John, Stop Crying You Big Girl

April 26, 2010 -

John Heald

In just two days time it will be Heidi’s birthday and I still haven’t even begun to start thinking about what I’m going to buy her. I have been sitting here since debarkation finished yesterday surfing the internet online shopping thingies for something that I can get a bloke to deliver to our house on Wednesday morning.

I’m a wigwam and I am a teepee…….in other words…….I am too tents……get it…two tents….too tense?…bloody hell even my jokes have been affected by my inability to choose Heidi and gift.

I’m sitting here biting the bits of finger where my nails used to be which is no good as my hemorrhoids have flared up again and I have nothing to scratch them with………..apart from my assistant Craig.

The internet thingies are telling me kindly that if I order now, I can get super saver delivery for nothing . . . and Heidi’s present will arrive with time to spare. I can even tick a box that will ensure it comes wrapped, with a ribbon, a card and a sodding balloon. Maybe they’ll even write the card for me. Who knows? But no, I’m just sitting here, with itchy inner buttocks, worrying …….buying bugger all.

Buying presents is worse than phoning a call center. Or trying a different cruise line because someone said it was better and realizing they were talking bollocks. I am sure my blood pressure is high and I know that this can lead to hypertension; hypertension can lead to stroke, heart disease and kidney problems. Death is only one step further away, my blogging friends. Yep ………….internet shopping can kill.

However, my sudden death is not going to be a sufficient excuse when Heidi wakes up on Wednesday and finds that I have bought her bugger all. So I’m sitting here, with bleeding fingers and a throbbing rusty sheriffs badge………… trying to find something to buy her.  I am like this at Christmas as well, always waiting to the last possible minute because I don’t know what to buy. Anything like silk negligees, edible underwear or nurse’s outfits are deemed to be more for me than Heidi. In fact the last time I bought her edible underwear I had eaten them by the time I got home.

Clothes as a whole are out because if I buy a size that fits, it’s insulting (“I can’t believe you bought me a 12”). If you buy a size too small, you’re making a point about how she’s let herself go (“I can’t believe you bought me a 10”). Books? Nope. Unimaginative. Ditto perfume, shoes, scarves, make-up, DVDs or anything at all with a plug. Handbags and purses are a minefield.

And so until someone invents an online shop called www.WhatWomenWant.com, full of things women want………..I will sit here, fingernailess and one step closer to heart failure.

The only good news is that Ugly Craig has just walked into the cabin…….so at least I can now take care of my hemorrhoid problem.

Time for today’s Q & A……….let’s crack on.

JUDY SHARUM Asked:
JOHN! PLEASE REPLY!!!!!!

I agree with the couple who wrote you about changing the Itins!!! Carnival might give more “bang” for the buck money wise BUT we get tired of the same ITINS!!! Why not Southern Caribbean??? There are islands next to and below Aruba! That’s why we’ve started looking at RCL and NCL! They go other places! Same for Europe. My husband wanted to go to Greece SOO we had to book NCL because they have a nice ININT for Greece-Carnival doesn’t go there! How about the Cook Islands? Tahiti?? When you travel the Caribbean so many many times-we need to venture out! Tell your big shots to get on the ball! As a past guest many times over-carnival is eating the dust of the other companies who are giving us the Itins we want!!

John Says:
Hello Judy

Thanks for taking the time to write. It is interesting reading your thoughts and I thought about what you said and I think the simple answer is that Carnival remains more successful, more profitable than the other lines you mentioned because of our affordability and our itineraries. We have a dedicated team led by a chap called Terry who plan out where the ships will call at and obviously he is doing something write because our ships are all sailing full. We have recently added cruises to Europe on the Carnival Magic and the Southern Caribbean on the Carnival Miracle from New York and who knows what the future will bring. Thank you for your loyalty and I have passed your thoughts to Terry and his department.

Best wishes
John

Trisha Knox Asked:

John, I have been on 3 Cruises with Captain Domenico Cilento! I have great pictures for him! Of New Years Eve Cruise. But, I lost his email address he gave me to send the pictures too! Do you have a site or email for him? I am Cruising again in May do you know what Ship he will be on in May? Thanks, Trish Knox

18 Cruises & counting!

John Says:
Hello Trisha Knox

Captain Cilento and I have been friends for a long time and I think you will agree he is quite the character. I can’t give you his e-mail address but I have sent him yours. I hope that’s OK and I am sure he will be in touch soon. Many congratulations on 18 cruises and I hope number 19 is heading your way soon. We appreciate your loyalty very, very much.

Best wishes
John

Helen Plus 1 Asked:
Reply needed

My husband and me are sailing on the Ecstasy in June and have read on Cruise Critic which we are members of that you do confirmed dinner reservations. This is our second cruise with carnival. The first was on the Destiny and it was ok but our waiter was boring and the people we ate dinner with were more so. I want a better waiter this time and to assure that we don’t end up with the same kind of jerks as last time. They were loud and obnoxious and I don’t want that experience again!!!!!!!!!!!

I would like a table for 2 to be confirmed. Can you and will you do this

Thanks
Helen

John Says:
Hello HelenPlus1

You are correct that I do indeed help with dinner reservations. I am not sure what you mean when you say your waiter was “boring” but I am sure the waiter you will have on the Carnival Ecstasy will be brilliant.

Please send me your name and date of sailing as soon as you can and I will ask the maitre D to see if he can help with your request.

Best wishes
John

Kathy M. Asked:
Hi John, Please Reply.

John I was reading where the NCL Lines are now going to start putting in smaller cabins ( 100 sq. ft.) on their new ship, starting with the Epic’s for just solo cruisers and the best part is that they will not have to pay double cabin prices. Do you think that maybe in the future Carnival could do this also? I think that they would be the first to fill up since there are so many single cruisers these days. Maybe they could also designate a couple of the regular size cabins as handicapped for solo cruisers also, with the single cabin fares. Maybe you could pass this on to the ones with the beards so they can do a study of how many cabins are sold to just solo cruisers.

On today’s blog (4/01) you asked about religious services. I think that on important religious occasions like Easter, Christmas, Passover and etc, then YES I think Carnival should have services available for passengers since some of Carnival’s other lines are already having this available to passengers. Another thing that maybe the lines could look at and that is the Captain doing a non-denominational service on the weekends if the ship is not in port (like they did years ago).

Please give my love to Heidi and Kye.

From your No. 1 Bloggy Thingy Fan,
Kathy M.

John Says:
Hello Kathy M

I have seen the small cabins on the Epic and while it may save money for the single cruiser I have a feeling that after a day or so in a cabin that small that includes the sink inside the cabin and not in the bathroom that it may get somewhat claustrophobic. I realize that single cruises have to pay a supplement but I don’t think the answer is to shove you into a 100 foot closet ….. there must be a better answer than that. I can tell you that Carnival has no plans to build the next two ships (Carnival Magic and Carnival Thingy) with cabins this small.

As for the religious services. Well, I agree with you that on high religious holidays we need to work harder to provide priests and rabbis and we are working on a plan for this at the moment.

Thanks as always for your support of the blog and I hope to see you on the Carnival Splendor.

Best wishes,
John

Don Asked:
John, please reply.

I’ve noticed that when you report the number of passengers on board that the total number is a lot more than the stated capacity.

Does this mean that there are that many passengers sharing cabins or was this a mistake?
Thanks Don

John Says:
Hello Don

The capacity mentioned on our fact sheets and official documentation is based on what is called double occupancy or put more simply……..two people in stateroom. However, often many state rooms have families in them utilizing the other beds and that is the guest count that I list at the start of each cruise…….as I will be in a moment.

I hope this answers your question and please let me know if you have another.

Best wishes
John

Ducky Asked:
John please reply.

I came across the article today I would like to share with you. http://www.macworld.com/article/150204/2010/03/shipping_refunds.html

It seems the author inadvertently requested expedited shipping ($12.00 up charge) on his iPad order which turned out to be of no use because all pre-orders were to be delivered at the same time.

A short while later, unprompted by the author Apple sent him an e-mail advising him the expedited shipping for this item was unnecessary and they were refunding him the charge.

I realize that Apple is the Cunard of the computer industry, but it would be nice if Carnival took the same sort of pro-active customer service approach (automatically applying price drops for instance).

I’ve nary a personal complaint about how Carnival has treated me as a customer, but it would be nice to see them go that extra mile.

Six weeks until the Carnival Miracle, I can hardly wait.

John Says:
Hello Ducky

Thanks for the posting and obviously despite my hatred of anything starting with an “i” even I have to admit that Apple is a massively successful company and the people with beards who buy their products are huge fans of course.

I also have to admit that I know bugger all about how our pricing people decide when and how to reduce or increase the cost of a cruise. I do know that they keep it amazingly affordable and that is obviously very important. I would actually say that Carnival is more like Apple than any other cruise line as we appeal to the mass market and I think like Apple our name is the strongest and most recognizable in the industry. The only difference between them and us is you don’t have to like tofu to take a cruise.

I am glad you have appreciated the care Carnival has given you so far and if you ever need help in this regard please let me know.

Have a brilliant time on the Carnival Miracle.

Best wishes
John

George Richards Asked:
Please reply

We sailed on the Freedom this past Thanksgiving. The aft area, complete with pool, hot tubs, and bar was called the “adult serenity” area. Several times during the cruise we observed ship personnel asking adults with children, and unaccompanied children to leave the area.

It was a well maintained adult area and in my opinion, the greatest thing since sliced bread! I wish the entire fleet had the same program as the Freedom!

John Says:
Hello George Hunter

It sounds like we need to maybe advertise a little better onboard that this is the Serenity Deck and is adults only but I am glad to see that our staffs were proactive in asking the children to leave. Our Fantasy class ships all have Serenity decks which are fabulous and you should see the two tier Serenity decks on your Carnival Dream.

Thanks for taking the time to write.

Best wishes
John

Paul Hunter Asked:
John please reply.

My wife and I are sailing the Dream on May 15, 2010. Will you be our cruise director for that trip? Is the Legends show still being done and is Livin’ La Visa Local still part of the “Legends” show? I would love to do my Paul Stanley imitation from KISS. Should I bring my 7″ platform boots with me along with my spandex costume? I think it would be fun to dress up as a rock legend while on board. I was mobbed at KISS concert for photo ops at a concert in Greenville, SC back in October. Navigating in 7″ platform boots might not be easy on the ship, but I am game to try.

John Says:
Hello Paul Hunter

Unfortunately I will not be the Cruise Director on your Carnival Dream cruise and thus I will not be able to see you dressed as a member of KISS. We certainly are still doing the Carnival Legends auditions and I hope you get to play the part of Ricky Martin. I am sure your KISS costume will be very popular and I look forward to reading all about your escapades when you return home.

Have fun!

Best wishes
John

Maurene (yes spelled that way!) Asked:
John (please reply)

Lord love a duck you are hilarious!!! Are all the cruise directors as funny as you?? I know weeeeeee jimmmmmmmmmy was a blast on the Glory when we went in 2007, We are going on the Liberty May 14th. Not sure who will be our director but hope he comes with an awesome sense of humour.

Just a question, you may not even know the answer to. We would really like to get our daughter involved in the camp carnival, onboard, but she will be a month shy of 2 when we sail… is there no way to fudge the numbers and get her in? I know she would really enjoy the time with kids, rather than boring old Mum and Dad.

Another thing. One of the competing cruise lines (yes I was looking around…lol but no one compares to Carnival!!!) had a program where you could take toys to your room for the kids. Like a lending program. Is there anything like this on board? We will be bringing a few toys, but as we are traveling from Canada, we are limited in space to pack them.

Please let me know, and I hope you get to see your friends and family soon!! Silly Airlines… lol

John Says:
Hello Maurene

“Lord love a duck you are hilarious”………..that’s a brilliant statement, I have never heard that before and I intend to use it conversation. The CD during your Carnival Liberty cruise will be a chap called “Noonan” who is very funny and hails from Buffalo, New York. As you may know I just had Heidi and Kye with me on our Carnival Dream and each day Kye went up to Camp Carnival for two hours of playtime. This will also be the case on the Carnival Liberty as well and although we don’t have an all day babysitting service for the under twos there will be an opportunity each day for you to leave your daughter there to play. I had not heard about the toy lending scheme you mentioned and it is a great idea and one I will pass along.

Thanks again for the very kind words and lord love a duck; I hope you have a brilliant cruise.

Best wishes to all
John

Nick Howell Asked:
Hi John (please reply)

You are hilarious! I can’t wait to have you as a CD on a future cruise. I hope you feel better too, what a nasty pain to have.

I wanted to chime in on the pin thingy. Undoubtedly it sounded like some were wasted, but I would be willing to bet many people actually looked forward to getting those little things. I don’t collect pins, that’s for older people, but I do have my Carnival ones, and looked forward to them each cruise. My family was disappointed with our last cruise (their 2nd) because they were not there with the past guest invite. Maybe I caused some of the issues since I told them to look forward to the surprise. Anyways…for the ones that were left behind in cabins would be minimal if it created loyalty with others, and that the people who looked forward to the small gift would outweigh any waste, besides tell the beards to hide the cost on the fare…LOL it’s just one small thing that makes Carnival stand out in loyalty. I mean even a 2nd timer should be important.

Also maybe this has come up before, but would it be possible to add this blog thingy to the “free Internet” section while on board the ships? Like Carnival.com is.

Thanks for everything you do John!!
Nick

John Says:
Hello Nick

There is no doubt that the pins were very popular indeed and I know many people miss them. Regarding the pins we stopped handing them out to everyone except the Platinum guests. While many would wear them with pride many guests discarded them and so it was decided to stop passing them out. We had 10,000 past guests or more each week across the fleet and that is a lot of pins.

They are available in the gift shops for purchase however I think maybe we could address this subject again and see if there is a way to hand them out to guests who have maybe cruised 5 times or more or maybe three time or more and to find a system where we hand them only to those who actually request one. I will certainly be bringing this and the subject of making the blog available as part of carnival.com onboard very soon as both are excellent points.

Thanks for taking the time to write.

Best wishes
John

That’s all for today. There will be more tomorrow. I am still three weeks behind…… triple bugger.

Just one quick follow up on the prohibited items subject. My good friend Host Mach from Cruise Critic visited me onboard on Sunday and was asking about electrical items and I thought this is something that would be beneficial for everyone to know.

While individual Eye Pod chargers etc are allowed onboard (suggest you put them in your carry on) a power strip is considered a household item and would be confiscated mainly because it could overload the electrical capacity of an outlet.  Fans are also considered household items and so I ask you all to please kindly remember that no electrical appliances are permitted.

Let’s recap last week shall we. We had 6 days of glorious weather and it was only the Saturday on our return trip to Galveston where the skies became gloomy and the sea a little choppy. We had very few complaints and apart from not offering shark diving and charging an outrageous price for some tampons……………it was a brilliant week.

There is one addition to this though and I will explain ore on that in a moment. Here though is the perfect way to sum up last week………….a poem from a guest.


So, all was well until Friday night when we nearly had bloodshed…..at Karaoke. Here is what happened.

Guest: Miss……………Ref: 830093315A Owner:

Cabin: —– Booking#: _____Added-Changed: 04/23/10 – 04/23/10

CABIN ———– INCIDENT AT KARAOKE

Miss———came to the desk very upset as she had been singing a song at Karaoke with two friends. At the time of singing some other guests were shouting and making rude noises at them. Guest said that she and her friends left because they were scared.

GSA contacted Cruise Director. More to follow.

Now my immediate thought was that these girls must have been such terrible singers that the other guests were booing them off the stage which is quite ridiculous. And so I contacted our Karaoke Host who I expected to confirm this was the case. I was wrong………totally wrong.

And I still don’t quite understand why this happened. You see, the girls were singing a song by a group called “The Dixie Chicks?” Anyway……..regardless the song was called “Cowboy Take Me Away” and as soon as they had started singing a group of guests had apparently started boo and hiss and shout abuse. The husbands of the three ladies who were singing then squared off against the crowd who were booing and apparently it got close to punches being thrown. Luckily the singers had the sense to drag the men away and went to the Guest Services Desk to complain.

I had no clue as to why and so I asked the lady how had been upset and she thinks it may have been because of something the real Dixie Chicks had said about George Bush …..allegedly.

Is this true? And if so, why would this cause so much emotion and hatred from the other guests? I know they were probably from Texas where George W is from but come on…….they were just singing a song. I checked the lyrics and there was nothing offensive that I could find. I guess free speech comes with limitations these days as I know so well from writing this blog. In a democracy, speech may be free but it can also get you in a spot of bother……..even if it is just by singing a song in a karaoke bar on a cruise ship.

Ok, let’s take a break and talk about one of my favourite TV personalities……..Katie Couric. I have had the honour of introducing many of Carnival’s new ships and therefore the honour of introducing the godmothers but if there is one ship I wish I had been involved in ……..it would be the Carnival Valor and that’s because Katie Couric was the godmother. From what I understand she did a marvelous job and off stage she was absolutely charming.

As some of you may know she lost her beloved husband to colon cancer and Carnival has been a big supporter of her charity. She hosted a spectacular fund raising event on the Queen Mary 2 which was a big success.

Anyway, I was watching the CBS Nightly News and saw a report by Katie from Haiti and specifically about something that once again Carnival has been involved in…..as have many of you. And that is supporting work of Project Medishare who continue the ongoing battle to help the sick and needy of Haiti get back on their feet again.

I was truly moved by her report and I thought that in case you missed it that I would put the link thingy here for you. You will see a passionate and heartfelt interview with a real life hero Dr. Green and you will see again that although Haiti may not be at the top of the news bulletins these days, the country and its people are still suffering beyond comprehension. Here is her report.

http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=6426573n&tag=api

You can see just why Katie Couric is so respected and loved and she has that rare quality that only a few newsreaders have………..and that’s being able to look into the lens of the camera and make you feel like she is talking…….directly to you……………and to you alone. I wished I would have had the chance to meet her.

For more information on how you can continue to help the men and women who are still in Haiti, still saving lives please go to http://www.projectmedishare.org /

OK, let’s see who is sailing with us this week.

TOTAL GUESTS – 3219

NON US – 83 – MEXICANS

PAST GUESTS – 1325

AGE GROUP TOTALS
Under 2 Years 13
2-5 Years 58
6-8 Years 30
9-11 Years 24
12-14 Years 30
15-17 Years 29
18-20 Years 40

I can’t believe this is my last cruise already on the Carnival Conquest. And as much as I am looking forward to going to the Carnival Fantasy I am going to miss this ship and the people that sail on her.

After vacation I of course head to the Carnival Splendor and the West Coast. I have seen lots of you have booked this ship and some have booked having heard I will be the CD which is a massive honour of course.

It also seems I have caused the folks at RCI to soil themselves slightly because hearing I was heading to the West Coast has made them abandon the area it seems as the Mariner of the Seas is buggering off. So, West Coast folks, come and sail with me and let’s have some Carnival fun.

As is tradition on a Monday Carnival Conquest blog I get to talk about the Welcome Aboard Show which has always had some wonderful characters in it.

Have a look at this chap, the pictures are from the TV and are not good plus his beard is white.

Yep, a man with a beard. A very long Santa like beard. Now I have had some folks on stage these past weeks with heavy southern accents but this chap…….well I had no bloody clue what he was saying. His name is Henry and he is from a place called Sterling City, Texas. The conversation went like this.

ME                              STERLING CITY, IS THAT A BIG PLACE?

HENRY                       I GUESS

ME                              HOW MANY PEOPLE LIVE THERE?

HENRY                       ‘BOUT 1000

ME                              1,000?

HENRY                       WELL MA NEIGHBOUR PASSED ON LAST WEEK SO IT MAY BE                                           999

But the star of the show was a 2 year old boy called Colin. He wandered up onto the stage and I just let him roam around and even gave him his own microphone. Sometimes, words are not necessary. When something like this happens its best just to shut up……and let the audience laugh………and they did. Here are some photos.

Now, I promised the news on Bloggers Cruise 4 today but I need one more day. The 343 Stephanie’s are confirming the fare code thingy but I promise that tomorrow come what may, I will release the news…..honest ……I swear on Megan Fox’s bottom…….tomorrow BC4 will be unveiled.

Finally, I have to tell you one more thing about last week. At the guest talent show a young man sang a song by the Monkees called “I’m Believer” ………..although he insisted it was buy a band called Smash Me In The Mouth or something like that. Anyway, regardless he did a great job and I asked him who he would like to present his medal. He told me his wife and she came up on stage holding their 8 month old baby…………who was fast asleep. I asked if I could hold her while she presented him with the medal. I did…….and baby Adrianne woke up, saw me … and cried. Here’s proof.

I gave her back to Mum and then sang Kye’s favourite song “bouncy bouncy” and Adrianne went straight back to sleep. Here is a photo of me singing to her.

And as I sang……..for the very first time in 22 years at sea…………..I cried tears……. on stage.

What a big girl’s blouse I truly am.

Goodnight
Your friend
John

Hi, I’m John, and this is my blog. So please don’t mistake my opinions — or those of my dear friends, fans or commenters — for those of Carnival Cruise Line or Carnival Corporation. My apologies in advance for anything I may say that upsets you, but this disclaimer covers Carnival and puts the blame directly on me………….. bugger.

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