Rubbing Me Up The Wrong Way

February 9, 2010 -

John Heald

Just before I start can I shout BUGGER? I can………..right then I will………”BUGGER” ………..someone told me that there was Super Bowl commercial showing Megan Fox naked in the bath…………and I missed it. BUGGER.

Sorry……..right then….on with today’s blog.

Sometimes I sit here in my underpants in the wee small hours of the morning, staring at a blank computer screen wondering what the heck to write about. Then there are days when you are spoiled for choice and today………… one of those days.

Let’s start with this incident from yesterday.

Guest: Mr. ———-Ref: _______Owner: (JIAW) Jirawan Wattanakong
Cabin: _____-Booking#: _____ Added-Changed: 02/07/10 – 02/07/10

Security called the GSA saying that there was a guest crying at the gangway because she wanted to get help for a cat that was on the pier. GSA called GSS who went to the gangway to speak to the guest. GSS then informed the guest that the Doctor could not help but she would inform the Ship’s Agent who would help. Mr _________ was very upset and crying. GSS called Ship’s Agent for assistance.

Unfortunately I do not know the outcome of this story……….did the cat live……..did it receive the medical attention it needed?…..or was it eaten by an iguana? I am sure that Alberto, our agent in Cozumel, took care of it though and it’s a good thing that the cat wasn’t found by a guest on a pier in Martinique as it would have met a different kind of ending……….one that involves rotating on a spit and served in a garlic sauce.

I did though feel bad for the guest and even though for once the Guest Services folks didn’t task this one to me I decided to call the guest and let her know that we appreciated her kindness and to explain that Doctor David and Doctor Caroline were ummm……. doctors ……….not vets……….even though Doctor David has seen my naked arse when he was looking at my hemorrhoids……….which is pretty close to looking at the arse of a cow.

So I called the guest and it was only when we spoke that I realized that I had not read the incident properly. You see, I had expected the guest to be a she and hadn’t bothered to read that in fact……….she………….was ………….a he.

I guess it was extremely sexist of me to expect that just because there was a cat and there was tears involved that it was a female guest………..nope……….it was a man……..a 51 year old man………. married for 23 years. Anyway, he told me that the cat had been sitting in the shade under the gangway and that its front paw was bleeding. I assured the guest that all would be well. Having done this I called Alberto our agent and he told me he couldn’t find the cat………..I haven’t had the heart to tell the guest.

I guess I was surprised to find a man being so emotional about a cat as I have always thought there was something girly about cats. The cat and the feminine of our species are quite similar. When women argue they go at each other like cats and like women, cats are well groomed, always cleaning and pampering themselves and like a woman a cat will lash out erratically at you with their claws when you least expect it.

However, as I sit here…….in my underpants………..the more I think about it I can see that a cat is actually quite masculine. They laze around all day doing bugger all and only move when they want something to eat……..or need urgent and immediate rumpy pumpy.

I still hate the little buggers though. My sister Suedrip had a cat. Its name was Bobby…… he was a bastard. He would let every other sod in the world stroke and pet him but I only had to look at him and he would hiss and scratch and attempt to stick his sharp little teeth in me. One day, he caught me unaware and scratched my face and made it bleed. I got bugger all sympathy from Mum and Dad because my sister told them I had been teasing him………OK………maybe I had ………a little……..but making my face bleed……..come on.

And so I needed revenge and I went to the sweet shop………..sorry………..candy store……. and bought something we in the UK call Moon Rocks. Now, I am not sure if you had this where you are from but they are little pieces of candy that when you put them in your mouth the saliva makes them explode in your mouth………they were all the trend.

Anyway, looking like Bruce Lee in the final scene of Enter the Dragon me and my scratches bought 20 bags of Moon Rocks. Now, some of you are already thinking that I must have fed them to Bobby. I didn’t…….that would have been cruel and unusual. What I did do was empty all 20 packets in Bobby’s litter tray and when it went to take a pee …… BANG…….explosions all around his arse…..and he flew out of house like Road Runner.

Unfortunately, he had eight more lives and the little bastard knew it was me that had caused his bottom pain…..and through the rest of his life he did anything he could to cause me pain.

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

Sandy Asked:
John (Please Reply),

Thank you so much for this blog thingy! I’ve become a huge fan since we booked our Dream cruise. I was so excited to hear that you were going to be our CD (2/20).

This is going to be our honeymoon cruise! My husband has cruised several times before but never with Carnival and this is my 2nd Carnival cruise (Holiday ‘98). I have married an absolutely wonderful man and I’m hoping you can give me some pointers for making this the most amazing getaway for us.

Our cabin # is 6347. I really hope we get a chance to meet you and say ‘Hi’. I can’t believe it’s just a month away.

John Says:
Hello Sandy

I am very happy to read that you will be sharing the start of your married life here on your Carnival Dream. I hope you take the time to write a letter for my morning show and that way I can send you a honeymoon gift. I also have the Honeymoon and Marriage Show on the Thursday which I hope you will come to …………….and possibly star in.

See you both soon and thanks for the kind words about the blog thingy.
Best wishes

Alice Sloan Asked:
Dear John (Please reply)

We sail on our 4th cruise Feb 21, 2010 on the Conquest, rooms 8233 and 8223. Last Dec was wonderful on the Valor except for disembarkation. We are trying to plan ahead this time because my hubby is blind and I have limited mobility. We contacted our TA already but I wonder how we can make sure we will not be “trampled” this time? Bad ending to a wonderful trip but not bad enough to keep us away from CCL!

Also, our daughter, her husband, and our 2 grands are going! The kids are so excited but do not want to go to Camp because our excursions look like too much fun. What do you suggest to WOW them on arrival to their room? Aaron (11) & Ashley (5) want me to ask you: Do we have a water slide on Conquest? Be glad I do not let them ask you questions!! LOL you can look forward to a zillion questions from Kye.

I have had a great cruise-bizness education just from your Blog! Thank you for answering so many of our other questions via blog. Chris Jefferson, CD on our upcoming cruise on Conquest, was CD last year on Valor. Super!! He’s in the best top CD’s on our list. Hugs to you & family from Missouri & Texas, especially that cutie Kye.

John Says:
Hello Alice Sloan

I am sure Chris will be very honoured (spelt correctly) to know that you rate him as one of our best Cruise Directors……….as does everyone at Carnival including me.

It sounds like you did not have a pleasant debarkation experience and so I am sure you will see much improvement in Galveston and be sure to ask Chris if you need extra help. I have asked Chris to place a trophy each for Aaron and Ashley for when they arrive and I am sure they will have the time of their lives.

Thanks for all your kind words and please send in your review when you get home.
Best wishes to all

Katiel53 Asked:
John, (Please respond)

I just wanted to post about our Dream cruise which was Jan 2-9. We were called a few days before the cruise and told to be at the port about 10:30 to avoid the lines and we arrived about then. My husband is going to have knee surgery next week, so we brought him onboard in a wheelchair. We had rented a scooter for him to use onboard. We were through the check-in line very quickly and had a short wait to board the ship.

Once onboard, we thought we would be able to get his scooter as the person pushing the wheelchair said he had to take it back to use for others, which we certainly understood. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to get the scooter until the cabins were ready for occupancy. This caused a minor problem, but nothing that would put a damper on the cruise. Off we went to the Lido for lunch. I went to the deli to get sandwiches for me and my husband while our friends got food from the buffet. I have to say Carnival makes the best turkey sandwiches I have ever eaten.

About 1 or 1:30 it was time to go to the cabin. When we arrived, our cabin was fine, but there was no scooter. I called to Guest Services and they said it was onboard and they would check to find out where it was. In the meantime, I found it down the hall. The scooter company sent a large scooter instead of the small one we requested, so it was almost impossible to get it into the cabin. I called the scooter company and they said there was nothing they could/would do as it was 2PM and the ship sailed at 4. I was really upset in that I didn’t know where my husband could put the scooter, nor could he travel the ship without it.
I went to Guest Services and talked to a very nice man. I am sorry I don’t know his name, but he is Korean. He said that we could bring the scooter down there every night and they would charge it for him and that during the day it could be in the hall near the elevator. I couldn’t believe how pleasant and helpful the people from Guest Services were. From then on, the scooter problem was not a problem.

Every morning when we went to the Lido for breakfast, my husband went up in his scooter. He sat at a table the first morning and I went to get in line for our breakfasts. A young man named Frederico came by and asked my husband if he wanted juice etc. My husband asked for juice and coffee. Frederico also brought my husband breakfast of eggs, bacon and pastries. I came back from the line with breakfast for my husband only to find he had his already. Every morning for the rest of the week, Frederico brought him his breakfast. To me, that is way beyond the call of duty. He is such a nice man.

Our dinners were in the anytime dining restaurant. Most nights we had/requested Tatiana. When my husband drove in his scooter, Volka, the junior hostess would take us to a table and drive the scooter to be parked and then bring it back at the end of dinner. We had wonderful service from Tatiana and her team as well as from Volka. Our food was good and only one time was something not as hot as we would have liked. We loved the anytime dining and when we go on another cruise, that’s what we are requesting. We were a group of 4 and only had to wait one night, the last night and we usually went to dinner at 7PM. Had we wanted to sit with others, we wouldn’t have had to wait even then.

I am a foodie when I cruise and I have to say that the pasta bar is one of the best places to have lunch. We went there twice and both times it was perfect. Once my husband only wanted Bolognese sauce and he wanted to dunk the garlic bread into it. I put on the order form no pasta and he got almost half a bowl full of the sauce. I couldn’t believe how much was in the bowl. My Alfredo with chicken and mushrooms was wonderful. We didn’t try the Mongolian food as the lines were usually quite long and there was so much smoke from the woks that it was difficult to stay in the area for any length of time. We did go to brunch a couple of days and loved it. The choices for brunch were awesome.

The shows were really good too. Dancing in the Streets is a must see. Unfortunately, we didn’t get to see the comedy shows this time as we spent too much time in the casino. I loved that we could enjoy the time there without being surrounded by smoke.

We spent some time on our balcony and we had a great cabin steward named Jovany. He is from Honduras. He gave us an extra ice bucket and extra towels as we had asked for lots of ice and extra towels. Our cabin was always clean and he was very friendly and pleasant.
We did smell the sewer smell occasionally. It seemed to be at night and on the elevators. The elevators we used were the ones just outside the casino, mid ship. We didn’t notice the smell anywhere else.

We had the best time on this cruise and I don’t see where all the complaints are about service and employees being unfriendly. Everyone we met was friendly and courteous.

I would like to make a couple of suggestions though. I used the omelet station almost every morning and I do wish there were some meats there as well as toast/pastries. I realize the area is small, but it is time consuming to stand in line for the omelet, then stand in line again to get ham or bacon and toast. I also believe that having toast/pastries only on one side of the buffet makes the lines take longer than necessary. I know the bacon server is in the middle, so that creates a backup as both sides go to him, but the right side is already past the toast when one gets to the bacon person while the left side has to cross in front of the oncoming line to get breads. That makes no sense to me. It seems as though breads should be on both sides of the buffet. I also noticed that the lines for breakfast really slowed down by about 10AM.

I also wish the area of the buffet where the Mongolian Grill is had better ventilation as it was hard to breathe when the woks were cooking full speed. At first I thought it was cleaning fluid I smelled and then realized it was the smoke coming from the Grill. After that, we never sat in the first area at lunch.

Finally, I am near the end, lol. In summary, the Dream is a wonderful ship with great employees. We had better service on this ship that almost any other cruise we have taken. I was concerned about the hot tubs and noise, but we didn’t hear anything in our cabin. When sitting on the balcony at night, we could hear people talking, but nothing that was intrusive. Also, we were lucky in that neither of our balcony neighbors smoked, so we were able to be out there often.

The last morning when my husband took the scooter to Guest Services, he was told to just sit in a chair and they would get someone to bring him a wheelchair to debark. We waited a short while as we had luggage tags numbered 1, and sure enough, a lady from guest services followed by a gentleman with a wheelchair came for my husband. The man wheeled him off and waited while we got our luggage and wheeled him to our friend’s truck for the ride home. Too soon the cruise was over, but we have already decided that next year we will do a back to back on Dream. It was that good!

John Says:
Hello Katiel 53

That is a superb review full of positive comments and great ideas on how we can improve. I would like to comment on one or two areas. Let me start with the Mongolian Wok. This is as you saw one of the most popular places to eat lunch and the fact that each dish is cooked fresh, in a wok, does cause lots of steam and cooking odors. Now, when a new ship is built we expect everything to be perfect. But, occasionally, we make mistakes and sometimes things they build break or don’t work. That is why, just like when you buy a new car, the ships have a warranty. In this case it is a year. That gives us a year to claim for anything that Carnival has ordered and that the ship yard has supplied that may not work to the specifications we expected. If that is the case we issue what is called a Guarantee Failure Report or GFR as it’s known. In the case of the Mongolian Wok the extraction is not strong enough and we have therefore issued a GFR and are expecting technicians to join us in the coming weeks to improve the extraction in that area.

I was sorry to read about the Motor Scooter mix up but happy that you found the service from Kim our Guest Services Associate, who is from Korea, whom I have sent a copy of your kind words to.

So, overall it seems that you had a great time and your observations on the Omelets station are also well noted.

I hope that it’s not long before we see you on a fun for all cruise again soon.
Best wishes to you both

Susan O. Asked:
John, Please Reply,

Do you know if they offer a Chef’s Dinner on the Freedom? Husband is a real foodie, and we sail on the 13th of February…..7th Carnival cruise and our 27th anniversary. If offered, how does one arrange a seating?

Thanks bunches…..totally love to start my day with coffee, you and the blog thingy….although sometimes the coffee shoots out of my nose when you crack me up. (It’s worth it, though!)
Susan O.

John Says:
Hello Susan O

I love to hear how and when people look at my thingy and I am glad that coffee time gives you some laughter………..thanks for letting me know. There are plans to roll out the Chef’s Table to other ships that I’m aware of and at the moment it is only available here on your Carnival Dream and on the Carnival Ecstasy. It is though superb and I hope we do indeed introduce it across the fleet soon.

Have a wonderful time next week and give this message to Jaime Frasier the ACD “Lark and a Dove “then tell him I promised you a bottle of champagne and a trophy.
Best wishes

MichelleinNH Asked:
Hello John,

My husband, I and daughter will be sailing the Dream on April 24th. We were with you on the Freedom in February 2008 and our daughter sent you sugar free GS cookies….Anyways, we were thinking back to our first cruise with Carnival, the Destiny, March 1997 and we were asked to be in a commercial they were filming on board. This commercial was with Erin Grey and not Kathy Lee (do you remember her? She was in the show Silver Spoons?). Were you the cruise director then? My husband and I have been arguing about it…he said you were, I say you were not….please put this dispute to rest…PLEASE REPLY! Thanks John!

John Says:
Hello Michellein NH

I remember those cookies very well because they were delicious. Thanks again for thinking of me. I was indeed the CD during that commercial shoot, I also remember that well and the fun we had shooting it. So, please tell your husband that you are right ……… as always………..and please remind me a few weeks before you sail on your Carnival Dream.
Best wishes to all

Kerensa Asked:
John (and Heidi) Reply if you like

Not sure if you remember my previous posts but I am from one of your dam sister companies….dam… 🙂

Those Cabana’s look amazing! We’ll have to think about booking one for our (hopefully) upcoming cruise. The plan is to SAVE SAVE SAVE until we know where you’ll be later on this year and then book as soon as we can so we can sail with you. Would have loved to have sailed with you, Heidi and the lovely Kye but no such luck.

Speaking of your beautiful family I say all the more power to you Heidi for BF. I also BF my son (w/ a nursing shawl as well) and for the most part no one really notices and if so, I just ignore the looks I get in public. I do understand though as the very popular wife of a very popular CD with a very popular daughter you are a bit more noticeable (spelt correctly?) so you could always take a pump (there are manual ones which are a bit less cumbersome and electric ones which are a bit more bulky but convenient if you want speed) to have a supply of mommy milk and some bottles that mimic BFing (BreastFlow bottles are great!) for when you are surrounded and then just BF when you feel comfortable or are in a private place. Personally I say do whatever makes you comfortable and let them talk if they will. Either way, someone will always have an opinion!

Much love to all of you and hope the flight isn’t too terrible (BF or paci on the plane will help Kye’s ears pop both during takeoff and landing) and that you have a great time being together! Toodles!

John Says:
Hello Kerensa

It’s great to hear from you again and before I forget, please send my best to my friends at Holland America Line. I am sure Heidi (who reads every blog and comment) will be saying a thank you for your support on the subject of breast feeding. It took me a few times to get used to it when she would feed Kye in public so I sort of understand a little if it makes others uncomfortable. Although, there are many worse sights to be found on the Lido decks of cruise ships!

Thanks again for the kind words of support and hopefully we will meet one day very soon.
Best wishes to all your family

Susan O. Asked:
John, please reply if possible.

We’re on the Freedom on 2/13 (our 6th Carnival cruise…going for platinum….loyal to the end!).

I’ve read a couple of ships are offering a “Chef’s Dinner” and am wondering if it’s available on the Freedom. We’ll be sailing during our 27th anniversary and my husband is a real foodie and would LOVE this if available. I believe it’s available on the Ecstasy and Dream.
Thanks in advance….your sense of humor makes me smile every day!

John Says:
Hello Susan O

My goodness, the Chef’s Table dinner is the talk of the blog isn’t it? Well, it is only being served on the Carnival Ecstasy and here on your Carnival Dream and hopefully it will very soon be on all our ships because it is brilliant.

I am glad the blog brings a smile to your face and hope it always will.
Best wishes

Diane Perchinske Asked:
Hi John,

Sailed on the Dream 11/23/09 for 8 days with my grandson (2nd time for him as we were on the Splendor last Nov.) Have also sailed on the Glory and I enjoy Carnival lines very much. The ship was absolutely beautiful and oh so big. Our room (balcony) was at the very end on 7 so did a lot of walking to get to the middle. Our room was great as were the crew members. Two friends from the Splendor were working in the casino so was great to be with them every night plus my friend’s son was running the comedy club. All in all it was a great time and we are looking forward to the Magic coming out in 2011. Loved your pictures on the slide. Take Care

John Says:
Hello Diane

Thanks for taking the time to write about your Carnival Dream cruise with your grandson. How lucky he is that his Grandmother takes him on cruises. It seems you knew quite a few people onboard and I am glad that you enjoy the Carnival product so much. I hope to see you on the Carnival Magic next year so we can discover Europe together. Thanks again for the kind words.
Best wishes

Portland Joe Asked:
John respond if you want

This may not win me the popular vote but I don’t need to win friends here. I agree with others here and on Cruise Critic that do not like the fact that you spend time arranging tables and free stuff. Have you not seen that every time someone says that they like you or your blog that they then ask for something. I don’t care but what happens if I want something like a table for two. I have to line up and ask the manager of the dining room.

Your blog is supposed to be an information portal not a wish list.

John Says:
Hello Portland Joe

I am so sorry that you seem so upset about this and that makes me sad as it is certainly not my intention or wish that you feel this way. I do indeed try when asked to help as many people as I can. I think of this as good customer service and I hope you may look at it this way. The blog has changed over the past months and will no doubt change again. But for now, and respectfully, I tell you that I will continue to help those who need it …… and that includes you so please let me know if I may be of service.
Best wishes

Miranda Asked:

It’s so funny that you are talking about CD announcements on the blog this day. I have been on a wonderful cruise on the Carnival Valor last week and catching up on my missed blogs. My main complaint for the whole cruise was that Big Tex started making announcements at 9:45 in the morning on sea days. We are night owls and always closing down the casino @3 am Because of his announcements, we never got to sleep late one time on this entire cruise. These were not played in our cabin, but were so loud in the hall that sleeping through them was impossible. I did talk to Big Tex about it onboard and he said that he was “contractually obligated” to announce the sale in the jewelry store. Ok, but at 9:45 am? Couldn’t there be a rule that no announcements except emergencies be made before 11? I would appreciate that very much!

John Says:
Hello Miranda

Welcome back from your Carnival Valor cruise and sorry that it has taken so long to reply. I realize that the onboard announcements is a subject that divides opinion. Some want to know what’s happening all the time and want to hear the announcements in the cabin. Others don’t want to hear any use of the PA system after the boat drill.

Before I continue I should point out that announcements are never made inside the staterooms unless it is something that everyone needs to hear…….safety and emergency announcements etc. Therefore, the announcement you heard Big Tex make was probably heard from a speaker outside or nearby your stateroom but not inside. It was though obviously loud enough to disturb your sleep and I apologize for this. I should also say that very recently we have started a new fleetwide policy that means that we will not make any non-emergency PA announcements until 10 am. We have also discussed making them shorter which should also be happening.

Now there are some obligations that the CD has to follow and of course it would be silly not to admit that one of our jobs is to promote the different areas on the ship as well as the activities and entertainment. Having guests spend money onboard allows us to keep our cruise prices so affordable. So yes, the CD will use the PA system but never in the cabin and as of the last few weeks, never inside the staterooms unless required by unforeseen circumstances. Hopefully this will be OK with everyone. As always, I encourage your comments on this everyone.

Thanks again Miranda and I hope you had a wonderful cruise.
Best wishes

Mike M Asked:
John (respond if you have time)

I definitely love the Diaper changing stories, brings back old memories. Folks now days have it easy compared to what we had to do to change a diaper. There weren’t any zip thingies, we had to use diaper pins. I can’t remember how many times I had to fold the cloth diaper in the right direction and make sure it was on right, most time it wasn’t. Boy did my wife tell me about that because the outer clothes were stained. I still screw it up with my grand babies, getting it on backwards. Thank God my Granddaughter tells me when I got it on Bass backwards.

As far as using Grey Goose as a sanitizer, no offense meant Sir, That is pure unadulerated Alcohol abuse, I’m sure you were kidding about the Vodka, at least I hope you were.

And YES, it don’t take about 2 seconds after you put the new diaper on, if you are so fortunate to have them wait that long, to have to change them again. Yes, baby did a nature call before the diaper was pinned and finished changing, especially the boys…Gotta Love it

John Says:
Hello Mike M

Brilliant. Thanks for that and I know Heidi will have a chuckle when she reads it. Ever since Kye was born I have been unable to look at or eat mustard.

Thanks again for the smiles
Best wishes to you and the family

That’s all for today. There are a few requests that have been made by people who sailed before I saw them. This is something that I apologize for and I am so sorry that I did not respond until after the sailing date. Please, if you need anything from me, can you write one month before the departure date and I will be honoured to assist you as best I can.

Have a look at these photos captured from the bridge camera of the Crown Princess leading us into Mahogany Bay, Roatan.

Tomorrow I will be proud to give you all a first look at a brand new ship that has joined the ever growing fleet of Carnival Corporation ships………and I can tell you now that she is wunderbar.

And it is congratulations to the Captain and crew on the Carnival Splendor who this past Sunday had a surprise visit from United States Public Health. After a thorough inspection of the food preparation areas and many other areas of the ship they were told what score they had achieved out of 100………..answer……..100. Brilliant.

Let me tell you that these inspectors are extremely thorough as they of course need to be so to achieve 100 is absolutely superb. Well done everyone.

Talking of scores, we received the ratings back from my first cruise on your Carnival Dream. Now, I am going to share a few with you.

OVERALL SHIP………..87.18
HAVE YOU ENJOYED YOUR CRUISE…………NO – 1.48%…………….YES – 98.52%

I will let you bread into that what you will……..but I will say this again……….this is an awesome ship.

Time to see what’s happening over on the Carnival Pride so put on your North Face jackets, gloves and hats because it’s time to go over to Baltimore and a cold Dear John letter from Jaime.

Dear John,

I know this letter is long overdue. So much has happened since the last time I wrote. All good stories start with “Once Upon a Time” so I will do my best to give you a brief recap of the past few months.

Once Upon a Time the “first couple of Carnival” had made a home out of the Carnival Pride. After being on board this ship off and on for over a year, it feels like I belong here. We had an amazing holiday season and New Years. The Captain – Vito Giacalone is one of the most caring and compassionate in the business. This attitude and behavior is ingrained into the crew on board and makes for a wonderful home. He also has known Kirk for nearly 15 years. He was also my very first Captain when I started with Carnival 2 and a half years ago. After celebrating the holidays with my Carnival Pride family, Kirk suddenly came down with a chest infection that resulted in me taking over as Cruise Director three weeks prior to my actual scheduled date. I promise I did not poison him! He is now on vacation and feeling much better. It was actually quite helpful having Kirk on board guiding from behind (that is not meant to sound dirty…). Also sailing with us right now is retired cruise director Shawn Bussey. One of the most amazing and beautiful women I have met in this industry. She is one of the first female cruise directors to work for Carnival. She lives across the hall with the safety officer and she is sailing with us for 5 cruises. SO if I need some assistance, I have the option of knocking on the neighbor’s door and asking for some eggs, hugs or what to heck I am supposed to say for if we have a medical emergency.

We have certainly encountered our fair share of challenges sailing through the North Atlantic in the winter but overall our guests keep smiling, laughing and having fun, which is indeed our ultimate goal. Today when we arrive in Baltimore we are expecting 2-3 feet of snow. Surprisingly enough, our guests remain positive and friendly as ever even though we are occasionally facing rough seas and high winds. They still are gracious and lovely. I believe they are just happy to be taken into temperatures exceeding freezing when we make our way south toward the Bahamas. This past cruise, we missed the port of Freeport, Bahamas because of the high winds. It would not have been safe to for our guests, crew or the ship to dock in the port of Freeport with the given weather conditions. We ended up with a bonus day at sea and 2,500 guests that chose to make the best out of a disappointing situation. Today, I found out that neither of the fly on entertainers that were scheduled to join the ship are going to make it to Baltimore due to the airlines being closed. Nevertheless, we will keep smiling and make it work. Is trial by snow a fair term to use?

This is the first time I am having the opportunity to take over as cruise director, on purpose, for months at a time. This is really giving me the chance to grow on stage and as a person. Develop my own shows and make wise decisions about how to lead a successful team even when encountering a challenging itinerary.

I could not ask for have a better group of peers to support me while experiencing the CD position for this extended period of time. As Musical Director I have the amazing Chris Martell, used to be a part of a jazz trio and now is experiencing his first contract as Musical Director. He was part of my team on the Carnival Splendor last year during the South America itinerary. He is doing an incredible job during his first contract as Musical Director. As Dance Captain we have the lovely and talented, seasoned veteran Hayley Allen, she has been with Carnival for several years and she has the grace and expertise to admirably balance the needs of the dancers, department and guests. My highly respected Acting Assistant Cruise Director is William Strydom, all the way from South Africa. He has been with Carnival for more than five years and knows the ins and out of the department, the company and what a team needs to succeed.

In conclusion, I truly miss having Kirk on board and working with him. But I am taking this opportunity to grow up and do what I have set out to do working for this company – help a lot of people by contributing to their fun and memorable vacations.

And they all lived happily ever after…..

Looking forward to sailing with you soon.

All the best,
Jaime Deitsch
(Acting Cruise Director)
Carnival Pride

Thanks Jaime for another great letter. It was wonderful to see Shawn Bussey and her beautiful son. We miss her very much amongst the CD ranks however thanks to Jaime, Risa, Jen and Tori……….the ladies are well represented.

I am very proud of you Jaime and I am sure Kirk is as well. You are looking after his ship superbly and I am sure he is very happy that you are on top of things. Please write another Dear John letter soon and our best to you, the Captain and crew.

The show last night featured Edge who is a juggler and ummmm……..well……….it’s hard to describe what it is he does. What I can tell you is that his act involves lots of balance and last night his skills were put to the test. There was a lot of wind again last night and the ship was bouncing around like a ……….yet while me and the guests had trouble walking in a straight line…….he was doing remarkable things on stage. He really is incredible and if you see his name in the Carnival Capers (soon to be Fun Times) please go and see him.

I am not sure why but it still seems that I am upsetting some of you by my continuing to help those who ask for it. However, when I read comments like this I know that I am doing the right thing.

Sandi Asked:
Dear John,

My husband and I love cruising carnival so much that we got my parents hooked also. We should have been hitting the BIG #10 on the Dream 4/3, but sadly it will only be #9. The reason being was the last cruise, instead of getting on the boat we had to get back on a flight home because my mom took a turn for the worst with her 5 year battle with cancer. In those 5 years we got her on 6 carnival cruises. She had a blast, loved sitting on her balcony watching the sea, sitting on deck rocking to the music, watching the children play in the pool, going to every show, and making new friends with our room stewards and dining room wait staff. My mom (Mary) hated being cold and looked forward to going to every warm sunny port we could get her to. She was cremated and had asked us to bring her on one last cruise and leave her ashes someplace hot, in the beautiful blue waters free to travel the world. This is I would greatly appreciate your help. We will have 11 people in our party and would like to let mom go from the ship. She made sure to pick out a biodegradable urn so she wouldn’t be blowing back at us!! Thanks so very much. Love reading the blog!

John Says:
Hello Sandi

I am so sorry to hear about Mum. I am sure you have such wonderful memories of her and especially those you spent as a family on the ships of Carnival. I will make sure I do all I can to make her final voyage special. Please leave me a note at the Guest Services Desk when you arrive onboard and I will arrange everything. I think a simple sunset scattering will be very simple and if you need anything else please let me know.
You are in our thoughts
See you soon

So yesterday we had our elegant night. Remember we switched it from the previous night because of the Super Bowl Series thingy. Well, between me and you I was a little worried that the first party would be quiet because of the 6 pm departure from Cozumel…. and I was right. It was as quiet as a dead cat. Maybe this had something to do with the beautiful sunshine we had all day long and that many came back to the ship as close to possible at the 5:30 pm back onboard time. However, the second Captain’s Celebration was busy and I met many people who told me how they enjoyed the Welcome Aboard Show and the Morning Shows, etc. There were many that read the blog and many who have sailed with me before. These are always great to see……..unless the conversation goes like it did last night.

I was standing next to the Captain and Chief Engineer in the Ocean Plaza and up comes a chap who says:

“John, cruised with ya in 1996 on the Destiny”

He then takes his right hand and starts rubbing my stomach.

“You put on some hefty weight there ……………….dude!”

Now, at this point I want to attach his nipples to electrodes and turn it on to full power. I mean, how bloody rude. Not only was he quick to tell me that in the past 14 years I have become a blob………but he had to rub my stomach while doing so……….and if that wasn’t bad enough………..he called me “dude”…………..dude my arse!

It is at times like this that I wish those bastards at AIG hadn’t screwed me and many others out of my savings when they spent all my money on Latvian lap dancers. Because if I had enough money in the bank I would have told him to bugger off and shove the hand he was using to pat and rub my stomach up his own arse and told him to bugger off.

But, I don’t have the money in the bank………and so I smiled………let him rub……… and admitted that I was indeed ……….fat.

He seemed pleased by this and turned his attention to the Captain shaking his hand telling him that he had a 22 foot sailing boat ……..which is like telling Dwyane Wade that you once beat your 14 year old nephew on a game of one on one in your back yard.

Maybe he thought he was being cute or funny and maybe on a better day I may have seen the funny side of it……and I certainly would have been more understanding if he hadn’t had rubbed my stomach…….I just don’t like that…………at all.

Then there was the older she was really upset. It genuinely baffles me why though because if you reach a point in your existence where you start to worry about whether men should be allowed to wear a pair of jeans while having fun on his Carnival cruise vacation, then you must have considered and done everything else that life has to offer. Up to and including what it would feel like to pat and rub the CD’s stomach.

I see less and less of our guests dressing up these days and I wonder if it’s time we looked at this. Many guests still like to dress up, for many the chance does not come along that often. This is just my opinion of course and not that of Carnival Cruise Lines …….. but I do have to say that we often talk about the typical Carnival guest being spirited and being comfortable in their own skin…………so why not in a pair of jeans? I am not suggesting we should get rid of elegant night…..but I am sure you will have thoughts on this subject and as always…….I look forward to reading them.

One last thing……the stomach rubber chap really got to me and yet sitting here this morning I realize that I should never have let him. I think that Cruise Directors, more than anyone else in the cruise industry have to keep their humour and keep their feet on the ground. If we start taking ourselves too seriously……we are heading for a fall.

I have no idea what the stomach rubber’s name was …….but I have decided to call him “Angus”………and the G is silent.

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.