Tales Of Conquest

March 22, 2010 -

John Heald

He didn’t just smell. Oh no……….he smelt so badly that even a French person would have gone “sacra bleu, kiss co say la pong du skunk.” You see, while my flight from Orlando to Miami was uneventful save the fact that the pilot thought he was a cruise director using the PA to point out each state we flew over as well as introducing us to each of the crew by name and where they were from………..nope the adventure began when Craig and I landed.

You see, we were supposed to be met by the Elegance Limousine Company. The name alone conjures up a stretch limo so long it starts in Galveston and finishes in Dallas. It sounds like there will be a uniformed driver to meet me with my name on a gold framed card “Mr. Heald, Senior Cruise Director and Brand Ambassador of Carnival Cruise Lines.” Elegance Limousine ………… ahh yes, a gleaming white stretch Cadillac full of Diet Coke and all the Latvian women I could eat.

Was it bollocks!

We arrived at Houston airport and collected our luggage which Continental had graciously decided to send to the same airport as me. All had gone well and my travel package said that a “representative from Elegance Limousine would meet me at 4:45pm and collect me and take me to my hotel in Galveston.” Great…….Carnival were treating me like a true VIP ……. brilliant. The only problem was there was no bugger there. Oh well, maybe they were running late. So we waited and we waited and 45 minutes later we still stood in the airport terminal surrounded by our luggage waiting for the limousine to arrive. I called the limo company and got an answering service where JR Ewing told me that office hours were 7 am – 6 pm Monday to Saturday and that on Sunday’s they were closed. It was code for “y’all travel on a Sunday, y’all are screwed.”

And we were.

Luckily I have a mate who is the Vice President of Manning for Carnival and like me has a raspberry addiction and so I knew he would answer my e-mail cry for help. And sure enough the proof that he was a 100% dedicated Carnival servant……or had no friends………came a long in an instant reply. They were calling the company to find out what was happening.

Meanwhile Craig and I asked every limo that pulled up outside the airport area where we had been told to wait if they were there for Mr. Heald, Senior Cruise Director and Brand Ambassador of Carnival Cruise Lines……some shook their head…….some laughed…….one said something in Spanish that wasn’t “have a nice day.”

My VP friend wrote and frustratingly admitted that he and his colleague Maureen had not been able to get through either and that I should take a taxi. Well, bugger I thought, it was now 6:30 pm and I had been awake since 6:30am and was tired, hungry, worried about my sugar level and was in dangerous need of a poo and was touching cloth………and now they wanted me to take a taxi……I could have done that at 4:45pm. So we got in line for a cab maneuvering Mr. and Mrs. Samsonite around again which was also getting on my sodding nerves. The line for the cab was 30 plus and mostly and I was not a happy man. Tired, hungry, thirsty and touching cloth I was not exactly Mr. Chatty. Yet the lady behind us in the taxi line wanted to have a full on conversation about the weather………more on that in a moment…….and my apologies to her for my grunt and groan answers.

Just as I was considering taking a poo in her carry on Craig spotted something. Our limo had arrived. Well, when I say limo it wasn’t exactly what I had been dreaming of. The fact that Craig knew it was from the company set to meet us tells you that they had their company name written down the side, not something you usually find on a limousine transporting the rich and tanned. That would have been because this was not a stretch limo full of luxury and Latvian bottoms …… nope………this was a van……a tired old Ford van that looked liked it had been used to collect the crew of the Ark.

Anyway, I dispatched Craig over to ask if they were here for us. They weren’t. They had never heard of us but said that they collect Carnival crew and that was good enough for us. All we had to do was sign something and show our Carnival ID’s. So once again I labored over to the van carrying Mr. and Mrs. Samsonite and was met by Jabba the Hut. Now, before anyone has a go at me for being a fattist let me remind you that I am not slim. I am a big boy and the first to admit that I need to have at least two Xs in my clothes label. But this chap………well he was the biggest chap I had ever seen in my life. When he got out of the van and hit the pavement it was like a scene from a disaster movie. I half expected people to come running out of the terminal in sheer terror………was it an earthquake?

He opened up the back of the van door and there was a moment where we acted out a scene from a cowboy film. Two gunslingers starring each other out…….who would draw first…………or in this case who would pick up the suitcases and put them in the back of the van……. that would be me then. That’s because he would have had to have put down the packet of ……. and I am not making this up……..Craig is my witness…….he had a packet of something called “Ho Ho” ………….. or was it “Yo Yo”………….they looked like small cupcakes and as we stared each other in the eye…………..he stuffed another one down his tunnel sized mouth ………… and that was me loading the Samsonite family into the back of the Ford.

We took our seats. Actually we took our springs. I say spring because the seats had lost all their support and all I could feel as we drove away was a spring shooting up my bottom which considering my toilet problems was a good thing because it pushed back in again. Still……..at least we were on our way.

No we weren’t.

About 20 minutes later and much the shock of Craig and I we arrived at ……… ummmm ……. an airport. Had our driver just driven us round the block a few times? “What was going on?,” we asked. And as little bits of Ho Yo fell out of his mouth a “limo driver” explained that this was another airport……and that he was collecting some RCI crew who were joining the Voyager of the Seas.

I wanted to say “hey, do you know who I am? I ‘m Mr. John Heald, Senior Cruise Director and Brand Ambassador of Carnival Cruise Lines. I have a blog. It’s been read by 6 million people.” But I knew that would be as pointless as a broken pencil. Unless I told our driver that I tasted good with fries…..I doubt he would have cared.

And so we sat outside for 35 minutes listening to Jabba chomp. He had moved off the Yo Ho thingies and was now shoving huge pawfuls of Doritos down his neck.

Then things got worse as we were joined in the van by 4 RCI crew…….all from faraway lands ……all who had been travelling on planes for many, many hours and therefore were not giving off a rose petal odor. In fact the chap seated next to me smelt so bad that I can’t even joke about it here on the blog thingy. It took every ounce of my being not to cover his body in my vomit and I seriously considered taking that poo I so desperately needed right there in the van……. just to cover the smell. I would also like to say that he was a nice guy and I am sure he was but I couldn’t bring myself to say more than hello. I just closed my eyes and breathed in only when unconsciousness was knocking on the door.

One hour later…….four hours after our flight had landed we arrived at our hotel……The Tremont. There was a nice surprise for me as my VP mate had called ahead and they had a beautiful room waiting for me. It had been a long night and through no fault of Carnival’s I had been through hours of frustration surrounded by smells that would have made a rat vomit and because of my desperation to fill my underwear………much tighter bottom muscles.

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

Ken Stevenson Asked:
John (Please reply),

So, you used to play the trombone? I knew you were my kind of guy. Many moons ago B.C. (Before Carnival) I spent a few years playing the trombone. I managed to earn a living – and meet my wife-to-be. However, as it happened, my biggest payday using the horn was when I sold it on e-bay. Not sure if that was a commentary on the economy at the time or on the sounds I was making with the trombone. The wife? A winner. We’re booked into Cozumel next September when we’ll celebrate our 60th. Just wish the World’s Leading Cruise Lines’ Worlds Best Cruise Director could join us!! No matter what you may or may not do with a trombone you will stay away from any accordion, won’t you? After all the trouble you’ve gone to developing those abs you wouldn’t want to risk a nasty scar from the infamous Stomach Steinway.

If you feel the following has some merit perhaps you’ll pass it along.

Have you ever been surprised, as we have, at the number of folks who despite suffering “the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune” as Hamlet might say make the best of what they can and continue to cruise, just because they enjoy it so much? It’s interesting, to say the least, how many will pass through the Atrium in an hour managing a bad limp, a cane or a walker. Consequently it is not very surprising to see more than a few people on board when the ship is in port. Many of them, like us, read descriptions of shore excursions that include scuba diving, kayaking, parasailing, water skiing and so forth and think instead about what the afternoon movie might be since they can’t possibly handle the activity required. To use Roatan as an example even after all the other exceptions are made Gumbalimba Park sounds interesting until they say quite a bit of walking is required and, as on a ‘bus tour’ of the island, comfortable walking shoes are recommended. Perhaps this is one of the reasons Carnival, in their wisdom, provides the movies. Why doesn’t someone, the Senior Cruise Director, for example, arrange an honest-to-goodness coach tour of the island that requires no walking at all once under way with the exception of perhaps an hour and a half pit stop for nature calls, refreshments and very close by shopping? Those of us who came to cruise and not walk can then still pick up the odd t-shirt, hat or diamond tiara. And who better than you to appreciate what it would mean to ship in a few London double-decker sight-seeing buses for some sight-seeing? Speaking for my wife and I while me might forgo the tender to Belize you can be sure we’d arrange one way or another to be on the Heald’s Guided Tour bus around Isla Roatan.

And speaking of things vehicular, John, It appears someone has given you bad info regarding Toyota’s Prius. It will, in fact, turn 60mph in 10 or 11 seconds and pass 100mph with no strain. That ain’t bad. Anyone who appreciates a regular 40+mpg, doesn’t plan on any towing or carrying 8 or so people would be making a big mistake if they don’t check out the Prius, it’s a heck of a car.

Take care, John, and remember when you’re as sweet as you are you really must keep an eye on the ol’ blood sugar!

Ken and Lorrene

John Says:
Hello Ken Stevenson

Yep, I played the trombone and I loved it and I miss it. Somewhere in the depths of the attic sits a King 6B trombone unplayed and forgotten for many years. The slide will have rusted up but for many years it was used to play in good old fashioned British Brass bands. My Dad is a fantastic musician and played the coronet and the soprano e flat coronet as well and he brought me up on the sounds of brass. Congratulations on your 60th which is truly incredible and I wish you wishes for many more happy years from one trombone player to another……………although I am sure the sounds coming out of your bell were much sweeter than the ones I spurted out.

Your point is well taken and is actually a wake-up call as well. You are right. We need to offer an excursion that involves zero walking in every port. Now, I know we do in many but not all and maybe we should have one excursion in every port titled “The No Walking Sightseeing Tour of…”  Now the worry would be that without actually going into the various attractions may make the excursion bland and maybe some areas are not accessible by coach and involve walking but…….I know a man called Mico who runs our award winning excursion program who will be very interested in this and is always looking for feedback.

I have sent him your thoughts and I know that he will give this his immediate consideration. We have some excursions as I mentioned that are indicated by a special “single walking person” thingy as easy and with little walking. But maybe we need to brand an excursion the same for every port with each island featuring a “No Walking” excursion. Thanks or the great idea and it would be a true honour (spelt correctly) to sit as men do and talk about the trombone but it may take a bit more to get me to sit and talk about the Toyota Tofuius.

Best wishes to you both.
John

cindy56 Asked:
Please reply John!

Do you have the next bloggers cruise date picked yet? I would really love to go this time.

Congratulations, I can’t wait to sail on the Carnival Dream one day!

Cindy 🙂

John Says:
Hello Cindy

Ummmm…….nope. And I will be talking about this later in today’s blog. I hope we get to sail together soon though.

Best wishes
John

J. P. Hertzoff Asked:
John

How Carnival let you talk about Royal Caribbean in such a negative way is beyond me. I have never cruised with Carnival and it seems that you have never been on a Royal ship either as you negativity has no foundation. You may have all the bravado in the world on your blog but I am sure that every Carnival employee is so jealous of the Oasis.
J.P.

John Says:
Hello J.P. Hertzoff

I have stated here many times how impressive the Oasis of the Seas looks. You are right though I have never cruised on an RCI ship and having had fun at their expense here in the blog these past three years it may be best if I don’t!

Are we jealous? Well I would love some of the entertainment areas they have…… But are we jealous ……nope. I often wonder though if jealousy and the fact that RCI lost the battle royale to acquire Princess Cruises was one of the factors that led them to build what I hope will be the largest cruise ship in the world for many many more years to come.

Tell you what J.P……..you come take a Carnival cruise and I will take one on RCI …….. deal?

I wish them and you all the best.
John

Tom & Geri Wheatley Asked:
John, please reply

We hear you are TOPS, The Man, and MR King of the GREAT Carnival family who knows it all.

We need to know about two music groups who in the past have traveled together…..’Play That’ (Joel & Lorna Presley) and ‘Music Society’. We have had them on several ships and would like to travel with them again. Do you have what ship they are on the week of March 27th and any weeks including and after May 23rd of 2010?

Thx … LUV you guys

John Says:
Hello Tom and Geri Wheatley

TOPS, The Man, MR King of the GREAT Carnival family who knows it all….. wow…….no pressure there then. OK, Joel and Lorna. Yep, they worked with me on the inaugurals of the Carnival Liberty and Carnival Freedom and are as we speak thrilling the guests in the lobby of the Carnival Valor. Music Society. The one and only Cyrus and the lads have been with us many, many years and are currently on vacation and due to join the Carnival Spirit on April 22. I hope this helps and please let me know if you need anything further.

Craigslistfriend (Amy) Asked:
John (please respond)

John, I just got home a week ago from sailing with you on the CD (Feb 6). I have to tell you that after reading some of the reviews on CC prior to sailing, I was a little worried. I told myself that those people were looking at the hole in the doughnut and I was going to focus ONLY on the good things. Let me just tell you…if our cruise was a doughnut it was long john…ha ha…no pun intended…no hole either! You being the director was the frosting on top and the yummy stuff in the middle. 🙂

This was my 5th cruise (3 on CC) and it was the best. We sailed with you 14 years ago on the Fascination and you set the bar SO high. We have NEVER had a cruise director as much FUN as you. BTW…I spoke with you on the phone during your morning show about my dog Tula the Schnoodle.

This year we cruised with our 2 kids. They loved meeting you and taking a picture with you. They were so happy, it was like a meeting celebrity. You told us to send you a note with our cabin number on it because you wanted to send the kids something. We left you a note at GS, but I’m not sure you got it. We were in room 8282…sail date Feb 6. Is there any way you could send them an autographed picture you? They would be so surprised and thrilled.

I hope you are having a great time with your family. Your daughter is beautiful. . Thanks for doing the blog…it’s hilarious.

John Says:
Hello Craigslistfriend (Amy)

I know that sometimes people do get influenced by what others say on Cruise Critic and as I have said many times before everyone who writes there has an opinion and opinions are just that……opinions based on their own expectations and their own circumstances. And while I respect them I always ask that others pay them little heed and make their own minds up as you did. Now, I am not sure if you are referring to what is said about me on Cruise Critic or the ship herself. I know there are many on the cruise boards who think of me in the same way the do constipation and that again is fine and I understand and respect that not everyone will like me and what I do. However if you are referring to the ship, well that’s a different story and I do care about that.

It is then with great pride that I read how much you and your family enjoyed the ship and it would be an honour to send the kids a photo. Can you post again with your address……….mark in PRIVATE and one of the 343 Stephanies will take it from there. Glad I was the jam in your doughnut (spelt correctly) and hope to see you all again very soon.

Best wishes to you all
John

J Brabbe Asked:
John, Reply requested.

I just read through your response to a smoking concern and just don’t know what to say.

Here is part of your response:

We really have limited smoking here and I do not foresee a policy change in this area anytime soon either at Carnival or any other of the lines.

This statement sends a message to me – cruise elsewhere.

Smoking in the cabins, on the balconies, in the piano bars, in the disco, in the sports bar, in the casino. Do you really consider that limited smoking?

As far as other lines’ policies Disney only allows smoking outside in the open air. Although their policy is extreme and is not a good comparison (based on business models), there are other lines with more restrictive smoking policies that could be compared to Carnival.

It really is not fair that non-smoking guests who do not want to subject themselves to nasty and scientifically proven hazardous second hand smoke should not be able to enjoy all of the venues on the ship, including the very quite often unique experience of the piano bars.

I would be happy with smoke free Piano Bars.

I would also hope that while Carnival is building new ships they make an effort to do something to increase ventilation in the piano bars as well as the other indoor areas where smoking is permitted.

Ever think of an open air venue for a Piano Bar?

I am quite confident that I can find another line with a smoking policy that is more fair to non-smokers.

I do hope that Carnival can find a better balance because as time goes on more and more people will become intolerant to all that smoke!

John Says:
J Brabbe

I will start the reply to your question by once again stating that I realize that smoking is a very sensitive subject and one that divides opinion equally. I recently posted a file that contains each ship’s smoking policies and where they can and can’t smoke. If you look at them you will see that the places you cannot smoke far outweigh the areas where smoking is permitted. Your Carnival Dream is a huge leap forward to some of the suggestions you mentioned and having more open air areas for smoking makes total sense. This subject is not closed and while the debate rages on Carnival will listen very carefully to the demands of our guests and adapt as we need to.

Thanks so much for taking the time to write and I encourage you to continue to express your thoughts here on the blog thingy which is read by all of Carnival’s top decision makers.

Best wishes
John

Jumping Jenny Asked:
John, please would you reply.

I read on Cruise Critic that you were giving free gifts to people who have been affected by the virus that your blog has caused. Please can you tell me what I have to do to get this gift? My computer got your virus and I know many others on Cruise Critic are saying the same. What should I do?

Thanks
Jenny

John Says:
Hello Jumping Jenny

I will keep this short and sweet ……..Jenny…….I haven’t a bloody clue what you’re talking about. Host Mach…………..can you help?

Let me investigate Jenny.

Best wishes
John

Rick H. Asked:
John (please reply if you care to):

Loved the blog, as always! There are a few things I wanted to chime in on:

First, to Glen (who asked about his 12-year-old niece participating in Camp Carnival with his 10-year-old daughter): Talk with the Camp Carnival counselors about this on your first day aboard. They may be able to give you an idea or two about how to make something work. We have had luck with this approach in the past.

Second, I wanted to add my vote in favor of having cabins and balconies on one side of the ship designated as non-smoking. On several of our past cruises, there have been nearby cabins whose occupants insisted on smoking on the balconies. In some instances, these cabins were several cabins away (or on another deck), but the air flow along the ship’s side carried the smoke to us and made the balcony quite unpleasant. If smoking were restricted to one side of the ship or the other, then there would be plenty of available cabins for each preference, and there would be an incentive for those having a preference to book earlier in order to guarantee that preference.

Third, I see that even the blog thingy here takes the short-cut of not mentioning Carnival as part of the name of each ship. Just look at the CD schedule – I don’t think the word Carnival appears anywhere on the page!

Tanner isn’t the only one wanting his Platinum status. We are sailing on the Miracle on 3/28, and our three kids will be on their 9th cruise (all with CCL, of course). They will be 13, 11 and 11 (yes, they are twins) when we sail, and they have been complaining for years that they want Platinum status. After this sailing, they will have it!

Speaking of our upcoming cruise, can you tell us something about the CD (Josh Waitzman) that we’re scheduled to have? Also, is there any chance that Al Ernst might be one of the fly-on entertainers? This will be our 14th cruise and we have yet to see him aboard…

Unfortunately, we were unable to get connecting cabins for this cruise (we couldn’t book sooner because of potential work conflicts). We don’t feel comfortable having the kids in a cabin that’s not connected with ours as we have two occasional sleep-walkers, so we will be in separate cabins for the week. Too bad you won’t be our CD. We had you for our honeymoon (Ecstasy ‘93) and our second cruise (Sensation ‘94), and haven’t been able to sail with you since 🙁 .

Now it’s time for my shameless groveling. As my wife & I are Platinum (we had the nerve to take 5 cruises without our kids, so we beat ‘em to that status 😉 ), we will get our requested dining time. There’s only one dining room, so we’re set there, too. In order to make this the perfect vacation, please arrange for the following: a. perfect weather for the entire week, b. no lines (especially for the mongolian wok and our preferred seating area on Lido deck), and c. unlimited free casino gambling, shore excursions, drinks and steak house dining. In anticipation that you will not fulfill at least one of these, please consider this my formal request for a full refund and complimentary future cruises (with upgrades).

All kidding aside, I’d love it if you would leave a little something for my wife to let her know that she is everything to me (she’ll be in cabin 1228).

Thanks for everything you do for us readers. Your humor (spelled correctly, at least according to my spell checker) and insights give us a Carnival “fix” between sailings!

Rick H.

John Says:
Hello Rick H

I know that if I was to shake the wish stick and ask all non smokers what they would like to see most would ask for non-smoking balconies rather than adding more non-smoking lounges …….. or am I wrong. I will once again send in all the smoking comments and make sure that this remains an active subject.  I have also seen that you are absolutely correct that the Cruise Director schedule is devoid of the word “Carnival.”

I have actually had to admit defeat in this one. Our past guest video still has not been updated to have the word “Carnival” in front of the Fantasy class ships and even worse……..shock horror ………… A very high-ranking Carnival executive gave a speech recently and referred to the your Carnival Dream as “Dream” which is like calling me “Heald.” Actually I think the only ones who do this consistently are the shipboard personnel………..and Micky Arison. I see it in e-mails and correspondence all the time …………. ships referred to by their surname and not with their first name……………Carnival Someone should send a companywide e-mail on this …………. seriously…………..they should!

Not long now until your cruise. I just posted a bio on Big Sexy which is what Josh goes by. Did you see it? Another blogger was asking and I was able to tell him that I worked with him during our fun event in New York and he had the crowd going all day. I hear nothing but great reviews on the kid although to me he is about as sexy as a wart on Judge Judy’s bottom. I hope your wife likes her gift. Great groveling by the way.Have a brilliant time.

Best wishes to all
John

Gary Woollam Asked:
John- Please Please Reply

As you know, I am a Brit, and I LOVE CARNIVAL..!!

But, and there is always a but…

The .co.uk website is a very poor relation to the .com website.
In light that you are now coming to Europe, I would suggest that the .com website needs a real looking at.

The .com website is brilliant, but we cannot use it…We cannot use it to even buy gifts and things prior to our arrival…

To me this is a serious issue that needs to be resolved…

I have used an agent to book my next cruise, the UK website and its sales staff has their hands tied…

This is not fair, and needs addressing if Carnival is to make an impact with British Cruisers…
Me, well I am sold…lol

Gary

Ps…You are our very own scouse hero !!!!

John Says:
Hello Gary Woollam

I am sending this to Jordan who has overall charge of carnival.com. I think I am right in saying that Carnival UK is not managed by the bearded one and I know Lynn Narraway, the amazingly talented director of Carnival UK, will want to act on this comment as we have discussed this recently when I was in London with her. Leave this with me and I will get back to you soon.

“Calm down, calm down”……………Scouser talk everyone.

Best wishes
John

Julie Hume Asked:
John, please reply

My husband and I took our first Carnival cruise on the Pride January 24th (my fourth cruise overall). I found your blog last summer and have enjoyed it immensely; it made the cruising experience more personal. I want you to know that I think Carnival is doing a great job, there were a few glitches in the cruise, but on the whole our experience was top notch. I especially want to mention our waiter, Igor. He is a tremendous asset to Carnival and a very hard worker (as is most of the crew). After speaking with him numerous times, I asked about whether he had been with other cruise lines. He mentioned that he started with Royal and switched to Carnival. I asked why he switched and he said that Carnival treats their employees much better. Thinking about it, I feel the wait staff on Royal seemed to have an element of tension that is missing from Carnival employees. Very impressive.

There are a few suggestions that I will offer that will improve your product. We took the Behind the Scenes Tour; it is one of the highlights of our trip. It was informative, fascinating and very in-depth; almost every question we could pose was answered by Kat (not sure if that is correct spelling, she trains employees). The one problem I experienced was that in certain areas one cannot hear what is being said, for instance in the main galley, the waste management area, and the laundry. Even though we were a small group of eleven, the noise masked what was being said. I know it was not just me, as in these areas no one asked any questions because we did not know what was said. In all the other areas the officials would be peppered with questions. My suggestion is to start using a tour audio system like they use on European river cruises. Each person has a personal headset and a portable receiver that allows one to hear the speaker’s comments no matter where one is standing. The person conducting the tour could hand over their headset to the person speaking and it would then be a simple matter for all to hear what is being said without trying to shout over the background noise.

Another suggestion is to notify the passengers that rough seas are ahead and encourage them to go to medical to get pills. Our first and second day out were very rough and a lot of people were sick. As you know, once you are sick the pills aren’t going to help and it might have encouraged more to avoid the problem if they were informed of rough seas ahead. We took our pills when we boarded and continued them for a couple of days; we were fine and enjoyed the drama of a cruise ship that actually felt like it was sailing.

This was also an interesting cruise to compare to the ones taken out of Florida. Cruising out of Baltimore was quite different. It seemed to be a much older crowd and I am going to bet that ¾ of the passengers drove to the port. Carnival probably has a much more accurate accounting of the difference in what is seen on the Pride. But I want to suggest that a brand new market should be explored, that is cruising in the Great Lakes. Granted you could only do this from May to October, but with the soft markets that Alaska and the west coast are experiencing, this is a great opportunity to cash in on virgin territory. Think of the draw you could have pulling in people from the entire Midwest that do not have to fly to take the cruise. Looking at the response the Pride has from the East coast, I think you could really cash in on this opportunity. Since tankers can come through the seaway and travel all the way to Chicago, I assume that a smaller cruise ship could access this area. And there are numerous ports that would have wonderful excursions. The only question in my mind is whether there would be dock areas suitable to a cruise ship. Just to mention a few areas to visit, there is Mackinaw Island, the Soo Locks, Chicago itself, Traverse City, incredible scenery in Lake Superior, Milwaukee, there is a great variety of things to do and places to see in all of the Great Lakes. I bring this idea to you as you genuinely care about the company and seem to be open minded to ideas.

Anyways, thank you so much for all the hard work you and all the cruise directors do. Way to go Carnival!

Julie

John Says:
Hello Julie

What a great idea to use the radio mics and headphones like we do on our excursions to places like Pompeii and in St. Marks Square in Venice. While I send this proposal forward I will see what we can do to get the Behind the Fun guides to maybe use a bull horn in places like the galley where it is noisy.

I have to say that my knowledge of what we can and can’t do about cruising in the Great Lakes is nonexistent. I am sure it is a beautiful area and I know you are not the first to suggest this. I wonder if the Jones Act would come into play which of course put serious limitations on the industry about where we can cruise to within United States territory.

As always when I get great suggestions like this I always pass them along to Terry, our Senior Vice President. The future is very exciting and I know that there will be more great itineraries and surprises to tell you all about this year. I will make sure we work hard to improve the Behind the Fun Tour and thanks again for the great posting.

Best wishes
John

Lou Yeakey Asked:
Hello John, (Please Reply)

We, my husband and I have been on 15 Carnival cruises. We cruised with you on the Carnival Freedom in Europe in 2007. We did a back to back which included the TA cruise. You had to leave before the crossing and Todd & Norja took over your duties. They did a fine job, but at the same time we were very disappointed and sorry for the circumstances that required your leaving. We have been unable to cruise lately, due to surgeries on both my hands and then losing 2 of my brothers within 10 weeks

But, we are ready to cruise again now, and have booked back to back cruises on Carnival Freedom again for April 10 thru April 24, 2010. My question is, can you tell me who the CD will be on our cruise? I wish it was you 🙂

John Says:
Hello Lou Yeakey

Many congratulations on your 15 Carnival cruises and I am sure that like me you have many wonderful memories of your European adventures on the Carnival Freedom. I was sorry to hear about the loss of your two brothers and send you my deepest sympathies. I wish I could be with you on the Carnival Freedom but the good news is that you will have Ryan Fitzgerald, a young and highly energetic cruise director whom I know you will thoroughly enjoy.

I was sorry to have to leave the Carnival Freedom before the trans-Atlantic and realize that I let a lot of people down when I did. I have been sitting here trying to remember why I left …… and I can’t. Anyway, I hope that the two weeks you will be on the ship will rejuvenate you after the loss of your brothers and the surgery. Thank you so much for your loyalty and my best wishes to you both.

John

That’s all for today and I will be back with more tomorrow.

Take three celebrity Chefs……..Gordon Ramsey, Raymond Blanc and my Mum say ………… give them the same ingredients and each one will come up with a different recipe and a different tasting dish and there will be something for everyone.

And that’s how it is with The World’s Leading Cruise Lines. Chef Cahill, Chef Kruse, Chef Conover, Chef Buckelew, Chef Shanks, and Chef Foschi will all create a cruise line that’s right for you.

Many have the same ingredients or in this case the same class of ship or a ship of similar size and build, yet each create something very different. The only thing missing was an easy to read menu to help people decide which dish was right for them. Well now we have that menu as Vance will tell you here in this press release.

WLCL Cruise Navigator Press Release (FINAL)

Even though you might already know what you like please have a look at what they have done as the navigator application is a terrific way to see what’s on the cruising menu and what the various cruise lines “chefs” have prepared for you. I am sure the chefs at other the other lines are not happy when they see this and maybe one or two are doing their best Gordon Ramsey impression. I can picture the scene as a RCI’s Chef Goldstein sees this and gets his sous chefs together screaming “s**t, we can’t fu**ing compete with this!”

Meanwhile our Executive Head Chef Micky Arison will be happy in the knowledge that he has the most comprehensive menu ….in the world. That should make his favourite food which I am told is Spotted Dick and custard…….taste very, very good indeed.

And so here I am on the Carnival Conquest and ready for another adventure. The only negative thing about doing a handover week apart from the fact that I just want to get going is the fact there is nowhere quiet for me to write these blogs. I wanted to work in the conference room but there is a group on board. They are part of the American Cabbage Association and are all playing cards……oh sorry…………that should be cribbage not cabbage.

So the only place it seems where I can plug in my laptop which is on its last legs by the way is here in the lobby……which means I can’t write in my underpants. Well……….I could but it may put a few people off their morning coffee.

I have to tell you straight away that I am beginning to understand why the Carnival Conquest is the favourite of so, so many. Oh by the way………..I am not talking about the guests………….I am talking about the crew. For years I had heard the stories of how super the people who cruise out of Texas were and from what I have seen so far…………..they were absolutely correct. Now, if this had been a Florida homeported vessel I am sure at least one guest would have recognized me and said hello. Even at the airport in Orlando I was taking photos with guests who had cruised on their Carnival Dream. But yesterday I walked around the entire ship, sat in the show and do you know how many people recognized me……….ummmm…………none.

Now that is not to say that nobody talked to me because everyone did. In elevators on the lido deck while I was eating alone and as I walked past them in the corridors and along promenade deck people said “hi’s” “hello” “good evening” or at least smiled. Wow……..now that’s impressive.

As for the ship herself, well, she reminds me of the Carnival Pride in the sense that her lounges and public spaces are bursting with various forms of art ranging from baroque to art deco with the lobby and Promenade standing out as two brilliant pieces of inspired Joe Farcus work. I promise to get the camera out today and take photos of the ship and post them throughout the week.

There are 3,296 guests on this week…………that feels strange by the way………writing 3,296 and not 4,000 plus as I have been on my Carnival Dream these past weeks. It seems that there are lots of families and while I don’t have the kid count yet it certainly feels like a good mix of people.  One thing I was not expecting was how cold it was. I guess that I expected Texas to be rather milder but yesterday and today clear skies brought the temperature plummeting down and by the time the ship sailed it was colder than a penguin’s dangly bit. Tomorrow I will talk about the cruise director here and some of my early observations of the ship etc. Today was a tough start because the ship sailed at 5:45 pm instead of 4 pm due to not one but two guests taken seriously ill just before sailing. Both needed medical attention and both needed an ambulance called and are now in a Galveston hospital………..we wish them both well.

One thing that did surprise me was the amount of men wearing cowboy hats. I always thought this was a myth but had seen at Houston airport and at the hotel and indeed as I sat in the lobby of the ship today (love the lobby by the way, it is stunning) there at the bar was not one……….but 5 men all wearing cowboy hats.

I always wanted a cowboy hat and always wanted to be a cowboy. Cowboys squint their eyes and chew dog-eared cigars which stay alight even when they have been under water in a bubble bath.  Cowboys sink their shots in one, then order another; cowboys can wear fringed leather without fear of looking like a girl or someone who has seen Brokeback Mountain 57 times. And cowboys can fall backwards through windows and pick themselves up without a scratch…… Cowboys have their every move accompanied by the coolest theme music. Cowboys rule. I want to be one. Don’t you?

Well it’s 8:45am and I am back in the cabin to finish the last part of today’s blog. I need a good cup of tea and Cecile my stateroom Steward needs to get the hazmat team in here to collect yesterday’s underpants that I traveled in and take them down to the poor sods in the laundry.

Before I go though I have been asked a lot about Bloggers Cruise 4 and will have news on this I promise soon. I am going to put the blame on the delay firmly on the shoulders of those with beards at Miami HQ who are trying to decide when and where we do this. To keep you going and to wet your appetite for the next one here is the long awaited highlight video of BC3 as filmed, directed and edited by the one and only Peter the Hair. I hope you enjoy it.

http://www.carnival.com/Funville/media/p/528270.aspx?cid=So_John Heald Blog_2736

See y’all after supper
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.

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