Too Camp?

May 19, 2010 -

John Heald

So, where we were before I had to pop off and do the plaque presentation? Well, I was going to tell you how many kids we had onboard and here is the answer.

Under 2 Years 6
2-5 Years (Camp Carnival) 29
6-8 Years (Camp Carnival) 16
9-11 Years (Camp Carnival) 18
12-14 Years (Circle “C”) 24
15-17 Years (Club 02) 12
18-20 Years 79

Not too many then and I am sure the kids are having a great time …………..although one parent isn’t so sure. Have a read of this.

Guest: ______ Swartz Ref: 802941779A
Cabin: ——–Added-Changed: 05/18/10 – 05/18/10

Guest came to the GSD to say that she had been told that there was 24 hour baby sitting at Camp Carnival by her TA. Mrs_____has three children and wants them at Camp Carnival until 3:00am and after as they are big casino players and like to go to bed very late. Guest then demanded in cabin babysitting but was informed we do not do this.

Guest was very angry and had to be asked not to shout by GSS who came to assist.

Now I am not too sure who her travel agent is ………or maybe I should use the word “was”  based on the incorrect information they gave this lady………..but it does bring up an interesting question and one that as a new Dad………..I am not sure what the answer is. The question is “Is it right to leave your kids at Camp Carnival or Circle C for as long as possible during a Carnival cruise”?

I have been umming and ahhing about this since I read this comment and I have two answers ………yes…………and ummmm………no. Would you like to hear my thoughts on this? Well, you are going to anyway so here they are.

Let’s start with the Yes.

I am sure that some parents are driven to Prozac and therapy by the slightly French sounding voice in their head that says “Why have children if you don’t want to spend all day with them you bastards?” And I have seen this on the ships from time to time. I will meet families and ask if their kids have enjoyed Camp Carnival and will be told that they haven’t been there because “They want to spend as much time together ………as a family.” I often think when I see this that it’s the kids that sometimes suffer. While it’s great to be with Mum and Dad, happy, confident children do not need to spend their maximum cruising hours with their parents………..or do they?

From what I have seen during my time onboard is that kids like to hang out with other kids, especially on vacation and especially when they know that they have brilliant facilities like Camp Carnival and Circle C. But sometimes you see these poor children on the Lido Deck, their mothers fussing the living daylights out of them, all in the name of “quality time”…………. a phrase that surely strikes fear into the heart of any Hannah Montana worshipping 12 year old.

When parents are on a Carnival ship, face painting and having a photo with a 6-foot-high funnel-headed mascot out are not top of their agenda. And when kids are on a cruise, lying on a sun bed staring into space all day, breaking off for a facial and watching some fat English bloke tell stupid jokes is not I am sure…… of theirs. There is a simple and brilliant solution to all of this………. Camp Carnival. There are plenty more reasons why Camp Carnival  is the answer to a perfect cruise vacation for all the family including the most important fact………without Camp Carnival most parents would get bugger all rumpy pumpy.

So that’s that then…… closed. Or is it? Because there is another side to the argument.

Before I had Kye in my life there would not have been a “no” part to this blog thingy but I sat here………in my underpants thinking that there just might be. You see every day I sit here…….still in my underpants……..beating my breasts and moaning about how much I miss Kye. So, if I was to go home on vacation, go on the Queen Victoria British Isles cruise (in July) and yet when I finally get to be with my beautiful daughter I shove her out of sight in a room with strangers, then bugger off to dinner to chomp down on a Todd English short rib followed by a cigar in the Churchill club.

I think this comes from what Heidi used to tell me from when she worked in Camp Carnival. She used to tell me about parents who would drag their kids to camp screaming: “Do this for me and Mom! We need this time together.” Mom and Dad then disappeared ………probably back to Lido for a Slippery Nipple and Cheeseburger.

I know this sounds harsh on the parents who want a rest, or maybe some rumpy-pumpy, so let me qualify it. I’m not saying people who put their children in for a few hours or so to make ice cream sundaes and shoot zombies on the Playxboxstation while they sneak some time at the Cloud Nine Spa. Nope……. I’m talking about those parents who you see waiting impatiently for it to open at 10am to offload their kids and leave them all day, apart from a mandatory hour at lunchtime, when the club closes. And to think that the guest who complained is upset because we don’t offer round the clock babysitting services.

There is one other factor to mention. You see I know the staff at Camp Carnival are fantastic young men and women all of whom have been vetted and have to have very specific qualifications. But I am well aware of the staff and their qualifications……since I work here ……..yet it must be difficult for parents who aren’t familiar with the staff and meeting them for the first time.  I am sure if I was a guest and not a Carnival employee, sneaking back to peer through the door and checking on Kye.

But as I said at the top of the blog thingy……..I know that children sometimes crave the company of other kids (though being thrown in with a bunch of kids I didn’t know would have been my idea of hell when I was a child), and I know I am biased but Camp Carnival is the best and safest kids play heaven at sea. So, there is I guess a happy medium where you can find that middle ground providing time at Camp Carnival for the kids……….and time for Mum and Dad to go back to the cabin to make them a brother or a sister.

I had better crack on with today’s questions. Yesterday I said I was bored and got a bollocking from blogger “Tom” for not spending time answering more……….so let’s crack on………..sorry Tom.

Justin Allen Asked:
John: (Please Reply)

Long time follower, first time poster 🙂 I just wanted to say you do an outstanding job keeping us informed of the daily happenings within Carnival Cruise Lines. You have a wit and knack for words that only few have. My wife and I will be sailing on the Carnival Freedom in September. It will be our 14th cruise with Carnival. Next year we are looking at the Carnival Magic in September for the Mediterranean sailing. I sure do hope you are our CD that cruise 🙂 I’ve sailed with Todd a couple of times and if it’s him instead, I guess that’ll be ok LOL September is our month of choice for a couple reasons. First, the cruise fares seem to be cheaper due to prime hurricane season 🙂 We’re risk takers. What can I say? Secondly, it’s our anniversary. Next year, on the Magic we’ll be celebrating 10years. Quite the milestone and quite the itinerary so that makes for a good combination.

I kinda got on a ramble there so let me get back to why I originally posted…you responded to a question from Jennifer mentioning “Just Jack” and I wanted to tell you who that was. If I’m thinking of the same person, his name is Alan Price. We’ve sailed with him a couple of times as a Social Host and boy is he a hoot. He’s very personable, very likable and most of all, a great example of a Carnival employee.

Ok, hope that’s not too long of a read for you..maybe it’ll help you keep your mind off Megan Fox’s bottom 😉

Thanks for all you do!

Justin Allen
Florence, SC

John Says:
Hello Justin Allen

It is always great to hear from first time posters and I thank you for the kind words of support for the blog thingy. Congratulations on your 14th cruise that is upcoming on the Carnival Freedom. She is a great ship and I know you will have a brilliant time. I will indeed be the Cruise Director on the Carnival Magic and I would be honoured if you would let me show you our magnificent new ship and the splendours (spelt correctly) of the European ports of call. Yes, Alan Price, I have never worked with him but he has a great reputation and I hope to work with him one day soon. Thanks for clearing that up and maybe I should consider him for the Carnival Magic team and to help celebrate your ten year anniversary.

It would be a real pleasure to see you on the Carnival Magic and thanks for sort of photo of Megan Fox’s bottom……….I have one to show you when you sail with me next year………but don’t tell your wife or mine.

Best wishes to all

Dan Clark Asked:

Hey John, I love reading your blog, who doesn’t like a funny Englishman. Me and my girlfriend will be cruising on the Fantasy out of Charleston on 5/30/10. It looks like you will be your CD, can you confirm that. This is my 3rd cruise but my girlfriends first. Can’t wait.

Look forward to a reply.

John Says:
Hello Don Clark

Yes indeed I will be the Cruise Director with you. It will be my last cruise before vacation and I promise I will do my best to make you laugh out loud. How about leaving me a note at the Guest Services Desk when you arrive so I can send you a little something.

See you soon

Best wishes

Vinny from Staten Island Asked:
Dear John (please reply).

I haven’t missed a blog since I discovered it about a year ago. Even after my cruises I catch up on the blogs when I get home. Keep up the good work! Reading today’s blog got me thinking, is cruising something celebrities do much of? Have you run into many besides Howie Mandel. And also is Megan Fox aware of your infatuation with her bottom?! Maybe she could take a Carnival cruise someday (just let me know when it’s gonna be!) Hope to cruise with you someday soon. Vinny

John Says:
Hello Vinny from Staten Island

I am pretty certain that you are the first Vinny we have ever had on the blog thingy so let me just start by saying “How you doin’?”

I have met a few celebs in my time although most are from years gone by. Let me see if I can list the ones I have met.

Dame Judy Dench – Godmother of the Carnival Legend

Mia Sorvino – Godmother of the Carnival Liberty

Kathy Ireland – Godmother of the Carnival Freedom

Myleene Klass – Godmother of the Carnival Splendor (famous English TV personality)

Marcia Gay Harden – Godmother of your Carnival Dream

I have also met onboard: Julio Iglesias, Marvin Hamlisch, Kathy Lee and Frank Gifford, Regis Thingy, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Clint Black, Magic Johnston, The Olsen Twits …. sorry ………twins, Cindy Lauper, Jeff Goldblum, Howie something from the pop group the New Backstreet Kids On The Block, Pat Riley and Emitt Smith.

As for Megan knowing about my undying love for her bottom……..I doubt she knows but if you see Vinnie please let her know………does she have the finest bottom in the world ………….”forget about it”

Best wishes and hope we meet one day soon

Krhpee Asked:

Well I was reading the blog as I do most evenings so I can keep well informed, I am so surprised that a blogger would comment and encourage us. I am very happy to report that my husband is doing quite well. It was a scary episode but he has good doctors and is doing good.

Please reply

I am happy to report that Carnival has finally reached a decision regarding our canceled cruise. Although I am disappointed that we were offered a discount on a cruise instead of credit, we did get offered something.

I am happy to be a loyal Carnival cruiser and happy to know that they did almost the right thing. I just have to find the right cruise or the right cabin so I can fully take use of the full discount.

John, thanks for the help with this. I do believe that your involvement helped get this resolved, We will be sailing soon as soon as I can find that perfect cruise.– oh yeah– they are ALL perfect,

John Says:
Hello Krhpee

I am so glad that your husband is on the road to recovery and I wish him nothing but health and happiness in the future. I am glad that the CARE Team contacted you and that they were able to give you some assistance and there is no need to thank me. I am just glad that your husband is getting better every day and that I was able to help. Please let me know if I can help further.

Best wishes to you both

Mary Smith Asked:
Dear John – Please Reply

We sailed with you late last June on the Freedom. In November we joined you at the bloggers breakfast in Rockefeller Plaza and appear in a video clip with you entitled “KISS”. You scolded me that day for only wearing a sweater on such a chilly day.

The reason I am writing is to let you know that our parents are (for the third time) taking the entire family (children and grandchildren) 13 in all on yet another cruise. This cruise is to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary. It came as a surprise to be given such a generous gift two years in a row. They always allow everyone’s input in the planning. The cruise on the Freedom was planned primarily by the grandchildren. We were all extremely impressed with Carnival. Mom and Dad are frequent cruisers and this was a change from the line they usually sail on (Celebrity). Everyone had a wonderful time and lifelong memories were made. You were a hit with all of us and we still laugh about many things you said and did.

While I know you will not be our CD on our upcoming cruise on the Liberty on 6/26 I was hoping you might be able to send personal congratulations to our parents. It would mean a great deal to them I am sure. As our gift to them we will be planning yet another family cruise for the following year. Please contact me and I will give you any details that you may need. Take care and I hope to hear from you soon.

PS Thank you for the wonderful blog. It is like a daily comic strip for me. My coworkers all enjoy your comments about your gastrointestinal issues as we work in that field.

John Says:
Hello Mary Smith

I remember that day In Rockefeller well and I was cold………yet you stood there munching on a bagel in just a thin sweater and no coat. We had fun though didn’t we and thanks so much for coming down to support the event.

It would be my honour (spelt correctly) to send you parents a note of congratulations and will send my great friend and your Cruise Director Butch a note to make this happen. However, please send me a posting marked to the attention of the 344 Stephanies and include their names and cabin please and as soon as I get that I will write to Butch to make it so.

I am so glad that you all enjoy the blog and I hope that you continue to do so.

My best wishes to all

Denise Dick Asked:
Hi John, (please reply)

I’m as aggravated as Fred is. As you know, Mike and I are booked on our Carnival Dream on May 8 for our anniversary. When I made the reservation, I booked on an early saver fare with an inside cabin. After much discussion with my husband, Mike, we decided to splurge and upgrade to a cove balcony. As this is our 4th carnival cruise, I was hoping for some leniency on the $50 pp admin fee to upgrade. I was told there were no exceptions so I gave in gracefully even though $100 was hard to come by. We are not rich people.

What really bothered me recently is because I was penalized having an early saver fare, I watched the price of the cove balcony faithfully to make sure it did not drop below the fare we paid. To my great surprise, I found that a resident rate appeared on the Carnival website for $759 pp and we paid $787. So I sent in a claim form to get the difference as an OBC. Admittedly, it is a small amount but anything will help. I received an email from that department that that fare was never published by Carnival. They said that fare was for ocean view and not balcony.

This really upset me as I am absolutely positive the fare was for balcony because I was used to looking at it every day. I wrote back and asked to please double check because this was a special resident fare that I saw. I just received another email from them saying that the fare was NOT published and my claim was denied again.

I have to say I feel very betrayed because I was penalized for upgrading because I booked with an early saver fare and then when I could take advantage of that type of fare, it is denied to me.

I’m very upset not only because of the inability to obtain an OBC for our cruise but also because I do not feel valued by Carnival as a customer any longer.

I realize this is lengthy but I am upset by the poor customer service. I’m sure Carnival will be in much better financial condition since they did not have to give me my $54 OBC.

Thanks for reading.

John Says:
Hello Denise Dick

I am so sorry that you are upset and I am glad that you have contacted me. I still don’t fully understand the ins and outs of the Early Saver program but I do understand that you are upset. Therefore I will pass this on to someone who does understand this program and make sure they contact you. Thanks so much for letting me know and please write back to me after someone has contacted you and let me know what happened.

Best wishes

Canuck Cruiser Asked:
Hello John, Please reply when time permits

I’m sending you a telepathic message………….the next Bloggers cruise should be on the Carnival MIRACLE on FEB 7th , 2011! Got it? Good. LOL

We’re already booked on this cruise and we would like to with the Blogger family. Hope this works.

Well Donna, my daughter and newest grandson will be on the Imagination next month for a short cruise to Key West and Cozumel. They leave on May 17th. I’m sure they will have a great time as usual. Please let Tory Secoy know that the little guy that is about to melt her heart when he smiles is our grandson and this is his first cruise. Only nine more for him until Platinum.

If Tory could send Nathan a Fun Ship Freddie he promises to not cry once on the whole cruise. I have his word. LOL

Hope all is well with you and say HI to Heidi and Kye.

All the best from MR. CANADA
Brad and Donna from Stratford.

John Says:
Hello Canuck Cruiser

It was funny but a few weeks ago I got this weird feeling that someone was eating a Tim Horton’s doughnut and trying to tell me something about the Carnival Miracle. It nearly worked……..if only that doughnut had been sugar free. Seriously though, I did consider the Carnival Miracle but in the end the marketing beards decided on the Carnival Glory for BC4. I wish you could join us.

I have sent something to Nathan……I hope he likes it

Have fun and write when you get home.

Best wishes to you all……..”eh”

Leanne Asked:
Please Reply –

I just read the comment from Peggy Winge (April 22), whose daughter would like to have a Carnival themed birthday party. First, I think it’s a great idea, and second, I think it’s a shame she can’t get a bunch of Carnival t-shirts to give to her daughter’s friends at the party.

With that said, I wonder why Carnival doesn’t have an on-line shop? It would produce a lot of revenue. You could sell so many things such as t-shirts, baseball hats, Fun Ship Freddy dolls, beach towels, water bottles, picture frames, toys, etc.

Why haven’t the beards thought of this yet? It’s great advertising – people who aren’t on a ship can be out and about with the Carnival logo on various everyday items. Your thoughts?

John Says:
Hello Leanne

You are right. I have no idea why we don’t have an online shop either. I am sure there are contract regulations with the people who provide our onboard shop merchandise but it would be fantastic to have an online shop thing selling T-shirts, etc. Certainly the Carnival themed birthday party is an excellent idea and one that I have already presented to our marketing department and they agreed…….so this may be something that we can get done soon. I will re-address the online shop subject as I know it is something that many of you want.

Best wishes and thanks for taking the time to write.

That’s all for today and thanks to everyone who took the time to write. I have noticed these past few weeks that there are some angry people out there who tell me how crap my blog is yet they read it every day and post comments that are so angry. I could ignore them but then I will be accused of only posting the good stuff which I will never do. So, I shall just carry on being nice.

In November of this year the Carnival Fantasy will head for two weeks in dry dock. I know many of you love to see the ship out of the water and follow what happens during this very important time. Well maybe we should follow the example of P&O Cruises Australia who have just placed one of their ships, Pacific Dawn, into her dry dock period. They have decided to share this experience with all their loyal Aussie fans and this video that I am about to show you is getting many hundreds of hits every day. It shows just how passionate the folks down under are about cruising (and shrimp and beer and kangaroos and not wearing long pants) and how fascinating a dry dock can be made if modern media thingies are used. Here is the link………I absolutely know you will enjoy this.

So yesterday the Carnival Fantasy arrived into Charleston and what a welcome we received. This started at 8 am when a small flotilla of ships escorted us into the Charleston Harbor. Here are some fantastic shots taken from a helicopter by the terrifically talented Mr. Andy Newman.

Brilliant photos Andy and thank you for hanging outside the helicopter again to get these shots.

Back on board I hosted the plaque exchange ceremony between various city dignitaries and port authority VIPs and a very proud Captain Costi. Also joining us were Jim Berra our Chief Marketing Officer who spoke about how proud we were that Carnival could finally call Charleston a “home port” and always he spoke eloquently and with obvious passion for the company which is now very much part of his life.

I tried to make it as fun as I could and hopefully the laughter I heard in the theatre was proof that I made the right choice and rather than host a stuffy, golf clap type of ceremony the decision to make it fun was the right one. Well, rather than me waffle on about this I think Peter the Hair has a video highlight of what happened……and here it is.

My thanks to peter and one of the 344 Stephanies for joining me and it was also great to see our friend Vance from PR. Yep, all in all I think with the great lunch, cocktails and the fun on with the water slide races………..the people of Charleston had a great time and experienced a little taste of what we are all about.

Here are some photos taken by one of the 344 Stephanies……..Stephanie H.

Then there are the folks who are getting a full 5 days and goodness me they are truly excited to be here. When I walked out on stage for the Welcome Aboard Show and asked them if they were excited to have a ship out of South Carolina the room erupted as though I had just asked them “Who would like to see me naked?”  OK………maybe that’s not the best simile but their response certainly proved that they were.

What is interesting is that out of nearly 2300 guests only 715 have cruised with Carnival before. That’s about 400 less than last week when we sailed out of Alabama. Now, that maybe because it’s a 5 day cruise to the Bahamas which maybe folks have been to before and they are waiting to the next cruise to go to Grand Turk and Half Moon Cay. But I think that this is a prime example of how important it is for us to find new home ports and thus we will find new first time cruisers as we have here this cruise. I wonder …….what the next new home port will be. Our Senior Vice President Terry is reading this blog…….so……..any suggestions?

The welcome aboard show was very busy indeed and as full a lounge as I have seen. To get to the back stage area of the theatre on the Fantasy class from the CD cabin involves walking past the forward Empress deck cabins. There is one thing I always look for when I do this and that’s how many “snoozing” signs are hanging on the doors. Last week on the seven day Alabama cruise there were quite a few……..this week I counted just 2. That was a sure fire way of telling that most people were going to make the very most of these 5 days and that proved correct both with a packed show and very lively entertainment areas.

Here are a few highlights from the welcome aboard show including a cute always smiling man called Mr. Chin……..a man who did a crazy dance for his girlfriend of 19 years ……… and me having a conversation with a honeymooner called Charlene who got married on the ship on Tuesday and is 4 months pregnant………actually in the picture I am having a chat with her baby……….who she will be calling Lizzie.

The passion I feel here in South Carolina reminds me of the passion for cruising the people had in Galveston………and that is a very big compliment indeed.

My flight tickets arrived for my vacation yesterday and I will be flying via Miami to London on British Airways. Normally when I get my ticket I get very excited despite seeing the word “economy” next to my name. It might as well say “loser” or “hey fat bastard, you are in for 9 hours of hell class.” However this time I have other things to be worried about such as whether British Airways will be on strike and of course that sodding volcano and its nasty ash.

The thing keeps farting out huge amounts of ash and each time it does flights into and out of the UK are canceled. Some say that this is crazy and even Sir Richard Branson the owner of Virgin Atlantic said on the news yesterday that it was bollocks…….well he didn’t actually use the word bollocks but you get my drift. Now while I have my own opinions on the high visibility jacket wearing, tofu eating beardies who have ruined the world with their health and safety laws I happen to agree with the people who ground the flights.

“Of course you can fly through that cloud of ash,” says Mr. Branson and other airline executives!……… “This is health and safety gone mad!”

Listen Mr. Virgin. A 747 is enormous and basically shaped like a penis…..not mine obviously but probably George Clooney’s and Bill Clinton’s………and I do not want to be inside a penis, inside a cloud of powered glass thank you very much. This is the same Richard Branson who says that within three years he’ll be in a position to offer seats on a spaceship at something like $250,000 a ticket. Apparently it’ll be no more risky than early commercial jet flight which, if you are flying through a cloud of ash means it’ll be extremely dangerous and very many people will be killed.

But once we’ve buried what’s left of Tom Cruise and Bono, the economies of scale will kick in and soon poor people like me will be able to die in the freezing radioactive wasteland of space too…….obviously while sitting in economy. Anyway……….the best proof that Mr. Branson is talking bollocks about this whole ash thing is that he has a beard. The defense rests.

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.