I Am Too Embarrassed To Ask Blog

July 16, 2010 -

John Heald

Growing up, my Dad was never one to spend long evenings in front of the TV. It was the Seventies and he was a Dad. So he was always busy doing Seventies Dad stuff. Woodworking in the shed and painting things around the house and of course tending to his beloved garden.

He never missed one show though. It starred an Irish comedian called Dave Allen. I am not sure if he ever made it big across your side of the pond though but to my Dad and millions of other British dads…..he was the king of comedy. Religion was his thing….. or making fun of it. Drunken priests, nymphomaniac Nuns and comical bishops all played a big part in his show……a throw back to his strict Irish Catholic upbringing. Here he is.

He would often finish his show with a top Ten Commandments list, very pre-David Letterman and very, very funny. He would choose subjects like drinking, smoking and general life subjects to base his commandments on. Dave Allen passed away some years ago and as a tribute to him…….here are my ten commandments……….on cruising.

1. Thou shalt not kill………….. unless a passenger enters an elevator before you exit. Then you shalt be allowed to beat them over the head with a Fun Ship Special glass until they breathe no more.

2. Thou shalt not covet they neighbor’s cabin. Look, if there’s somebody on your deck staying in the penthouse and wearing loads of jewelry and bling they’re obviously involved in some sort of unspeakable internet-based “business.” Therefore thou shalt report them to United States Customs and Border Patrol.

3. Thou shalt not call Carnival “the Wal-Mart of the Seas.” Neither can you stereotype anyone for the cruise line they choose to spend their vacations on. Unless they are on the Norwegian Epic in which case they are obviously blind.

4. Thou shalt not bring a power strip on the ship. It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle then it is for a power strip to be smuggled past Carnival’s Chief of Security Ramesh Wouldyoulikemylatexgloveupyourbottom.

5. Thou shalt not slap a big ugly “X” on your smoke stack or paint graffiti on the bow. Not if you’re a grown-up. Oh and note to basketball stars……….thou shalt not put spinners on your Aston Martins.

6. Thou shalt not have rumpy pumpy on the balcony lest you fall overboard. Thou thinkist that no bugger can see you but thou givest a great show to Rocco and his mates on the bridge.

7. Thou shalt not attempt to justify building a 6,000-passenger ship just because thou is jealous that Micus Arisonus got Princess Cruises and thou did not.

8. Thou shalt say please and thank you when asking Bigus Johnus for a table for two, otherwise thou shalt be known on the blog as Rudos Bastardus.

9. Thou shalt not refer to the cabin steward as a cabin “stewart.” It is steward and not “stewart” and if thou uses the word “stewart” again thou shalt find a towel animal on thy bed in the shape of a thingy.

10. Thou will never ever ask the captain “If you are here, who is driving the ship?” Thou is not the first person to ask this question and the next one who does will enjoy a tour of the propellers.

Amen.

Time for today’s questions……………….lets crack on.

Judy Sharum Asked:
JOHN PLEASE REPLY!!!!!!

(Concerning June 30th blog reply)

I wrote about getting no special treatment boarding ships as a Platinum guest. You wanted to know when we were sailing again-Its Feb 7-15th on Miracle out of Fort Lauderdale.

My husband says same-all times we have sailed since being platinum-we have always been ushered in with everyone else. NO ONE asks if we are platinum or not. Last time I even asked the girl directing everyone where platinum’s guests go and she pointed to the line where everyone was!! We had everything filled and printed out-stood in massive line and waited to get to the front. I asked the girl at the check in about it and said she didn’t know of any special check in for platinum guests??? Is it just us getting this treatment????? I was under the impression that there was suppose to be a special section for checking in??? If not-why be gold, platium, or diamond?? All get to check in same line!?

As the Itin I have been wanting for finally came up now on The Miracle and we leave Feb 7th-Some clearing up would be helpful

Thanks John!!! Read you everyday!!!!

John Says:
Hello Judy Sharum

Thanks for the follow up to this. I am going to make sure that your comments are sent to the right people. I am extremely surprised to hear this as I understood that we have designated VIP lines or VIP rooms for all our Platinum guests and so it was a bit of a shock to read that you have never received preferential treatment during embarkation. I will keep this on file and nearer the time of your cruise on the Carnival Miracle I will send you details of exactly what to do.

Thanks for the kind words and my best wishes to you and your husband.
John

Pnjkeith Asked:
John, Please Reply

Have all the beards gone up in smoke? Read on Cruise Critic today, no cigar smoking in cigar bar on Carnival Freedom. Say it ain’t so!!

Thanks

John Says:
Hello Judy

Yes, it is indeed true. Please bear with me while I answer the rest of today’s questions and I will write more on this subject in a moment.

Best wishes
John

Dwayne Asked:
Hi John, please reply.

There have been some questions asked on Cruise-Chat.com about Dean Gaines up-coming schedule for the ships. If you have any information about his onboard schedule it would be greatly appreciated. Thanks a bunch!

Dwayne
Carnival Cruise Line Moderator
Cruise-Chat.com

John Says:
Hello Dwayne

Dean Gaines for those who do not know is a very funny comedian, entertainer and impressionist who often works with us. I checked with the office and in August Dean will be appearing on the Carnival Fantasy, Carnival Freedom and Carnival Glory. If there is a specific cruise that you would like to know if he is on please let me know. Our fly-on entertainers are not usually on a same ship schedule and rotate around the fleet.

I hope this helps and I send you and all the Cruise-Chat.com readers my best wishes.
John

Mary H Asked:
Hello John, Please reply.

Well it seems that Carnival has lost another loyal customer with their new pricing policy for 1A solos. I do have 3 more Carnival cruises booked at the old rate but after that will be returning to Celebrity and Royal Caribbean’s had booked the Oct 16th Med cruise on the Carnival Magic and was anxiously waiting for the transatlantic to be announced but the price for solos was increased. I have been on the Carnival Liberty TA with you as CD, Carnival Freedom TA 3 times with Todd as CD and the Carnival Dream TA again with Todd.

Now I have booked the Voyager for the TA from Barcelona to New Orleans on Oct 30th in an aft balcony cabin solo for the same price as a 1A solo on the Magic. I am platinum with Royal so get $200 off a balcony cabin and $150 OBC. I would have been Platinum on Carnival for the Magic TA but now it isn’t going to happen.

I love TAs and all the days at sea but it is time that you had some enrichment lectures as other lines do.

At least I will be seeing you again on the Med cruise and hopefully Ken Byrne too. I will miss Carnival.

John Says:
Hello Mary H

I just wanted to say how truly sad I was to read your comments. I wish there was a magic wand I could wave that would make the price right for you to sail many more times with us. All I can do is pass your comments onto the important people at Carnival and promise that I will make your cruise on your Carnival Magic the best you have ever had. Please stay in touch by reading the blog thingy.

Best wishes
John

April Asked:
Hi John and the 344 wonderful Stephanies,

Heidi and Kye too

I hope you can answer my question about dining times for your next Blogger cruise on the Glory –

Is there going to be one assigned dining time for the Bloggers?

Please reply if possible if not–lucky me will get to ask you in person on the Splendor in August

Cheers and hugs
April

John Says:
Hello April

I haven’t formally announced this yet but I am going to say that I think it will be best if like the last time we leave Bloggers to book their own choice of assigned or Your Time Dining.

See you soon.

Best wishes
John

Abe Maunsell Asked:
Please reply

I am a frequent reader of Cruise Critic and there is lots of talk about who is the best cruise director. Some say they do not like Jen Baxter and many have posted both good and bad things about Todd. I wanted to know who you think is the best and who is the worst cruise director.

Abe

John Says:
Hello Abe

It’s a bit of a shame that if the post topic was “who is the best cruise director” it turned into a negative thread thingy by people saying who in their opinion the worst CD is.

Anyway, the worst…………well I think all of our CDs are excellent including the highly energetic and caring Jen Baxter. Some have lots to learn and they will and nobody could ever be as bad as when I first started.

As for whom the best CD is. Well, as many CD’s read this I have to be careful but honestly my two favourite cruise directors still working are Graham Seymour who used to work at Carnival and now works for another cruise line………we miss him a lot. Then there is Ray Rouse who works for Cunard. He is the most professional and most experienced CD you could ever wish to meet…….he sets the trend for the rest of the industry to follow…… Carnival has a few rising stars that I won’t name here but who …….if they continue to work hard, have the chance to be the best in the business.

Best wishes
John

Danny and Jennifer Asked:
Hi John, Please answer.

It has been a while but we are still “crusin’.” What does Carnival do for New Years? We are taking our son and daughter and their families out of Baltimore the day after Christmas and we will be on the ship on New Years Eve. There will be 11 of us all together.

Hope you are enjoying that beautiful little princess and Heidi too!
Jennifer

John Says:
Hello Danny and Jennifer

Celebrating New Years Eve on a Carnival ship is a brilliant and totally fun way to bring in the New Year. There will be streamers and a balloon drop and a huge party on the Lido deck with lashings of free champagne. The live music and dancing will build up to the big countdown and the huge cheers of the guests complimented by blasts of congratulations from the ship’s horn will make this a night you and your family will never forget. Why not get all 11 of you together and ask if anyone has any questions. If they do, please let me know.

Best wishes to you all and happy New Year
John

Maria Weems Asked:
Dear John (Please respond),

I hope you are enjoying your “working vacation”. I just wanted to let you know what a wonderful time we had in the Carnival Liberty on our sailing of 6-12-2010. While there were many highlights on our trip, one of the most significant one for us was the outstanding service we received in the Silver Dining Room. Our group was made up of 11 people ranging from 4 years old to over 65. We had communicated with Elvis, the Maitre D, (thanks to Claudio Maitre D in the Dream) to warn him of our unique group. Elvis made sure we had a great waiter who would do well with kids. Our waiter was the exceptional Sirhtep (Tep) from Thailand (table 441). My husband & I had actually met him on our 2nd honeymoon cruise on the Carnival Victory in February 2007, where we were lucky enough to have him as a waiter. Dinner was taken care of, but what about breakfast, the staff saw our group (wearing coordinated T-shirts) and assigned us to the team of Teca & Danilo. They were sooo good we insisted on making sure we were served by them every morning. Kudos, to the staff of the Silver dining room and the entire crew of the Carnival Liberty, they really provided us a great vacation. We wanted to experience some more Carnival Class Service, so we booked our next cruise already, December 26 on the Carnival Valor. The cruise on the Valor will be the platinum trip for 4 of the 14 who are traveling with us (yes we gained 3 others). It will be a New Years cruise and some of us were wondering what kind of special things should we expect in relation to the New Year’s Eve celebration?

Thanks for all the fun blogs,
Maria & Doug Weems

John Says:
Hello Maria and Doug Weems

Sometimes the questions on the blog thingy can enter the twilight zone somewhat. As to confirm that, how weird that two questions in a row will be about what happens on a Carnival ship on New Year’s Eve?  Hold on……to save you scrolling up one question let me do some cutting and some pasting. Right …………here you go.

Celebrating New Years Eve on a Carnival ship is a brilliant and totally fun way to bring in the New Year. There will be streamers and a balloon drop and a huge party on the Lido deck with lashings of free champagne. The live music and dancing will build up to the big countdown and the huge cheers of the guests complimented by blasts of congratulations from the ships horn will make this a night you and your family will never forget. Why not get all 11 of you together and ask if anyone has any questions. If they do, please let me know.

Oh hold on……this must be the same group as Danny and Jennifer…..they had 11 in their group as well……..please tell me its the same group because if not that is very, very weird and I may start to think the blog is possessed and that will mean I will have to do a naked hand stand and recite boat drill backwards ……this is the only way to get rid of evil blog spirits…………..and the French.

Thanks for those very kind words and I know that the staff on the Carnival Liberty will be thrilled to read your words of praise.

Best wishes to you all and happy New Year
John

Richard G Asked:

My wife and I are going to be taking our first Carnival cruise Jan/2/11 from Baltimore. We are really looking forward to it… I believe the Pride is going into dry-dock 2 weeks later. What will Carnival be doing to her. Should I be concerned that we will be going on ship that needs “freshening up”. Secondly what special arrangements, if any, are made for ships leaving from winter ports?

Thank you in advance
(I apologize if you have already answered these questions many many times)

John Says:
Hello Richard G

No need to apologize and you have asked a very good question. Please do not worry as the ship is brilliant condition and will be undergoing her usual routine work but just a little earlier than previously scheduled.  I promise that all the ship operations, events, activities, shows and ports of call are running as normal.  The winter question is also a good one. It is certainly cold in Baltimore during the winter months and I know the ship’s crew have to chip away at ice on the decks a couple of times but the ship was able to arrive and depart Baltimore as scheduled. As to any other arrangements, well honestly I am not sure so please let me ask Kirk the CD who was there last winter and I will post his observations for you and everyone else to read. I promise you will have a fantastic time on the Carnival Pride.

Best wishes
John

RickHoover Asked:
To my next CD (please reply)

First off I will join the rest to thank you for your blog. I enjoy reading it every day (except the weekend of course). The thing that I have found in the 4 previous cruises is how wonderful everyone is on the ships. We have had wonderful conversations with everyone that works on the Carnival ships and even better service. Because of that we will continue to sail every year on Carnival until Carnival says ENOUGH!

I wrote to you a few weeks back about us being on our Carnival Splendor about our seating for dinner and you graciously helped us out. It will be our 40th wedding anniversary when we sail (8/1/2010) and we are bringing along our 4 (adult) children. 2 are married and their wives are coming along, one is engaged and bring along her fiancée and our other daughter and our foreign exchange daughter (flying in from Japan) are going to be there. 5 of the children have never been on a cruise ship and actually have never even seen one up close and personal so we are really looking forward to the “WOW” factor when they first see their Carnival Splendor.

Now for the reason for this missive…we are hoping that one night you can stop by our dining table for a toast. We would love to get a picture of you with the entire family. You may not want to be we would love it. Of course that is if we haven’t been thrown off the ship because frivolity will be happening.

Again, thanks for everything you do and to all the Carnival employees for the best time ever. Oh, and I would like to give out a shout to the greatest PVP that Carnival has…Maria Sanclemente. She has been an absolute angel for all of our cruises including doing one thing that I still find amazing…I will e-mail a question and she will CALL ME to give me the answer. I hope she never gets promoted because I would not know what to do without her.

Until we meet on 8/1/10…

One of your many fans,
Rick Debbie, Rachael, Jennifer, Jeremy, Joshua, Sarah, Carrie, Brian, Yuiko

John Says:
Hello Rick Hoover

It would be an absolute honour to meet you and your family. Please can you leave me your cabin number in a brief note at the guest services desk when you board and I will make sure we meet. I am looking forward to my time on the west coast and now I am looking forward to meeting you and your extended family.

Thanks also for the kind words about Maria who I will make sure sees this as will her boss.

So, see you soon and my best wishes to you all
John

That’s all for today and thanks again for all the great comments and those about the bar department. I have collated all of them and they will be part of ongoing discussions. It seems that you love the soda card, would like to see more variety of beers and these and all your suggestions will now be looked at very carefully. Thanks again for taking the time to write.

Now I want to talk about smoking. Actually…..I don’t but I have to because it is a subject that continues to be one of the top issues of course. Yesterday I responded to two questions about smoking cigars and that cigar bars on two of our ships have become totally non-smoking.

Now, before I get into this a bit more there is the obvious subject of me being both a Carnival employee and an avid cigar lover. However, I will do my best to address this as subjectively as I can.

This is what is happening at the moment. There is a trial on a few of our ships where we have introduced more restrictive indoor smoking areas……for both cigarettes and cigars. This is similar I am told to other lines. Obviously we are going to look at the reaction to this from our guests. This means that the cigar bars on Carnival Glory, Carnival Freedom and Carnival Destiny are now totally 100% non-smoking and on other classes of ships some lounges that were smoking are now non-smoking. Now, no final decision has been made and won’t be for some time. I will say that when I was on the Niew Amsterdam they only had one inside smoking bar and cigar smoking was only allowed outside.

I personally understand why we are looking at this. As I mentioned yesterday, I know it is not much fun for non-smokers to pass through the cigar lounges to get to the internet cafe. And I have to say that we really didn’t think this all the way through by putting the computers there ……. that really was silly…….in my opinion anyway. On your Carnival Dream we have the Lanai with its comfortable seating, tables and bar service. If we are going to move smokers to more outside areas then we must make it a comfortable environment for them to enjoy a cigarette or a cigar…….as on your Carnival Dream and as I found it to be on the Nieuw Amsterdam.

So, to help them with this I am going to ask you a favor and vote in this poll during the next seven days. Maybe I could ask Host Mach to slap this on the cruise boards as well. Here are the questions.

Look, I know that smoking is the most controversial of subjects………..apart from global warming and my underpants fetish…….but as we continue to try and do what is best for you, our guests, then who better to comment and help us make the right choices than you. So, please have a good think about this and vote away. I will send the results and all your comments on this subject to some very important people.

Taking my Carnival name tag off for a moment and writing now not as a Carnival employee and someone who understand that we must do what is best for our guests …….. I wanted to say this. In my grandfather’s day, he could smoke almost everywhere. In my father’s day, he could still smoke a cigar on a plane. In my day, I could still smoke in a pub. Now I can only smoke in public……. if I’m on fire. I guess this tells its own story as to where not only the cruise industry is going……….but where the world is as well.

On a much happier note I have another big batch of Chef’s Table reservations to make for you today. Please remember that if you need me to make a reservation for you and your family to post the following.

TITLE                         CHEFS TABLE RESERVATION

NAME

CABIN NUMBER

SHIP

SAILING DATE

These will not be posted on the blog so please don’t include any other information on them. You will receive a confirmation e-mail directly from the ship soon thereafter.

Host Mach sent me this fantastic review of the Chef’s Table written by Edmond Dantes:

DW and I experienced the Chef’s Table on the Imagination last Thursday. I can tell you that it was the highlight of our cruise, and worth every penny of the charge. Chef Ajit and the wait staff were tremendous. The experience lasted around three hours, and DW and I both agreed that we could not cruise with Carnival any longer without being able to enjoy the Chef’s Table experience on the trip.

That is fantastic to hear Edmond and I shall indeed pass this to the ship. So, please let me know if you want to try this outstanding culinary journey and I will be honoured (spelt correctly) to make a reservation for you.

Much like the introduction of the Chef’s Table, the people with beards at Carnival are always coming up with new ways to make your cruise fun and memorable.  Our comedy shows have always been a big part of our entertainment lineup and our comedy club on Carnival Dream is a huge, huge hit.  On Monday we’ll be announcing an exciting new feature for our ships but PA 007 has managed to grab an advance copy of the press release which we’ll post here on the blog thingy on Sunday night.  So check back on Sunday and you’ll find out all the details.

OK, I am going to hate this next bit for sure but…………….well……………here goes. I start my travels again soon and will by early August be a CD again as I begin my four-month contract as a cruise director on the Carnival Splendor. So……..I ummmm……. bugger …………..how do I say this…………come on John stop stuttering around like a Hugh Grant movie and get a sodding move on…………right…………I am here to ask if …….. ummm …………it’s ok to take a week off from the blog.

There, I said it………….and now I have to go for a poo…………back in a minute.

OK, right where was I….oh yes…the week off. You see, I haven’t had a proper holiday for …..well…… a long time so I want to ask your permission to take a week off from blogging and spend a week of rest and relaxation with the girls. I am not sure what we are going to do, Heidi doesn’t even know about this yet and I am even thinking of flying to Naples, Italy for three days. A friend of ours has a house there that he has offered to lend us.

I am not sure if we will go but if not we will do normal family things like go swimming and go to zoo and argue. I do hope you are not too disappointed or angry about this and of course I will be back a week on Monday.

I will be writing from the Queen Victoria where I will be attending a gala charity event. I was hoping to sail the entire cruise but I am needed back onboard the Carnival Splendor so I will be there just 2 nights. However ………I will be meeting………well………have a read of this e-mail I received from someone important at Cunard.

John

Queen Victoria will be berthed at the City of Liverpool Cruise Facility. That morning HRH the Duchess of Cornwall (Camilla) will be making a visit to her ship and will be on board from 1125 to 1220 hours. We have made arrangements for you to be presented to her while she is in the Grand Lobby just after her embarkation

Bugger me!

I am meeting The Duchess of Cornwall who is a huge Cunard fan and of course christened the ship. I will be writing all about my Royal adventures on the 26th. ……… then it’s off to America…….and back to my other job of being a cruise director.

I have to tell you a story from my time on the Niuew Amsterdam. It’s a bit late I know but I have had so much to write about these past few days that I haven’t had a chance to fit it in. Anyway, as you know I loved the ship and I have to say that I cannot recommend her and the Holland America product highly enough. I hope my blog about the ship did it justice ………probably not……..but anyway, she and her crew were amazing and I must go back one day and experience a full week of the HAL signature service.

Anyway, you may remember my blog featured twenty something photographs which I had sent while at sea. And for those of you who have tried to send a photo from a cruise ship while at sea, you will know that it is a slow, tedious and sometimes frustrating affair.

And therefore sending 20 of the buggers was not a pleasant day out. It was made slightly easier by the fact that I was writing from the Crows Nest which is a gorgeous lounge, right at the top of the ship over looking the bow and the ocean. It is full of huge leather chairs and it’s where the library is located so it lends itself to being the perfect place to relax with a good book, send photos to thousands of blog readers……..or in the case of one chap……..snore your bloody head off.

I faced this problem on the Nieuw Amsterdam as just a few seats away from me one sat Mr Bogpig, whose animal sound effects pushed me and every other passenger comfortably inside the seventh circle of Hell. The stress was carved on all our faces as we waited for the deep, rasping honk on the inhale, the wet, fluttering whistle on the exhale ………………and the small stream of dribble that ran from his mouth…….down his chin ………….to form a small wet patch on his white polo shirt.

Passengers were trying to read or play cards and did so while exchanging looks of horror at Mr. Bogpig , then looked away, no one wanting to volunteer to shake the bugger awake. One passenger started coughing loudly but the snores easily drowned out the tickled throat noises. I had to do something…..it was bad enough having top wait 10 minutes to download one sodding photo, let alone have to do it while listening to Animal Farm. I got my Raspberry out and played my ring tone at full volume, hoping that the theme from The West Wing might rouse him from slumber. Did it bollocks.

“Is it cruel to wake him?” asked one passenger to another……as nobody did anything I guess they decided it was. I couldn’t really say anything. After all, I was in effect a Carnival Corp employee but I couldn’t understand why the other passengers thought it would be cruel.

Holland America passengers are so nice. Eventually, most left the lounge to find other places to read and play cards. Leaving me and my photos……and Mr Bogpig……. snoring his head off, dribbling away. I left around 30 minutes later……he was still snoring and now the lounge was mostly empty. As I left I wondered if, when Mr Bogpig eventually woke that he would have thought it funny that the lounge was completely empty.

What is the correct way to deal with a loud snorer on a cruise ship? Throwing him overboard or taping his mouth shut………….is I think………… probably illegal?

Thank you so much for allowing me a week off. I will miss you.

Goodnight
Your friends
John, Heidi and Kye

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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