Hounour Offer…Honour Offer…Honour Offer

August 30, 2010 -

John Heald

You see a lot when you go backstage during one of our production shows. The dancers run around changing out of one costume into another and there are times when they do this right in front of you as you stand there waiting to announce the bows and finale of the show. Now some of you with Adams Apples may think that this sounds exciting……and maybe 20 years ago ….. well …….it might have been.

These days when a 20 something dancer gets undressed right in front of me I have to turn my head and bury it in shame……..because I feel like a dirty old pervert. It’s hard to explain because the dancers don’t care, they really don’t, for them it’s part of the job. For me, seeing the people I work with naked is embarrassing. Imagine seeing Maureen from accounts payable standing by the photo copier butt naked except for a tiny dancing thong thingy. I am supposed to manage and guide these people through their time on the ship. It’s difficult to chastise someone because they were late for library duty when you have just seen their lady garden the night before.

Anyway, seeing the girls is one thing…..well actually it’s two things but that doesn’t matter ……. what I am trying to say is seeing the girls breasts and bottoms is bad enough……….but when the male dancers run past you with their waxed arses on full view……….then that’s another story. Which leads me to the main subject of this portion of the blog thingy…………….underpants.

Some wear tight briefs that make them look like a seventies porn star. Some wear a thong and some wear boxers which I have to imagine leaves the wearer living in dread of having to run for a bus. Many women will say that these are sexy and that the giant diaper ones I wear are not.

But to me these are comfortable and the ones the male dancers wear surely cannot be. And to women what matters………well ask my wife and Heidi will tell you only three things really matter to women about underpants…… cleanliness, cleanliness, and cleanliness. The rest is just bollocks.

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

Craig and Frank Asked:
Please reply

Hello John. We are a gay couple who will be cruising on Splendor with you on September 19th. Do you have gay and lesbian activities each day and if you don’t please can you have this for us. We are both very excited about our first cruise and will be celebrating our 10th year together. We always read your blog and can’t wait to see your shows.

Thank You in advance

Craig and Frank
San Francisco, California

John Says:
Hello Craig and Frank

It’s great that you will be celebrating your anniversary with us here on the Carnival Splendor. We do indeed have daily get together which are listed in your daily program. This program is called the Fun Times and will be delivered to your stateroom each night for the following day. Please look at the at a glance section where you will find the words “Friends of Dorothy” meet and the location and the time will be listed there as well. Please drop me a note at the guest services desk during the cruise so that I may send you a small anniversary gift. I look forward to seeing you both soon.

Best wishes
John

Victor Petersen Asked:
John reply please when you can

When we were on the Freedom Mediterranean cruise in May, 2007, you had a lady singer that was absolutely fantastic. We are trying to remember her name – she sang operatic songs & had many a standing ovation. She sang songs from The Sound of Music in addition to songs from the Phantom of the Opera. Is there any way you can line her up to perform on the Bloggers Cruise on December 3rd? Again, what was her name and will she be with you on the Magic. We will be there in August and we are very much hoping this lady will be part of the entertainment.

John Says:
Hello Victor Petersen

Ahhhhh……..you are talking about the incomparable Penny Mathisen. I will certainly see if we can indeed get her to perform onboard your Carnival Magic. This lady has been blessed with the voice of an angel and she provided the most beautiful of shows which were just perfect for sailing around Europe. I will do all I can to get here there. See you next year.

Best wishes
John

Lorna Asked:
John please respond. please.

Someone responded to a question on Cruise Critic about tips and said that the only people that worked for Carnival that DID NOT GET PAID were the waiters and they only lived on their tips. Is this true, I find it very hard that everyone else on the ship is paid but the waiters.
If you could answer this for me so I can post it on cruise critic, I would greatly appreciate it.
Lorna

John Says:
Hello Lorna

I know that tipping can always provoke rumours and conspiracy theories but let me assure and promise you that every employee of Carnival Cruise Lines ships earns a salary paid by Carnival. Yes, those salaries are in the case of the dining room staff and state room stewards subsidized by the gratuities that our guests give them but……..every crew member does indeed get paid a salary. I would be grateful if you could post this on the cruise boards’ area where this question/statement was made.

Many thanks and best wishes
John

Donovan from cruisemates.com Asked:
Hi John,

Thank you so very much for providing our group with a room. You have made a lot of fans, including myself  🙂

I do not know the back office of Carnival, so I am not sure if you have the capability of just “looking me up” and finding out when my cruise is to arrange this room, so I thought that I would make it easy and tell you that it is the October 10th sailing of the Splendor. I might add. Is it at all possible to find out what time that will be in advance so that I can tell the 80+ going, for planning purposes? 11:30am?

Thank you again,
Donovan

John Says:
Hello Donovan

I received your e-mail and I see that you saw the reply I posted on the blog. Your meet and greet is arranged for Monday our day at sea in the Piano Bar on deck 5 aft at 2 pm. I will pop along to say hello and this will also be listed in the Fun Times as well so your friends all know about it. I am sure you are all going to have the best of times together. Please let me know if you need anything else.

Best wishes
John

Sam Asked:
Reply wanted from John

I sent a comment through to you on July 18th yet I see that other people’s questions have been answered before mine. I know you have your favorites and those who kiss ass and say nice stuff get their requests done quicker but it is very bad service to ignore mine. My request was simple and that was if you are going to show the NFL games on the Valor on the Sunday because that is the day we get on the ship. The game I want is Dallas Houston. Will it be on the big screen on the 29th September?

John Says:
Hello Sam

My apologies for the late reply but I am always around 3 weeks behind due to the sheer volume of questions I am asked. I promise you that there is no favoritism shown and that I answer the questions in the order they are sent and received. I have sent your request to the CD on the Carnival Valor who will do his best to show the game in the sports bar and or the Seaside Theatre big screen subject to it being shown on network TV.

Have a great cruise

Best wishes
John

Terrance Christine and Family Asked:
John Please reply when time permits

My question is that the Carnival web site seems to be undecided as to where the ship will be calling at during our voyage in the Med. Is it Livorno, Savona or Genoa. It has changed three times in the past month. So I come to the oracle that is John heald for confirmation. I hope Carnival realizes the value of your blog. See you in August and thank you for all you do.

Sincerely
Terrance, Christine and family

John Says:
Hello Terrance

Your Carnival Magic is coming on nicely and in fact there should be new photos of her on the blog thingy soon and hopefully you saw one of the 344 Stephanie’s report on the blog yesterday about the coin ceremony. I know there has been some confusion about the voyages that have Livorno as a port of call and the ones that have Savona. So just to clear this up here is the correct information.

In 2011, Carnival Magic will call at Savona four times.

The sailing dates and the itineraries are:

  • 05/22/2011

  • 08/14/2011

  • 09/25/2011 & 10/16/2011

Carnival Magic will visit Livorno during the remaining four 12-day Mediterranean cruises.

I hope this clears things up and my apologies for the confusion.

Best wishes to you all
John

Jasmin the Cruiser Asked:
John please reply

Just came back from the Dream and have to tell you John about two things. The food and the kids. Food first. We had 6:00 seating in the Scarlet restaurant aft. I had linked our booking numbers so we all ate together. Every meal was delicious. My friend only had one sub-par meal in the dining room. It was Wednesday night and I think it was the Seafood Newburgh. Our waiter, Sunil and assistant Luis were wonderful. They were great with the kids. Suniil got our four plus the other kids around us to dance with him each night that there was a show. And, he taught some magic tricks too. Big hit with my friend’s oldest since he loves magic. I’m a huge WCMC fan and had it almost every night. We also tried the pasta bar and deli. My friend loved the Mongolian! Always were the only ones upstairs. We had breakfast in the dining room every day except Wednesday since we had an early excursion in Belize. Love the dining room breakfast! The eggs are so much better than on Lido. And, it’s very relaxing and the perfect way to start the day. I also ordered room service one day. It was okay. I had the roast beef and brie sandwich. I don’t care for condiments and they put mustard on it which was not listed. I had thought to ask for no mayo since they seem to put mayo on everything. Chocolate cake was everything I had read. Delicious. I have noticed a lot of the topics on Cruise Critic have been about kids on Carnival cruises and how they run riot. We just got of the Dream and I want to report that they  were well behaved! Maybe once I saw kids running in the hall, and being a mom and working in the school system I did my ” now kids it’s late and people could be sleeping lets walk okay” and they went right to walking and yes ma’am. If you went on the 4th deck near the clubs for the pre-teens and teens, then yes you saw children and the teens being children and teens, but that was their area to act how they wanted to and even at that they weren’t doing anything but sitting and talking. Anywhere else on the ship you would have not noticed that they were even there. My kids LOVED Camp Carnival. They were in two different groups but we managed to get them to their designated areas easily. I usually took my daughter and my husband took our son. My youngest made quick friends with a girl from the muster station. (This was also very easy! All of 10 minutes and no life jackets needed). She enjoyed the scavenger hunts and swimming under the stars. My son loved anything where Funship Freddy showed up. They both enjoyed Wii time since we don’t have one yet. They also got used to having to wear their neon green wristbands all week. We also went to the Family Welcome Aboard party Saturday night in the Caliente club. Lots of fun! And, my DH won a ship on a stick for the Best Dad Dancer. Yay!! I really wanted one! So finally to my question. The boards have lots of what we call “kid haters” and so I was wondering if Carnival had ever considered an adults only ship that would not allow children. I wouldn’t care for this but the “kid haters” would love it.

Thanks
Jasmin

John Says:
Hello Jasmin the Cruiser

Let me say a big thank you for taking the time to write and for the wonderful words of praise you wrote about the quality of the food and about the Camp Carnival staff. I will certainly make sure the ship gets to see what you have so kindly written. I have no read the comments on Cruise Critic about the kids although I do seem to remember one a few weeks ago here on the blog. Are there really people who write and say that they hate kids? If so, that’s a little harsh and I still find it incredible that people are surprised when they come onboard during the summer and holiday months that we have families onboard and of course children. Well, to answer your question, I know of no plans for Carnival to have an adult’s only ship. Carnival is proud to be in the family vacation business and to lead the industry in this category. Personally I think it would be very difficult to fill a ship year round with no children which is why I am sure no cruise line has done this already.

I am very happy that you had such a great time on your Carnival Dream and thanks again for taking the time to write.

Best wishes to you all
John

Helen Parker Asked:
Please reply John

I have a confirmation for my Chef’s Table. By the way it took 8 days before I got it which is not exactly prompt customer service is it. Cruise Critic is saying somewhere that you must wear closed toe shoes. No dressy sandals??? Is this true and if it is why? I

John Says:
Hello Helen Parker

I am sorry that it took 5 days from you sending me your details that it took 8 days for a reply. This is probably because one of the 344 Stephanies collates them all during the week and sends me them all on a Friday. I then e-mail all the ships that are mentioned in the bookings and they then send the confirmation. Anyway, you have the booking and yes we do suggest strongly that you wear closed toe shoes. That’s because you will be in the galley during busy working hours and if someone were to accidently drop something on your open toe foot……..well………it would hurt. I hope you enjoy your experience and have a brilliant cruise.

Best wishes
John

WGB Asked:
Reply if you want to

I had read so much about the Ecstasy on this blog and on cruise critic about how good it was after it was refurbished in. If your idea of a good time is to be loud and stupid for four days straight then you may like this cruise. On embarkation we went to lido deck to get lunch. Figured we’d do the grill for something easy. If you want a burger they’ll give you fries. Don’t hold your breath for the guy to give you fries so you can self serve a hot dog, he’ll never understand. Room, ok size, the shower was bigger than I’ve had on some other cruises so that was nice. Had one outlet in the room and one in the bathroom, the one in the bathroom didn’t work. The bed left a lot to be desired. The only part that was firm was the ring around the edge of the bed. This was the two twins pulled together, so you were either on the hard edge of two beds in the middle or were sagging on each half. We walked down the hall toward the back. As we moved further and further along this roar kept getting louder and louder, it was noise coming off the engine room. I heard people comment about how hard it was to sleep with the noise, glad I was toward the front. Room steward was good and took care of us well as did our waiters in the dining room but their English was less than basic. But as I walked the ship it seemed that most people just were going through the motions. Formal night was wear your best wind suit or come as your favorite ranch hand. Never again on this ship and never again with Texans.

John Says:
Hello WGB

Well I cannot tell you how disappointing it is to read your report on your Carnival Ecstasy cruise. I have to say that I think it is the first negative one I have read in a long, long time and maybe a four day cruise was just not for you. I know that here on the blog and in the state of Texas that the Carnival Ecstasy is a much loved vessel and that her leaving for New Orleans has made many sad. However, Galveston is of course getting their Carnival Magic later next year. Maybe that would be a great ship for you as we sail around Europe. All our crew has to pass English language tests and I am sorry that you thought that they did not meet your expectations. It’s difficult for me to find something positive from this review but I am determined not to make this your last ever Carnival cruise so please allow me the honour (spelt correctly) to help you choose the right one for you.

Best wishes
John

Walter from Hamilton Ontario Asked:
John Please reply

I have a new morning ritual. I wake up and while the coffee is brewing I log onto your blog and laugh my wife awake. Thank you for all you do and even though I have never been on a Carnival cruise I feel like you and I are best friends. Have you ever been to Hamilton John? If you have not then there is a warm welcome here to you even if it is cold outside. So my question is this. I am a frequent cruiser with Princess having been on 3 this year already and having a total of 19 in the last 5 years with 2 more booked before year’s end. I love Princess and yet I am bewildered by the fact that they don’t have a John Heald. They have no Cruise Director or any sea going personal writing about what is occurring and more importantly offering any opportunity to liaise like I am with you at the moment. It seems that I am not alone in this regard as I read a similar comment yesterday so I thought I would write to you and second that opinion. Please can you ask Princess to find a John Heald? I know that they are part of the Carnival Corporation so maybe you can bend the right ear. Until then I still have you and my wife will continue to wake up to the sound of me laughing out loud

Your Sincerely
Walter

John Says:
Hello Walter

Well, I am truly humbled by those wonderful words and the fact that you read the blog as part of your morning ritual is such a humbling thing to read………thank you so much and I will continue to do my best to help to get your wife up in the mornings. I am not sure what to say about Princess. I can say that I totally understand why you love them so much having experienced their ships and their brilliant product myself. I also know that they have some terrific people working on their ships who are far more talented than I. So it is a little surprising that they have not jumped on the blog program yet like most of our other sister lines. I will certainly pass this up the line and hope that someday soon I will have the honour (spelt correctly) of highlighting a Princess blog.

Thanks again for the kind words and the warm invitation. I have not been to Hamilton but one day I hope to.

Until then I send you and your wife my best wishes.
John

That’s all for today.

I am sure you will agree with me that Stephanie’s piece about the Magic coin ceremony that was posted over the weekend was superbly written. It sounds like she had a great time in Italy although she told me she had a tough time finding some tofu pasta. Anyway, here is Vance’s official write up and some more great photos.

Carnival Magic’s Major Construction Milestone Marked with Traditional Coin Ceremony

As always at this point of the blog thingy it is time for a little recap of last cruise. Overall it went very well and the guests had lots of fun. We were lucky that the weather was not affected by Tropical Storm Bastard………sorry……..Frank and that we were especially lucky to get into Cabo and tender guests ashore because it didn’t look good at one point.

There were though some individuals on again this last cruise and the people from California have no issues in voicing their opinion that’s for sure. I don’t mean to be disrespectful and I am certainly not putting all the apples in the same basket it’s just that there have been a few strange incidents. Let me give you an example. On Friday I received a three-page, double-sided letter for my Dear John Morning Show. It contained a whole menu of complaints from room service being slow to the food being inedible to me being too old to be a cruise director. Yep………she actually made reference to me being too old. She is 28 by the way and her letter made it sound like she was. Anyway, I was about to talk to the guest when I received this e mail.

From: SPLENDOR GUEST SERVICES
Sent: Friday, August 27, 2010 12:07 PM
To: SPLENDOR GUEST SERVICES MANAGER
Cc: SPLENDOR GUEST SERVICES SUPERVISOR; SPLENDOR GUEST SERVICES; SPLENDOR HOTEL DIRECTOR
Subject: Gsts Comments

Good afternoon,

Mrs ———- of cabin ____ at the desk stated that she was aware that Ms ————, cabin ____ her daughter had submitted a 3 page complaint letter this morning. Guest said they were travelling together and she wanted to let us know that all other family members were having a good time. Gst said they were happy with the service in general and were enjoying their vacation.

Regards,

So here is a mother telling us her daughter isn’t speaking for the rest of the family and that they are having a great time yet the letter stated that she was speaking for the entire family…… I really find this bizarre……..but then again……maybe she is right……maybe I am too old to be a CD.

The one thing I am learning about our Californian guests is that they are very vocal. That aside…. I am truly enjoying myself here and the adults only deck and the other small changes I have made seem to be working. And at times when you think that the only people who are vocal are the ones who don’t like what you do along comes something like this comment.

“John was hilarious and is an excellent cruise director. Just a couple of days before this cruise as we were driving to LA from Canada, I got the bad news that my parents home burned down. Thankfully they got out safely, but all my pets perished in the fire as they were taking care of them while we were on holidays. My beautiful dog (Rusty), my parrot and my daughter’s Gecko all perished. I was very sad when embarking. If it wouldn’t have been for John and his hilarious shows, I don’t think I would have smiled for days. He took my mind off the situation each evening. He was so funny…..please extend my thank you to him and let him know I thought the picture of his little girl was just beautiful. He really made me laugh each day and that meant so much to me and my family. I kept hoping I would run into John on the cruise so I could thank him personally but, I never did see him. Please let him know he has more impact than he knows! ” ……..Sharon Slater, Canada

Some may accuse me of self pandering by posting this and maybe they are right. But I am showing this because it makes me realise that what I do……what all CD’s do……what many of our crew do each day……and that’s make a difference. Thanks Sharon and my sympathies at the loss of the pets and your parent’s house. I hope there is nothing but happier times ahead for you all.

So let’s see who is sailing with us on voyage number SL7082810

GUESTS                                             3,607

NON US CITIZENS                           322 – 226 Canada and 65 Mexico

PAST GUESTS                                   1,381

Under 2 Years 23
2-5 Years (Camp Carnival) 131
6-8 Years (Camp Carnival) 119
9-11 Years (Camp Carnival) 141
12-14 Years (Circle “C”) 135
15-17 Years (Club 02) 145
18-20 Years 94

This week sees the start of the Punchliner comedy shows. There will be 5 shows on Monday, 5 on Tuesday all split between two comedians. On the first night we place a poster outside the lounge with a bio on the two comedians who will be performing. It looks like this.

Then they will fly out of P.V. and 2 new comedians will come on and repeat the process. So, let’s have a look at the entertainment lineup for this voyage.

I am a little nervous because all the comedians above have not worked for us in this comedy club structure and I sort of wish that I had Al Ernst, Happy Cole etc here. But these are west coast comedians so I am sure they will do great. Certainly the addition of 20 comedy club shows is a massive addition to the entertainment. One footnote……..even though last cruise we had only one of our 3 production shows because of the pit problems we had not one comment or complaint about this. I have to say I am very surprised about this and I guess the alternatives we offered them were most enjoyable.

Now, the last few weeks the ship has been facing mountains of red tape as we tried to send off 40 mattresses and other donated clothes and gifts to an orphanages in Puerto Vallarta and in Mazatlan. Yet despite our best efforts to organize the donation the Mexican Customes — or El Customso as they are known — demanded that we pay a large sum of duty in order to do so. We all felt very frustrated that these poor………and I mean poor…….kids could not benefit from Carnival’s efforts to help because of this ridiculous rule. We were getting nowhere and short of me trying to smuggle a mattress down the front of my underpants (yes they are big enough) we had all pretty much given up.

Then along came PA 007 our Super Spy who reads both our blog and my Facespace thing page upon which I had posted my frustration about el redo tapeo. He/she then contacted me and suggested I contact the wonderful Michele Paige who is the President of the FCCA. Now some of you may not be aware of the sterling work Michele and her organization does and with the help of the cruise industry she and her team work so hard to make sure that the many ports of call we go to are looked after. Here is the official blurb that pretty much sums up the work they do.

“The FCCA is a not-for-profit trade organization composed of 15 member cruise lines operating more than 100 vessels in Floridian, Caribbean and Latin American waters. Created in 1972, the FCCA’s mandate is to provide a forum for discussion on legislation, tourism development, ports, safety, security and other cruise industry issues. By fostering an understanding of the cruise industry and its operating practices, the FCCA seeks to build cooperative relationships with its partner destinations and to develop productive bilateral partnerships with every sector. The FCCA works with governments, ports and all private/public sector representatives to maximize cruise passenger, cruise line and cruise line employee spending, as well as enhancing the destination experience and the amount of cruise passengers returning as stay-over visitors.”

Anyway, one day after PA 007 suggested that we ask for Michele and the FCCA’s help she let me know that the Mayor of P.V. had arranged for the customs duties to be waived and on Wednesday the mattresses and toys that the crew has donated will be where they are needed most. Congratulations to PA 007 for this great idea and a huge, huge thanks you to Michele and the continuing wondrous work of the FCCA.

Well the good news is that at the moment repairs are being carried out on the orchestra pit which means we should have our normal show schedule and that tropical storm Frank seems to be disapissatating. I am hoping for a good week and one with few complaints. Well…………….hope did spring eternal…….until I just saw this.

Guest: Mr ——Ref: 842021218A
Cabin: ———-Added-Changed: 08/29/10 – 08/29/10

Cabin———- UNHAPPY WITH ANNOUNCEMENT

Mr_____ came to the GSD at 2:30am to say that the people in the next cabin were making lots of sexual noise. Guest said they had knocked on the wall but it kept going for a long time. Guest said he and his wife were embarrassed and wanted another cabin. GSA explained that the ship was full and that this incident would be passed to security.

Oh my, this is a difficult one……..and the reason for the title of today’s blog. How the heck can our security team tell these guests not to do what they are doing or to do it more quietly……….of course they can’t.

But I understand how frustrating this situation can be because I have been there. Heidi and I were on the Carnival Triumph and lived next door to a hotel director who we shall call Mr. Rabbit. They were at it every sodding night and it was like living next door to Old Macdonald and his entire bloody farmyard of animals. There were wolves and sheep and ….well you get the picture. I used to wake up from it whereas Heidi ……well she could sleep through anything. I remember how it used to go.

“Heidi, Heidi, They’re doing it.”

“Doing what?

“It.”

“It?”

“They’re doing the big dirty, you know having rumpy pumpy.

“So”

“They’ve been doing it for 40 minutes. They woke me up.” And me. “It’s like they’re in the room. What shall we do?”

“Are you suggesting some sort of cruise ship inter departmental swinging thing?”

“No, you crazy Dutch woman I want them to stop, I want to go to sleep I have my Morning Show in 3 hours.”

“Well, bang on the wall.”

“No, no. That’s too intimate. Too embarrassing. They might think it was applause.”

“Just do it”

But we never did. We just went into the living section of the cabin and put the TV on.

The hotel director that I am talking about (Mr. Rabitt) is on one of our ships at the moment and from what I hear he and his “friend(s)” are still at it most nights a week. I also know that he reads the blog so for the sake of the poor cruise director who lives next door I hope that if he is indeed reading this and realises it’s him I am talking about……. that he will stay out of bed …….and let everyone who lives nearby get some sleep.

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.