November 18, 2009 -

John Heald

I realize that during the last few days I have been moaning a lot about being tired and I promised myself that I wasn’t going to mention it here on the blog thingy today………….but obviously that promise was bollocks because as I sit here…………in my underpants………… 11:50pm …………….I have but one thought……………bed…………….actually that’s bollocks as well because I have a thought for Megan Fox’s bottom as well…………….but surprisingly it is not as strong as the thought I have for putting my head on the pillow and snoring my way to blissful sleep. Today’s conference started at 8:15am and lasted until 6:30pm.

The Carnival Imagination has gone through some amazing upgrades but obviously they forgot one area………..the conference room seats. Where the hell did they get these chairs from? I only ask because while we spent an enjoyable and productive day talking about our own abilities as Cruise Directors and listening to various office types, my arse has not had a more miserable time since it was beaten by my high school principal Mr. Hounsell who had caught me and Tony Lang…

As we were listening to a VP of something drone on about how to increase revenue onboard, I could almost hear my arse cheeks complaining: “Oh for God’s sake. Get on with it.”

At the end of the day most of us left in tears. Most Cruise Directors because they realized that they weren’t getting a huge bonus or a free Ferrari this year………………..I was crying because of the pain. Honestly, it felt like my right buttock had been filled with six or seven gallons of concrete and that the left one had been nibbled on by a rabid hamster……….called Fred.

And so I decided to give my arse a treat and right now I am blogging……….in my underpants………….sitting on the most comfortable thing I could find………………..wee Jimmy.

Anyway, time for today’s questions…………….here we go………………….actually……………that’s my third load of bollocks tonight…………I just can’t ignore the call to bed anymore…………so I shall say goodnight and will return to write the rest of the blog thingy early tomorrow morning…………..night, night.

Well, good morning. It’s 6:30am and I am back again to finish the blog before our 8:00am start to another day sitting on the chair from hell and talking about ways to make your cruise vacation better. I had better push on then with today’s questions…………here I go.

David Davison Asked:
John Please Reply

A while back I had asked you about info concerning our cabin on the Dec 3rd Dream Cruise. And you found that out and posted it for us. Yesterday, as I was reading the roll call for the Dec 3rd Dream Cruise on cruise critic, someone posted this:

If you have received a free upgrade from a “regular cabin” to a Spa Interior or a Spa Balcony, the bracelets and the perks do not come with the upgrade.

If you paid more in an UPSELL situation….MAKE SURE to ask the rep IF the perks come with the up sell. IF it does, (unless they have worked this out since last November) MAKE SURE your TA or PVP contacts the ship DIRECTLY and lets them know you have paid for these services and to make sure the bracelets are in your room. Same thing IF you are upgraded from a Spa Interior to a Spa Balcony. Get your TA or PVP involved. Especially if you have a PVP, they can contact the ship directly and make sure everything you paid for is waiting for you”

John, Diane and I paid for the upgrade to a Spa Level Balcony Room (Category 8P #11240). Will we get all the bells and whistles that go with the rooms? Diane is really looking forward to using the T-pool and other amenities. Please help me make sure my wife will be able to prune herself properly!

Thanks and I look forward to meeting you at the blog thingy get together on the Dream.

John Says:
Hello David

Thanks for bringing this to my attention. I have spoken to both the ship and reservations and both have confirmed that you will find all the amenities such as slippers, Cloud 9 bathrobe and Elemis products in your beautiful Spa suite cabin.

I will be there with you for the bloggers cruise and I promise it will be a brilliant cruise vacation for you both.
See you soon
Best Wishes

Roxianne & Lon Asked:
John – Please Reply

I happened to be on eBay today purchasing a gift for my hubbys birthday when I got the notion to do a search for ‘Carnival Cruise’. I was amazed by what I found.

Can you believe that people were auctioning their past guest ship pins? There are so many of us out there that want Carnival to bring them back and yet there are people out there that could care less about them. I also found auctions for a solid gold plastic ship on a stick, Carnival Cruise Barbie and casino chips from various ships.

Have you ever seen a PC game called: CARNIVAL CRUISE LINES TYCOON – Manage and build a fleet of fantastic Mega-Liners. Plan fun and exciting theme cruises. 2 modes of gameplay: At Port and At Sea. They have it for sale. hopefully you won’t post this anytime soon so I can win the bid to buy the game.
Have a great time in NY

John Says:
Hello Roxianne and Lon

What a very interesting post. I don’t spend much time on Ebay so it was a surprise to find what’s out there. I have never heard of a game called Carnival Cruise Lines Tycoon……….I did some investigation with the other Cruise Directors here and none of them had heard it either. I don’t know the back round of the game either and does anyone know if they sell or used to sell these games in the stores. I know someone once paid $47 for one of my bobbleheads but there were no bids for a pair of my signed underpants.

Did you buy the game? If so can you let us know how it is?
Many thanks and best wishes to you both.

missingthesmokefreeparadise Asked:

Of course the dress does not make you look fat, dear. The color black is very slimming.
What’s that Mrs. MTSFP? I forgot to take my anti-psychotics this morning? Well, that explains the weird images I have been seeing.

John Says:
Hello JustJon
Congratulations on your new job as fashion editor for Vogue magazine.
Best wishes to you both.

Lisa Asked:
Dear John, please reply.

I for one like to consider you a friend……….I have never met you but will be meeting you, along with my children, very soon on the Carnival Dream in March………..and even though we have never met, because of all the wonderful and personal (sometimes too personal……..just kidding) things you speak about on this blog thingy, I believe a lot of us feel like we know you. Please do not let these negative people that like to criticize you get you down……..there are far more of us out here that appreciate all that you do.

I plan on bringing you a token when I visit you on the Carnival Dream………..are you really a 5X or is that an exaggeration? I know you have slimmed down quite a bit and I want to get it right.

John Says:
Hello Lisa

You are so very kind and your words are most welcome. I try not to let the negative comments about me and my thingy get me down but……….well……………it’s human nature that I do. My size was 5x but I am ok now with a 3x. But you really do not need to bring me anything, just having you spend your valuable vacation time with me is enough.
See you soon and best wishes.

cruisinggrandma Asked:
John please reply.

Is there anything more that they can do?

I have read your blog since the first words were written. I love it, you, Heidi, Kye. But because of this e-mail that my daughter copied me on I will not be taking the Carnival Destiny any time soon.

For my daughter’s wedding present we gave them a honeymoon on this ship. They had a balcony room. They sailed on the October 19th cruise. We are Platinum Cruisers and love Carnival, so of course that is who we went with. Once you have read her e-mail, which she did send to Carnival’s contact us e-mail site, you will understand why we are upset. She was not upset with the weather, which was bad, but the condition of the ship and the food and the service were really bad.

Ok here is her letter please advise if there is anything else we can do so that we can convert her new husband back to Carnivals side.

—–Original Message—–
Subject: Cruise I would like to start by stating that this is my third Carnival cruise and my past two experiences were wonderful. Once on the Carnival Glory and the second on the Carnival Sensation. Unfortunately, this experience, which happened to be my honeymoon, was less than enjoyable. Upon boarding the ship, we immediately noticed that two of the sliding glass doors in the Sun and Sea dining area were out of order and had chairs blocking them; those were eventually fixed however, another one broke during the cruise while we were dining nearby. Later that day, as we made our way down to our cabin, we noticed an extremely strong smell of urine in the hallway. It was concentrated in mainly one area of the hall and was quite offensive. We made sure not to walk by that area during the remaining time on the ship.

We would like to say that our stateroom was more than we expected and we were happy with the accommodations. The bed was comfortable, the room was clean, and the steward service was excellent (we love the towel animals).We were, however, disappointed in the state of the rest of the ship. On numerous occasions, one or more of the elevators were either out of service (signs were on the elevator doors) or stuck on one floor. We know this because we stood there waiting numerous times and watched as the elevators never moved, particularly the glass elevators. Many times, we opted to take the stairs because the elevators never moved. This is an ok option for us but my parents have trouble with their legs and would never have made it. Other guests we spoke with on the ship expressed the same complaint. There were also many places where there was broken trim, peeling paint, or other cosmetic damage in need of repair. For example, when we took a swim in the sun and sea pool, we were surprised to have blue paint on our bodies wherever we touched the sides or bottom of the pool. You could swipe your hand across the side and it would be blue when you pulled it back. It is unacceptable to have the pool paint come off on the guests. We did not use the Lido deck pool again.

As for the food experience, I would have to say that the buffet food was what we expected; however, some of the buffet servers were not. We were met with frowns, blank expressions, or poor attitudes no matter what we said or did. We would smile graciously and thank all servers but would seldom receive a smile or “you’re welcome” in return. This made for an unpleasant experience every time we stepped up to the buffet line, regardless of the time of day. I would like to point out that not all servers on the buffet line were this way; the servers that dished out desserts were quite pleasant. On top of the buffet service being less then desirable, our experience in the Universe dining hall also left us disappointed. Although Michael was an excellent waiter and was very personable and attentive, the food arrived consistently luke warm – even the fruit salads. This had not been my experience on my previous trips on Carnival. I had talked up the wonderful dinners and atmosphere with my husband prior to our booking the trip for our honeymoon and was very disappointed that it fell short of our expectations. The mozzarella sticks were solid, the stuffed mushrooms were cold, the fruit salad was tepid, and the entrees were never hot. We felt like we had been forgotten and that is why our items were cold. Our dinners would typically take around an hour and 45 minutes to complete even though we ordered immediately upon being seated. Our first entrees did not arrive until at least 30 minutes after placing our orders. Since we were sitting at a table for two, behind a wait station, we felt perhaps we were overlooked. I would like to reiterate that we don’t believe that it was Michael’s fault that the food was slow and cold upon arrival. Overall, we felt that the crew worked hard to make the cruise an enjoyable experience. We felt that Captain Pier Paolo Scala was very warm and more approachable and attentive then the captains on other cruises I have been on. We just wanted to let you know about the opportunities for improvement and our disappointment in the experience that we had on the Carnival Destiny.

If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact us. Thank you for your time.

Thank You for allowing me to voice my concerns on our web site.

John Says:
Hello Grandma

I want to thank you for taking the time to send this report to me and before I start may I ask you to please send my sincere apologies to your daughter and her husband for the problems they encountered onboard the Carnival Destiny during their honeymoon cruise. I did a quick investigation with the ship and noticed that they did not mention any of these concerns while onboard. I wish they had done so as I know the ship management team would have done all they could to have helped them. I was so disappointed to read about the problems they encountered with the quality of food, the Lido service and the standard of maintenance. These are things that we can and will change and I have sent your daughters thoughts to all onboard and a Senior Vice President as well. I am not surprised that they enjoyed Captain Scala so much and I hope that he along with other areas of service and entertainment were part of an enjoyable and fun cruise vacation. I can assure you that comments like this are so valuable and I promise that we will take care of them.

I truly hope that they will give us another chance and please let me know when they do in advance.

I will ask someone from our guest services team to follow up with them.

Once again my thanks for bringing this to my attention and my best wishes to you and all the family.
best wishes

Josh Scott Asked:

I am sailing on my Carnival Dream in January. This is the first ship I have been on with the Seaside Theater. My question, does Carnival ever show sporting events on them and if so, what is the chance that we can catch the NFL playoffs?
Thanks John, love the blog!

John Says:
Hello Josh

Are you ready for some football? We will play both Sunday Night and Monday Night Football on the big screen on your Carnival Dream. The daytime games are played at the sports bar and in the cabins. There will be of course a huge Super Bowl party on all the ships as we watch The New England 49ers vs The Dallas Cowpats.
Best Wishes

Tucson Larry Asked:
John Please respond,

So he we are 1 month from our trip. Things were a little rocky causing us to cancel and then rebook our trip. We of course miss will fishing off the cove balcony, a small price to pay.
We chose to make this trip because we had the best time on the last bloggers trip. The five days seemed more like ten. We first met you on our Med. Cruises (liberty 06, and 07 freedom) and have been spoiled ever since.

We are making this trip to celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary and look forward to spending our time with you and your sometimes zany friends.

I want to thank you for including us in the bloggers cruise.

As you suggested I am dropping this note to you requesting Ken for a 6 o’clock sitting
(I assume this coordinates with the blogger events) and a table for two if possible.
Susan & Larry Orenstein
Cabin #6381

This guest is reminding you that they are sailing for their 50th wedding anniversary on the bloggers cruise; they would like to have a table for two in Ken’s dining room at 6:00pm if possible.

John Says:
Hello Larry

I was sorry to read about your rocky road that finally and happily led to your being able to join us on December 3rd. I hope that this bloggers voyage is as good as the last one and I have asked Ken to accommodate your dining request.
Thanks for the kind words and see you soon
best wishes

Joshua York Asked:
John Please Reply,

I sent an earlier message but I forgot to put John please reply. My name is Josh York and I am getting ready to set sail on my 26th Carnival Cruise on the Carnival Dream on Dec. 12,2009. I am only 24 years old, but my family normally take a cruise for a week generally in August and December. I am soo looking forward to my cruise and I am ready to go. We are booked in a 11th floor balcony stateroom, there is a group of about 11 cabins of us. I have met you on a few past cruises that I have been on. One suggestion that I have is I want to know if there is any benefits for people that have been on over 20 carnival cruises in addition to Platinum status. I have already used my milestone rewards on my 25th cruise last year. I LOVE carnival and all the benefits that we get being Platinum, but Carnival should have extra benefits for those that have traveled on more than 20 cruises, just a suggestion. I hope that you will be on the Dream during the week that I am, because I think that you are great. And another question I am sorry that I have is I have never had dinner at the Supper club and I want to know if you recommend it? Well John please reply I would love to hear from you and I hope you have a pleasant day!!
Joshua York

John Says:
Hello Joshua

Thanks for resending your posting, it does help me when I am looking through the comments when the ones that need my help do have the words John, please reply. Anyway, I am happy to tell you that the Milestone program, as well as all our reward programs, were discussed yesterday here at the CD conference. And while I cannot go into details just yet I can assure you that this coming year the programs will continue to improve and there are indeed exciting times ahead for our guests who have cruised multiple times with us.

What can I say about the Steak House except taking a Carnival cruise and not enjoying a meal at the Steak House is like going to Egypt and not seeing the pyramids…………… is truly the best food at sea at a price that is quite ridiculously low. You really have to go. Remember, you can book online as well.

Please let me know if you need anything else before you sail.
best wishes

That’s all for today and I will answer more questions very soon I promise.

Oh and please let me say sorry to you for forgetting to send Vance the link thingy for that wonderful story from Princess Cruise Lines Facebook page. PA 007 our super spy e mailed me yesterday to tell me that it said “Vance, Insert Link Here Please” and the link was missing………… fault……………so here it is this time so please take the time to read what happened.

Over at Cunard and around the shipping world the excitement continues to mount as the arrival of the new Queen Elizabeth gets ever closer. I would like to invite you over to my colleague and Cunard’s Entertainment Director onboard the Queen Victoria, Mr Alastair Greening’s blog to view the latest photos of the ship with the most famous name in the industry.

There is another great reason to read this blog as well………….an interview with the ship’s Chief Engineer and anyone who loves to know more about life in the Engine Room must read this. Here is the link thingy.

And now…………… is the latest video from your Carnival Dream…………………..hope you enjoy it.

I haven’t mentioned much about the ship I am on have I? I know I talked about the fantastic cabin upgrades yesterday and for those of you who have not been on a ship that has been blessed with the Evolutions of Fun upgrades let me talk a little about the Carnival Imagination.

Yesterday, I took a walk during our lunch break and rediscovered just how sensational this ship is. The guests had returned from a short stay in Key West and were enjoying the beautiful sunshine. The pools were busy, people were sunbathing and some obviously had not seen the sun for some times as their lily-white thighs glistened with the glow of Hawaiian Tropic suntan oil. A group of guests all wearing the same T-shirt that proudly stated they were here for “Ma and Pa Johnston’s 40th wedding anniversary” and were dancing to the calypso band and those happy Caribbean days I had enjoyed on this ship came flooding back. Remember, I delivered this ship from new…………I got engaged on this ship to Heidi………………..and it has always……………always had a special place in my top three Carnival ships of all time.

“Evolutions of Fun” has transformed this vessel from a 15-year-old ship with a future out of the limelight to a born again Fun For All Ship who deserves to be in the spotlight.

I continue to hear nothing but incredible amounts of praise and exuberance for the new Carnival Imagination on the blog thingy. One of the areas receiving a large slice of this is “Serenity,” a tranquil retreat at the stern of the ship free of stress, noise, music and oh yes …………….. kids.

While many guests love having the family atmosphere that kids bring to our open decks there have been those who have been asking for a place reserved for adults only……………thus as always we listened and now you have the aptly named Serenity. As mentioned, this is located overlooking the stern and therefore you have wonderful views of the wake of the ship as you relax in one of the deep and luxurious sun beds. You also have whirlpools where you have no chance of finding Junior and the gang splashing around. Your Carnival Dream‘s Serenity is truly stunning and even though it’s only on one deck here on the Carnival Imagination as opposed to two decks on her big sister………….the Serenity Deck here is still absolutely fabulous.

Sometimes you hear about companies who have spent millions of dollars on this and millions of dollars on that and sometimes it’s hard to see where the money has gone. Not so here, the millions of dollars Carnival has spent is plain for all to see from the Spa to the WaterWorks and from the upgraded cabins and corridors to the sushi bar and the adults-only Serenity deck and much much more.

Have a look at some of the photos and see for yourself.

She is a great ship and I wish I had more time to explore and experience everything she has to offer…………..but I don’t because my arse has an appointment with that Chair which was designed by Mr Blijenborg the Butcher of Brussels………..I hate that chair………………I also hate being the third oldest Cruise Director in the room after Steve Cassel and Lenny Haliday.

Bloody hell……….I look around the room and see myself 20 years ago. Young, energetic, full of life with the possibility of endless nights of Rumpy Pumpy………………and these young men have a new “metrosexual ” way of saying hello each morning and goodnight when going to bed……………..they kiss each other……………and me. For most blokes this avenue is completely closed off and my avenue as a huge “No Entry” sign in front of it and is guarded by two tanks, a Rottweiler and the 82nd Airborne Division. ……….Men do not kiss other men unless they are ………well……….dating.

Men kiss girls, our mums, some dogs and occasionally double-page spreads of Megan Fox’s bottom in magazines. The last chap most men kissed was their father and that stopped when they went to big school. But now the world, and more to the point the world of Cruise Directors, seems to be full of men kissing.

Arabs kiss four times on one side, eight on the other, unless there’s a jihad in the month when they just kiss their own arse goodbye. Frenchmen kiss each other just before battle and kiss each other again 5 minutes later after they have surrendered. Our Italian officers and Captains kiss me as well. This is because they either like me or because they are going to have me whacked.

Yes, the new breed of Cruise Directors dress like metrosexual popstars, they kiss like Richard Simmons, they use product in their hair, they have teeth sponsored by Colgate and stomachs flatter than a 2 year old open can of Diet Coke. They are good looking and confident and at the end of a long day of listening to men with beards talk and talk they go to the gym to tone up their six packs. They never say I’m tired and bloody hell…………what about their names……….Ryan, Butch, Brad, Goose…………..what is this……..the cast of Top Gun?

Yes, they are the new breed and they are brilliant…………..they are the future…………and I wish them continuing success……………but …………….if one of those bastards tries to kiss me again………..they will find it very hard to sit through the next day of the conference with a solid gold plastic trophy sticking out of their bottoms.

Your friend

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.