Malcolm In The Middle OF A Dream

August 27, 2009 -

John Heald

Have a look at these wonderful photos of the new aft cabin section currently being placed on Holland America’s Nieuw Amsterdam …………go ahead…………here’s the link thingy……….I will wait here for you.

http://www.hollandamericablog.com/2009/08/24/nieuw-amsterdam-update-aft-cabin-section/

Ok…….pretty cool stuff isn’t it and an engineering marvel.

Then we have the Carnival Fascination which will be going into Dry Dock in January and will receive her major Evolutions of Fun upgrades which will now include 98 Balconies added onto the ship as we have done on the Carnival Ecstasy and Carnival Sensation……………..another brilliant miracle of engineering………….they just make balconies………….amazing.

So why is that these master craftsman can refit vessels like this and build new ones like your Carnival Dream and yet……………….I am not capable of putting a bloody stroller together? This morning I was tasked with taking Kye to the shop to get my newspaper.

First of all , here in the UK for hundreds of years we used to call them Prams. Now though we Brits have gone all American and Canadian and they are called strollers. Except………….they arn’t because Kye has something called a only “child integrated travel systems”……………what a load of bollocks. I was going to get her an urban tactical infant transport solution but I couldn’t afford the missile system that came with it.

Heidi is a natural with everything to do with Kye and strollers and being a Mum ………….while I am as natural as Pamela Andersen’s breasts. But that’s how it is even before birth. Tell a woman about to have a baby that she is a “mum-to-be” and she will probably think “Ooh, wow…………..yes I am!” and want to hug you. But tell her man that he’s a “dad-to-be” and he will turn pale, drift off, get drunk fly to Sardinia ( which is in Italy ) and sleep with a Latvian stripper.

Anyway, while engineers and ship builders put the finishing touches to your Carnival Dream I spent this morning swearing, bleeding ( i trapped my finger in a hinge thingy ) and generally thinking about stuffing Kye in the glove compartment of the Range Rover while trying to collapse her stroller, buggy, integrated travel thingy. I knew I was in the shit when Heidi gave me the DVD manual to look at………….bloody hell…………a DVD manual for a stroller………………the world has indeed gone mad.
The worst bit is that you have to grasp both sides and …………well…………they are in two different positions………….which is great for people with different length arms…………but for a fat bloke with normal length arms………..I was truly buggered.

Eventually, after lots of swearing and with a bleeding finger the aply named Bugaboo Chameleon was ready to go. I walked down the road admiring the foot-holds, the built in parasol, the two drink-holders, the all weather wheels, the automatic the sunshade, the adjustable footplate…………yep…………..it had taken me 30 minutes and the loss of a pint and a half of blood…………but I had made it……………and I was off to get my newspaper…………………oh bugger……………I new I had forgoten something…………………….Kye !

Lets crack on with more questions marked for my reply………………….here we go.

Judy & Mike Asked:
John,
I’m a bit “IT” challenged but heard we could come on the blog and leave you our thoughts and suggestions. I just read this latest post and thought you could use our feedback.

We just completed our first cruise to celebrate my husband’s 50th birthday. Of course we read some other blogs bad-mouthing Carnival but decided to jump in and go on the Inspiration 4-day out of Tampa on August 6th.
We cannot stop talking about how much we both LOVED it! We are so spoiled now! We had cabin u-93 and it was fantastic! Our room steward “Wendal” was the best! Our dining room staff “Tyron and Sudiarta” treated us like we were part of their family! I actually cried when I said good-bye and there warmth and tenderness will never be forgotten!

We are hooked! And it was because of the remarkable staff and accommodations!

I do, however, have a few suggestions and don’t worry they are not “deal breakers” or bad, just a few observations.

1. They should have that awesome piano sing along bar non-smoking a couple of nights for the non-smokers that like to sing along. I would have loved to do that but can’t deal with the smoke. I honestly think they should make all cabins non-smoking as well, but I digress…

2. They should have a computer set up that only goes to the carnival website and is free to use. Mike and I would have booked our next cruise right away had that been an option. This is a great way to increase cruise bookings!

3. I noticed on the capers that they have drink “specials” both morning and afternoon. They should have a “featured” wine for dinner and advertise it the same way. That would increase sales of wine during dinner!
Anyway, just thought I would pass this along and to publicly thank everyone at Carnival for making our first cruise so memorable. We can’t wait until our next…
Judy and Mike
Tampa, FL.

John Says:
Hello Julie and Mike
Your “IT challenge” was not as bad as you thought because your comments are here and I am very glad you took the time to write. The comments you made about the staff you met during your Carnival Inspiration cruise were truly wonderful and I have taken the liberty to pass them back to the ship for them and their supervisors to read. Our iconic crew is simply the best. Let’s also chat about your comments.

The Piano Bars are another iconic feature aboard the Carnival ships and the whole smoking/non smoking conversation is one that has been ongoing for quite some time. Compared to where we used to be a few years ago where smoking was allowed pretty much everywhere, things have really changed. The majority of the lounges are smoke free as are the restaurants, lobbies, etc. I think the way the world is going that there will be even more smoking restrictions within the industry soon and until then we have to offer smokers at least one entertainment area and that has generally been the Piano Bar. I realize for non smokers that this is not a good thing and that’s a shame as the Piano Bar is as you said………….”awesome.” By the way…………I smoke the odd cigar…………and I am very careful not to upset non smokers when I do and for what it’s worth ………….. and remembers that this is my opinion only…….I agree with you ……………. smoking in the cabins should not be allowed. I know smoking is a sensitive subject and I would appreciate your views on this bloggers………Piano Bar………smoking…………….or non smoking?

I know you can use the internet cafe on board the ship where access to www.carnival.com is free so you could have booked a cruise using that but if you didn’t know this then that means we are not doing enough to advertise that. Thanks therefore for letting me know and I will make sure that this is pointed out to the ships. We are slowly putting a team on each ship that will work for Carnival’s reservation department or are from our PVP department (Personal Vacation Planner.)

They are currently on four ships……..Carnival Liberty, Carnival Freedom, Carnival Valor and Carnival Splendor. This has proven to be very popular and there will be more ships that will have these cruise and loyalty experts onboard soon.

Thanks also for the wine tip. I was under the impression that this was being done………it was on the Carnival Freedom when I was just there………….let me remind the Carnival Inspiration team because you are right….it will encourage people to enjoy wine because a dinner without wine is like a day without sunshine………….a dinner without wine is like a garden without flowers ………. a dinner without wine is like a cruise without any fun…….a dinner without wine is like rumpy without pumpy.

Most importantly I am so glad that you are now hooked on the Fun Ship experience and I hope you will let me know if there is anything I can do to help you book your next one.
Best wishes to you both
John

Glenn Asked:
John Please respond,
I am not writing with the normal help me get his table or make this happen, or give me some free flowers. I am sending this to you as I think you may be one of the only ones in your company that give a rat’s ass about customer service. I am writing to simply express my recent experience in booking our 3rd Carnival trip in the Carnival Dream. We were on the Victory last year when our daughter was 2 and she completely hated Camp. In fact since she cried for 11 minutes the first time she was there, we got evicted. It left us struggling to entertain a 2year old since everything is really geared around camp. So when we were booking the Dream, that was our first question to the PVP, What is there to do for a 3 year old other than Camp? She basically gave me the song and dance that things will be ok for her to go there and she will love it blah blah blah. I said again, are there things to do for the kids that include the parent and kid together. She said the same thing we found out on our last cruise, no, there is nothing other than dropping them off at camp. We still made the decision to book because she is old enough to use the pools and water park etc. About 3 days after booking, I started a cat and mouse game of calls to my PVP and supervisors in the call center. I called my PVP to ask for a roll away as we had on the Victory on our last cruise. We were not comfortable putting the 2 or 3 year old in that fold don’t bunk thingy. She said, “There are not roll a ways on that ship”. I said, so where does she sleep, in the bunk that she will roll out off? Her response, well, she can lay on the couch to sleep. She then goes on to tell me that there are rooms that have sleeper sofas, but we don’t qualify since we only have 3 people instead of 4 or 5. I stated so Carnival is going to jeopardize my child’s safety over make a couple extra hundred bucks on a room. She said, there is nothing I can do to help you, my hands are tied. I was LIVID. She then called back a few minutes and offered me a crib for our 3 year old to sleep in. I said she is 3 and sleeps in regular big girl bed, I can’t do that. I asked for a number of a supervisor and called. When I called customer service, I was never allowed to speak to a supervisor; I was told they are too busy. They told me however that my PVP does not know what they are talking about, that the room does have a convertible sleeper sofa. I called a 2nd time, and was given the exact same answer. I sent an email to my PVP with the info I learned and was NEVER responded too. So at this point, I am not sure who to believe.
This is our 3rd trip and I feel like the quality of customer service is going down, tremendously. I really felt like I wasn’t spending enough money to have my concerns addressed. It is making me regret booking our 3rd cruise with Carnival, and I honestly don’t know if at this point I would book again. Again, I am only sending this to you as I feel you will pass the info along to the people that address these issues. Thank you for your time.
Glenn Seymour

John Says:
Hello Glenn
First of all you spelt ass wrong………it’s spelt arse…….come on now………this is a British blog and we spell things correctly here. On a serious note I don’t want you to worry……..take a breath ……. and let me take care of this for you. I hope first of all that your 3 year old will now be that little bit older and may indeed enjoy Camp Carnival. Certainly the facilities that are offered on the Carnival Dream are amazing and maybe you could try and see if they will want to stay and play. If not we have the family splash park and pool of course which I know your whole family will be able to enjoy together. I am not going to comment on the cabin situation but leave this instead to the experts. I will therefore forward this to one of the vice presidents for her direction. Please allow 7 days for her or one of her colleagues to reply and please let me know the outcome.
Thanks again for taking the time to write and I promise that your Carnival Dream cruise will be a truly memorable family vacation.
Best wishes
John

Kathy Asked:
Hi John,
Please Reply
I have to admit something to you. On Friday’s, the first thing I do when I open your blog is to look for the newest picture of Kye and to see how much she has changed in a week. Like I have said in the past, she is a beautiful Rosebud that is really starting to bloom. I think she is looking more and more like you, and that ain’t bad. Please send my love to Kye and Heidi.

When you yelled at those two girls, you had every reason to and I applaud you for doing it. Sometimes you have to do things that you normally would not do to get someone’s attention even if it took you to yell at them, I blame them not you. I feel that they had no right yelling at anyone, that is disrespect to everyone around them and in one way to themselves as well. I have been on the dolphin swim in Cabo San Lucas and those dolphins are very well treated, they are not abused in fact I think they like the pampering they get there. I have to admit there is something about touching that beautiful animal that is overwhelming. I would highly recommend it to anyone who loves dolphins.

Hang in there, John and don’t let those turkeys get you down.
Your bloggy thingy fan
Kathy

John Says:
Hello Kathy
Thanks Kathy…..words of encouragement, kindness and support are so rejuvenating. I think I would have been much calmer if the dolphin yellers had been older but to receive such disrespect from someone so young was difficult…….I could have handled it better though for sure.
I hope you enjoyed the recent photos of Kye and I hope you will remain a fan of the blog for a long time to come.
Best wishes
John

Mike & Lori Asked:
John (PLEASE REPLY!)
About two years ago we were on the Glory. We had an assistant team waitress named Eka Widiastari. Eka was so sweet to our family especially our youngest daughter who is a special needs child. While people at our table seemed annoyed by our daughter’s presence and our head waiter was sick and not doing his job to the best of his ability, Eka stepped right in and took over, taking care of everyone’s needs and making our daughters cruise a very memorable one. My question is, do you know if Eka is on a ship right now and if so how can we contact her? Which ship is she on so we can try to sail it again?
Thanks,
Mike & Lori

John Says:
Hello Mike and Lori
What wonderful words. I know that dealing with anyone with special needs requires patience and understanding and it’s fantastic to hear that Eka had so much of both. I don’t have access to the crew files here at home but I will ask someone back in Miami and get back to you soon. If she is still working with us I will, with your permission give her your e mail address.
Best wishes to all the family
John

*Update: She is currently on vacation & is due to return to the beautiful Carnival Triumph on Sept 12th*

Justin Asked:
Dear Julio. PLEASE REPLY
You are the funniest person I know! I loved bedtimes stories so much. Can we purchase it anywhere if we didn’t on the ship?

Also I was wondering if you could give the names of the people in the talent show on the 8/1/09 to 8/9/09 cruise. I’m not sure if you’re allowed to do so. But I was trying to find someone on either face book or MySpace and do not know their last name. However, a family member I believe was in the Talent show. Thanks for your help.
-Justin

John Says:
Hello Justin
As soon as I see the word Julio I know exactly what cruise you were on. Unfortunately the bedtime story is not available for purchase once you have left the ship……..although that does give me an idea…….so let me ask…………….would anyone else like to buy copies of my shows? ……………I mean…….I know that sounds pretentious………..but let’s just say that there is nothing on TV……….would anyone like it if the shows were placed online for download or DVD purchase? Let me know.

It was a struggle but I did get the names of the four participants as we still had the signup sheet. They were:
Greg Jacobs
Maria Erickson
Armando Santos
Lateesha Washington
I hope this helps and I am so sorry that I we didn’t keep a master copy of the show……..we really should do as I remember that cruise as being one of the very best.
Many thanks for all the kind words
Best wishes
Julio

Carmen Asked:
John (please reply),
I have been on 4 Carnival cruises and loved all of them. I spend a lot of time over on CC and just now found your blog thingy. I have spent the past 2 weeks reading and enjoying your blog.

I am currently booked on the dream in Jan for my 30th birthday cruise. All these pictures you have posted are awesome. I can’t wait to go. Having trouble with the prospect of turning 30, I decided that being in Cozumel was a million times better than facing my family/friends. I think it’s a great birthday present that you will be our CD on our cruise. It’s like the cherry on the sundae; you made it perfect.

Can’t wait till January!!! See ya there and let’s just pretend I’m still 29 when I disembark. After all if you can’t remember your birthday it didn’t happen, right???

John Says:
Hello Carmen
My thanks to those at Cruise Critic for pointing you in the direction of the blog thingy and I am glad that you have been enjoying it. Congratulations on booking your Carnival Dream cruise for your birthday……..oh to be 30 again. Thirty is a wonderful age and if 40 is the new 30 then you are 20 which means you can’t drink onboard……..sorry.

I will indeed have the honor of being as you said “your cherry” and hope to add some sprinkles and lots of whipped cream to your celebration as well…………….that sounded a bit ummmm …….. well you know……….but anyway……see you on board and make sure you remind me once there to send you a birthday gift.
Best wishes
John

Ellen Asked:
John, Please respond,
We are sailing on the Triumph out of NYC on September 19th and I was wondering if you know when the formal nights will be. I’m not so interested in what’s on the menu (as I generally like everything) but our group would be interested in knowing when formal nights are so if we want to make other plans for dinner one night, we don’t do it on a formal night. Personally, I love getting all dressed up and seeing everyone else’s outfits as well.

Thank you so much for all you do with this blog….I’m sure it must be frustrating at times to deal with those people who aren’t so polite, but please know that for the majority of readers and Carnival regulars, you’re the best !!!
Thanks again
Ellen

John Says:
Hi Ellen:
What a wonderful cruise this is. I did this once on the Carnival Triumph and Heidi and I always look back at this as being one of our all time favorite cruises. Here is as you asked the itinerary showing when the elegant nights will be.
Canada/New England:
New York, NY;
Boston, MA;
Portland, ME;
Saint John, NB,
Fun Day At Sea; – elegant night
Halifax, NS, Canada;
Fun Day at Sea;
New York, NY
Because the ship is so port intensive there is only one main elegant night which will feature the captain’s cocktail parties, complimentary drinks and one of the big production shows. The ports are all late afternoon or evening stays so we don’t want you having to rush back to attend so unusually the elegant night will be five days into the cruise. I truly hope you enjoy these great ports as much as I did and thank you also for all the kind words
Best wishes
John

Vanessa Asked:
Hi John (Please reply),
We were on the Freedom 7/26 and had a wonderful time. It feels like there was so much to do from the very beginning that time just flew by. It was cruise number 6 for us on Carnival and by far one of the best and certainly won’t be our last.

I know you are getting ready to go home and spend some well deserved time with the ladies. One of my questions to you is when you do get off the ship and are back on dry land, how long if any does it take for you to get your equilibrium back (your land legs)? Silly question, but I’m curious to know.

Second question is what are you looking forward to doing once you get home (besides the obvious–something that is done behind closed doors and laying down—-sleeping in your own bed, of course).

Last, my husband and I really enjoyed hearing Jamie Frasier sing, what a beautiful voice. It’s great to hear that he is changing gears and training to become a cruise director. What prompted the change? It seems like he could go very far with the singing career thingy.
I look forward to many more future cruises with you, Jamie and the Carnival family.

John Says:
Hello Vanessa
Actually, that’s not a silly question. It does take a few days to adjust in so many ways. I often find myself doing “shippy” things such as moving anything from the edge of the table to the middle in case the house rocks. I still step up when I go into our bathroom at home and most annoyingly I still find myself walking down the street saying hello to strangers. This being England of course people are polite and say hello back. I did this in Miami once and said hello to a complete stranger at a gas station…….he looked at me as though I had two heads. I am glad you enjoyed Jamie Frasier and his wonderful swing voice. He has been bitten by the cruise director bug and I know he will be brilliant. He will though you will be glad to hear keep on singing and entertaining his Carnival guests. Have a look at his website at:

http://www.jamiefrasier.com/Jamie_Frasier/Home.html

This will feature ways to find his recordings but also to see what he has done to my blog thingy header……..his new album is called Lark and a Dove and the follow up will be called Lark and a Dove……….my arse.

I am so glad that you had such a wonderful time onboard and I hope to see you again very soon.
Best wishes
John

Karen Asked:
John, please respond……..
Know you have written about this recently….re: changes to the welcome aboard captain’s cocktail party. You had stated that this was a trial on the Valor only. Well, we just got off the Glory on 8/15 and they did not have a captain’s cocktail party, just $1 off drinks on Promenade deck for an hour. Then for the past guest party, there were free drinks, but limited to wine, champagne, and fruit punch.

On Friday, there was a farewell cocktail party with complimentary drinks (again, a very limited selection) but this was NOT promoted at all, only a line item in the Capers daily schedule and only mentioned by the CD once early in the morning announcements. At 5 pm on the last day of a cruise, seems a good way to be sure not many people will be attending!

Seems Carnival is definitely cutting back in this area and personally, I think doing away with the welcome aboard party is a shame. Providing this is a great way to welcome the new cruisers as well as set the tone for the week onboard for all.

Has this change now gone fleetwide?

Really looking forward to seeing you again on the Dream Dec.3………..it’s been far too long since we sailed with you!
Thanks for sharing the pictures of Kye…….she is definitely one beautiful little girl and I know you are so ready to hold her in your arms again soon!
Have a great time at home with both your girls!!

John Says:
Hello Karen
Thanks for this and I know that we did try this on the Carnival Glory which was also a test ship for the comedy club that we spoke about yesterday. Did you go to any of the comedy shows by the way……..if so I would appreciate the feedback? The captain’s party change is only on a test pattern at the moment and the final decision to go fleetwide has yet to be made. I can promise you that we are not canceling the elegant night party. I am sure you still had a chance to meet the captain, have your elegant night photos taken, enjoy the choice of lobster and or prime rib in the dining room with no extra charge and see the brilliant production shows. The party was never just about the complimentary drinks.
However, I can see how by just a few lines in the Carnival Capers it may appear that we are trying to undersell the complimentary drinks party on the last day and I have just copied and pasted this and sent it straight to the person in charge of this implementation. I truly appreciate you bringing this to my attention. I took the liberty of looking at the carnival capers and found the advert.

Thanks also for the kind words for Kye.
Best wishes to you and all the family and I will get back you on this very soon
John

Trevor Audiore Asked:
I know will probably merit the wrath from some of your stalkers on the blog but I must agree with another writer who said that the blog needs to be more information based and not a place for toilet based comedy and pointless opinions. I read this blog only for the information sections which show what Carnival is doing to keep their passengers coming back, which at this moment time is not very much I might add. May I suggest that you write one blog a week that contains humor that most of us find pointless and design the rest of the blogs about the company and the product

John Says:
Hello Trevor
Thank you for taking the time to write. I am sure that my regular readers will not be upset at your comments, this blog is opinion based at times and you are truly entitled to yours….. although calling them stalkers is a little….actually…..it’s a lot unfair and if I may be so bold…..a little rude.

I know my humor is not for everyone and I also know that some people do ignore that side of it. I always try to write the so called funny stuff at the start and finish of the blog with the questions and substance sandwiched in between. Maybe you can skip the start and finish and just read the information which I hope you find useful.
Hope this helps
Best wishes
John

Max Levine Asked:
Please Reply
Every March, myself and five other families all take cruises to celebrate life and to reward ourselves for the hard work we do. We and my colleagues are all Doctors at a busy Atlanta hospital. We have never cruised with Carnival having sailed mostly with Royal Caribbean and once with Crystal. I am not sure why Carnival has never been in our thought process but after accidently finding your blog we have canceled our plans to sail on the new Oasis ship and instead have booked on – as you call it – “you’re Carnival Dream.”

I did this based on the loyal following Carnival seems to behold and on your very British and very funny sense of humor and because you will be the Cruise Director when we sail. No pressure there then!

The only reason I asked for a reply was to ask if you would join my friends and I for a cigar one night as we all read your blog now and it would be great to join you for some good conversation.

I hope Carnival realizes the value of your blog.
See you in March and thank you for all you do.
Sincerely
Doctor Max Levine

John Says:
Hello Doc
I am not sure I can handle the pressure so please bring drugs with you…………Valium, Viagra etc.

Seriously, what a true honor Doc and I will do all I can to make sure your first Carnival experience is not your last and I will indeed bring the Monte Cristos and meet you for that cigar onboard your Carnival Dream.

Please let me know if there is anything else I can do for you all before you sail.
Best wishes to all
John

That’s all for today although I do need to ask you a favor. I am, as I have said a few times, well behind with my answers and I promise to keep plugging away. I have though recently been getting many questions sent directly to my e-mail address which was recently made public. I posted two this morning with in those replies but there are many, many more I can’t reply to. Can you please therefore send them to the blog and mark them for reply if needed. This way I can stay in control of what needs to be done and do so from one location……….the blog. I appreciate this very much. Please keep the comments coming to the blog because as I have also said many times, your opinions are read by all the top people at Carnival and this means your opinions truly count.

OK, there have been some comments and questions asking when anytime dining is going to be placed across the fleet. There have been one or two schedule changes to this and so here is the new implementation list of this new and now very popular dining choice for the rest of this year.

Confirmed 2009
Carnival Inspiration is confirmed for July 09, 2009

Carnival Dream is confirmed for September 18, 2009

Carnival Ecstasy is confirmed for October 31, 2009

It is also pending but possible that Carnival Destiny and Carnival Victory will also have this implemented by the end of the year

Yesterday we spoke to Jeff Bronson the cruise director of the Carnival Paradise and what a great interview that was. Today is a chance not only to meet another CD but also to welcome back someone we thought at one time we never would. Malcolm “In the Middle” Burn was rushed into hospital earlier this year and was in a very serious condition. The good news is that he is not only better but well enough o return to work next month. Here is his Q & A.

Malcolm 1

Malcolm 2

Malcolm 3

1. Please tell us about yourself and your journey to the Cruise Director chair.

Wow, this was a long journey for me for sure. Starting with Carnival at first was just something I wanted to do at the moment to travel, and experience some traveling. When I joined the ship the first day, it was a whole different world for me. Customs, Security, Safety Rules, Courses, Muster Stations and Boat Drills! I was thinking in my head “What in the heck is all this! I was just here to call bingo and have fun! I didn’t sign up for all this!” At first, all the rules, and regulations were a bummer to me. Once I was onstage, it all went away! No matter what was going on I just wanted to be onstage. I worked on 4 ships my first contract — Carnival Fantasy, Carnival Paradise, Carnival Imagination and the inaugural voyages of the Carnival Victory. I started out as a social host calling bingo, running activities, and hosting karaoke. Back in the day we were also in charge of groups and teen activities.

Being the new guy, no one really knew me and it seemed to allow me to start a whole new life. After a couple weeks on my first ship, I started getting frustrated and home sick. My personality was clashing a little with others on stage, as I was really enjoying myself onstage and didn’t realize I was hogging it (all about me!). You could say I was learning.

The Fantasy was awesome as it was my initiation to the industry and opened my eyes. I also learned a lot as well. The Paradise was cool, but didn’t seem to be the same as the Fantasy, I was missing the Fantasy! It was very emotional when I transferred. I was comfortable with everyone, and I had to start all over with friends and managers! After a while I met new friends and had a great time. I was really enjoying ships, going out at every port and living the jetset lifestyle. I was into hanging out and chilling out in port. This was the deal! Tours, beaches, dinners and more. I started to lose focus in what I was there to do! A few times getting up late, forgetting activities, I missed an activity! Then it was a meeting with the cruise director! Uh Oh! After my first meeting I really didn’t want to mess up a good thing and tried to stay focused more.

I started to bond with guests, and that really enjoyed that. After a couple years, you could say I was getting a bit bored and wanted more. The cruise director position didn’t seem obtainable to me at the time. After lots of talks, and mentoring from several cruise director and hotel directors, it was something I wanted to work towards. Steve Bolitho was my hotel director at the time, really shared his views with me and shared good advice.

On My Way – Becoming an ACD was an exciting step for me! It meant that the company saw something in me, and I had a chance at sitting in the big chair! This really meant a lot to me. I was on my way. After a few months as ACD, my first opportunity was offered to me! My heart dropped! I had so many emotions at the time! I was so scared, nervous, and very excited. All I could do was say yes! I think my first ship as a cruise director was the Imagination or Fantasy! I remember the day I took over! Walking through the door meant I had accomplished so much, and that the company obviously knew I could do the job. The silence of the cabin, and knowing I was it. I was the responsible one! I had to make the announcements, I had to make the boat drill announcements, I had to make the decisions as CD, The Welcome Aboard show, the travel talk! AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA. I was scared, my heart was racing. So many thoughts at that moment walking in the CD cabin! “Can I really do this?” Getting thru each one at a time gave me more confidence; I was shaking and sweating, with so many doubts. After that cruise! I was hooked, and knew that’s what I wanted. That’s all that was on my mind. Filling in happened more often than I was an actual ACD. This really put my head in a space that I was on the fast track to the big chair. After about a year of filling in, I was offered my first contract as a CD, filling in on a ship for the man “John Heald” on the Triumph. This was another moment of “What in the world are you going to do? And can you do this?” I had heard so many things about this guy and how great he was. Now I was going to step on to his ship and take over. Oh My! I went on vacation and returned joining the Triumph, this made me feel accomplished. I walked onto the ship proud, excited and nervous.

After a few months it seemed to going well, and I could do it! Little did I know how much I still had to learn? I was having the time of my life, and started to lose focus again. I was on the fast track and knew I was only a step away from the big chair for good. I was confident it was in the bag. Then I started slipping, going out to the disco having a great time and forgetting my responsibility as the boss. On the last month of my contract, I was going out little too much and not performing up to my potential. NOT GOOD MALCOLM. I soon learned that I was being replaced by another cruise director. I was disappointed to say the least.

After some careful soul searching about my job, I returned to Carnival after a few months with a different attitude. A year or so had gone by, and I was so eager to be given another chance. Cruise directors would leave on vacation thinking I might take over, and the office would fly another CD in, even another ACD to sit in. It was unbearable but I was still with Carnival and one day I would have another chance. I watched as other ACD were getting promoted and had to just do my thing with hopes of getting back on the saddle. After a while I was finally given a break to sit in for a couple days, then a couple weeks here and there, but not as often as I had in the past. A good year had gone by again, and I was filling in more often. I had a mission that I would not make the mistakes I had made in the past.

I was on track, doing the job that I enjoyed. All I wanted was the promotion. Would I really get it? Then the big day arrived! September 11th 2007, while sailing out of New York. I had received the e-mail that I had officially been promoted to cruise director. The day I had waited for a long time.

So you can honestly say I had my ups and downs, good times and bad, but I had finally reached my goal and enjoy what I do. If you would have told me 2000, I would have my own ship someday! I would have said you were crazy!

2. What ship are you currently serving on?

The Carnival Miracle is my current ship, but have been gone due medical leave after my surprising heart surgery! But I will be returning to the Carnival Miracle out of New York. I love New York ships, New Yorkers and the ports. I spent a good amount of time in New York on the Victory which was a special ship for me. She was my first Inaugural Ship on my first contract, my first ship as a promoted Cruise Director, and a ship I had returned to many times during my career with Carnival.

3. Before we talk about you lets talk about the ship. What are you favorite areas of the vessel and what is it that makes your ship the best in the Carnival fleet.

Of course the show lounge! It’s where the magic happens. My ship is the best as it has a unique style! All outside cabins! Also, the décor of the ship is in a different class of itself. The Miracle has a great team, and the itineraries are more complex than other ships.

4. Can you tell us about your itinerary and please pick your favorite shore excursion from each port and tell us why you like it so much.

Eastern Caribbean Run 8 Days – Grand Turk, Half Moon Cay (Private Island), Nassau Bahamas
San Juan Puerto Rico, St Thomas USVI.

Favorite Tours *

Grand Turk – A relaxing Island to enjoy a Pina Coloda and the beach! The wave machine is Awesome!

Half Moon Cay (Private Island) – Another wonderful port to enjoy what you always see on TV! A private beach and party if you want to.

San Juan Puerto Rico – Going on the City Tour is awesome! You learn lots and get an idea of the heritage.

St. Thomas USVI – Shopping Shopping Shopping! And Beaches! The catamaran tours are a great way to get away. Shopping tours allow you to do your own thing and maximize your time in port.

Nassau – Taking the tour to Atlantis and Catamaran Tours. Very relaxing!

5. If someone were to ask you “what does a Carnival Cruise Director do?” how would you reply.

Well, there a lots of things involved in our job. I can tell you that Carnival cruise directors are different form other cruise directors in the Industry. We are responsible for the Carnival Capers, Shows, Shopping Talks, Announcements, Safety Drills, PR work, Planning, Sales and Marketing, and Socializer. As well as managing the department and assisting other departments. Planning special events for holidays, as well as traditional events which are done by Carnival. As well as trying to be creative and innovative.

6. What is your most favorite part of the job

Being on stage and out at sea. I feel that I am lucky to be one of many few who enjoy doing what I do as a profession. When I am not working and on vacation in the norm, I do miss what I do. When I talk to folks and they ask me what I do, their faces light up, and have so many questions. It’s a really unusual job, and a very attractive one at that. You are a mini celebrity onboard as well as manager, so you have to be skillful at managing many roles and multitasking. Long days are involved, so you have to manage your time and fit in a little time for yourself. At times can be demanding and stressful, and very rewarding in the end. The stage and making people laugh is what I enjoy! Everyone can always make someone clap, but making them laugh is difficult.

7. If we were to sail on a ship where you are the CD what would be the must not miss activity or show that you host.

All the shows are fantastic! We actually just picked up a great entertainer Marcus Monroe! A young guy who is absolutely crazy! His show is different, and has guest participation. It’s a show that all guests of any age can enjoy! Also, my silent film skit! I sweat like crazy and do not talk! But the guests are soooo funny when involved. It’s hilarious every time!

8. What is the hardest and or most challenging part of the job of Carnival CD.

Your role between – The office, the guests, your staff and management. Everyday has new challenges and situations. When you’re dealing with bad weather, itinerary change, medical emergencies, upset guests, show stops due to technical problems, department issues, personnel issues. All of this you have to deal with, and at the end of it all! Smile and do your thing no matter what. The most difficult is getting onstage after a situation has happened with all the guests who are very upset, and getting onstage in front of them and working our way out of that mood.

9. You could sail on any other cruise ship (not Carnival) what ship would you like to sail on as a guest and why.

I would LOVE to sail on a ship which sailed around Europe. There is so much I have not seen and want to explore, meeting so many people from different cultures. I love to go out to restaurants and tour cities I have never been. I would try QM2. I know it’s under Carnival Corp., but she is not a Carnival Fun Ship. I have been on the QE2, and was amazed with the style and elegance of the entire ship.

Finally – please fill in the blanks

YOUR FAVORITE ACTOR
I am sorry I have more than one Tyler Perry, Ryan Philippe, John Malcovich, Clive Owen, Brad Pitt, and Justin Timberlake.

YOUR FAVORITE ACTRESS
Queen Latifa, Kate Blanchette and Sharon Stone

WHAT IS ON YOUR EYE POD
I don’t have an iPod; I love a large selection of music from all genres

YOUR FAVORITE MOVIE
Madea’s Family Reunion

WHO MAKES YOU LAUGH
Tyler Perry

YOUR FAVORITE CARNIVAL CRUISE DIRECTOR EXCLUDING YOURSELF AND ME (JOHN) AND WHY

Troy Linton – He was the first cruise director who mentored me and showed me the ropes. He shared lots of his thoughts and tricks of the trade.

Jorge Salono – Jorge and I met when he was a fly-on. He was a cool guy and shared a lot with me. When he became CD, he shared lots of his notes and views. Even his views and thoughts as a comedian. We have many chats about the job till this day. We always help each other out and are there for each other if we need it. It’s nice to have someone to talk to when you’re stressed out, and they know what you’re talking about.

Maraschal Stanton – He believed in me, and allowed me to do my thing. He has done all he can for me, and always watched out as a friend and a boss.

IF YOU WERE INVISIBLE FOR A DAY WHAT WOULD YOU DO
Sneak into the White House and stick around the Prez. For a day, and see what’s really going on behind closed doors.

Welcome home mate and I am sure I speak for everyone when we say how great it is to have you back where you belong…………all the best.

A CHANCE TO BE HEARD
Now, yesterday I promised twenty or so photos of your Carnival Dream which unfortunately thanks to my yahoo.com never reached the 343 Stephanies. So I re sent them and you will have seen that they were posted earlier today………….hope you enjoyed them.

Today I want to post some of the family cabins that feature two bathrooms……….how brilliant is that. So while Mum is showering and bathing the kids behind door number one……….Dad can behind door number 2 doing………ummmm……number 2……….oh bugger……….sorry Trevor.

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Imagine how these cabins look when they are made up and being serviced by Ketut and his state room steward friends. There will be more tomorrow.

I think that I might have to get a bit serious right now…..so sorry in advance. I have received two or three comments recently that are quite negative about this blog thingy. I know that there is one cruise industry publication that absolutely hates me and what I write and once suggested the blog be “put down.” It also seems recently that one or two individuals think that way as well and all want to tell me and you what a bastard I am and that my writing is a load of poo……oh bugger ……..sorry Trevor.
It seems these days also that everyone wants to be heard. It wasn’t so long ago the thing to do was quietly potter through life, head down, drawing bugger all attention to oneself.

Today it isn’t just children that crave attention – grown-ups have found a voracious appetite for it, too. Adults are eager to have their ant-voices…… Or their great big lion-roar, for that matter – brought to as large an audience as possible.

Technology with Facespace, Twittering etc has allowed us……. If we feel like saying something about an article and are reading it online (for free! Um. Yes. Anyway. Moving on), you can avail yourself of the comment space, etc.

Or…….if you have thoughts that you’d like to share about anything at all – from cruise ships to cruise directors via underpants or table requests– you can start a blog. If you’d like new friends, you can join a social networking site; if you want a date, you can trawl the singles sites; if you want to know which toilet paper is the softest……..bugger…………..sorry Trevor….you can ask strangers in a toilet paper chat room. If the stuff that you watch on television or hear on this blog triggers a chain of thought, you’re free to share it with the people who made it at the click of a mouse. And……..the internet is a place where friends reunite and new ones are made as in the case of this blog thingy.

So, in case I forget, I want to say thank you to all of you who read and post or read and don’t post. And as we roar toward five million readers I want to say a huge Carnival Dream-sized thank you to all of you for making this blog thing a place where opinions can be heard and where opinions matter. I want to thank you all for your loyal support of Carnival Cruise Lines and I want to thank all of you the chance for me to have my voice heard five times a week.

Time for bed but not before Heidi puts some cream on my hemorrhoids………they have really flared up recently and look like a …………oh bugger………..sorry Trevor.

Goodnight
Your friends
John, Heidi and Kye

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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