We Wish You A Merry Christmas

December 22, 2009 -

John Heald

Reports from the Miami office and Chris Prideaux, our Director of Entertainment, were that last week, one of our fly on comedians made a joke about Tiger Woods……..and upset a Tiger fan so much that he waited until after the show and threatened him with violence. In the end our intrepid comedian had to call security.

This news came a few days after I had made a joke about Cheetah……sorry……..Tiger …..during the Morning Show which I co-hosted with Todd during the bloggers cruise on your Carnival Dream. There was an audience of a dozen or so bloggers watching it live from where we were recording it (Club O2) and they all groaned……….and later that day a non-blogger stopped me to tell me that I should not be making fun of the great one. I apologized but asked him “Why not?” …………his answer was “uummm, ggrph, ummmm it’s just not right.”

As a Cruise Director I know what I can and can’t say. I can call myself fat and make fatty jokes and I can refer to almost anything if I think it may get a chuckle from the passengers. At the same time religion, President Obama and people’s sexual preferences are out. But Tiger Woods …………..I just don’t understand it.

Personally I am enjoying how the whole Tigergate affair is giving golf a kick in the bottom. I have never liked to play or watch the game and have always seen it as something that keeps retired business chappies out of the house until they pass on to the great boardroom in the sky.

I am sure that little Johnny and his mates all sit in their class rooms dreaming of getting into the NBA and the NFL, but golf would have been very low down on the glamour list. Football…… sorry……………..”saccer” as my American friends would say gets lots of press because girls like David Beckham have made it sexy.

Golf never got a look in really, apart from Tiger Woods, who was so dominant that it stopped getting very interesting. Tiger was so brilliant that it was obvious that he was going to win every time he got his sticks out. The only other interesting golfer was John Daly because he was pissed out of his head when he played.

Then Tiger allegedly had rumpy pumpy with millions of blond haired women with plastic breasts. Suddenly we’re getting stories about golf groupies and the rock’n’roll lifestyles that had previously been hidden from view behind the glare of Pringle sweaters.

I truly do feel sorry for his wife and family though………but I also have to comment on something I heard on the news. Apparently his wife………..who by the way is stunning…….was the au pair for another professional golfer…….. an au pair? What wife in her right mind would ever hire someone like that as an au pair? I think your marriage would have to be tremendously secure to survive someone that stunning wandering around your house. Heidi would only hire an au pair if she looked like Susan Boyle.

Now golf is the new rock’n’roll, things are going to change.

As you know we have mini golf courses on all of our ships but it’s obvious that Carnival needs to “sex up” these areas to keep in line with where the world of golf is heading…………….maybe we need to have late night golf games just for adults ……..you can make your own jokes up here.

I bet it’s not long before we get “Topless Golf” on the Playboy Channel, “Golfers’ Wives” on A&E and a bad look-alike in a porn film called something like “Tiger’s Favorite Holes.” I fear that golfing widows will also now be a little more suspicious of the “men only” rule at the local golf club.

Tiger will soon have to come out of his self-imposed hermitage and face the world. His PR people are most likely planning the thing now. I’m pretty sure that we’ll see him on Oprah, Barbara Walters or Dr. Phil crying his heart out and blaming his “rumpy pumpy addiction” on fame and that nobody understands him. And because he is a celebrity everyone will forgive him …………….and forget the wife and kids and the hurt and distress he has caused them

Oh……by the way……….the joke I made on the Morning Show on your Carnival Dream was ……..Tiger Woods has just released a brand of condoms ………..they are called “Woodies.” ………………..see……………and it wasn’t even that funny.

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

Tom Asked:
Please Reply

Hey John, We just returned from our 19th Carnival Cruise on the Glory and wanted to give you a report.

First of on the COMEDY CLUB.

The idea sounded great until we found out the same comedians do the SAME material both nights.

I suggested to the Comedy Club manager that he or Ryan the cruise director should tell the guests that the same material was being repeated. We wasted our time by going to the shows the second night. Diane Ford is good but not good enough to hear the material twice.
Now about the Glory. Food was terrific, Ryan and his staff were very good but there are a few things that Carnival has done lately that was the talk of the ship and not in a good way.
1. There is no more Captain’s Cocktail party. They renamed it and stopped the free drinks and food.

They give a $1.00 off on $7.25 drinks NOT Good!

2. They added some party which we heard there would be drinks but it was held in late afternoon.

Who is going to leave the pool at 3:30 to go have a drink? We were told it was a cost cutting move by Carnival.

3. We also don’t like that they now have you going to the shows first at 7:00 then to dinner at 8:15. Why did they do this? People that choose late seating do so for a purpose and it isn’t to go to a show at 7.

4. The rooms on Lido deck were VERY HOT. We complained and they FINALLY brought us a fan. It didn’t help much. Once again we heard that Carnival is cutting back the a/c temps in the room to save money.

5. No more grand buffet. Only some Mexican thingy at night which consisted of refried beans and tacos. Quite a let down from Carnival in the past plus it made me fart all night.

6. Carnival had better be careful with all these changes or some us will go on the “BIG BOAT next time.

Happy Anniversary and enjoy your vacation.

John Says:
Hello Tom

Thanks for the super review and let’s crack on with chatting about some of the content. First let me say that I apologize that your room was too hot and that’s something that we can and will look at when the ship goes to dry dock. I am so sorry that you found your room too hot that is not good enough. However, and with respect, whoever told you that “Carnival is cutting back the a/c temps in the room to save money” was talking total and utter nonsense and I urge you not to listen to silly bollocks like this? If the temperature in your cabin was too hot it is because work needs to be done on the system not because we want to turn the air conditioning down to save money.

The comedy club is brilliant and the idea was and still is that we repeat the shows so that every guest onboard can see the 4 different comedians who perform during the seven days. Each comedian will perform two family and two adult shows each of the two nights they are onboard and then two more comedians will fly into a port and perform. The intention was not for guests to see the shows on both nights. The room holds 400 guests so over a two night period all the passengers who want to see the comedy shows can. As for the comedians performing the same material…….well this also happens in comedy clubs on land if a comedian is performing over a period of nights. I am glad you enjoyed the shows though and the Carnival Comedy Club is a big hit.

It has been well publicized here on the blog thingy that we did stop the complimentary drinks during the Captain’s Elegant night and replace them with a Farewell Party on the last night where free drinks are served. I know this may not be to everyone’s taste but overall it has been met with approval. Let’s see what the future holds on this one.

You know, we have made some small changes that we needed to make when the credit crunch hit and I know that one or two may not have been popular with some. However, the bottom line was that were able to keep our prices down and allow you all to keep cruising. It was interesting to read a great article on Cruise Critic last week that listed the top ten most important cruise ship stories from 2009 . Amongst the stories was this:

Past-Passenger Perks, Slashed. In March, Royal Caribbean cut perks for its Diamond-level members (those who sailed 10 to 24 cruises), barring them from the concierge lounges on most ships.

Carnival did not cut any perks for it’s Platinum members and value for money……….I honestly do not think you can compare the “Big Boat” and a cruise on a fun for all Carnival ship.

Thank you so much for the kind words and I am sorry about the air conditioning……and the beans.

My best wishes to you and your family
John

Bearded Bill from Boulder Asked:
John,

I hope you find time to read this. I wanted you to share the pride due your team for exemplary service. Please see the email below I sent to Carnival today:

Mr/Ms (Supervisor) –
I’m sure it will come as no surprise to you to hear of the excellent service Sharry has provided my family and I as our Personal Vacation Planner. Her patience, persistence, knowledge of Carnival’s products and her never-ending charm have made booking our cruise on the Carnival Dream an absolute pleasure. Unfortunately, my experience with another PVP was not nearly as positive. After some initial difficulties, I had begun to rethink my decision to try Carnival after having vacationed on RCC previously. I found the reservation representative at RCC to be much more professional and knowledgeable than the one I was working with at Carnival… but then along came Sharry. She really saved the day!

I want to emphasize that working with me has been no small test for Sharry. I am – admittedly – a high-maintenance customer. I read all the fine print, ask all the questions – and tend to do my shopping AFTER I’ve made my initial reservation. I know this can be frustrating to the people it impacts, but Sharry has not shown the slightest hint of negativity; to the contrary, she has been nothing but supportive and encouraging as I have changed my reservation no less than three times, and called back repeatedly with questions.
We anxiously await our cruise (3/21/10 on Dream), but have no anxiety whatsoever about our reservation or the choices we’ve made thanks to the professionalism we’ve experienced in Sharry’s care. She is a fantastic ambassador for the Carnival brand.

Sincerely,
Bearded Bill from Boulder & Family
(If anyone would like to contact Sharry, pls post a reply and I’ll send you her contact information)

John Says:
Hello Bill Boulder (Great Name)

I just had to say a huge thank you for taking the time to write this testimony of praise. I have sent this to the VP of our Care Team and my congratulations to Sharry. Please let me know if there is anything I can do for you.
Best wishes,
John

Susanne Asked:
Please reply when you have time.

I am glad to see that the Blogger’s Cruise is going good and everyone is having so much fun. I am sorry that I had to miss this one but hopefully next time.

I just had a few thoughts about the next Blogger’s Cruise that might be helpful. The dining was changed because of all of the confusion on the Fantasy with the open seating for the bloggers. However, would it not be possible to have the bloggers dine together but with assigned seating–just like large groups do? It was nice having all of the bloggers together but it just needed assigned seating.

Also, there are a lot of bloggers that qualify for special rates (past guest, military, teachers, over 55, etc). However, when booking with the bloggers fare code, they can not get these discounts. With the economy and money being tight for a lot of the bloggers, would it not be better to allow them to book using whatever discount they might be entitled to and then sending an e-mail to one of the Stephanie’s to add them to the list as long as it was done in sufficient time for planning?

John Says:
Hello Susanne

The bloggers cruise was a huge success and I think everyone was happy with their dining. I decided to let everyone chose which seating they wanted and if indeed they wanted anytime dining instead. I did not hear any complaints and this was far easier than trying to seat everyone together as we did on BC2. As for the fare code you are correct and we actually had many bloggers who did not blog with the fare code yet as along as they registered with one of the 343 Stephanies they received the gifts and were able to attend the private events. I am now giving my serious thoughts to BC4 and will announce the details in the New Year. Thanks for your thoughts and I hope to see you on the next bloggers cruise.
Best wishes
John

Jay (Cruise Addict) Asked:
Hi John, (Please Reply)

First of all….Happy Anniversary to You and Heidi!!!

Also, I’m sorry it has taken me so long to do this, but my wife and I really do want to thank you from the bottom of our hearts for the kindness you’ve shown to us.

Your gift to us on our 10th anniversary cruise, Nov 20th, was a surprise. My wife was very touched that someone of your position, and with your schedule, would think to send us their regards.

Those of us bloggers who have been fortunate enough to meet you in person know that the “personality” you put forth on this blog is just the person you are in real life.
You are “Good People” John. Don’t ever forget that when “others” bemoan you for helping folks out.

Hope you have a Great Day!

All our best to you Heidi, & Kye
Your Friend,
Jay

John Says:
Hello Jay

Thanks so much for the anniversary wishes. I am glad you and your good lady had such a wonderful time and thank you for taking the time to say “thank you” to me for the gift etc.
I hope we get to sail together very soon.
Best wishes to you both.
John

Canuck Cruiser Asked:
Dear John, Please reply (when you get back from your walk) LOL.

Ok……………we’re now hooked as well.

We respectfully would like to ask if we can be in Ken’s dining room for our January 30th, 2010 CARNIVAL DREAM cruise.

We’re in the late sitting of 8:15pm.

Thanks John. Happy Holidays and all the best to Heidi and Kye.
B&D from Canada

John Says:
Hello B and D (Canuck Cruiser)

Oh how I hate to bring you sad news but Ken will be leaving for a well deserved vacation on the 23rd of January. I am not sure who his replacement is as yet. Please leave me a note here on the blog if there is anything else I can do for you and please also leave me a note at the Guest Services Desk when you arrive so I can send you a welcome aboard gift.
Best wishes to you both.
John

Stacey Asked:
John (**please reply**),

Just back from our Glory sailing. Everything worked like clockwork (and Tejka in the Groups Dept. is a credit to Carnival…so efficient and friendly and warm…she was great on each and every occasion I had to work with her). The other stand out person in the crew would be Komang in the Platinum Dining Room. He is by FAR the best server we’ve had on any of our 3 cruises, and the crew member that stands head and shoulders above the rest on the Glory. I’d really, really love it if you could make sure his superiors are aware of how impressed our entire table of 10 was with him (and yes, I did fill out my comment card stating that as well).

Ryan was great, witty and energetic and yet didn’t feel the need to talk just to hear himself 24/7. Everything ran smoothly on the ship.

The ship itself was in great condition and working order, no signs of wear or tear and the crew was friendly and efficient.

We lucked out and had great weather all week, with the small exception of our last sea day (which was a blessing in disguise, as it allowed us to get our packing done early and have some down time, as at this point we were exhausted from all the fun we’d been having).

Also we LOVED the new “Luggage Express” option. Well worth the $20 per bag, although I would prefer more notice than having it mentioned in the Capers at turndown and being expected to have it all filled out and turned in by 5:00 the next evening. We had to cut one of our port days short in order to be back and have it completed and turned in on time.
Steakhouse was FABULOUS, as promised. Both food and service.

Camp Carnival was all it is hyped up to be…my kids, exhausted as they were, BEGGED to go every night after dinner. My nephew says it was his favourite part of the whole entire CRUISE!
I was also very impressed with the Vow Renewal ceremony we were invited to attend. Well worth the price…it was such a nice ceremony and the food was OUTSTANDING.

Anyway, thanks for all the special attention you gave our group. Everything went off without a hitch.

So looking forward to getting our tax returns in a month or so we can book our next Carnival cruise!

Many thanks!
Stacey

John Says:
Hello Stacey

That’s two great reviews of the Carnival Glory I have received in today’s blog and I can’t wait to send this onto the ship. I know Anuj the Hotel Director will make sure all those you praised will get to read your thoughts. I am glad that everything worked out for you and your group and as always I remain here at your service ready for the next time you cruise with us.
Best wishes,
John

Torbelinoblanco Asked:
John, (Please Reply)

The video of Ken singing “Nice and Easy” brings back memories as we enjoyed his performances both on the Freedom in Spring of 2007 and the Splendor on its 2008 TA. Got some good video of it. He should make a CD to sell on board.

Also as for a Boxing Day walk with Heidi and Kye, say what you want, you’ll be out there and will treasure the memories as these are priceless opportunities for your family to experience.
Now for my request. We’ll be sailing on the Spirit on Jan 14th for our 40th anniversary on what will be our 9th Carnival cruise. The last three were with other family but this one will be just the two of us. Would it be possible for us to have a table for two for this special cruise? We would be most appreciative!
Richard Korose

John Says:
Hello Richard

My only hope is that the snow and ice will mean that Heidi cancels our Boxing Day walk but you are right of course…………..every second I spend with Heidi and Kye is a second I cherish …………… although I could cherish them just as much in the car. Thanks for the kind words and I have sent your request to the Maitre D on the Carnival Spirit. I wish you both a wonderful cruise and hope you have fun and enjoy some cherished moments of your own
best wishes
John

Brittany (Britney Spears Group) Asked:
Hi John!!! I sent you a message on facebook but you never responded so please respond here or through email!!

“Hey John!!! So I know that you must be extremely busy right now but I have a quick question to ask you…Well first off, do you remember me?!! I have been on two of your cruises!! (Britney Spears group)…Anyway, my high school has an internship program at the end of the year for seniors and cruising has been a HUGE part of my life (have already been on 17 cruises!!!) and I was wondering if you could help me find anything to do as an intern either onboard or off board with Carnival cruises…This is a non-paid internship and it would truly be my dream to be able to do anything with Carnival cruises!! Please let me know if you have any ideas or if you think you could help in any way…If you are on a cruise right now, I hope you are having a great time and I am VERY jealous!!!! Thanks so much!!!!”

Hi John!!! I sent you a message on Facebook but you never responded so please respond here or through email!!

John Says:
Hello Brittany

Of course I remember you Brittney. You and your friends were so much fun and I would be honoured to try and help you. Although we do not have an intern program on board the ships I may be able to help you with a shore side something. If you decided to do work onboard then it would have to be a full time position. However, maybe we can help you. I will pass your information onto a chap called David who hires our Guest Service Officers and maybe he can have you attend one of the colleges we provide for trainees. Anyway, leave this with me and I will see what I can do. Sorry about not replying on my Facespace page thingy………..I have 3,000 friends and honestly I don’t understand the Facespace craze or do I have time to learn.

I will be in touch soon.
Best wishes
John

That’s all the questions for today and once again many thanks for all the great comments you have posted.

Here is the latest panorama video from Holland America’s new ship Niew Amsterdam and some brilliant photos to enjoy as well. Here is the link thingy.

http://www.hollandamericablog.com/nieuwamsterdam/

I wanted to share this note from our friend Host Mach from Cruise Critic.

Hello, John!

I hope all is wonderful at home and that the snow hasn’t prevented you from getting out in your Polar Bear killer to get all of your shopping done! I heard from one of our Cruise Critic members who sailed on the Carnival Dream on the voyage following the Blogger’s. He found a memory card for a camera just outside his cabin door and he would like to be able to return it to the owner. Having lost not only my memory card but my entire camera on the Crazies Cruise I really appreciate his efforts. He was in cabin 9473 and he can tell by the pictures that the owner of the card had that cabin on the Blogger’s. Is there someone at Carnival who can find out who occupied that cabin or perhaps intercede to forward the memory card to its owner?

Thanks so much for all the help!!

All the best for a blessed, wonderful Christmas for you and your wonderful family!!
Mach

Mach, please thank your CC member for me and I have sent this information to the relevant department at CCL HQ. I thought though that I would post this here to see if anyone was missing a memory card. If so, please contact me here on the blog thingy and I will pass the information to Mach.

Thanks again mate

Lots of people have been sending me Christmas wishes from the various ships and I want to share this one from Captain Carlo Queirolo and the Navigating Officers of your Carnival Dream.

Having spent many Christmases onboard I know that for the crew it can be a difficult time. While guests are having fun with their families onboard the crew continue to provide that fun along with brilliant service……….away from their families and loved ones.

One such crew member who will not be with his family this year will be Butch Begovitich, the incomparable Cruise Director of the Carnival Liberty. I asked him to tell us how the Christmas and holiday preparations are going on board and here is his report.

Butch Begovich
Christmas Blog 1
Carnival Liberty

I am honored that John has asked me to contribute to his blog for the second holiday season in a row. This year I am spending the holidays on the Carnival Liberty. A beautiful ship that I feel deeply connected to because in 2005 I was proud to be a part of the inaugural team as one of the great Mr. Heald’s Social Hosts. This is also the ship where John promoted me to his Assistant Cruise Director and where ultimately I spent my last contract as ACD before being bumped up to my current position.

We have been preparing for the Holiday Cruises for months, but before I tell you about this year’s Christmas and New Years celebrations here on the Liberty I want to take a moment to write about Chanukah. Last cruise I was honored to host the eight days of Chanukah. Now, even though I have spent almost every holiday season on board a Carnival Ship, I have never attended the Chanukah celebrations or paid much attention to them because we always had an Entertainment Staff member of the Jewish faith on board to facilitate the celebration. This year however, I had no staff members of the Jewish faith and thought it should be only fitting that I host them myself. The first night of Chanukah fell on the last day of a Western seven day voyage and was not very well attended. The second night of Chanukah also began a new cruise for us to the Eastern Caribbean and when I walked into the lobby on the first night of the cruise with a handful of the blessings type in Hebrew and English I was greeted by over 100 guests ready to celebrate. Almost immediately I was met by a guest who I now call Mr. Bill, who must have sensed my fear and saw how overwhelmed I was, he volunteered to do the blessing and say the prayers, while I lit the Menorah each night (Side note: when I say “Lit the Menorah” I mean screw the light bulb in on our oversized menorah that is anchored in the lobby for the entire holiday season……we cannot have real fire on a ship because of safety reasons.) Every night after the candle was lit and the blessings over the wine and challah bread were done we sang beautiful songs and ate latkes (I like mine with sour cream)……it was a blast. And a huge thanks you to Mr. Bill and his wife Ina who are my new Jewish parents!

We have really gone all out here on the Liberty for the holidays. The entire ships is dripping with garland, wreaths, decorations, and Christmas Tress……I counted 16 decorated trees in guests areas today including and eight foot tall beautiful lit tree in the lobby atrium. Our head chef Rekesh and his team even created an entire holiday village out of sugar and ginger bread on display on the promenade deck. All of our musical acts have prepared special holiday tunes for the cruise and we have even planned a Christmas Coral Sing-A-Long, a non-denominational Christmas Service, and of course our big Holiday Show which will feature our Singers, Dancers, Fun Force, and the Children sailing who are participating in our Camp Carnival Youth Programs. With the 3,600 guests that we have sailing, there will be something for everyone!

We also are having special events for the Team members including a holiday crew party the night before Christmas Eve, the Hotel Director is having a special thank you reception for all of the Hotel Management and the Captain is hosting a special Captain’s Christmas celebration for all of the Senior Officers and their assistants.

I personally am throwing a couple of holiday celebrations for my staff. I am having all of my managers (the Musical Director, Assistant Cruise Director, Dance Captain & Senior Entertainment Technician) over for a wine and cheese night this week and the whole entertainment department is participating in a secret Santa gift exchange. I will be throwing a pajama mimosa brunch for the team for the big secret Santa reveal on Christmas Eve. On Christmas Night we will have the Entertainment Department holiday party, complete with games, entertainment, elephant gift exchange, and I have a special present for all 58 members of the department to open on Christmas Day.

It is going to be a busy week, but I will also be fun. And as I will be missing my family again this year for the holidays, I am grateful for my Carnival Family and all that there is to look forward to in 2010. Stay tuned…..more to come.

Your Friend,
Butch

Thanks Butch and I know how lucky your guests are to have you as their CD this Christmas. My best wishes to you and all the crew and ………………happy holidays.

I want to thank you for the wonderful Christmas wishes you have been sending via the blog thingy and the 100 plus Christmas cards that have been pouring into my PO Box thingy. The fact that you took the time to write these wishes and post and mail them is truly amazing……. thank you all so very much.

Well, this is the last of the blogs for a few days. After much thought I have decided to take a break for a few days over the Christmas holidays. I have also done this not just so I can spend time with Heidi and Kye and eat loads of turkey but me taking a break also allows the 343 Stephanies, Vance and PA 007 to do the same. So….I will be off now until December 28….. that’s 5 days with bugger all blogs and of course you know that I am feeling guilty about this right now. But, it’s Kye’s first Christmas, Heidi’s Mum is flying in from Holland and there is lots to do.

I still have to find Heidi a gift and I hope that Santa has read my Christmas list and will be bringing me and an Aston Martin DBS, new underpants XXXXXXXXXL, and full size poster of Megan Fox’s Bottom.

And so until then I leave you with my families best wishes to you and your family for a wonderful holiday season, happy Chanukah and a very merry and fun Christmas.

See you on the 28th.

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.