Passwords And Other Nonsense

August 18, 2009 -

John Heald

My first-ever job was working as a civil servant for Her Majesties’ Customs and Excise Branch A1G. It was a summer job, I was 16. I filed bits of paper and if I looked out of the window in the morning I had bugger all else to do in the afternoon……. anyway ………… that’s not the point……let me tell you what is.

Going to work was a simple business. I would arrive through something called a “door,” punch-in something called a “card” through a “clock” and settle down for ten or twelve hours of boredom, breaking off only to eat my cheese and tomato sandwiches my Mum had made or to be beaten about the head by my merciless boss…….a dragon called Peggy.

Things have gotten so much more complicated over the years thanks to laptop dancer computers and of course the requirement for usernames and passwords. But even this used to be manageable…….. requiring as it did…………little more than typing in a pass code or passphrase based on your love of Megan Fox’s bottom (ilovemegansarse) or your hatred of the French (pierreisasmellyrudebastard).

However thanks to men and women with beards the process of logging in to work is now as bloody difficult as trying to escape from Alcatraz. The last few days have been massively stressful for me what with the double change of itineraries and the resulting concerns that this has brought about. Therefore the last thing I needed was our IT chaps informing me that password policy was changing and that our office and cabin computer passwords must now be eight characters long, contain a letter in upper case, a letter in lower case, a number, and character thingy ………e.g. ?, *, %, $…………
Meaning that “Bollockstothefrench………..or “Oasisofmyarse” are no longer permissible and that even “Megansbottom%4me*” will work only for a while as I am apparently required to change my password more often than I change my underpants.

Anyway……..as I said, it’s been a little busy around here and unfortunately although we have 99% of our guests onside and happy there are one or two who are upset ………… very upset…………that we are not going to Antigua…………..like this lady.

From: FREEDOM GUEST SERVICES
Sent: Monday, August 17, 2009 3:58 PM
To: FREEDOM GUEST SERVICES MANAGER; FREEDOM CRUISE DIRECTOR
Cc: FREEDOM GUEST SERVICES SUPERVISOR; FREEDOM GUEST SERVICES SUPERVISOR
Subject: Cabin ____: Multiple issues


Good Afternoon,

Please be advised of Mrs. ________concerns of cabin ____.

Issue Number 1
She’s not happy with the fact we change the itinerary from the Jamaica run we chose before, to our original run if we not making it to Antigua. The only reason she book this cruise was to go to Antigua and she is demanding a full refund of her cruise

Issue Number 2
Guests want to meet with the Captain and she feels that the movement of the ship is dangerous.

Issue Number 3
At dinner the Photographers took too long to take her picture.

She is right. It’s 11:45 pm and the ship is indeed pitching and rolling a bit but no more than it has in many past voyages on the way down to San Juan and again………and with respect……if the only reason she took the cruise was to go to Antigua ……. well ………you know the rest.

Anyway, I called the guest and as always when I do I start off with an open mind and try to be understanding and honestly I felt sorry for her and the other guests who were disappointed that Antigua was canceled. However, as I apologized and tried to explain that we were one day behind schedule and that we had given extra time in Nassau as we will in San Juan and Tortola.

I found it hard to keep feeling sympathetic thanks to her constant demands for a 100% refund of the cruise. I hung the phone up knowing that nothing…….not even a fruit basket ……was going to win her around which as regular readers of the blog will know makes me sad.

However, she is a tiny minority and everyone else has been absolutely fantastic. Great audiences at the shows and tonight at the elegant night parties there were lots of handshakes, hugs and votes of confidence and when I introduced the Captain I made sure that I praised his decisions and his commitment to the guest’s safety.

By the way………..talking of praise …….I have to heap a huge dollop of that on the dancers who performed the Big Easy shows tonight in very difficult conditions …….. some people have problems walking in a straight line when the ship is moving like this so to do what they do is nothing short of remarkable.

And on that note lets crack on with some more of your questions………….here we go.

Kevin and Heidi-Beth Asked:
Hey John (Please respond)
It’s been a while, but we want you to know that we are still reading every blog. It’s amazing seeing the pictures of Kye. You must be so proud.

Maybe you could help with something. We have some friends (3 couples) who are going to be sailing on the Carnival Destiny (remembered to use the full name) in October. Two of them have only sailed on RCI before and one not at all. They have decided that they would try Carnival, and I am hoping they will see the error of their ways. I’d like to send you their info before they leave, and maybe you could help to make sure that they have an extra special time. One of the couples is going to be celebrating their anniversary, and I would like to see them stay with the Carnival brand from here on. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
Till next time
Kevin

John Says:
Hello Heidi, Beth and Kevin.
It’s been far too long since I have written to you three so I am very happy to hear that you have been reading the blog still. I am so very proud as you said of Kye and that the fact that I am ugly and she is not is nothing short of a miracle. Thanks for using the Carnival Destiny‘s full name and it would be an honor to send your friends something to say thanks for sailing with Carnival. Please send me their last name and cabin number if you can 2 weeks before they sail. Until then I send my best wishes to all three of you.
John

Laverne Ord Asked:
John-please reply. My husband Harold and I will be cruising with you Aug 15 on Carnival Freedom/res ******/cabin **** as we celebrate our 80 and 85th birthdays and 57th anniversary. Please try to obtain for us a table for 2 for our confirmed 6PM dining. Thank you for all you do. Laverne Ord

John Says:
Hello Laverne
This is quite strange because a few hours ago I just gave you a huge hug at the Captain’s elegant night party. I am glad the dining worked out and I hope when you read this copy of today’s blog in the ship’s library that you will still be having a wonderful time. I hope you enjoyed the gifts I sent to your cabin and it was an honor to meet you and share in your amazing celebrations of life.
Best wishes to you both
John

Dorothy Asked:
John,
Please reply
I was just on the carnival connection site and saw where someone was asking if any one had ever seen a carnival bumper sticker. I got to thinking what a good idea. I would buy one along with maybe some window clings and license plate frames. They could say I rather be cruising, my dream is the Carnival Dream, cruising is my thing, Carnival fun ships is my stress buster and etc. They could be bought on board or in the bon voyage gift store. There seems to be a lot of people wanting to know why we have not seen any and I thought I would bring this to your attention and maybe you can have someone look into it.

I loved Kye’s first blog, taking after her daddy at such a young age, she is good at it. I think she is looking like both of her parents now, she still a beauty.
Heidi, thanks for the pictures and updates, we look forward every Friday to your post. Thanks so very much.

John Says:
Hello Dorothy
A few months ago my mate and fellow lover of the ballet Big Ed came up with this idea and I never followed through. You have now given me reason to mention this to Jim Berra, our chief marketing officer, which for some reason I didn’t do before. I will pop over to my e-mail and write to him now, back in a minute.

OK, that’s done and if he agrees then you and Big Ed get a free one. How about I Love John’s Thingy bumper stickers.

Thanks for the great idea and thanks very much for the kind words for Kye…..I can’t wait to see her.
Best wishes to you and your family
John

Brian Asked:
John—PLEASE REPLY—-
Hey John, I’ve got a question that a typical brand ambassador should be able to answer!!

Suppose I am booked on a cruise in November. When I booked, I paid rate Y, which had just went up about $60 from rate X. I am fully paid, however the final payment due date is a couple of weeks away.

Now suppose that I was “surfing” the Carnival site, and realize that the same room type that I booked is now BACK to rate X, again about $60 cheaper. Is there any recourse that I would be able to take—short of cancelling the booking, waiting for the credit card credit, and then rebooking?

We are all Platinum guests–including my 10 year old!!
Any advice? I don’t want to sound petty about $60, but when you multiply it by the number of guests, and then with the pretty good possibility of the fuel surcharge being socked to us again….I need all the help I can get!!
Thanks for your time!!!
Brian

John Says:
Hello Brian
When I first read your posting I was worried that this would be one of those awful “if it takes one man to dig a ditch three feet deep working seven hours a day with 30 minutes for lunch how long would it take one man with a beard to dig the same ditch?”………..but luckily it wasn’t.

As Carnival Cruise Lines Brand Ambassador I am proud to tell you…….I haven’t a Scooby Doo (rhyming slang) what the answer to your question is. But………it seems like a fair one to me and one that needs someone much smarter than me to answer. So, rather than me waffle on I will instead send this to someone at guest experience to help you. Please give them seven working days to contact you and if for some reason you don’t hear anything please let me know. It is extremely fantastic that your 10 year old son is a Platinum member……congratulations to him and thank you for your loyal support.
Please let me know what happens
Best wishes
John

Missing the Blogger’s Cruise Asked:
John – PLEASE REPLY
First of all, I have to admit that, for a 12 week old, Kye has a remarkable grasp of the English language and keyboard skills. Clearly, we have a child prodigy here.

Now, for my question. It is clear that I am, once again, missing the blogger’s cruise. As much as I would like to attend, it just isn’t going to happen in 2009. It’s likely I won’t even get a cruise this year.

So, has there been any discussion regarding the 2010 Blogger’s Cruise? My preference, of course, would be an eastern itinerary with both St. Thomas and San Juan as ports of call, but you have that itinerary with the December 3rd cruise, so it’s likely I am unlikely to see such an itinerary chosen for 2010.

Anyway, give us a heads up as soon as possible so that those of us who desire to join the family can consider it.
My best to Heidi and Kye.
Jon

John Says:
Hello Jon
Yes, while Kye has been blessed with Heidi’s looks and smile she has been blessed with my bottom and it appears my blogging skills. I am very sad that you and Mrs. MTSFP will not be with us in December but I truly hope that you will be in 2010. I am still in conversation about when and where this will take place. I think I have it down to three ships and one does indeed go to some of the ports you mentioned. I hope to reveal all very soon as I know everyone would like to start making plans.
I truly hope to see you both then.
Best wishes
John

Mark Asked:
(PLEASE REPLY)
John,
We ‘blogged’ is that the right term? On my pending (hopefully) engagement on the Liberty sailing at the end of August.

I have made dinner reservations for the first Elegant Night (believe to Sea Day) at Harry’s for 8/8:30pm (can’t quite remember!).

Was hoping we might be able to sit down and order a drink and then have a Carnival Photographer ask us to stand for a photo where I could pop the question – then order some champagne and have a nice dinner!

Could that be arranged? Also is there a way I could drop my video camcorder at the Pursers Desk so that someone could record the moment so that we have it for the memories?

Know it’s quite a few requests hopefully it’s feasible.
Loving your blog and the fact you’ve kept it VERY British!
Thanks,
Mark

John Says:
HelloMark
This can indeed be arranged and have already written to Noonan, the cruise director, to help arrange this for you. He will be contacting you discreetly when you arrive and will have a photographer there and someone to film this special event for you………and if she says “no” you can play the video backwards and it will have a happy ending.
I am sure she will say yes and that you will have a most memorable cruise.
Best wishes to you both
John

Maria & Juan Santana asked:
John, please reply…
Would you please clarify something for us? Who will be the CD on our Nov/ 21 cruise on the Freedom? The CD schedule on your blog shows Ralph Valente but recently in one of your blogs you mentioned “Wee Jimmy, the Scottish ball of fun” and even showed his photo….That sounds like a lot of fun indeed!

You have been super busy lately & we know you are behind in replying to all of us….Juan & I sent a couple of comments days ago & we haven’t seen the replies yet. No problem, we understand.

We love Kye’s latest picture & her 1st blog! She is a genius! Regards to Heidi & a kiss to Kye….You will soon be home with them.
Regards.
The Santanas of Miami Beach

John Says:
Hello Maria and Juan
In a few days time I will be showing Heidi the beautiful clothes you gave to Kye……I can’t wait to see her face.
Wee Jimmy and Ralph Valente are one in the same person and in fact……let’s pause and have a look at a few photos of the Scottish ball of fun. Here he is in Nassau being his usual happy self and thanks to Jaime for taking these great shots.

Wee Jimmy - Freedom 1

Wee Jimmy - Freedom 2

It’s great to see him again and I know he will do a wonderful job as cruise director here on the Carnival Freedom.

I haven’t seen any questions from you and I am so sorry if I have overlooked them and I will go back and see if I can find them. If it was anything you needed please re-post them just in case and I will answer them as quickly as I can.

I am so glad you enjoyed the last photo of Kye. They really have kept me going these past 8 weeks. I hope hear from you both soon and send you both my best wishes and a huge thank you for all your kind words and support.
John

Charlotte Asked:
Please reply)
John,
Like Dave & Elizabeth, I too have been waiting for the answer to the Feb. Bloggers DVD. I was wanting to purchase one too, since I didn’t know they were on sale.
Your help is greatly appreciated.
Charlotte

John Says:
Hello Charlotte
I know that many of you wanted this and this is now on Stephanie Leavitt’s desk and I know she will do all she can to make this available to you all as soon as possible. This is something I should have taken of a long time ago…..my apologies for not doing so.

I have many brilliant memories of that cruise and I would also like to share in them again. I will let you know very soon.
Best wishes to you both
John

Preston Keith Asked:
John, Please Reply.
Just a quick question. Over on the Cruise Critic boards they are talking about you a lot these days. Guess that comes with the job. The big topic now is, “why does John give all the people that ask free stuff.” Seems lots of people want and expect freebies. Anyway thanks for being a great CD, we have cruised with you 3 times so far. BTW I don’t want anything free.

John Says:
Hello Preston
I am glad that they are talking about me on Cruise Critic mate because that means they are talking about Carnival…..and that’s a good thing. I guess the simple answer is that as my Mum taught me “it’s nice to be important but it’s more important to be nice.” I know not everyone asks in a pleasant way but the majority ask because they want it for family members who are celebrating something special and being able to do that for them makes me very happy……….oh and I refuse to let a few rude people spoil it for the many, many loyal Carnival cruisers who deserve that extra little………..and it is little……… something. Please post this on that thread thingy if you want to ……oh, and you can also post that occasionally……..I truly like writing to someone who asks for something without a please or a thank you…………..”no………..bugger off.”
Best wishes
John

That’s all for today and as always I thank you all for taking the time to send in your comments.

It’s after 1 am now and time for me to go to sleep. The ship is rocking quite a bit so time for me to take a Viagra ………..which stops me rolling out of bed………bit like an anchor.

I will leave you with a few letters from my Morning Show………………goodnight.

Letter 1

Letter 1 pg 2

Letter 2

Letter 2 pg 2

Letter 3

Letter 4

Letter 5

Good morning
Before I start with the day’s business it’s time for the latest photos of your Carnival Dream sent to me by our friend Boris. Today we concentrate on the main theatre plus a couple of the sushi bar.

Carnival Dream 1

Carnival Dream 2

Carnival Dream 3

Carnival Dream 4

Carnival Dream 5

Carnival Dream Decor 1

Carnival Dream Decor 2

And here are two of Boris………who we have to thanks for all these great photos.

DSC03039

DSC03041

I can’t wait to entertain on that stage. Tomorrow we will have a look at promenade deck 5………have you booked your Carnival Dream yet?

Now it’s time to unveil a contest that is posted on carnival.com and in the press but I thought you might like a look at it here on the blog thingy and here to tell you all about it is one of 343 Stephanies.

Hello bloggers. Steph no. 343 to give you some exciting news about The Virtual Book of Dreams Contest.

This contest is for Children between the ages of 7 and 12 years old who may submit a paragraph no more than 250 words completing the thought “ I’m always dreaming up fun stuff. Wouldn’t it be awesome if…”. The child also has to submit a drawing depicting the paragraph. Entries can be submitted starting from August 18, 2009 and no later than September 18, 2009. There will be four finalists and one wild card finalist. The winner will be named the Godchild of Carnival Waterworks on the Carnival Dream and the child and his/her family will also win a free cruise.

To find out more about this contest and how your children can participate click the link below.

www.carnival.com/dream

You can also read our latest press release located here.

Carnival Cruise Lines Encourages Children to Dream Big with the Virtual Book of Dreams Contest

Thanks all, and happy sailing.

Steph

What a great idea and what a privilege to be the godchild of the WaterWorks on your Carnival Dream. I will let you know how the contest goes.

So here we are now in San Juan, Puerto Rico and so far my prayers have been answered because the sun is shining and after the rain and thunder of yesterday it is a welcome relief for all. Today I will spend some time with Wee Jimmy nurturing him through the three different cruises the Carnival Freedom offers and walk him through the ports of call and schedules etc. It’s actually quite a challenge this for a CD because it’s the only ship in the fleet with three different runs….a 6-day western……..an 8-day eastern………and an 8-day western. Keeping up with everything is as I said a challenge but one I know Wee James will rise too easily.

Oh…….nearly forgot this great photo of the Carnival Glory and Carnival Freedom docked on Sunday in Nassau, Bahamas.

Carnival Glory

I am also busy talking with marketing and PR about the forthcoming special events and naming ceremony and that means listening to words like “swankify”……”blue sky marketing” ….and my new absolute most hated one……..we have to give 110% to this project……..what?
110 percent?…….when did 100 percent become insufficient? Honestly, during the call I just got off one of the marketing ladies told me and the others gathered on the conference call that we all had to give 110 %……..and she repeated it two or three times to make sure we understood that 109% was not acceptable and that 100% would result in us being stabbed in the head her Mont Blanc pen………what a load of bollocks.
However it got worse because suddenly…….and I can’t say who of course……..but suddenly Christine said……….”I am behind this 110%”………and me……….being bored said “I am behind this 231%”………there were 9 people on this call…….and not one ……. not one bugger laughed………….there was just………………….silence.

It got me wondering………do these marketing and PR people speak like this at home?

Does Christine from marketing ask her husband to “step up to the plate?”

Does Tim from PR tell his wife “to show more passion and give 110% in the bedroom?”

And when they were younger did Gerry Cahill, our wonderful president and CEO, refer to his kid’s pocket money as “revenue streams”?

Probably.

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.