Take Your Time

February 5, 2010 -

John Heald

Do you remember the chap I was talking about the other day that wanted quicker service in the dining room? Well, he has been on mind these last two days and has by the way had service that has him in and out of dinner within an hour, thanks to the dining room team.

My mind turned to him because I was working in the office to the accompaniment to one of those entertainment gossip shows on TV and who should come up but my old friend Angelina Jolie.

It seems that she doesn’t like to be kept waiting either.

The show alleged that she and Brad Pitt, used invitro-fertilization to conceive her twins……. not because she needed to….. but because she didn’t have the patience to get knocked up in the normal, rumpy pumpy grunty grunt way. She chose the procedure said the show because, like my friend who wanted his free steak in the dining room within 20 minutes of being there….. She wanted more children……. More quickly so she and Brad wouldn’t have to deal with the stress of trying to get pregnant.

You see, that’s what I mean. We live in a world where we want something and we want it now. We demand instant gratification and it is so normal that people now require an immediate, rumpy pumpy-free fetus in the same way that they might open a microwaveable dinner to save the time it takes to cook on a stove.

I must also mention that if Brad Pit thinks it’s a chore to have rumpy pumpy with Angelina …… then he needs a swift kick in the bollocks. I am sure that there are lady bloggers (and possibly some male ones as well) who will think the same thoughts about having rumpy pumpy with Mr. Pitt!

Yep, this along with my dining room friend are perfect examples of how we all live constant fast forward lives, huffing and puffing and moaning if we have to stand in line at the Mongolian Wok thingy, lipo-sucking because we’re too impatient to diet, anything to save time, time, time. Nothing ……. literally bugger all…….. Happens quickly enough for us anymore.

Who has not mentally machine gunned a slow retired pensioner at the wheel of a 1985 Cadillac on I-95?

I found myself screaming at the computer today “come on, come ON” because the internet on the ship took forever to open my blog page so I could read your comments and I often dream of tasering people who are always ahead of me in the line at my bank and want to deposit $10,000 ……….in quarters…………obviously we don’t have quarters in the UK but I have forgotten where the damn pound sterling symbol is again……bugger.

I for one have to start giving myself more personal time and slowing down. For example, when I find myself compulsively checking my e-mail inbox when I wake up for a piss at 3 am. Or when I sit in my cabin starring at the ghost white screen of my Raspberry oblivious to the beautiful Caribbean sunset on the starboard side.

Some of you (myself included) are accustomed to phoning friends and quickly realizing they are writing e-mails throughout the conversation. Tonight I was on the phone with the Groups Coordinator Debbie who was trying to discuss the complexities of changing our elegant night next cruise because of the World Series Bowl Final thingy.

During the conversation I made vague sounds of feigned interest such as “mmm, mmm, sounds great” when she could have just told me that we had a group of 500 Nuns who wanted a private lounge to watch the game in while consuming buckets of Budweiser. That’s because throughout the conversation I was e-mailing a friend of mine who was eating at a posh London restaurant and happened to be seated next to Jerry Hall. He was e-mailing me that he kept dropping his napkin because when he bent down to pick it up he saw something that must have given Mick Jagger a lot of satisfaction ……. which was much more interesting than talking about a group function here on my Carnival Dream.

And we are passing this hurry up attitude on to our teenagers who panics if they don’t read a text the moment it goes beep even though it probably only says “Gr8! lol x”.

Yep, we want it now, we want it yesterday and we want it quicker tomorrow. As for Angelina and Brad…….well…..they are just two lazy bastards. Heidi and I were trying for five years ………. every Thursday.

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

Margie M Asked:
John please reply

Hi John- We will be boarding the Carnival Dream for our first Carnival cruise on April 3. I did not realize at the time we booked that the next day is Easter. Is there a way to find out if any religious services will be held on board?

Sorry you are feeling poorly, best wishes for a speedy recovery.

John Says:
Hello Maggie M

I am sure that you are starting to get excited about your Carnival Dream cruise in April. I have been writing over the past few months about how we need to do better in providing religious services onboard our ships during important days in the Christian and Jewish calendars and obviously Easter is arguably one of the most important of them all. I have requested that a Priest be available here on your Carnival Dream and on as many ships as we can find someone to hold the services. I will be writing more about this as soon as I have the information.

Thanks for all the kind words and best wishes to all.

Cindy Wagner Asked:
Hi John, (Please Reply)

Sorry about the minor accident. I can relate with the stick shift issues. I found having an automatic makes my life so much easier.

As for clothing options for a CD I think they should be allowed to wear what they want. You want them to be approachable and comfortable. If they are in uniform people won’t feel comfortable approaching them. And if the bad comments are just about their clothes I would ignore them, that means someone just wanted to write a bad comment and that is all that they could think comment about.

Let Heidi know that as a mother/parent we tend to over pack for our kids and they don’t wear half the stuff that we bring. I ended up bringing half the stuff back that my youngest never wore. If she does want to bring a lot the suggestion of having it shipped is a good idea and she can send as much stuff as she wants.

I mentioned a while back that my oldest daughter is going to celebrate her birthday on the Carnival Dream. I have ordered a cake for her birthday that should arrive on our last night. How will I know if they are going to sing Happy Birthday to her? Do they do that automatically when someone orders a birthday cake?

My cruise is getting closer. We will be boarding the Carnival Dream in 30 days. I can’t wait.
My best to you, Heidi and Kye.

John Says:
Hello Cindy Wagner

I still feel such and idiot about my car crash. Driving is a favourite pastime of mine and to do what I did was really stupid. Anyway, thanks for the kind words of support. Heidi is being very strict about what she is bringing on the ship for Kye. As you may have read I will be off to Wal-Mart on Saturday with my shopping list of nipple pads and diapers. Please drop me a note when you board at the Guest Relations Desk and I will check on the cake delivery and make sure the staff are ready to sing “Happy Birthday” for her. I will of course have a little something sent to the cabin as well.

Thanks again for the kind words and see you all soon
Best wishes to all

JAS1178 Asked:
John – PLEASE READ (Reply if you like)

Passing this along from one parent to another. We had a long flight with our daughter when she was an infant, and had a very rough time of it. The flight attendant provided some cups to try to help reverse the pressure on the baby’s ears, but she was still screaming “doing Ozzy Osborne impression.”

Long story short, before we went on our return LONG flight home, we were given some advice which we checked with our pediatrician, and he agreed. First, we give Emma infant Benadryl about 30-40 minutes before takeoff (this put her to sleep). We then carefully placed “Children’s Ear Planes” (Found in most drug stores and online) in her ears. (Actually, we put the adult one’s in our ears.) The return flight home was peaceful, and not stressful on Mom or Baby. These plugs actually equalize the pressure and really help.

In the future, we tried just the Ear Planes on our infant, without the Benedryl, but found Baby didn’t want to leave the plugs alone. By being asleep/drowsy, when they woke up, she didn’t seem to mess with them.

Since then we’ve taken Emma & Noah cross country and wouldn’t consider traveling without them. (Tried some of the “off brand” ones…but didn’t work NEAR as well)
For my blogger friends (and you John). Be sure to check with your doctor before doing either.

John Says:
Hello Jas1178

I am dreading Kye’s first trans-Atlantic flight and feel such a bad person for not being with her and Heidi to support her through what will no doubt be a challenging 9 hours. I will definitely pass on the bit about the plugs to Heidi and I know she will find this very useful indeed. Thanks so much for your kind support and I will give you all a full report once they arrive in Florida.

Best wishes to you and the family.

Todd Asked:
Please Reply

My parents will be on their 11th Carnival cruise and the rest of our traveling party will be on our 4th. They tell us that you are the best Cruise Director in the fleet as they have cruised with you on 3 other occasions. We are all looking forward to a great vacation on the Carnival Dream the first full week of February. We’ll be celebrating a couple of birthdays during our trip and I was wondering who I could contact to see if we might be able to get a table close to a window in the dining room as a little extra “icing on the birthday cake” so to speak. Any assistance would be greatly appreciated.

As for the dress code, Cruise Directors should be as comfortable as the passengers. Corporate casual has been the norm for years.

John Says:
Hello Todd

I am hoping you will get to read this before you sail because unfortunately I don’t have your last name or stateroom number to help you with your dining request. If you have time to send it tonight I will try my best. Please though leave me a note of dedication about the birthdays at the Guest Services Desk so I can read them out on my live morning show as well as sending a little gift to those celebrating.

Thanks and best wishes to all
See you soon

Mike Haydu Asked:
Hi John, (please respond)

Follow your blog daily! But just watching the news on the earthquake in Haiti. What does a ship captain do when a tsunami watch or warning has been issued when in the area of their ship.

John Says:
Hello Mike

The situation in Haiti was and still is absolutely horrendous and we must all keep doing what we can to support those poor, poor people. All weather conditions are monitored 24 hours a day by the captain and officers as well as our operations department in Miami. Once a hurricane or severe weather warning is issued the captain and those at our Miami HQ will do whatever is needed to keep the ship and those onboard safe. We have been through many such warnings but …………touch wood……….never a Tsunami warning and let’s hope…………we never do.

This is also a great question for Capt Scala to go into in more detail. You can lookout for his reply on in his next blog which can be found on Funville.
Best wishes

Harry Cutsforth Asked:

I agree with those who have written requesting more assistance and replies to concerns and comments and less infantile humor on your blog. I think you would see a large increase in readership if you follow this path.
Harold Cutsforth

John Says:
Hello Harry Cutsforth

Thank you for taking the time to write and I will try my very best to provide as much assistance to those who need it on the blog thingy while still keeping my sense of humour which for me is just as important.

I hope you continue to read the blog and I am here should you need my help.
Best wishes

Erik & Sharon Asked:
John (please reply)

My wife and I have just returned and, while I will be posting a glowing review summary over on Cruise Critic, we did have a thought regarding the sales of Photos on the Carnival Conquest.

While three different pricing options were presented ($15 to $20), we just couldn’t find that *perfect* photo for the given price. We also noticed a number of couples/groups around us who were having much the same difficulty.

Has Carnival ever thought of having a “Photo Card” you can purchase (like the Soft Drink Card, but say for $100.00) which would allow you to automatically purchase all photos which are taken of you during the cruise?

It’s just a thought, but I think given that option Carnival would not only sell many more photos but also have more people stop to pose for them along the way.
Just a thought,
Erik & Sharon Valentine

John Says:
Hello Erik and Sharon

This is a great idea and you know, I am not sure if it’s one we have ever thought of but I will check. Certainly the soda card is very popular and maybe a photo card would be just as good. Thanks so much for taking the time to send me this great idea which I will take the credit for of course 🙂

Seriously, I will send it to Bob our VP of Commerce and will let you know what he says. I will try and find the time to pop on over to Cruise Critic and read your review. I am glad you had such a great time and hope we will see you onboard one of our fun for all ships again very soon.
Best wishes

grizel robertson Asked:
John – Please reply.

Like you I have been trapped at home because of snow accumulations, ice & all the other crap that accompanies the coldest spell in the UK for at least 25-30 years. My Christmas/New Year holidays were a break from mental work but consisted of shoveling, brushing & employing general elbow grease activities in Arctic conditions that rendered my fingers numb when my Wrangler boots, Mohair Scarf & Woolly Hat kept me otherwise warm in temperatures of -15.5 (centigrade). I have been unable to carry out my usual swim training (minimum 4,000 meters per week) in any pool because boilers have been unable to cope with the adverse outside conditions (what has gone wrong with modern technology).

I cannot wait to board C Victory in May 2010 but I appreciate that you are more enthusiastic about the prospect of Heidi & Kye joining you on board CCL as a family in February 2010. I would appreciate some form of recognition on any night on my BtB cruises in May of this year following my “millstone” birthday & would be grateful for any suggestions you can offer to ease the pain of a dedicated solo traveler who seeks some Real Fun on her Dream experiences.

Your Scottish Concierge Club member who endures over 24 hours of travel to embark on/disembark from cruises that are second to none. I just wish that the American participants who subscribe to your Blog & the Brits who subscribe to the UK Cruise Critique site could appreciate both sides to the equation.

Nemo me impune lacessit! That is the Latin phrase that is imprinted in the insignia in Scottish High Courts & on most of our coins of denominations of a pound or multiples thereof. The literal translation in Scots dialect is “Wha daur meddle wi me”, in other words, “who dare argue with my reasoning.”

John Says:
Hello Grizel Robertson

I know that while we had it pretty bad down South this winter that you Scots had it much, much worse. Your description of keeping warm was brilliant and I hope you are warmer now. Of course, your cruise is not far away and as you are travelling alone I know you must have some concerns. So, I want you to relax and not worry because as My Mum is Scottish I will look after you. Can you write to me in early April with your cabin number and full name and I will ask my friends to look after you. Also, have a think about your dining requirements and if there is anything I can do in this regard.

Until then, stay warm and dream of the Caribbean sunshine.
Och Eye The Noo
Best wishes

Betty Mayfield Asked:
John please reply

Is there any way you can post some pictures of the Carnival Fascination, I know she left for Freeport and dry dock when we got off the ship 4 January and I will be back on her in Feb and May. I was just curious to see progress in the work.

John Says:
Hello Betty

Great timing. I hope you saw the photos on yesterday’s blog. Doesn’t she look fantastic?
Best wishes

1stTimeCruiser Asked:
Dear John, (Please reply)

Just so you know, we could not hear you in Detroit. We were far too busy trying to figure out why of all cities, the Christmas Day bomber had attempted to hit our broken down city. Anyways, I, along with my fiancée will be sailing on the Carnival Dream departing Jan. 30th. My best friend and HIS fiancée will be marrying aboard the fine vessel. I was wondering if there was anything you could think of that we should prepare with, or suggestions you might have to make his funeral….err….wedding more memorable? I appreciate any and all suggestions!
Paul D.

John Says:
Hello 1stTimeCruiser Paul D

I am hoping that we have met and that you have had a great time here on your Carnival Dream. Did we meet? I hope so.

Please write when you get home.
Best wishes.

That’s all for today.

This unfortunately will be a quick blog thingy due to it being Friday and my schedule being as follows.


I also have to dress as Dolly sodding Parton for the Carnival Legends show………bugger. So as it’s already 8:10 am, me and my underpants better crack on.

One of the greatest joys of this job is meeting so many people with so many stories to tell. Have a look this letter.

Having read this letter I called the guest who told me of the horrors she had faced and how her husband’s fists had turned her life and that of her children into a living hell. And finally with him locked away in prison her 10 year old sun comes home from Sunday Church School and tells Mum that he met a man who “I want to be my Dad.” And his wish came true.

It is always so humbling to hear of stories like that and I must admit that it never ceases to amaze me why people choose to share them with me.

Now, meet Leo and Mary Marantz who joined me on stage yesterday for the Marriage Show. They were high school sweet hearts and eloped when he was 19 and she just 17. That because Leo was being shipped of to France for the Normandy Beach landings with the US Airborne and as he said “I wanted to marry her in case I never came back.”

But he did come back and now they have been married for 66 years and they were a true joy and the 800 guests who watched the show gave them both a standing ovation some I am sure wishing silently that they and their partners should be so lucky to be with each other for so many years…. as did I.

Here are Leo and Mary.

So, my first week here on my Carnival Dream is nearly over. Yes, I was a little nervous about coming to the Carnival Dream for reasons I won’t go into now and there are a few concerns that I have to address and with some hard work on my part and that of the crew we will make the changes that we need to do. The barbecue on the Lanai and the Brunch have certainly reduced the number of people eating on Lido Deck and having spoken to many, many guests this cruise only a few have mentioned that there has been some wait time on deck 10. But this was as I said a small minority and was usually at breakfast or involved the Mongolian Wok.

I know that a few bloggers were a little upset at me for saying some negative things about the RCI flagship. I have to say I don’t think I said anything too bad and most of it was in jest as always. However, the two ships came out at approximately the same time so of course there have been comparisons from the start. Yes, the Carnival Dream is not as big, obviously, as the Oasis of the Seas. But if you take price, quality, fun, value for money and service looks into account ……..to me……… she is simply brilliant.

If your Carnival Dream was a contestant on Dancing with the Stars……. she would score an almost perfect row of tens.

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.