Photos Of Your Holiday

May 12, 2010 -

John Heald

I am never…………..ever……………..going to the gym again.

Good morning. It’s 6:10am and in 45 minutes I have to go to the bridge to organize the tender service here in Grand (hurry up and start building that sodding pier will you) Cayman. The Carnival Fantasy has not been to a port of call that requires a tender service for many years and just between me and you………….everyone’s a little nervous. And so I have put my tender hat on and will run things myself in 30 minutes or so when we start. That just about gives me time to tell you why I made that opening statement.

My diet has been going well and despite that chap on Cruise Critic who said that I was due to die of a massive heart attack any moment (I’m still here mate) I am really happy with my slow but sure weight loss. However, last night I decided to go and walk on the tread mill as my ankles felt really tight……a side effect of diabetes is leg cramps……..so off I went to the gym to do some walking.

It had been a few ummm……..weeks…………or is it months………that I had been to the gym and as usual it was the first few minutes that were the toughest. But once I had settled in at my own pace and with Ritchie Blackmore and the rest of Deep Purple rocking through my headphones I was, if not happy, at least I was proud of myself. And then it all changed because suddenly through the strains of Smoke on the Water I heard a “hissing sound” and looking across I saw a man, with the body of a god (bastard) running on the treadmill next to me using this hissing sound to get my attention.

Tarzan – Hey, you are that guy from TV

Me (still with headphones on) – yes……pant……..pant…….are you having a good time?

Tarzan (running and not panting) – yea…….me and my wifffffeeeee are on our anniversary cruise, we wanna do something romantic in Cozumel. What do you suggest?

Me – Bugger off you rude sod. Can’t you see I am trying to work out and lose this beach ball stomach of mine? Now stop talking to me before I press the emergency stop button on the treadmill and you run your arse straight through the window.

OK, that’s not exactly what I said, it’s what I wanted to say but it came out as “Oh, hold on” and took my headphones off and wound down the treadmill to a slow stop and then went to stand next to Tarzan and started taking him through his options.

This seemed really normal to him. He wasn’t fazed that I too had been working out and that he as a guest had the right to make me stop. He by the way certainly didn’t stop and just kept running. When I had finished explaining his excursion options (which by the way he seemed to like the thought of Zip Lining which was quite applicable since I was calling him Tarzan) he sort of nodded his thanks, turned away and carried on running.

Well, that was the end of my workout. I had managed 10 minutes, just under one mile and I know I should have gotten back on but my heart was now no longer in it and I started walking out of the gym.

Tarzan though was only the appetizer……….the main course was just around the corner …………and I will tell you more about that a little bit later in today’s blog thingy. For now though lets crack on with today’s Q and A……..off we go.

Christine m Asked:

I will be a first time cruiser in year 2011. I will be turning 40 few weeks later. I will be travelling with my aunts and uncle my Aunt Deanna will be turning 60 and retiring in April. My question is what will I expect to see and do once on board the carnival dream. my stateroom is6312. This will be my first vacation and I am signal. So do you have anything for the signal ladies to do.?

Yours truly
Christine M
From Canada ont.

John Says:
Hello Christine M

How brilliant that you are going to be taking your first ever cruise and your first ever vacation on a Carnival ship. There are lots of great places where, as a single traveler, you can meet new friends. The piano bar is a favourite haunt for single guests and of course in between spending time with your family and seeing the great shows and enjoying the sunshine, food and fun you will be able to hopefully meet other single travelers as well. If you let me know what ship you will be sailing on I will let you know what else to expect and some of the places onboard that you will not want to miss.

Thanks for writing and best wishes
John

Mark from Alberta Asked:
RE: Jim Eakins suggestion Grand Caribbean Tour

John, my wife and I are from the Western part of Canada and like Jim who lives in beautiful Nova Scotia which is on the East coast of Canada, airfare is expensive for Canadians.

We have done B2B on the Freedom to maximize the value as airfare is expensive. Returning to the embarkation port is an unfortunate but necessary evil as Carnival is not offering a 14 day Caribbean cruise.

I must admit I am envious of our American neighbors who are lucky enough to be close to a cruise port as they can drive or take advantage of the often lower discount fares that Canadian airlines are not able to offer.

14 days cruising is truly way more fun and relaxing than 7 believe me! The down side of a B2B is that you see the same shows and the food menu is re-cycled. You hear the same jokes from the CD (admittedly he/she can anticipate that there will be B2B cruisers and it would be really hard to prepare new material for each separate week!)

Anyways, I agree with Jim. Any possibility of Carnival taking a serious look at this?

John Says:
Hello Mark from Alberta

The first two comments today were both from Canadian bloggers………that’s good to see. I realize though that the cruise industry has limited hardware out of Canada and for obvious destination reasons. I also know that the one concern people have about back to back cruises is that as you said, lots of onboard activities and menus are repeated. Therefore the option is to have longer Caribbean voyages. Certainly our current Panama Canal repositioning voyage was quickly snapped up and I know that my friends in the Miami office have taken note of this and I will add your thoughts to this as well. By the way……have you considered the eight-day Carnival Miracle voyages to Aruba and next year to Bermuda? And of course, it would be an honour to say welcome aboard to you on a 12 day European voyage on the Carnival Magic next year.

Let’s see what the future brings and thanks for taking the time to express your excellent views.

Best wishes
John

Ricky (TABASCO) Asked:
John Please Reply

John,

Tried to send you an article about a deal to build a pier in Grand Cayman. I think my post is stuck in moderation because I cut and pasted the article. E-mail me instructions on how to get that article to you. Great news…don’t you think?

John Says:
Hello Ricky (Tabasco)

Thanks Ricky. I saw the article and are indeed in Grand Cayman today. I hope they really do this and I make no apologies for saying once again “It’s about bloody time.”

Thanks for thinking of me.

Best wishes
John

Jake Siverberg Asked:
Hey John, PLEASE REPLY

I wanted to ask you if you knew how I volunteer for community hours at the port everglades terminal if there’s sports available. Next year I will enter high school, and yes it’s been since I was in 5th grade that I’ve read this now I’m in 8th! Therefore, is need to begin my service hours for 12th grade graduation in 4 years

Jake, thanks PLEASE REPLY

John Says:
Hello Jake Silverberg

It is always nice to hear from you. I know that you have a tremendous love for cruise ships and I have no doubt that one day you will be working for a cruise line either onboard a ship or ashore. You are going to have to wait a little while longer though mate as you have to be a little older to work at embarkation. Please would you send my best to your Grandmother.

Hope you write again soon

Best wishes
John

Nancy Trevino Asked:
John–please reply!

Good afternoon John. Hope you are having a great time on the Conquest.

I hope you can help me. My husband and I went on our first cruise on the Conquest last October–had a fantastic time. We have been wanting to go on another cruise ever since we got off the ship. Where I need help is figuring out something to do for my wonderful husband. During the last two years I have had some medical problems that affected my ability to walk.

My husband, who has always been helpful around the house, has had to pick up even more of the burden. While we were on the ship last year, he made many trips to the Lido deck for me when I couldn’t go. I owe him so much. I want to do something special for him on the ship. Because of my medical issues, we don’t have a lot of extra money. I would appreciate any ideas that you could give me.

By the way, I love your blog thingy! It’s a great pick me up when I have had a bad day at the office. I consider it a great honor (spelled correctly) to be able to read it. Keep it coming!

John Says:
Hello Nancy Trevino

I am sorry to hear about your medical problems and I am sure you both need a break and some relaxing time. Please let me know what ship you are sailing on and when and I will let you know about some of the highlights onboard and maybe ashore where I can chose an excursion that is right for you both. Also, if you let me know your state room number I will send your husband a little something for being such a great support to you in your time of need.

Thanks for reading the blog and hope to hear from you soon

Best wishes to you both
John

Maurene Asked:
John, please reply ( URGENT)

Hi, I just have a quick favour to ask of you.

I will be sailing on the Liberty May 15th ( one month YAY) and am a member of the cruise critics roll call for that sailing date. We are thinking of doing a scavenger hunt through out the ship, so that the members might get to see places on the ship that they normally wouldn’t.

Some of the things would include easy things like get a drink umbrella, or have you picture taken with a man in a Hawaiian shirt or something like that.

Unfortunately I have only cruised once before, and that was 3 years ago, so I am hoping you can put me in touch with someone more familiar with the layout of the Liberty that might have some suggestions of places to see on board that people might not normally go. Perhaps the cruise director or one of his underlings?? I realize you can’t give me his info but if you could give him mine.. I am just trying to put a little extra into all our trips on Carnival!!

If you could that would be great!!

I also wrote you about the possibility of borrowing toys while on board, not sure if you have gotten to that or not, as you are a few weeks behind. But if you could get to me on the Scavenger hunt thing that would be great, as I need time to plan it!!

Thanks John!!!
Gonna rock the ship in the Captains Suite!!

John Says:
Hello Maurene

Just to let you know I have sent this to my friend and the Carnival Liberty‘s CD “Butch.” I will ask him to have one of his assistants contact you so please can you leave a note at the Guest Services Desk as soon as you board with your state room number and name on it as you didn’t include your last name or cabin number here. He will make sure you have all you need and even provide a solid gold plastic trophy for the winner of the scavenger hunt.

I did get your e-mail re the toys and I have sent it to the girls who run Camp Carnival. They, like me thought it was a great idea and are working on this now.

I hope you have a brilliant time and my best wishes to you to all the CC friends who are sailing with you.

John

FRANK Asked:
DEAR JOHN PLEASE REPLY

WIFE AND I ARE ON SHIP 05/18 WONDER WILL WE BE ABLE TO SEE ANY NBA PLAYOFF GAMES ?

John Says:
Hello Frank

Yes Frank. We will indeed be showing the games on the cabin TV’s, the sports bars and where applicable the Seaside Theatre big screens.

Have a wonderful time and enjoy the game.

Best wishes
John

Ann Martin Asked:
Reply requested urgently!

John

A very upset passenger called deborahjo has posted a comment on Cruise Critic about an incident with a waiter that got her order wrong and yelled. She has also posted his photo there as well. I suggest you send this to his boss so he can be fired for this as it is terrible service the page link is http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1198409

Thank You !
Ann

John Says:
Hello Ann

I sincerely apologize to Deborahjo that she received service that was not what she had expected. I find it hard to imagine that a waiter would stand there and shout at a guest though and certainly it is nothing I have ever heard of before. Anyway, I  sent the comment to the ship and they have no record of any guest making a complaint about this onboard. So, two things here. I apologize sincerely to Deborahjo that this happened and I would encourage her to always let the Maitre D or the Guest Services desk know anytime that she is not happy with any part of her cruise vacation. We certainly would have investigated this incident further if she had. However, I must say that I find the fact that this waiters picture was posted on Cruise Critic with the words “If you see this waiter run away” rather cruel. However, Deborahjo was upset and I sort of understand her frustration. But respectfully Ann, what I do not understand is what this has to do with you and why, not knowing the whole story, you write to me demanding he be fired.

So, let’s move on and I send best wishes to you and my apologies again to Deborahjo.
John

Big Ed Asked:

John, I want a complete refund for what you made go through on my cruise on the Carnival Dream, 2/27. Making me come up on the stage 11 times during that cruise to shake my body to the Mexican hat dance and profess my love to my wife, Pat, every time you said Michigan. You had guest all over the ship and even in ports yelling out to me “There’s Big Ed from Michigan.” Even though you gave Pat a Carnival bag full of nice gifts that will do nothing permanent mark you put on me. I will never get over it. I think I will need mental help. Maybe a long cruise will help me get over it.

BIG Ed

John Says:
Hello Big Ed

You also made an everlasting impression on one of the 344 Stephanies during the bloggers cruise which I am trying to get Peter the Hair to show on the blog thingy. As always Ed you are, like me, a star……………….and by star I mean that we are large gaseous objects.

Best wishes to you and Pat
John

Cruise85 Asked:
Hi John, (Please reply)

I just thought you might find this article interesting since you’re always talking about the men with beards! (http://chronicle.com/blogPost/The-Trustworthiness-of-Beards/22581/) Turns out men with beards were deemed more credible than those who were clean-shaven! Haha! Love your blog and keep up the good work. Hope to get on a Carnival ship soon!

John Says:
Hello Cruise 85

Brilliant article. Thanks for sharing mate and I hope that one day we will be able to have fun together onboard a Carnival ship. Until then, I hope you remain beardless and enjoy the blog.

Best wishes
John

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

OK, let’s go back to the ongoing subject of prohibited items. Let me start once again with an apology for not making the list of these items as clear as we should have done and as I said yesterday, this is a learning curve for us all. Now, I was contacted today by Host Mach from Cruise Critic regarding a lady who had her curling hair tongs confiscated. This apparently caused a barrage of comments that we were doing this to try and create revenue in the beauty salons. And while this conspiracy theory is a good one……….it is just that……….a conspiracy theory. I contacted three vice presidents about this today and they all confirmed that this was a mistake by the security person on that particular ship and it was confirmed that this item (hair curling, straightening thingies) are absolutely allowed onboard. My sincere apologies to the lady who had hers confiscated, that was our mistake. Hopefully that one is now cleared up and that conspiracy theory proved to be total bollocks.

Then there are these 2 e mails and  postings I received this morning .

Amanda
“…strip could cause a spark and a spark can cause a fire and………well…….the rest is obvious. We make no apologies for thinking of the safety of the ship and all on board…”

I’m sorry, I just don’t buy that. If this was/is truly a safety issue then smoking would not be allowed in cabins… smoker could fall asleep…. lit cig. could fall on floor (or bed) (providing a longer and more constant “source” than a spark)…lit cig. on floor (or bed) could cause a fire and…… well….

If Carnival is truly worried about old/frayed wires in electronic devices the put something to the effect of “only extension cords/power strips in good working order with no frayed wires will be allowed on board, all others will be confiscated” I mean you are already looking for them, if the wires are all intact let it go, if there are frayed wires, hold on to it, and put the naughty note in the suitcase.

Frankly I don’t care one way or the other, as we don’t need one. But, I don’t like being lied to. State the new policy, state the TRUE reason for the new policy, and take any flack you receive as a result. Don’t say is it for “safety” when it is not.

Hello Amanda

There is no lie. We never lie about safety. What other possible reason could we have for taking your power strips other than safety?

Best wishes
John

Cardinalfan1
Hundreds of Cruise Critic members are pissed about this power strip issue. Carnival had better watch out ! Thought you should know.

Hello Cardinalfan1

I am not sure what “Carnival had better watch out” actually means but once again I must say that I find it puzzling as to why you are so angry. I can understand if we made major changes to the product, or put our prices up drastically………but threats……..over power strips……….I don’t understand.

Please let me know if you have a suggestion or further thoughts.

Best wishes
John

Before I talk about Grand Cayman today let’s talk about an old friend. This friend was a popular figure, especially here amongst the guests sailing on the Carnival Fantasy. I am of course talking about my first ever ship, the ship that spent many happy cruises out of Mobile……….the Holiday.

Well, as you know she recently left our fleet and headed off to join her sister the Celebration. She of course is now the Grand Celebration and part of Ibero Cruises fleet. Well, I know we all loved the Holiday as she was but I don’t think any of you will be prepared for just how stunning she looks now. Here is a slide show thingy which you must see.

That slide show was sent to me by Super Spy PA 007 and thanks to him/her you are the first people to see the amazing renovation work that has been carried out. Did you see that suite? And how about that cabana bar on Veranda Deck Aft? And of course the corridors and the art work gives the ship a wonderful fresh feeling……….brilliant.

She has now left the yard in Genoa, Italy and is heading to Barcelona. Although most of us will never cruise on her I know that the many, many fans of the ship will be thrilled to see that she has been rejuvenated and ready to give passengers a “fantastic” cruise.

We are in Grand Cayman today and while it is a beautiful day it is once again very windy. This means all the stingray tours were canceled because it was so rough on the north side of the island. That’s a real shame. Apart from that everyone seems to be having a great time.

Oh, just before I continue I have not heard anymore from the lady who thought I was taking photos of her on the Serenity deck yesterday. I have not seen her again and so far she does not seem to have realized that the accused pervert is in fact…..me. Anyway, hopefully she won’t realize and if anything changes………..I will keep you a BREAST of the situation.

Reality TV it seems is here to stay and I know for many of you it is essential viewing. As we watch people try to live on an island together, get screamed at by a celebrity chef and try desperately to eat only lettuce and air in order to become America’s Next Top Model I can’t help but think that these show’s producers are not afraid to dip the spoon deep into the dark soup of the society we live in.

Honestly……….I find it all quite depressing. Take American Idol. For every one winner there are many, many losers who are insulted by Simon Cowell and his fellow judges and are forever pointed at in the street and scornfully reminded that they got insulted ……that’s no way to live. Yet the chance to be the next Justin Trousersnake or the next R Jelly are too much and the bright lights of stardom can’t be ignored.

Anyway, I know I am in the minority when it comes to reality TV as this concept is loved by millions. This though sets the scene for something that I wanted to tell you all about. During these last few days I had been noticing something here on the Carnival Fantasy regarding our brand new Entertainment Staff member Luke. He arrived on Saturday. It is his first ever time working on a ship and he seems to have fitted in really, really well. However, on elegant night I saw a few guests taking his photo. This was strange only in the fact that he had not hosted anything yet and had been following the other staff members around, learning the job. So why then were people taking his photo?

I asked him………..here is the answer. You see Luke was on a TV show, actually is still on a TV show called “Real Housewives of New Jersey.”  He was the assistant to something called Dina and even had to wash her ummmm……..cat………..who apparently was called “grandma wrinkles.” It is on Bravo on Wednesdays at 10 pm.

Now, I have no idea what the heck this show is about but I guess some of the guests here know because he has been very popular. Here are a few photos of Luke but thankfully none of grandma sodding wrinkles.

Luke is going to be a fantastic entertainment staff member and I am sure many more guests will recognize him. Did you?

So, back to my reality and my time in the gym. As you may recall I had attempted to use the treadmill but had been rudely interrupted by Tarzan. I left realizing that I wasn’t going to go back and that I shouldn’t be too upset because I am a cruise director and the guests happiness must come first……………but I was still pissed off at him though.

Anyway, on the Fantasy class of ships you have to walk through the changing rooms to get out of the gym and the spa. And so with thoughts of Tarzan still in my head I walked past the showers. As I did I made a note to mention to the Chief Engineer that we probably needed to improve the ventilation in there because all the shower cubicles were being used and steam was filling the locker rooms. As I walked through a shape appeared in front of me………and when that missed cleared there was another man wanting to ask me questions. The thing was………..he was naked …………… 100% butt naked. Now, there may be those who will be thinking that this is just bollocks and I am making up a story for this here blog………..but it isn’t bollocks……….I swear…….there in front of me ……….. telling me that the TV in his cabin was not working properly and that nobody had fixed it yet…………was a naked 40 something year old man.

He seemed to have no qualms that as he told me how he had told his state room steward that it wasn’t working three hours ago and that it still wasn’t, that he was nude.

I tried desperately to get out of there and the conversation went like this.

ME – Why don’t you get dressed and I will wait for you outside.

NAKED MAN – I want this fixed, it’s been nearly four hours and I ain’t happy. What do you have to say.

Now, I thought that under the circumstances that a bit of humour might be needed so I said:

ME – It’s not true then what they say about men with big feet?

He looked at me and at one point I thought he might hit me………….so I quickly asked him for his cabin number which he told me and I got out of there very quickly.

I called the AV manager who had in fact fixed the TV an hour ago (the cable had come out of the back) and walked dejected back to my cabin. In the last 30 minutes I had to cancel my first attempt at the Gym for a long time and ………….had been accosted by a naked man with a broken TV . The only thing that made up for all this was the fact that I now knew that all men are not created equal and that even though I had been shouted at by a naked man………..it was a naked man who looked like he had been married to Lorraine Bobbitt.

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.