live with the band in just one take! That’s right, one take…live. That was the version I was listening to and it was breathtaking. The fact that you can hear the imperfections in his voice and he didn’t care still astonishes me. The thing is he knew it would sell, and guess what, it did. You could do that then, but not any more. For me it encompasses everything a good swing standard should have. A strong walking double bass line, A beautifully harmonised brass section, More peaks and troughs you can shake a stick at, wailing trumpets, story line lyrics and if I may be so bold as to say, a bloody brilliant super swing last 16 bars that can light you up at any time of the day. Genius, and that one song alone changed my outlook on life forever. Music has been more than just a passion of mine since being a little boy and this day I’ll never forget.

4: What was your first impression when you walked up the gangway of a Carnival Ship? What had you heard about the company and what did you discover once on board?

I was excited because my agent at the time had told me wonderful things about the 10 piece Big Band on board not to mention the 1,600 capacity theatre. My first ship was the very ship I’m on right now, the carnival Freedom. She’s been very kind to me over the past 2 and a half years and I feel very attached to her right now. It’ll be a shame to leave her in a few weeks. I remember meeting the Cruise Director for the first time in the crew area on deck 5 outside the elevator. He was with a beautiful blonde lady who looked 20 years younger than him. I’ll never forget the first thing he said to me. He said, “So you must be the new Britney Spears Tribute Act they’ve sent me. You better be good because we had to throw the last one overboard”! ……………I didn’t laugh……. I just remember a warm sensation in my underpants and then the smell hit me. He didn’t crack a smile but he did receive a wallop from the lady he was with right on the backside. She smiled at me and said, “Hello, I’m Heidi and this is John, he’s the Cruise Director…… at which point a second wave of heat rose from my belt line. That night I played my first show on Carnival with two standing ovations to boot. The best bit about it was I got to play with an musical director who was leaving the company after 561 years. Charlie Rounds was his name and he was the best M.D I’ve ever played with on a ship. If you’re reading this Charlie I hope you’re enjoying your life Down Under. We miss you buddy! I’d only heard bad things about Carnival before this first contract because I’d spent the previous 2 years working for the dark side, RCI. My-oh-my how wrong they were. Somebody once told me Carnival was the Wallmart of the cruising world. All I have to say to that is I bloody love Wallmart and I’d be lost without it. Touché RCI.

5: You are here with us to learn how to be a Cruise Director. Why do you want to be a Cruise Director?

Well I could say that someone has to take the mantle from the great John Heald but that would be a lie as we all know he’ll still be doing this when Kye is drawing her pension. The honest answer is that I believe I have what it takes to be up there with the best. I’ve been in the entertainment industry all my life; I love people, places and new faces. I thrive on difficult challenges and constantly push myself to be a better entertainer every time I step on stage. I love to build strong working relationships with my peers and I’m not afraid to stand out in the crowd. Why Carnival? Well I worked for Royal Caribbean, Holland America, Cunard, Saga, Fred Olsen, Princess, Norwegian, Celebrity, Crystal and a few other tug boats but nothing compares with the friendly, fun cruises of Carnival (John, do I get a raise for saying that?) No, seriously I’ve been in a very fortunate position to see the industry as a whole and trust me when I say most other cruise lines do live in a hole! They can be so stuffy, I come from a hard working middle class background and I don’t pretend to be something I’m not. I think 99.9% of Carnival guests can associate with that which is why I made this choice. I will miss my Big Band but I won’t miss living in London. I have a love/hate relationship with London …… It loves me but I hate it!

The Caribbean Island here I come!

6: What do you think are the major qualities that make a successful Cruise Director and what do you think you’ll bring to the table?

I’ve seen so many jaded Cruise Directors after working for all the other major cruise lines. It amazes me why some of these companies don’t just “clean house” and bring in some fresh talent once in a while. Seeing them not want to be in the job, just doing it for the money and because it’s the only thing they know makes me understand what makes the difference a good CD and a bad one. Firstly I want to be approachable, with an open door policy. Friendly, fun, humble, personable and down to earth are just some of the adjectives I’d choose to describe how I want to be. I have 30 years in the business behind me so for a 30 year old I couldn’t have learned anything else. Also being British I was born with chiselled facial features, razor sharp wit and perfectly white skin, so what’s holding me back? Oh, did I mention the charming British accent and best friend John Heald. Actually he doesn’t like me at all, I have to pay him a weeks wages just to get this on his blog. Oh well their goes another $37.50 down the toilet!

7: You’re a young man singing music from a bygone era. Who are your heroes?

Easy. My Granddad. He’s the only one in my life that has saved me so far so he’s my only hero. I went through a rough patch as a teenager getting into all sorts of trouble, far too much to mention here. He reached out his hand and saved me when no one else could.

Musically, It would have to be Bobby Darin of course. Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Nat King Cole, Ella Fitzgerald, Andy Williams, Bing Crosby, Tony Bennett, Paul Anka, Diana Krall, Matt Monro, Neil Diamond, Freddie Mercury, Michael Jackson and believe it or not my Grandmother. She had the worst voice I’ve ever heard on a woman but she didn’t care she’d still sing all day long. This taught me one thing, if she can do it so can I!

8: Name you’re top 10 songs you sing and tell us why their special to you.

1: For Once In My Life – Frank Sinatra. This song means more to me than any other. The lyrics are everything I’ve wanted to say for many years and ring in my head every time I sing them. The band builds around the vocal beautiful and if played correctly can lift people right off their seats. The song finishes with the repeating lyric, “I’ve got someone who needs me” which always brings a rye smile to my face. I plucked up the courage to sing it for the first time during a show with a famous touring Big band in London. They pushed me and pushed me to sing it but I was adamant it wasn’t for me. After hours of badgering I finally caved in and I’ve never looked back. It’s a true Big Band song that will only sound good with a group of swinging musicians that have an understanding of the emotion of the song.

2: Beyond The Sea – Bobby Darin. Bobby once said, “This song is one of the world’s most wonderfully arranged musical masterpieces,” and I’m inclined to agree. The dynamic intonation written into the dots is great to sing. It ebbs and flows throughout the course of the music beautifully. It’s one of those songs that will take twice as long to get right in a rehearsal because of its complexity. Having said that at times the song can be very soft and almost tranquil, yet towards the bridge it reminds me of a can of pop that’s been shaken up, ready to explode. I have to say it swings like nothing else for 16 bars towards the end and if the drummer is good, I mean really good, he can make the difference between a good rendition and a great one.

3: Sway – Michael Buble Version. I do like the Dean Martin version but I love what Michael Buble’s arrangers did with it. It went from a slow solitary number with Latin spirit to a trumpet-blazing super swinging work of art. I had the opportunity to play it recently with a Latin trio on stage with the band and I and I have to say it was a wonderful experience. Wow!

4: Live Till I Die – Frank Sinatra. This song has become an unspoken doctrine of mine over the last 6 years. I still use it as my opening number and she hasn’t let me down yet bless her. I love the lyrics because they’re so vivacious. The major tempo change that takes place in the middle of the song is so unexpected and serves for a well-deserved breath. After that it’s uphill so you always need to make sure your shoulders are back, your chins up and your lungs are filled to the brim. It’s just a great song.

5: Luck Be A Lady – Frank Sinatra Big Band Version. Nothing reminds me of Las Vegas quite like this song. It epitomises the Rat Pack days in Sin City, when they were all untouchable. It’s Raunchy, Quirky and a little funny in places. The song of course talks about “Luck,” not only at the roulette table but with the ladies as well. It’s a blast to sing on stage and reminds me one day I might be in Vegas singing it! Who knows, I heard the Karaoke is very good at Circus Circus!

6: Clementine – Bobby Darin. It doesn’t get more politically incorrect and damn right funny than this Bobby Darin classic. I love to act it out on stage and see people’s reaction to certain lines. For example when I say “Chunky Clementine” in the second verse, I always hold my arms out to represent a big lady and puff my cheeks out. It always makes people giggle but you sometimes get the odd stick-in-the-mud who thinks your being a bit too cheeky. Whoops…Oh Well!

7: Witchcraft – Frank Sinatra. I’ll be honest with you now; I find it very difficult to sing this song. The phrasing that Sinatra uses is unmistakable and almost impossible to change. If you do change the phrasing it just doesn’t sound any good. It’s just one of those songs I just can’t seem to make my own. I always try and make a song my own but Witchcraft seems to have me bewildered. I guess that’s the beauty of music though. Still, I love it, I understand the lyrics better than most and I’ll never stop trying to deliver it, as it should be. It’s become my nemesis song.

8: Let There Be Love – Nat King Cole. Now this isn’t my favourite “King” Song, that’ll be “Walking My Baby Back Home.” The reason this one is on the list is because recently I have a renewed thirst for singing it. John Heald has a real problem with this song. Now, as many of you know John doesn’t have the greatest singing voice but he’s one of the world’s great try-ers. Ever since he came on board the Freedom he has this daily battle singing the correct pitch of the line “Lark & A Dove”, you know it right? It goes, “Let there be Cuckoos….a Lark and a Dove, but most of all pleaseeeeee…… Let there be Love. It hilarious to hear him walking down from the deck 5 crew area singing it at the top of his voice! He seriously can’t get the pitch and it subsequently sounds bloody awful. 10 times a day I either get a phone call or a page asking if he’s doing it right. 9 out of 10 times I answer NO. I even told him the other day when he hits the note to squeeze his butt cheeks together to help inflate his diagram (utter bollocks). He did just that and hit it 5 times in a row. Why I don’t know! I didn’t have the heart to tell him I was just pulling his leg because it’s the funniest thing to see him sing the line and watch him rise up about an inch as he squeezes his butt cheeks together! Even his eyebrows go up a little! I think it’s the funniest thing I’ve seen in ages and it brings tears to my eyes every day. Not only this, when I sing it in my show I can hear him in the wings trying to get it. Talk about laugh a minute.

9: Don’t Rain On My Parade – Bobby Darin. No other song in the history of music starts with such a crescendo! Wow! You need a nerve of steel and the lungs of Michael Phelps to nail it on stage. I’ve attempted it 5 times with a full 18 piece and all 5 times I’ve knocked it out of park. I don’t sing it any more in my Cruise Ship Show because I wanted to finish with a 100% record!

10: Almost Like Being In Love – Frank Sinatra. The 32-piece Big Band version is possibly the biggest sound that has ever come out of my home surround sound speakers. I still have the police noise report to prove it from the next-door neighbours. You can hear Sinatra counting off the band in the original recording with a, 1….. then the band comes wailing in harder than I’ve ever heard a band in my life. The noise is astonishing and proves he would only work with the very best musicians at the time. I adore singing it because it’s a wonderful standard.

9: Out of all the current crop of famous singers who do you think has the truest voice?

This is an easy one because the words true and voice were created just for her. Adele is her name and her debut album, 19 went straight to number 1 in the UK. She has a quirky voice and is very British sounding but I haven’t heard clarity like it in my life so far. The first track on the album is called Daydreamer and it’s a master class in vocal ability. She has 100% control of her voice during every half note and she knows it. Her confidence shines throughout the entire 12 songs, which makes her a modern day phenomena.

10: Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

In one sentence I hope in 5 years time to be a polished & flourishing Cruise Director with Carnival Cruise Lines.

I sincerely hope I’m still performing my show and bringing back the music to all the people who sail on the ship. Most importantly I hope I’m able to entertain audiences every day. I can’t ever imagine doing anything else in my life. The funny thing is that my entire family still ask; when am I going to get a proper job!

11: You’re hosting a dinner table on the Carnival Magic; choose an appetiser, a main course and a dessert. Now tell me which 6 people you’d invite.

My appetiser would quite simply be sliced Spanish Tomatoes with soft Buffalo Mozzarella, a little pesto and topped off with Olive Oil & Balsamic Vinegar.

My main course would consist of a perfectly boiled Maine Lobster, Asparagus Tips and White Potatoes covered with a warm butter dressing.

The Dessert would be Crème Brule with a dollop of Cornish Clotted Cream on the side dusted with Cinnamon. Perfection!

Here is whom I’d invite:

1 person living from the world of Entertainment: Tony Bennett.

1 person who has past away from the world of Entertainment: Bobby Darin.

Your favourite actress: Audrey Hepburn.

Someone from history you’ve met: George Best (My Grandfathers sporting hero).

Someone from the Cruise Ship industry: Micky Arison (I’m after tickets to the Heat).

The member of your family who’s been the biggest influence on you: My Hero, my Grandfather.

(Looking up& Whispering) Thank You! ……………….. Zip.

Jamie is one of the reasons that Carnival can continue to say that our variety and quality of entertainment is the best in the industry and one day soon I am sure you will have the pleasure of hearing him sing and having him entertain you as a cruise director. I wish him much success……but if he steels any of my jokes I will kick him right in the Michael Bubles.

I have received many wonderful gifts from bloggers and many from guests. This last week I had some cigars given to me as well as an Aston Martin baseball cap………by the way……….Kye told me that she really wants a ride in an Aston Martin DB9 and when I told her Daddy was too poor………..she cried.

Anyway, as I said I have received many gifts but never…………never one like this. Before I tell you what it was…………..let me show you who gave it to me.

Show 1

Yes, Mary………….and this is what she sent me.

Bra 1

Bra 2

The inscription says “My cup runneth over”……and as someone who was only a few inches away when it runneth over………..all I can say is Mary………….thank you for your support.

Goodnight
Your 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.

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