Guest: Mrs.     Ref: 842027114A
Cabin: ————- Added-Changed: 08/30/10 – 08/30/10

C – ——- – POTENTIAL ILLNESS
Gst with symptoms of potentially infectious illness has been isolated. All necessary requirements as per policy carried out to make the guests feel comfortable. Note: Guest was very abusive to staff as she feels that she should not have to remain in cabin as directed. Security called


Why is that guests seem to be so surprised and so angry when they report to our medical center on board with stuff coming out of both ends that we confine them to the cabin for 24 hours or until they are better? This is the industry standard now and yet the abuse that our medical department takes onboard when they give them the good news is quite extraordinary. Embark any cruise ship these days and before you check in, before you have your photo taken and before the first cocktail can be drunk, we all have to fill out one of those questionnaires that ask if you have had the runs during the last few days.

And I know that I get on some people’s nerves when I make announcements about washing your hands and using the hand sanitizers etc but honestly…….I don’t care…….because I have seen what happens when people don’t I have seen people write reviews that say they were on “the cruise from hell” because they missed a port or if the ship ran out of Bud Light. This of course is bollocks …………if you want the cruise from hell……….try being on a ship where 600 people get noro sodding virus.

I have experienced this of course on Carnival Liberty‘s trans-Atlantic crossing where 600 plus got ill. Since then fear has made sure that I do my very best to make sure it never happens again. In some ways I’ve landed a starring role in my own personal horror movie: The Curse of the Norovirus. Gastric flu, the vomiting bug, spewmonia: whatever you want to call it, it’s out there, somewhere, festering on every surface, waiting to infect us. It is my responsibility to make sure that never again is a ship I am on bobbing on an ocean of warm sick.

The media have had a field day, and to an emetophobe like me (someone with an uncontrollable, inbuilt fear of puking), this merely amplifies the terror. Even though it happens more on land than it ever does on ships the people with large hair at American local TV news stations love to broadcast headlines like “Vomiting bug spreads across cruise industry” in much the same way as they say “Mad chainsaw killer on loose.”

When the Carnival Liberty finally arrived in Fort Lauderdale there were camera crews waiting to film what they called “the survivors” and while most of the guests ignored them some had war stories to tell gleefully taking their 5 minutes of fame describing the full extent of their illness ….. trying to outdo each other.

“It was awful, I had sickness and diarrhea for 24 hours and the ship refused to give me a free cruise.”

“Yeah? Well I vomited so hard, all the hair on my head got sucked inside my skull and out my mouth.”

“Y’all think that’s bad? At one point I vomited with such force, the jet fired me backwards through the glass elevators and I landed in the lobby.”

Yet despite this being known on land and at sea as something that is very infectious a few people still don’t understand why the entire cruise industry operating under the strict guidelines of U.S. Public Health and the Centers for Disease Control must isolate guests and crew who report being ill. Maybe that’s not enough…….if an outbreak ever happens again maybe we should barricade the survivors in the main lounge making sure we have water and loads of chocolate melting cake and wait until help arrives

And joking aside any of us who have had this knows how awful it is right? It comes on suddenly, you only truly know you’ve got it when you suddenly spot a jet of vomit flying away from your face.

Naturally I want to avoid it like the plague. And anyone who wants to avoid it should take our doctor’s advice. Fancy hand sanitizing gels help but the one thing you must do is wash your hands with hot water and soap for a minimum of 15 seconds. Once a problem looks like it is occurring our crew has a huge job on their hands sanitizing the entire ship. They do a brilliant job with this but again you can help yourself so much by simply washing your hands with warm soap and water as often as you can.

Listen, I am not trying to scare anyone here and we have had no serious outbreaks in recent times thanks to the guests mostly understanding, the incredible cleaning regime that the crew perform 24 hours a day on all our ships and by the cruise directors reminding guests to wash their hands. So it does make me mad when a guest screams abuse at the medical staff because we tell them they must get better first before wandering the ship sharing their germs. When I had norovirus I lay in bed with cramps and a fever, battling extreme nausea for 24 hours. Although what was happening at the other end of my body was another story altogether. Magic powers only stretch so far. That’s why Superman wears rubber underpants.

Let’s crack on with today’s Q and A…………….first though I need to go wash my hands.

Right, let’s go.

TraciS Asked:
Hi John (please reply, if you’d like),

First off, I want to say how much I enjoy reading your blog thingy. Unfortunately I have never had you as a CD, hopefully one day, we’ll get lucky and happen to be on the same ship at the same time.

I wanted to say how much we enjoy the burgers – we always have one as soon as we board the ship while waiting for our cabin to be ready. They are the best burgers – I don’t eat them the rest of trip, though, because there are so many other things to try and, also, imagine what we would look like if we ate burgers every day, LOL. But, I wanted to let you know how missed the hamburgers would be. On a side note, there are some Carnival changes that we are looking forward to on our next cruise, which will be the 9/25 sailing if the Liberty – that is the new comedy club. I am very excited about this, since I have seen most of the regular shows and they really aren’t something I want to keep seeing over and over. So bring on the comedy club!

Something I have been wondering is how they select which dining room you are assigned to. We have, always, had a Veranda, aft cabin and have, always, been assigned the aft dining room. This cruise we will be forward on Lido (9255 and 9251) and was wondering if we would not be able to be in the aft dining room. We would love to have a table against the back windows for our anniversary. But we will just be happy being on a cruise!

Well sorry this was so long – I hope I didn’t bore you to tears. ; ) Keep the blogs coming – I love them!

Thanks for some cruise entertainment while I’m stuck on land!
TraciS

John Says:
Hello TraciS

I am so sorry if I scared you by suggesting that the hamburgers we serve on Lido are being removed. They are absolutely not. I think I may have understated my point which was to say that with the addition of the Mongolian wok, tandoori and the burrito bar here that the hamburger was far less popular than in past years. But it’s going nowhere………promise.

Table assignments are not based on who is on what deck and who is forward or aft. Guests are assigned where possible by age and demographics. We just started the new Punchliner comedy shows here this cruise and I will be reporting all about them later this week. I have asked the maitre d on the Carnival Liberty to help with your seating request. Thanks for taking the time to write and I promise you there were no tears of boredom…….just the odd bout of gas as I typed this. Have a brilliant cruise.

Best wishes
John

Anchorman Asked:
John Reply requested

You wrote in today’s blog that you have 6,940,000 hits. This is a lie. You have 6,940,000 page views but not unique hits as it’s probably the same few thousand sad brainwashed people who read 20 times a day. Someone at Carnival needs to educate about internet views.

John Says:
Hello Anchorman

What a spiteful post that was. Usually I try and find something nice to say to everyone even when they post something that is hurtful. But this….well there is nothing I can say except that you are probably right and I maybe should understand the difference between hits and “unique” ones but whether I have had 6 or 6 million I appreciate so much everybody who takes the time to read my daily musings. Oh by the way…….thanks for being one of the 6 million which by the way is now 7 million………..and you are certainly unique.

Best wishes
John

I NEED TO GO COOL DOWN A BIT AND GET MY SENSE OF HUMOUR BACK AFTER THAT POSTING…………I NEED TO MAKE MYSELF LAUGH……..HOLD ON A MOMENT WHILE I LOOK AT MYSELF NAKED IN THE MIRROR.

That’s better…….OK lets crack on.

Lynda Ulrich Asked:
Dear John (Please reply)

We just got off the Freedom of the Seas. Graham Seymour was the cd. We had him as a cd on a TA before and knew he was great. I got a chance to talk to him for a few minutes and told him that you think he is one of the best cd’s you know. He was very happy to hear this. Then I told him we would be sailing with you on the Carnival Splendor in September, so he said to say HI! I thought I would put his Hi on the blog just in case we don’t get to talk to you on the cruise.

So Hi! John from Graham.

See you in September.
Lynda
p.s. We will hit milestone in December.

John Says:
Hello Lynda Urlich

I hope you had a great cruise on the Freedom of the Seas and how brilliant that you got to meet Graham. Yep, he was the ACD when we brought out the Carnival Imagination and on the Carnival Destiny with me. He went on to be a great CD for Carnival and for Princess before going to RCI. I miss his friendship. Another RCI CD wrote to me on my blog.name is Richard Spacey and I have seen his videos on You Tube. He is also exactly what a CD should be in my opinion……extravert and just plain funny. He said some wonderful things on my FB page and I was very humbled by that. Thanks then for taking the time to say hello and I hope I will see you again soon on a fun for all ship and congratulations in advance on reaching that amazing Milestone mark.

Best wishes
John

Nancy Trevino Asked:
Hello John, (Please Reply!)

My DH and I will be cruising on the beautiful Carnival Conquest for the 2nd time in February 2011. Since Valentine’s Day will be our first sea day, we were wondering if there are any special celebrations for this special day.

We are going to be celebrating our 30th anniversary (a few months early–February is cheaper to cruise that June after all!) and are hoping to be contestants on the Newlywed not so Newlywed game.

Give our best to Heidi and Kye! And love your blog thingy!

John Says:
Hello Nancy Trevino

Ahhh yes, Valentine’s Day. I hated Valentine’s Day when I was a teen. It was a day where all us ugly sods were reminded how much girls hated us and that we were as attractive as a baboon’s bottom. Anyway, on the ship we give each lady a rose and there will be a special night of romantic music and dancing. Why not post again a month before you sail and I will ask the CD to do his/her best to have you on stage with him for the Newlywed Game. Thanks so much for the kind words.

Best wishes to you both
John

Bob Boles Asked:
John (please reply)

Are the Hamburgers really going away, anyway if so I can deal? I have been reading the blog since it started and have posted a few times, but never have been able to sail with you until now. My wife and I will be sailing on the Carnival Splendor cruise starting on September 5th, my only request is that I be able to shake your hand and say what a great job you do!

Thank You for the Great Work.
Bob

John Says:
Hello Bob Boles

Ooops……I guess I misled some of you with my hamburger commentary because they are here to stay, honest. It was just me trying to point out how popular the burrito is and that sometimes when there are lines there and at the Mongolian wok, the hamburger station is quiet…..it is burger no mates. Anyway, you will be here next week and what an honour (spelt correctly) it will be to shake your hand. I will see you soon and get ready for a fun week.

Best wishes to you and your wife
John

SAMS CLUB SAM Asked:
RESPOND URGENT !!!!

The readers of Cruise Critic are all worked up about you getting rid of the hamburgers. How stupid can you be to get rid of the most popular food in America? Listen to what the powerful cruise critic readers are saying otherwise you will lose customers for sure.

John Says:
Hello Sams Club Sam

OK, after a lot of searching (our search engine is pretty awful as I typed in the word hamburger and it took me to a blog about an AIDA ship….in Hamburg) I eventually found the blog I wrote on this subject. Here is exactly what was written.

The hamburger is dead.  Long live the Burrito…

And remember this date well because as I sit here at my desk on the Carnival Splendor in my underpants I am on August 8, 2010 predicting that we are witnessing………the end of    the hamburger.

There will, of course, be a service held at Carnival’s Headquarters in Miami, to mark the event. A silver platter of Lido Deck Carnival hamburgers will be borne aloft by hamburger-bearers Micky Arison, Gerry Cahill who will hold a poignant service attended by shore side staff and shipboard crew and Chef’s past and present. And an epitaph will be written in ketchup above their final resting place that will say “From the Mardi Gras to your Carnival Dream…….they tasted good with cheese.”

Don’t get me wrong: I enjoy a hamburger as much as the next person but reports are suggesting that with the multiple choices available to our guests and after 35 years of loyal Carnival service….…has nowhere else to go. How, for example, can you improve on the burgers we serve on Lido with toppings of mushrooms, onions, cheese and even chili…….short of offering a free Latvian woman with every order the hamburger will continue to be overlooked and left to a lonely life with only the odd hot dog to talk to.

I realised that the end was near last week as ate my solitary lunches on Lido. The             Mongolian was heaving, the grand buffet and taste of the nations massively popular and even the Tandoori was tempting guests to try the exotic tastes of India. The chicken rotisserie thing was busy and news that we served the best mac and cheese in the world   had made this option a true hit with guests …. especially those with kids onboard. Yet, as the Lido Deck echoed to the sound of chomping  ……….the hamburger chef was Patel No Mates…..the hamburgers left uncooked, lonely and unwanted………it was so sad to see.

I ordered a burrito. It was a tortilla filled with marinated steak, rice, cheese, sour cream, grilled onions and peppers, salsa and lettuce. When wrapped and covered in crisp white paper and accompanied by some tortilla chips, it looked more substantial than a Lido Big Mac and weighed about as much as a bowling ball.

I am delighted to report that my burrito was delicious. It also seemed curiously healthy.  And like the guests I too have spurned the hamburger ever since.

R.I.P. McLidoburger

OK, yes, there may have been connotations that the hamburger was to be no more which I sincerely apologize to you and all the Cruise Critic members for. However, with respect, if we were to be canceling the hamburger I would have told you all in a much more serious way than suggesting that Mr. Cahill and Mr. Arison bury one outside Carnival HQ. So let it be known that the hamburger remains part of the huge variety of food items on lido deck.

This was supposed to be a fun item but turned into a whopper of a problem. I hope whatever you decide to have for lunch you will have a happy meal. Maybe one day the burger will be king of the Lido once again…….you’ll be lovin’ it………… for many years to come. Sorry if I upset some of the Cruise Critic readers again.

Best wishes to you all
John

PS –The hamburger is the new power strip.

CrusingBob Asked:
John PLEASE REPLY

Just a quick suggestion for the Capers …….. Bugger ………the Fun times. Why not put it in on the TVs and possibly only a hard copy for those who request one. Save paper…save ink. and can be updated minute by minute (for corrections)

John Says:
Hello CrusingBob

This is a major project that is ongoing as we speak. We already have this on your Carnival Dream and it will be on your Carnival Magic both using the Fun Hub stations. I have always thought that we should offer this on the TV’s and I know our beards are looking how we can do this on more of the ships. I also know that many of the guests like to carry the hard copy around so we will have to make sure we offer both options. So great minds think a like Bob……..do you have a beard?

I hope to see you soon

Best wishes
John

Doug Robertson Asked:
John (Please Reply)

Greetings from Texas. The kids and I had a wonderful time on the Carnival Imagination. Smooth seas, great weather, and a fantastic day at Atlantis in Nassau. As always your people did a great job and a good time was had by all!

Not the end of the BURGER! Say it isn’t so! I love Carnival Burgers on the Lido Deck! If it would help to keep the burger alive, I would be willing to change careers and become a Carnival Burger Promoter. I could travel around on different Carnival Ships, eating and promoting those great burgers. It would require great sacrifice to be on the Lido Deck everyday eating burgers, but if I am needed I can respond on a moment’s notice. Just let me know when and where.

Enjoy your time on the Carnival Splendor and I’ll see you in February.
Doug

John Says:
Hello Doug

Great to hear you and the family had so much fun on the Carnival Imagination and that you enjoyed Atlantis and the brilliant shipboard crew. I think we should hire you as our official burger promoter and call you Mr. McRobertson. Sorry if I misled you on the hamburger thingy and as soon as we need to super size our promotion we will call you.

Best wishes to you and the family
John

Pipa Jay Asked:
John please reply

I am not a normal reader of your blog but was told by other CC members to write to you in protest about your decision to stop serving hamburgers. If you do many CC readers have said they will cruise elsewhere. Thanks for listening and please change your mind.

Pipa

John Says:
Hello Pipa Jay

Hamburgers are staying and will be found on our lido deck many years after I am gone …… which ………..if I see another question about burgers may be tomorrow. Once again sorry if I misled you all.

John

PS – just curious……..would people really not cruise with us if we stopped serving hamburgers?

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

Hamburglar is stealing the hamburgers! And Carnival is letting them!

I understand that during the day there are many more options to chose from so the lowly burger may get neglected. But you cannot remove it entirely!

What else will we get up at 11:30 pm and go in search for? the only thing open at that time is the burger or pizza booths. Are they planning on opening the Mongolian grill or the burrito bar 24 hours?? What can the midnight owls look forward to foraging for?

Also if, like me, you have a very picky husband who doesn’t want chicken with asparagus sauce and butternut squash on it, or beef marinated in mushrooms and Brussels sprouts, what choice will they have? Perhaps a PB&J bar? Trust me, on a 7 day cruise I am sure he ate about 9-10 hamburgers and probably 5-6 lbs of fries.

How can they get rid of old faithful!!???

John Says:
Hello Maurene (yes spelled that way)

AARRRRRGGGHHHHHH! I’m not sure I can take any more hamburger questions and might just go for a swim. My sincere apologies for misleading everyone. Sorry, Maurene (yes spelled that way) for bearing the brunt of this but Carnival is not – REPEAT NOT – taking hamburgers off its menus.  Hope to see you on board again soon.

Best wishes
John

That’s all for today and I will be back with more tomorrow. I forgot to write yesterday about embarkation. Now, as I have no friends and nowhere to go and nobody to go with…….can I get an ahhhh please……….thanks…….so during embarkation I like to go and stand on deck 4 and look down into the lobby and look at the demographics that are sailing that cruise. But often my attention is taken by what we call cruise rookies. These of course are the people who have never cruised with us before and every single one of them has that same look when they walk into the lobby………a look that mixes wonder, excitement often accompanied by a huge “wow” and the resulting scramble for the camera.

You were all like that one time……..do you remember the first time you walked onto a Carnival ship and felt like that? Actually, I think it’s fair to say…….that many of us still get that feeling don’t we?

Anyway, it was while I was standing there this past Sunday that I witnessed something very special indeed. There was a lady of about 50 something years of age who was sitting in the lobby and it was obvious that she was crying. Not just sobbing but proper crying, tears were streaming down her face. I watched her for a few moments to see if a member of her family would look after her……….but nobody did and to make matters worse the other guests in the lobby either stared at her or ignored her completely.

So, I left my perch on deck 4 and started to walk down to talk to her. Before I got there though someone else had taken the time to talk to her. The piano music in the lobby had stopped because our pianist had stopped playing and was now sitting with the lady, her arm around her shoulders giving her some napkins from the bar to wipe her face. I watched for a few moments and saw that Maggie was now leading the guest away from the lobby and took her into the main theatre which was empty. As she walked past me I asked if everything was OK and Maggie’s facial expression told me that she had this under control.

Later that evening I asked Maggie if everything was OK. She told me that the lady had booked this cruise with her husband but he had passed away 2 months ago and she was overwhelmed with grief when she saw the beautiful ship. So, two things here. Firstly, I called the guest and made sure she was OK and will continue to make sure she is throughout the cruise. Secondly, here we have a cocktail pianist from Poland who while the guests just stood and stared at this lady’s tears…………………….. and offered her a shoulder to cry on.

Well, while we here on the Carnival Splendor have been happy to see that Tropical Storm Bastard ………..sorry…….Tropical Storm Frank has completely dissapissatated (spelt correctly) Frank’s brother Earl has caused us to make some changes. Just in case you have not seen them on carnival.com………….here they are.

HURRICANE EARL ITINERARY CHANGES
UPDATED: AUGUST 30, 2010

HURRICANE EARL ITINERARY CHANGES
UPDATED: AUGUST 31, 2010

CARNIVAL VICTORY 7-DAY CRUISE FROM SAN JUAN
REVISED ITINERARY ORIGINAL ITINERARY
Sunday, Aug. 29 San Juan San Juan
Monday, Aug. 30 At Sea St. Thomas
Tuesday, Aug. 31 St. Lucia Dominica
Wednesday, Sept. 1 Barbados Barbados
Thursday, Sept. 2 Dominica St. Lucia
Friday, Sept. 3 St. Kitts St. Kitts
Saturday, Sept. 4 St. Thomas St. Maarten
Sunday, Sept. 5 San Juan San Juan

CARNIVAL DREAM 7-DAY CRUISE FROM PORT CANAVERAL
REVISED ITINERARY ORIGINAL ITINERARY
Saturday, Aug. 28 Port Canaveral Port Canaveral
Sunday, Aug. 29 At Sea Nassau
Monday, Aug. 30 Cozumel At Sea
Tuesday, Aug. 31 Belize St. Thomas
Wednesday, Sept. 1 Roatan St. Maarten
Thursday, Sept. 2 Costa Maya At Sea
Friday, Sept. 3 At Sea At Sea
Saturday, Sept. 4 Port Canaveral Port Canaveral

CARNIVAL PRIDE 7-DAY CRUISE FROM BALTIMORE
REVISED ITINERARY ORIGINAL ITINERARY
Sunday, Aug. 29 Baltimore Baltimore
Monday, Aug. 30 At Sea At Sea
Tuesday, Aug. 31 At Sea At Sea
Wednesday, Sept. 1 Port Canaveral Grand Turk
Thursday, Sept. 2 Nassau Half Moon Cay
Friday, Sept. 3 Freeport Freeport
Saturday, Sept. 4 At Sea At Sea
Sunday, Sept. 5 Baltimore Baltimore

Our thoughts are with the people of the islands that this category 4 storm is passing close to and let’s hope the remainder of the season is as quiet as a mouse wearing slippers and with masking tape over its mouth.

Now……..have a read of this.

Guest: _______ Ref: 842021259A Owner: __________
Cabin: _____ Booking#: ______ Added-Changed: 08/29/10 – 08/29/10

Guest does not want to use sail and sign. Guest came to desk stating he does not want to use a sail and sign card but wants to pay cash for everything and does not want to pay on sail and sign, GSA told guest we cannot take cash and guest then said that he would not spend any money on the ship and walked away using bad language in front of more guests.

I don’t think I have ever heard this comment before and did some checking and discovered that the guest is a US Citizen but has a very Russian name. It’s not surprising then because when we had large groups of Russians on the Carnival Freedom when the ship was in Europe, they always wanted to pay for everything in cash.

I remember the days when guests were offered the choice of cash or Sail & Sign and when I was assistant bar manager the safe would be full of many thousands of dollars. I can only imagine how much cash was onboard by the end of a seven day cruise. Then as a CD I would sit backstage with a huge pile of cash for bingo prizes……..yep cash was king. I am told that the world is going to be cashless by the year 2050 and that as each year passes less and less places will except cash at all.

It’s not that easy though. Not only can’t you use cash on the ship but have you ever tried to last a few days without using cash? I don’t mean sponging off other people like my mate Danny. I mean literally not laying a hand on any coins and notes. I tried to pay for the taxi that brought me from the hotel in L.A. to the ship with my Carnival credit card and the driver looked at me as though I had just offered him my body as payment. I guess it does make sense in a way not having to carry dirty old money with you …… right up to the point when you get of a plane and find you need a dollar to pay for a sodding luggage trolley that a few years ago was free.

And what about tipping. I know many of you like to tip in cash and certainly that’s a great thing but if cash disappears what about street collections. What will we give the Salvation Army at Christmas and how about street performers they would die of poverty which would be a real shame ….. except for those creepy mime artists…………can’t stand them.

Anyway, it will be hard for this guest to survive without cash……or will it? He can eat, drink water, lemonade and despite what that crazy person on Cruise Critic keeps saying have iced tea with no charge. He can watch all the shows and attend all the activities and pay nothing. I just hope he doesn’t punish the staff who will be serving him and taking care of his cabin…..…  although experience and a gut feeling tells me…………he will.

I read a comment on the blog yesterday from Janet who was concerned that I have been sounding a bit miserable of late and that maybe I was hinting at a land-based job for Carnival. Janet, thanks for your concern and I am sorry if occasionally my emotions get the better of me, it was very kind of you to show concern.

I think the reason it’s been harder this time was because Kye stood at the window as I drove away and her face seemed so sad as she waved goodbye…….she definitely knew I was leaving and the guilt I feel for that is immeasurable. But this is my job and honestly I don’t think there is anything I could offer Carnival in the office. I am not a numbers man which these days is what it is all about.

I have been thinking about this a lot recently. Next year your Carnival Magic will be in Europe so Heidi will be close to me and then she and Kye can sail a lot….although the cabin is so small on that ship I have no idea where Kye will sleep and play but we will cross that bridge next year.

The biggest factor is how long I can keep up the hours and just as importantly, how long the guests still find me a CD they want to sail with. So, let me state that I love my job and unless Gerry Cahill decides to resign and become a professional surfer and they give me his job, then for as long as I am able and as long as Carnival wants me……I will be proud to continue to be a CD and Brand Ambassador for the most brilliant cruise line ………..in the world.

Ok, time for my lunch……mmmmmmm………I fancy a hamburger.

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.