Good Friday

August 14, 2009 -

John Heald

I know I usually start the blog each day with a light hearted look at what happens in my life both on board and at home but not today………….and that’s because I am as angry as a big bag of angry……..things………see ……..I am so angry I can’t even write a funny end to a sentence.

Why? ………………..Well, because I met quite possibly the rudest most arrogant guests I have seen in many years ………….I can’t tell you their names of course but I can tell you that they are members of The Whale and Dolphin Conservation something or other and that they hate me.

It was the end of the Ticket To Ride Show and after 1500 people had stood, waved their glow sticks and sung Hey Jude at the top of their voices. There was an atmosphere of togetherness and admiration for what is an astonishing show. As always I stood at the exit to the lounge with Jaime and the staff accepting the handshakes and hugs from the guests as they left. It was while Jaime was taking a photo of me and a family, that two twenty-something’s full of root vegetables and hate, walked right into the photo and started screaming………..I mean screaming – about what a bastard I was for promoting tours that swim with dolphins. One of them looked like she was about to hit me. Her fists were clenched and bits of spittle flew out of her mouth as she erupted. A crowd had now gathered and one or two guests started to try and defend me by calling them names and telling them to go forth and multiply…………enough was enough. And so……….for the first time in many, many, many years and much to the shock and, I think, some awe of the Entertainment Staff, I filled my lungs and at the top of my voice I shouted ” BE QUIET………. NOW.”……………….and they did. I knew I only had a few seconds to act here before the abuse started and so I held out a hand and said “Hello, my names is John, what’s yours ?” And although she did not extend a hand of peace she did stop screaming and, as I apologized quickly to the rest of the guests, I quickly marshaled the cast of 90210 into the corner of the lounge where I invited them to sit .

They sat, and before I allowed the conversation to start again, I warned them that they needed to treat me with a little bit of respect and that if either of them started screaming and using foul language again that the only thing they would see would be my whale-sized arse as I buggered off.

For the next ten minutes I listened to two young ladies who loved things with fins but hated their fellow humans. Now, I am not going to criticize their organization or argue against their cause because I don’t know anything about it. I do know that Carnival only sends guests to resort areas where checks are made to made ensure the dolphins are well treated and living in a good environment. I also know that in 23 years of doing this I have never heard other guests object to the dolphin excursions. We sent many people today in Jamaica to have a Dolphin encounter and an incomparable Dolphin swim and………..I remember someone once telling me that a dolphin experience can help children with disabilities such as autism………….is that true?

Anyway, it wasn’t the cause that I objected to it was the sheer rudeness and hate that these two-finger waving, abuse hurling little divas showed towards me ………it was truly extraordinary and I am glad it was witnessed by both the staff and their fellow guests…………………………..and before you ask…………no……………they did not get an apology or anything else………………..fruit basket my arse.

I wasn’t proud of my behavior. I know I shouldn’t have shouted and I feel less of a man for doing so. I mean they were just two tye-die wearing young people yet I let them get to me. Maybe , it’s a sign of being tired which I think maybe I am. I haven’t been on land for over a month and have very little free time what with the blog and everything ………….but really, that’s no excuse and even though my shouting had the desired effect and got the girls to stop abusing me I wonder what the other guests felt and I went to bed last night feeling completely deflated.

But then……….at the debarkation talk this morning 1500 guests gave me a huge standing ovation and that has given me a new…………..and please excuse the pun…………it’s given me a new…….. Porpoise in life.

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

Rositer11 Asked:
Submitted on 2009/08/05 at 7:55pm
Please reply
John I love the idea of the menus on the TV. I like being able to see what is for dinner in the main dining rooms, so why not elsewhere. My wife and I love cruising Carnival, we are booked on the Pride next August. From the time we book till we sail, we are on the website looking up everything we can on our cruise. We have a suggestion about the website. We love how you can research the ships, and look at all the different ports of call with their shore excursions. Why not add a section that talks about the types of shopping each port has. Maybe there is an area of the website, and we have missed it. Its just a thought. I know my wife would love to know if she can get a deal on Coach purse on our next cruise. I would like to know which Islands have the best deals on electronics or rum. Thank you for your time John. Kye is so beautiful, my wife and I love when you post pics of your girls.
Rositer11-Carnival Lifer

John Says:
Hello Rositer 11
I am glad that you like the idea of the menus being placed on the TV’s and while this is yet to be introduced fleet wide some of the ship’s with interactive TV’s like the Carnival Freedom do have the menus displayed there. As for the shopping in the ports of call I think that would be difficult as we would be promoting companies other than Carnival. However, there is some information on the program at:

Carnival’s Shore Side Recommended & Guaranteed Shopping Program

The PPI group who provide the exciting shopping ashore program have two channels on the cabin TV’s so you can find out where the bargains truly are and of course the shopping specialist will provide you with maps that will lead you to the promised land of diamonds, tanzanite , t shirts and much more. having run the shopping program myself as a Cruise Director for many years if anyone wants to know where to find what……….please let me know and between myself and my friend and Porthole Magazine Editor Bill Panoff who runs the shopping program we will be glad to help you in any way we can.

So, send your shopping questions here and that includes questions on what our shops on board have to offer as well.

Thanks so much for the very kind words and I hope you enjoy today’s photo of Kye.
Best wishes
John

rykahn Asked:
Submitted on 2009/08/05 at 8:06pm
John (please reply)
We’re trying to pick out a cruise for next summer (10 people in all) and I’m trying to convince some of my family that want to go on a RCI cruise to go on the Freedom instead. Anyway, I was wondering if you’ll be the CD on the Freedom next summer since I saw you on the Triumph in 2003 and loved your comedy.

Also, I’ll be 17 and my cousin 16. We see that Club O2 is for 15-17 year-olds, but that the 12-14 group also uses it. It just so happens that my cousin’s annoying little brother will be 12 next summer and that’s a recipe for disaster. Can you assure me that we won’t both be in O2 all night?

Anything else you have to say good about the Freedom would be appreciated, I don’t really want to go on a “Holycrapthere’s5,000peopleonthisship of the Seas”.

John Says:
Hello Ryan
First of all thanks for remembering me from the Carnival Triumph and I am glad you had some fun with me as your Cruise Director. The Carnival Freedom will be going into dry dock in November and will be the last of the Conquest class to have a specific lounge converted into a Circle C center and this means that you will not have to see your annoying little cousin or any other annoying 12 – 14 year old and you can have Club O 2 exclusively to chill with your new friends. I don’t want to say why you shouldn’t cruise with RCi but rather why you should cruise on the Carnival Freedom. I don’t know if I will be here or not but I do know that value for money-wise you and your family will not find better anywhere………….and you will have more fun, see amazing shows and……………..if you decide to book……….and yes I am bribing a 17 year old………….you will get some gifts from me as well.
Let me know if there is anything else I can do for you mate
Best wishes to you and the family
John

Joko Joan Asked;
Submitted on 2009/08/05 at 8:52pm
Hi John: Reply please – but not urgent.
Awhile back I was told by my TA that by the time we sailed on 9/12 on the Glory, that the wide screen on the Lido deck would be installed.

Could you tell me please, has this – or will this be done? I thoroughly enjoyed watching a movie outdoors snuggling in a blanket with my drink while chomping on cookies – or if one would rather – enjoying the hot tub.
Love to Heidi & Beautiful Kye . . .

John Says:
Hello Joko Joan
And your travel agent is correct. The ship will indeed have a Seaside Theatre big screen on which you will enjoy movies, concerts, karaoke under the stars as well as other events and activities. The cookies will be ready as will the popcorn so you can sit back, relax and watch The Poseidon Adventure on the big screen.
Thanks so much for the kind words and best wishes to you and the family
John

Brad P Asked:
Submitted on 2009/08/05 at 9:26pm
Hi John,
Please reply
You asked about posting the menus on the TV…….I really like the idea. It is easier to choose the night for Steakhouse or other dining options.

I have been reading the blog since 2006 (my first Carnival cruise was in the Med with you) and have commented a few times. I really enjoy this forum and it keeps cruising top of mind. I am looking at cruise 5 this fall in the southern Caribbean. What are your two favourite ports of call?
All the best to you Kyle and Heidi.

John Says:
Hello Brad
The menus are posted on some of the ships TV’s now and we are working on adding the Steakhouse menus as well. I am glad you enjoy the blog so much and I hope you keep reading for some time to come. You asked about my favourite Southern Caribbean ports of call that we call at and I wanted to show this brilliant itinerary as undertaken by the Carnival Victory. Here it is:
San Juan, Puerto Rico ;
St. Thomas, USVI ;
Dominica ;
Barbados ;
St. Lucia,
WI ; Antigua ;
St Kitts, WI ;
San Juan, Puerto Rico
It’s an amazing run and my two favourite Southern Caribbean ports of Barbados and St. Lucia are nestled right in the middle . If you have any other specific questions relating to the ports I mentioned or anything else, please let me know.
Best wishes
John

April Z Asked;
Submitted on 2009/08/06 at 2:49am
Dear John (please reply),
It has been such a long winding road trying to get my husband and I on our first cruise. Our travel plans keep getting changed, canceled, redone… etc. And now we think we have found the perfect cruise for us on the Holiday on Oct 10th. My heart literally aches to finally see the Caribbean and I am so excited that it might actually happen.
I have a few requests for you.

1. Can you tell me your favorite thing about the Holiday?
2. If a cruise sails in early October, do we need to bring Halloween costumes?
3. Is there anything special I can do as a surprise for my husband as a thank you for working so hard to make my cruise dreams come true. We never got a honeymoon three years ago when we were married, and now we are finally celebrating.
Thank you so much, and as always, I love your blog!
April Z

John Says:
Hello April Z
Well thank goodness that after all the trial and tribulations that you have encountered you can finally sit back, relax and start to get very excited about your pending cruise on the Holiday. And to help you get even more excited let me try and answer your questions.

The Carnival Holiday is our last remaining ship from her class which also included the Jubilee and Celebration both of which have been retired and sold on to our parent companies operating in Australia and Europe. The Holiday has something special. She always has had and for me she will always be that extra bit special because she was my first ever ship. I boarded her in 1987 as a skinny but drop dead gorgeous bar waiter. The theatre has a huge stage and some of the best sightlines in the fleet. The promenade is colourful and most importantly with only 1500 passengers you will always feel that the service is both personal and immediate. The slide, the 9 hole golf course, the shows and the fact that the crew are totally dedicated to the ship will make this a very special cruise for you. She feels like a ship should feel and I know you will have the very best time.

Please keep reading the blog thingy and I will be publishing the Halloween schedules very soon but, yes, I think you should plan on bringing costumes.

I am glad that you want to do something special for your husband and why not visit our Bon Voyage page http://www.carnival.com/BonVoyage/Default.aspx?cat=MostPopularItems and order a bottle of champagne or a special gift to say thank you. If you remind me two weeks before you sail I will be happy to send him something as well.

Get ready for your first cruise which will not be your last……….you then have to try a Fantasy Class, a Spirit Class, a Destiny Class and then maybe your Carnival Dream will be next.
Best wishes to you both
John

Chacooe Asked:
Submitted on 2009/08/06 at 2:55am
Hi John,
Please reply,
For some reason I could not write this on your blog for Aug 5, 2010 it was not allowing any replies (at least it would not for me) this box did not appear at the end of the bloggy thinggy, so I went back by one day where I knew there was one.
This is a reply to Dorothy who wrote about what a true friend is. Could you please send her this email. I know I do not know her, but I would be willing to book a cruise at the same time as hers and I will be more than willing to help her with her son. I know what it is like to be a 24/7 caregiver with no help, I was one to both of my parents for over 17 years. I know how important it is to have some time to yourself and to be able to relax and not worry about the one that you care so much about and that they are being taken care of. So John if you could do this I would greatly appreciate it.
Please have Heidi give a hug to Kye from one of her American Aunties (I bet she has more Aunties than any other child)
Best Wishes,
Your bloggy thinggy fan,
Kathy

John Says:
Hello Kathy
How wonderfully kind of you to write this and extend a hand of friendship to Dorothy. I will indeed send on your e mail and I hope that she will realize that, in you and in other bloggers, she has people ready and willing to be her friend both on the internet thingy and in person.
Thanks so much for all the kind words for Kye and Heidi who we will be hearing from very soon.

Best wishes
John

Kev Asked:
Submitted on 2009/08/06 at 6:15am
John,
Please Reply
I suggest the new gift you start giving out is the same one you have been giving out all along, A great vacation at a great price. Or your used 4 times underwear, i bet those would end up on eBay. Please take a break my friend get off the ship go smoke a cigar and relax. So are there any details on the NY Naming ceremony because i would love to be able to attend such a grand event. I’m sure the good folks at carnival and your gaggle of Stephanies all 342 of them are working on this, but maybe it’s time to send in PA007 who has long long long long been in hiding in his/her cubical biding their time.
Kev

John Says:
Hello Kev
I am working on details of the New York event and there will for sure be the usual bloggers breakfast or get together. I hope to tell you all about that very soon. No chance this past cruise to get off the ship but hopefully next voyage that will be different. PA 007 has indeed been keeping a low profile. Honestly……………there were too many people trying to figure out which cubicle in our Miami office was giving me all the information and I didn’t want this young man or woman to get into any trouble. Things have quieted down a bit now so maybe it is indeed time to unleash the beast.

Hope all is well after the fire at your restaurant mate. We have all been thinking of you and hope to see you soon
Best wishes
John

Bob and Lynda Asked:
Submitted on 2009/08/06 at 8:47am
Dear John(please reply),
About menus on the tv, RCCL does that on their newer ships. We find it very helpful. We check it every day and it helps us to decide where we are going to eat that night. On Carnival we have to wait until after lunch is served in the dining room, then we can check the menu for dinner outside the dining room. Not that big a deal.

Also, are you still planning on being on the Holiday for its last cruise? There are many Cruise Critics members that are going to be on that cruise and a lot of us would like to see you. Kye is beautiful, as is Heidi, you are a lucky man.
Thnks for the wonderful blog.
Lynda

John Says:
Hello Lynda
I think that the next time you cruise, all the ships that have the interactive TV’s (which is most of them ) will have the menus displayed and I am currently working on getting them added to a permanent link on the blog thingy. I am still hoping to join you on the Carnival Holiday for at least a few days and I will confirm what is happening very soon. I am so glad that a group from Cruise Critic is going to be on this voyage. I know you will give her a fitting send off.
I am indeed a lucky man and Kye was the best three minutes work I have ever done.
Best wishes
John

Jackie Asked:
Submitted on 2009/08/06 at 10:39am
Ho John Please reply,
Hope you are feeling better. Sorry this reply is a little behind. I am trying to catch up on my blogs since I returned to work, time is limited.

I do feel that the platinum system should be adjusted to include more value on the days you are cruising . Stu and I took 2 Med cruises 12 days, one 3 and one 7. In all fairness how can the 12 days count the same as the 3 day. It does not seem right.It is 4x longer We should get at least double the point value. Just our opinion because we have a way to go. See you in Nov. Can’t wait to see you. Jackie

John Says:
Hello Jackie
Thanks for trying to catch up on reading the blog thingies and hope you are still enjoying them. The Platinum rewards scheme is very important and, as I think I wrote a few blogs ago, all the comments written by you and your fellow blog readers have been collated and sent on to the marketing team. They will do whatever is needed to make sure that it remains the best rewards program at sea. Your point is well taken and many agree with you and I will make sure your post is sent onto marketing. There will be more news on this in the weeks ahead.
Best wishes and see you very soon
John

That’s all for today and I will try and answer a double load over the weekend. Thanks so much for your comments which as you can see have been quite spirited recently. This is what the blog is all about and please keep them coming remembering to allow me a few days to reply if you have asked me to………….I am really behind now……….bugger.

OH, some unfortunate news about the private island tour I referred to in Belize yesterday which has suddenly changed. Here is the latest.

John,

The tour has today been suspended and has been removed from the program altogether (as of 1st Sept), following a recent site inspection where it was deemed that the island was not able to deliver the experience we felt our guests deserved.

Regards,

Robert Blythman – Director
Carnival Cruise Lines

So, my apologies to those who had asked for giving the information I did which was correct at the time but as you have just read is now obsolete. Please let me know if you have questions on what else to do in Belize.

I know I was not asked to reply to this one but I am going to anyway.

Blogger Asked:
John,
The new pin policy is another step towards alienating Carnival past cruisers. If I am not good enough to receive a pin after five Carnival cruises, then forget it. I was a walking advertisement for Carnival, until last November’s Inspiration cruise & the response I received from Miami. It seems from your blog, a lot of people have unresolved complaints & you become the sounding board. If it wasn’t for your blog & great Carnival experiences before the Inspiration, I would have little interest in Carnival. On another note, please stop addressing the requests of these people writing to you requesting tables for two by the window, gifts, etc. The special accommodations they receive, lessen the opportunity for better accommodations for the kettle that does not whistle.

John Says:
Hello Gary
I thank you for taking the time to write this very honest point of view which I hope you will allow me a few moments to reply to.

The pins were removed from the past guest party because many if not most were being discarded, left in the cabin or at best shoved in someone’s drawer at home and forgotten about. So it was decided that we should stop providing them to our past guests. What followed was a spirited campaign led by our Platinum and Milestone guests. I then tried my best to get them reinstated but only won half the battle when it was decided that the pins would be given to those who have cruised 10 times or more while being made available for purchase in the onboard shops.

I can understand how you feel and I promise that you are good enough to wear a pin and maybe one day soon we will start giving them out to everyone once again. You are very important to us Gary and I will do whatever I can to make that fact apparent. But, in the current economic times we need to do what we must in order to keep the Carnival value for money cruise experience the best and most fun in the industry. ………….and we should mention that although we cut the pins there have been no cuts to the product……..unlike many of our competitors.

Now, I do not know what happened on the Carnival Inspiration. Maybe you will take the time to help me so I can see if I can help…………I really would like that chance so please let me know if you can.

Like any cruise line, airline, hotel chain or local shop there are going to be times when we make mistakes or where the customer is not happy – such is life. This is one of the reasons why I keep this blog going so that people have a sounding board and a middle man to help with their problems and their requests. Talking of requests, I know there have been a lot recently and honestly, if I am asked in a nice and pleasant way with a few pleases and thank you’s sprinkled throughout the posting, then I will do my best to help. And in the big picture, whatever I do will make no difference to who sits where in the dining room etc.

Gary, I can sense that you are frustrated and I need you to know that you are very important to me and to Carnival Cruise Lines. We are carrying more repeat guests than any other cruise line which means we must be doing something right and if you or anyone else wants to “be a kettle that whistles” then I will be here for you.
Best wishes
John

Let’s take a break and have a look at some of the letters I have read out at the Morning Shows this cruise …………and a great drawing as well.

Letter 1

Letter 2

Letter 3

Let’s also have a look at the latest work going on in the aft lounge of your Carnival Dream.

Aft lounge 1

Aft lounge 2

Aft lounge 3

Aft lounge 4

Aft lounge 5

Beautiful and soon……..very soon……..I will have some news about what we will be doing in our aft lounge on your Carnival Dream and I think you are going to like it ………a lot. ……………..have you booked yet?

You know, the more I think about it, every Cruise director should write a blog….not just at Carnival but on every ship. Each day I wonder what if anything I can write to you about but each day there are a multitude of possibilities that would make great reading.

And as you know, many of our sister companies have their blogs registered at www.bestblogsatsea as do I. This includes blogs written by staff members and captains from Cunard, P&O , Costa, AIDA, Holland America and Carnival………all of which are part of an elite group………the World’s Leading Cruise Lines. Well, we have just recently launched a Facebook page. Over 800 Fans already have access to our brands’ Events, Photos, Video, and more. If you enjoy cruising on the World’s Leading Cruise Lines – Carnival Cruise Lines, Princess Cruises, Holland America Line, Cunard Line, Costa, or the Yachts of Seabourn – become a Fan of World’s Leading Cruise Lines for the latest information and more! Visit our page at

www.Facebook.com/worldsleadingcruiselines

Ladies and Gentlemen…………….please welcome to the stage…………………my girls.

Kye


Hello Bloggers,

I’ve heard of the grow spurts that babies go through but this is unbelievable, it’s as if Kye is exploding in front of my eyes.

Like Kate Moss, she has a wardrobe of beautiful outfits that she only wears once or twice. I dress her in beautiful clothes, bought by friends, family and bloggers only to find that by the time they have been washed and dried she has already grown out of them. Wow!

Another week has flown by and not long now before John will be home (at last). It felt as if he has been away for a year…..

Oma returned home safe and sound. It was great having her here with us for a few weeks. Getting Kye and I into more of a routine was a lot easier with mum here. My days have some sort of order again and it feels great. As I told you in an earlier blog, I like things to be just right and it’s the same with how you fill your day. I truly believe that a routine is a good thing for everybody, especially for babies. With a routine, my day is easier and I feel better and I am sure that rubs off on Kye.

She is a very relaxed baby and I love her for it!

Just a few weeks ago, Kye was just a sleeping and pooing machine (I had to get the word Poo in as it seems to be the law on this blog…..). Now, she has a personality and even a sense of humour (spelt correctly) – nothing makes her laugh more when I dance around her rocker whilst singing and pulling funny faces. Every day she tries to reach for toys more and more whilst turning on her side. Of course she doesn’t go for the ones with nice cream colours, no, she likes everything that is bright and ugly. My mum warned me last week that our lounge won’t be colour coordinated for much longer as Kye will like bright bold and gaudy* things that will clash with the neutral decor. ( * I love that word and always wanted to use it one day after learning about Gaudi in Barcelona)
Oh well, after all the changes in our life so far, I think we can deal with that one too…..

Have a great weekend!

Heidi and Kye

I know I keep saying this……..but look what I made……….in just three minutes………I am the man!

I spoke to Heidi from Jamaica yesterday on the Skype thingy which, although it does not work while at sea, in port it enables us to stare at each other and for me to see my beautiful girls……and cry a little.

I have to say Heidi looks amazing and, while a friend of hers who gave birth to two children and has remained the size of an elephant on steroids…………….Heidi looks amazing. So much so that yesterday she proudly showed me on the Skype thingy that she could get into her old jeans……….and she showed me just this on the video call…………and all was going well until she asked me that question that all men dread…………….does my arse look big in this?

Apart from being caught looking at www.latvianwomennaked.com this is perhaps the most popular of all marital bollockings. You cannot seriously expect a man to go shopping all day in an overheated shopping mall full of sweaty, boring people, and stand, sometimes for hours, outside a changing room, shrugging sadly at other sweaty, bored men, while you try on 19 pairs of identical jeans and ask “Does my arse look big in this?” every time.

In my long, painful experience of trying to answer this bloody question, I have yet to work out the correct response. If we answer truthfully ………….“Not especially, I think they’re fine”…………, Heidi becomes despondent because I not being positive enough. If we answer very truthfully …………“I don’t care what your arse looks like, can we please go home now?”…….she gets mad at me.

If I lie ………….“Oh my God, those jeans are just perfect. Is that your arse or did you borrow Kate Moss’s buttocks” Heidi gets suspicious and says “You’re just saying that so we can go home, aren’t you?”

And the nervous flicker of my eyes in response finds me out. And that’s me buggered …….as she drags me to a yet another shop……………..bugger.

So Heidi………..don’t take me shopping when I come home. I love you whatever you’re wearing. As long as it’s slutty………… but in a classy way…………….and I don’t have anything to do with its purchase.

Well this was a great cruise. The weather has been up until today just perfect. It’s a little overcast today and yet the guests continue to have a wonderful time. Honestly, the one common denominator that everyone I speak to shares is their amazement at the value for money that Carnival provides. I don’t want to get all corporatie……..and yes that is a word………..sort of……….but it is quite extraordinary what we provide for the price we charge. And that’s why now more than ever I am proud to write this blog and even though there may be those who we do not please and those who demand a table by the window and the ship moved to the left ……….I will continue to try and provide you with a blend of fun, laughter, information, resolution, a shoulder to cry on all mixed together with a large pair of underpants.

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.