92 Years Of Fun

December 3, 2009 -

John Heald

I had dinner last night with the Captain and the Chief Engineer and while the Ossabuco (whatever that is) was excellent the highlight of the evening was talking to our somewhat shy Chief Engineer Stefano Gazzolo whose insight into what makes our largest ship breathe, move and live……………and as the man with pointed ears would say…………..I found that “fascinating”…………oh by the way …………that’s Mr. Spock I am referring to…………..not President Obama.

I love engineering but of course I have no bloody clue how it works. I know that no matter how much training I received, or how many books I read, I could not build a ship’s engine………..or a model train…………. or even a Lego toy. You won’t find me getting all gooey about the qualities of an actor, because I’ve been there, on a stage, and all you have to do is read out your lines and move your eyebrows up and down. It’s easy. And so’s being a lawyer. You just have to use the words “hereinuntoafter” and “alleged” every so often so the public thinks you’re clever……oh and you have to be a bastard as well.

I think I could be a Jerry Bruckheimer and direct a film; I think I could be door to door salesman, a teacher, a police officer and even a pole dancer. I even think I could throw a three point shot, drive the ship and host American Idol. But I could not design an Eye Phone or fix the port side engine bearings or redistribute the energy from generator 1 to generator 3. And this is why I stand in open mouthed admiration when I meet an engineer — because he can do something that I cannot.

When I build something it breaks pretty much immediately. I can’t build a fire …………. Kye is buggered because I won’t be able to build any of her toys………. I can’t hang a picture, and if I use superglue I end up with part of my body fastened to whatever was broken. I have the practical abilities and engineering sense of a drunken jellyfish………… I am useless.

I still don’t really know how a ship works. I realize that you put oil in the……… ummmm ……………….. tank. I know that when the Captain moves the thruster levers the engines makes noise and I know that, somehow, the grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr sound is converted into movement.

But thank goodness we have men on our ships who do understand and those are men like Stefano. If you missed the interview with him and the photos of inside the engine room of your Carnival Dream, here is a link back to a blog from August.

http://johnhealdsblog.com/2009/08/07/start-your-engines/

However, there are new photos I want to share with you today……..not of the engine room …………..or of the chief at work……………no…………….I want to share some photos with you of Mrs. Gazzolo………..the Chief Engineer’s mother……………….who is 92 years old a quite a remarkable woman. She recently visited her son here on your Carnival Dream and you would think that at 92 she would have stayed in her cabin and rested and drank cocoa …………ummmm…………….nope. That’s because she has a bucket list of things she wants to do before she is promoted to glory……………..and so Mrs. Gazzolo ………….. went down the racing slide with her son………………..yep this 5ft nothing 92 year old did what this 44 year old 5ft wide chap did with the 58 year old 6ft tall President and CEO ………….and raced her son down the slide………………and won.

If that’s not enough, the next thing she wanted to do was drive a sports car ……………….. and so her son made that wish come true and Mrs. Gazzolo took the wheel of a Porsche ………….have a look.

The next thing on her list…………………she wants to do a Zip Line tour!

And while the Chief Engineer’s mother was visiting so was Captain Queirolo’s parents and so right there ………….on the bridge of our flagship……………..sat 270 years of very proud parents……….have a look.

Time for today’s photos – away we go.

Martin Geoffrey Asked:
Pls reply

Hi John, I live in Quebec City, my first language is French, so sorry if my English writing is bad. We wrote a complaint letter to customer service last September and never receive any call, any email, anything. It is our third cruises with carnival in less then 2 years. anyway, I did not want to explain here the problems and the essence of the complaint because this is not blog matter but could I talk or sent again my email to someone in charge(director or above) who could take care of it and have the courtesy of writing or talking to us back. I feel that carnival doesn’t need us as customer so …
Best regards
Martin

John Says:
Hello Martin

I wanted to apologize that following your letter nobody had contacted you. I have taken the time to send this to our CARE team who work very closely with me here on the blog and this means that someone will contact you very soon. Please let me know what happens and I hope that you continue to sail with us. If there is anything I can do for you, please let me know.
Best wishes
John

Chacooe Asked:
Hi John, Please reply.

After seeing the Penthouse on today’s blog (11/17) I feel that those kinds of cabins should be given to you (except when Mr. Arison is on board, got to keep the guys with the beards happy) when you are working, so you kind of have a feeling of being in your own apartment instead of being in a small cramped cabin on a big ship. Just think if they let you and Heidi have a Penthouse like this (or even one with another bedroom for your little angel Kye), it would almost like having your own apartment, but it would be one that is at sea. I would say that you have earned this extra perk, since you have been a very faithful and extremely devoted employee for over 22 years. This is just my opinion.

As to the Facebook question, that is a tough one. It would seem to me that as long as it does not interfere with their job performance then it would be OK, but you even brought up about how some people won’t even turn off their Ipod’s or Cell Phones without being told to. Some people get very addicted to Facebook and that can happen even with CD’s, but my big question is where are they going to find time to answer all of these people’s questions and still do their CD job, that in itself requires more then 8 hours a day.

AS for dropping Britney, please do, bring greats like Dean Martin, Patsy Cline, Barbara Streisand, Loretta Lynn and your favorite Dolly Pardon. There are so many great entertainers a lot better then Britney Spears. What might be a good idea for your Legend show is to do it with entertainers from the 40’s like Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., then have a couple from the 50’s like Elvis Presley, Paul Anka, etc, then some from the 60’s, and the 70’s, this way you are covering all the age groups that sail with Carnival. The one age group that is really left out today and that is the people who were teenagers in the 40’s and now the 50’s. Where I live there is no radio stations for them and that is so sad, so I feel that it would be real popular among the older folks to be able to hear some music from their young age period.

Enjoy your week at the CD’s meeting and please I hope you can post when your bloggers cruise is going to be for 2010 so I can book it (but only if you are on the west coast since I can’t travel to the east coast).

Please give my love to Heidi and your little Angel Kye.
From your #1 Bloggy Thingy Fan,
Kathy M.

John Says:
Hello Kathy

I have to admit………..if I had Mr. Arison’s Penthouse as my cabin for an entire contract it would make life so much easier when I am onboard with Heidi and Kye. One of the things that I am concerned about for when they sail with me next year is that my cabin ……. which is bigger than most other crew members……….is also my office as well and I am not sure how things are going to go with Kye having a nap in there while I am blogging and doing Cruise Director stuff. I am going to be a CD on the Carnival Fantasy next year so maybe………….I can sneak into the Penthouse and use it as Kye’s playroom!

We are currently looking again at the Legends show which we discussed at the recent CD conference. We realize that we need to replace Britney Spears, Gloria Estefan and maybe Ricky Martin with other “Legends” and we have a list of considerations. One chap that the CD’s gave a unanimous “Yes” to was of course………..Michael Jackson. I will let you know soon as to what is happening with this.

Thanks so much for the kind words of support and I hope you continue to enjoy the blog thingy.
Best wishes
John

Penny Mc Asked:
John (Please reply)

I know you get a lot of requests and I applaud you for doing your best to respond and accommodate as many as you possibly can.

I don’t have a request, but just a question. My husband and I will be sailing on the Carnival Dream on 2/27/10 along with a few other relatives. I know you will be the cruise director (YEA!). I read in yesterday’s blog that Todd had scheduled a Thriller Dance Class while the Dream was in NY. That sounds like so much fun. I’ve always wanted to learn those moves. Is that something you do on every cruise or just certain ones? Take care and I hope I get to meet you.
Penny Mc

John Says:
Hello Penny Mc

And your comment is the perfect segue from me talking to Kathy about Michael Jackson to you asking about the Thriller dance class. This is now firmly in place here on your Carnival Dream as a guest activity as well as a performance of the dance by the fining room staff during dinner. Both of these activities are also being done on other ships and it is our intention to have this fleetwide as soon as possible.
Thanks for writing in and best wishes to all.
John

Juan & Maria Santana Asked:
John please reply….

Hello, John! Since you are attending the Cruise Directors Conference with the big shots, would you please take this opportunity and bring up the subject of crediting the guests that sail on cruises 12 + days for 2 cruises instead of one? We really think that longer cruises deserve to be count as 2. Thank you for taking this into consideration.

We are very excited because today we booked a 1-wk. cruise on the Dream sailing from Pt. Canaveral Dec. 12-19. Originally we were thinking on doing that in the Spring, but there was a tempting offer that we couldn’t refuse! So, we’ll be back from the Freedom cruise Nov. 29 and a few days later we’ll be driving up North from Miami Beach on I-95 to Pt. Canaveral to board the Dream on Dec. 12! Isn’t that crazy? Now you can really say that we are hooked on cruises!

Warmest regards to you and Heidi and big kisses to Kye…. We miss her pictures so much!
The Santanas of Miami Beach

John Says:
Hello Juan and Maria

I know this is a subject that you are very passionate about and I certainly put your point across to those at the top. The whole rewards program is being closely looked at including the length of cruises etc. I will let you know more on this as soon as I have any information. I wish I could be here when you sail and I promise your Carnival Dream cruise will be your best ever.

My best wishes as always to you both.
John

Jetskier Asked:
Please respond

Is all the ship’s pins going to be available in the gift shop or just the one for that particular vessel?

The CD pictured is Steve Cassell. My #1 thing is having the CD accessible to the passengers instead of hidden away in the crew areas.

Our sailing on the Fantasy last week was disappointing in that we were misled. We received a letter stating that the ship would not be docking in Costa Maya due to “unstable weather patterns”. The seas/weather after a hurricane has passed are usually the most stable you will ever see. The NCL Spirit docked at Costa Maya on Nov 6 and again on Nov 10. The HAL Wyndam docked on Nov 13, the day before we were scheduled to.

Many people said they would have cancelled the sailing had they known the port was going to be switched. Remember we were already shorted one day of the sailing. Many people were looking forward Costa Maya as most have not been back since Hurricane Dean struck in 2007.

I understand the two reasons for the switch and they had nothing to do with the weather. A lot of people followed this storm and knew what conditions were out there. There are times that Costa Maya is inaccessible BUT this was not one of them.

We still enjoyed the cruise and enjoyed meeting back up with several crewmembers from the Holiday who transferred over.

Hennie did an excellent job filling in for Noonan when he got sick for a couple of days. Stan and Mersin (MD) are always fun in the dining rooms.
Dave

John Says:
Hello Dave

I am so sorry to read your obvious frustration about missing the port of Costa Maya. I promise and assure you that your comment about being mislead is totally unfounded. The Captain of the Holiday has the overall responsibility of the ship and her guests and crew and it is his decision if the weather could put the vessel in harms way to cancel a port. Carnival would never intentionally mislead guests about a port cancellation and having been a sailor myself for 22 years I have learned that it’s always best to respect the captain’s decisions. Costa Maya has a pier that offers no protection from swells and or high winds and that’s why I am sure he decided not to call there. I know its disappointing when this happens Dave and I apologize that it did ……….but we have to honour and respect the Captain’s decision at all times………safety is as always his and Carnival’s top priority and respectfully Dave there was no conspiracy theory here.

The pins are now in the gift shops and the next phase is to have all the fleet available in all the gift shops. This should be done by the beginning of next year.

Please let me know if you have a follow up to this Dave and as always I am at your service.
Best wishes
John

Jdlowndes Asked:
John, (Please Reply)

This maybe stupid but my wife is concerned why she is unable to get a grilled cheese sandwich from Room Service due to these reasons:

She can get Toast.
She can get a Cheese Sandwich.

So why can’t they just toast the bread and put it together real quick. She even offered a really nice tip for this and was still told no firmly over the phone on our last cruise…

Our Dream Cruise on 02/20/10 (Dream Catchers – Cruise Critic) is looking to be a blast with you as CD…
Thanks John!!

John Says:
Hello jdlowndes

Ummm……………..actually that’s not a stupid question………….and I have no answer as to why not except to suggest that maybe it’s a time constraint………….but even that doesn’t sound plausible does it? Your wife shouldn’t be concerned though as not only will I look into this and see if indeed you can get a grilled cheese sandwich from Room Service but she can of course get one from 11 am – 10 pm from the wonderful Deli on Lido Deck.

I will be back to this subject in the days ahead
Best wishes to you both
John

Gary H Asked:
Pls reply.

Hey John, I may have posted this to the wrong blog date so I have re-posted it here. I have been a subscriber to your blog thingy now for a couple months. I find it very entertaining as well as informative. I am cruising on the Dream on Dec 3 with 16 of my closest friends, some of whom have never been on a cruise before. We felt, why not start with the biggest Carnival ship there is? I have a question for you and hope you can fulfill my somewhat unusual request. I notice on the Jumbo-tron TV screen on Lido deck that they occasionally play music videos of various types. I have a particular music video that I have recently come across that is awesome. In fact, it is performed by a young lady from the UK…Becky Taylor. It is entitled “You Raise Me Up” and has some beautiful scenes that were shot in the making of the video, not to mention that she has a lovely voice. I found it on a search on YouTube. I am not sure how Carnival decides what videos to play on the Jumbo-tron but do you think it is possible for them to play that particular one for me and my friends? I feel, without them, I would not have been on this upcoming cruise and wanted to show them that they do indeed “Raise Me Up” in life and help keep me going in these somewhat troubled times we have right now. If you are able to accomplish this, please let me know what time and date on my cruise this would be broadcast so that I may have everyone in my party on Lido deck to see it. I appreciate all you do for everyone on the ships that you are a CD on and on here with your blog. Thanks again.

John Says:
Hello Gary H

Congratulations on choosing your Carnival Dream, I am here now and I can tell you that the ship is magnificent and you will all enjoy your cruise vacation here so very much. I think it’s wonderful that you want to play this video for your friends but unfortunately we will not be able to do this. The programming we have is scheduled to the minute plus if we start doing guest requests we open a door that we would never be able to close. This, along with the copyright regulations means that I can’t do this I am sorry to say.

However, if this song means so much, why not print out copies attach a personal note to them and give them to your friends at dinner or we can deliver them to the cabin. Or send this to your friends now…

Hello
I know you are all great friends of Gary and he has taken the time to write to me to explain how much your friendship means to him. It is your companionship and your unconditional friendship that has raise Gary from the darkness to the light. This song describes perfectly how he feels so click on this link and listen to what you all mean to Gary.

See you all on your Carnival Dream. Hope this helps Gary.
Best wishes
John

divetrash Asked:
Hi John (PLEASE REPLY),

It was lovely to see you the Dream 2 Day to Nowhere. Thank you for finding us at dinner and sitting down for a few minutes to chat. I know you were spread thin. I caught sight of you a few times as you rushed through the ship from one thing to the next and you definitely looked tired. I hope you find time to slow down soon.

Yes, the weather was awful and yes, the ship rocked quite a bit. It made walking with a cane a bit of a challenge, but all it took was a few glasses of gin to straighten that out!

The ship was lovely and every crew member I dealt with was friendly and helpful. The Chef’s Art Steakhouse was well worth the money and the food in the dining room was good too.

And of course the piano bar was fabulous. I do like the new design. I like that there is a bar in there now so the waiters don’t have to run around trying to get drinks. I think that having the piano bar somewhat open seems like a good thing and helps draw people in. Vince Strong was fantastic and had the place packed and rockin’ both nights.

Oh and brilliant move on Carnival’s part to not have passenger cabins directly over the disco and other late night venues on the promenade. It will definitely cut down on the noise complaints I think.

I was just so darn happy to be out of the house and on the ship that nothing much really bothered me. I had a great time.

But there were a couple of things that made me go hmmmm…

I didn’t eat much on the Lido deck but I have to say that when I did, it was so crowded and the lines were long, even at off times. One morning at breakfast, there was an officer taking pictures of the line because it was so long. So I assume that the problem was quite obvious and they are discussing what to do to fix it.

I used the special assistance wheelchair assist to board and debark the ship because walking long distances and standing for long periods of time is difficult for me. I have to say it seemed a bit disorganized. On embarkation, there seemed to be only one wheelchair at first and it took a few calls to get more down there. When leaving the ship I called Guest Services to ask what I needed to do for a wheelchair assist and was told that I would be put on the list and they would be there soon. After over an hour, our poor room steward really needed to get working in our room. He called and they told him that if I could walk that far, I needed to go to the Encores lounge. So we did and sat down with another nice passenger who was waiting there for more than half an hour for a chair. Afraid that she was going to miss her ride, Mouna, (the karaoke host) grabbed a chair sitting there and wheeled her off. I waited another 15 minutes for a chair to arrive. It didn’t seem like there was anyone there organizing it.

But all in all I loved the ship and definitely want to book it again in warmer weather this time!

One comment about today’s blog. You said, “Saying no just leads to awkward confrontations and dismay: much better to say yes and then weedle out of the commitment by forgetting.”

I kind of hope you are joking here. I completely relate as I am a people pleaser as well and No is a very difficult word to say. When I finally learned I couldn’t do everything, I discovered that most times saying No wasn’t a problem for people, because people in general are understanding.

The problem with saying Yes and then wheedling out of it later by forgetting is that is sets up an expectation and then ultimately leads to a disappointment that is more awkward and dismaying than saying No in the first place.

If you can’t say No, then a better thing to say is “I will try, but I can’t guarantee it.” But that’s just my opinion which I tend to give a little too freely. Again it was great to see you. Kye is an absolute doll! Give my best to Heidi.

I’m sorry I’m missing the Blogger’s Cruise!
Take care,
Laura

John Says:
Hello Laura

Let me start by saying how wonderful it was to see you here on your Carnival Dream. Considering what you have been through these past few months I have to say that you looked terrific and that I know is partly due to your always cheerful and positive outlook on life.

Thanks for your review of your Carnival Dream 2 day voyage and let’s start with the things that made you go ummmmmmmm.

First of all the wheelchair assistance. I have to admit that the embarkation and debarkation procedures in New York were pretty dreadful. I saw these myself and it would be ridiculous to suggest it was anything but below what we should have provided. There are some excuses including pier facilities that were never designed for a ship carrying 4,000 guests. The fact that all 4,000 seemed to arrive at the same time plus the fact that embarkation was through deck 0 which meant that we only had one gangway and as soon as guests arrived onboard they had only 4 elevators to use to get to their staterooms etc.

But those are not enough reasons to warrant what you went through and all I can do is apologize and assure you that now the ship is in Port Canaveral normality has returned and embarkation and debarkation will be as smooth as my inner thigh. Once again you were right about the lines on Lido during the two day cruise which were as they were because of the dreadful weather outside. Everyone ate at the same time as nobody wanted to be outside in the wind and the rain. I checked with Ken and Todd and they told me that since starting the seven day cruises from New York the Lido serve was back to normal.

However, I remind everyone that the dining rooms are open for lunch every sea day ……. use them…………the new lunch menus are fantastic. I had the Teriyaki Steak yesterday, it was excellent. Saying “no” is something I am working on and I will say “Yes “to you always having this blog thingy to express your opinion on. I wish you continued health and thanks again for the great review
Best wishes
John

That’s all for today…………….more of course for tomorrow and thanks for all the wonderful comments, please keep them coming.

Lets send a big congratulations out to Carnival’s new Executive Vice President Lynn Torrent who today was promoted from Senior Vice president to Executive Vice President of Sales and Guest Services. Lynn is an avid blog reader so please join me in congratulating her on this great achievement……………here she is.

Well here we are in Port Canaveral. It’s 9.15am and I overslept this morning. I set my alarm call for 7 am except I didn’t ……I set it for 7 pm………………..bugger, bugger, bugger …………….and therefore my dream about me, a big bowl of whipped cream………….Megan Fox’s bottom……………and Mr. Arison’s Penthouse on the Carnival Fantasy…………….went uninterrupted.

The ship arrived at 9:45am this morning and considering the weather conditions yesterday it is amazing that we were on time.

There were 70 knot winds……yet………..the ship was firm and strong and yet……………..we arrived into Port Canaveral on schedule and with no damage to our lifeboats.

And so the bloggers cruise will start today. For those of you who have not cruised on one of these before let me talk a little about what they are all about. This cruise we have 200 or so people who have booked to come and sail…………..well………………with me I guess. The first Bloggers cruise was on the Carnival Freedom and although it was a huge success the guests were disappointed that they didn’t see enough of me on a one on one basis. That was because I was the Cruise Director and had a ship to run, a blog to write and a wife to try and get pregnant. I managed to cover most of those positions successfully ……….except the missionary one which was not successful until the following year.

And so it was decided that for BC2 that I would not be the CD but instead just host the group and this would allow me to have the one on one time with the bloggers…………and this format seemed so popular that I have repeated it here, as well.

We have special “bloggers only” activities and events as well as two cocktail parties and other surprises. We also have some cheap and cheerful gifts that will be delivered to the cabins throughout the cruise. There are no charge for the parties and the gifts………they are just a little something from me to them. I will tell you all about the gifts they received after the cruise has finished. Obviously all the bloggers also have a full day and evening of events and fun and brilliant shows as scheduled by Todd the Cruise Director. The hardest thing is finding time to have our own private events as the regular cruise schedule is packed full of fun.

Anyway, I thought you might like to see the Blogger Caper that was prepared by Stephanie and Craig and was delivered along with the Bloggers Lanyard to all the cabins who registered with the 343 Stephanies.

Bloggers Caper – Dream

There will be as you can see time with the Captain and members of the Carnival.com team as well as a chance for me to enjoy precious time with them all. One of the best things though about the bloggers cruise will as always be the friendship and community that is created by meeting people who all have a love of Carnival ……..and the blog thingy. I will keep you updated as to what happens…….and ………wish you were here.

I also wish you all had a chance to go to Mahogany Bay in Isla Roatan which I have been featuring these past few days. Well, it is now officially open and here is the press release and some great shots of this must visit destination.

Carnival Valor Docks at the New $62 Million Mahogany Bay Cruise Center at Roatan

That is of course the Carnival Valor and thanks to Big Tex the CD for sending me those great shots. Also, a big congratulations must go to our Senior Vice President Giora Israel and his team for their hard work and dedication on the planning and building of the Mahogany Bay facility……….well done to all and I hope you all get a chance to visit soon.

Well its time to go and have a walk around the ship and greet the bloggers. Before that though I have to cut my hair………………not the hair on my head ………….oh no. I mentioned how non metro sexual I am the other day but even I have to draw the line somewhere……….let me explain. I woke up this morning and as I was shaving I looked in the mirror and during the night I have developed a full head of hair…………in my nose.

I couldn’t believe it. I have never noticed hair in my nose before but this morning I have a small furry animal living in my nostrils. Now, you go through life thinking that your body knows what the heck it’s doing but why has it decided that my nose needs an afro……….why is Don King now living in there. The problem is that I didn’t pack any nose hair clipper thingies and so I now have to embarrassingly ask someone to borrow theirs……….I doubt I will have any problem getting some………………… though its a near certainty they wont want them back once I have finished hacking away at the hairs……… and the little green boogers that are clutching onto them.

This, along with a new law from Susan Boyle our Prime Minister has put me in a bad mood. Not only do I have a wig factory in my nose but my slack jawed Scottish git Prime Minister has decided today to charge extra car tax because……….I drive an SUV. Yep, that’s right because my car is slightly bigger than those that run on camel urine, I have to pay an extra $200 a year road tax…………and according to the news, if I refuse to pay, the British Government will take me to the Tower of London where I will be publicly flogged by a bearded man in a brown suit and sandals. I have now decided to sell the SUV and buy a Toyota Yaris which will apparently make Gordon very happy…………. save the Polar Bears and can go 3,000 miles before I need to pull over at the nearest camel and ask it to fill up my tank.

OK, time to find a lawn mower and cut my nose hair and then…………..the bloggers fun will begin and I truly………………….wish you were here.

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.