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September 13, 2010 -

John Heald

I’m bloody tired. Now hold on, before I start I should mention that there is nothing in this world that I love more than my family, not even Megan Fox’s pert bottom cloven in an Egyptian silk G string can come close. However, having the family here and meeting Kye’s demands for attention and doing the CD thing and writing blogs and Facebooking and doing shows and managing 67 crew and 3,600 guests can be somewhat exhausting.

Working on a ship may look like a parade of fun going giggles from the outside, but on the inside it’s an endless treadmill that eats time like a whale eats those little plankton thingies……in massive gulps. Yesterday I rose at 7 am ready for debarkation to start and this after going to bed at 12:45 am and with Kye waking at 5 am ready to play. Now some may say that I should ignore her but it is impossible to ignore the strains of “Dada Dada” as it is impossible for a Frenchman to ignore a free all you can eat horse and garlic buffet.

So after just four hours’ sleep, I did the debark thing. At 10:45am I arrived back to my cabin. Heidi had taken Kye for a walk around the shops and restaurants near the ship and I had an hour or so until I was to meet my old mate and ex CD Corey Schmidt of which I will tell you more tomorrow. This meant that I could have a good hours sleep…….brilliant. The first thing I noticed when I arrived back to the cabin was that the curtains had gone. I went back into the corridor and found my wonderful stateroom steward Ketut and asked him if he had seen my curtains and he replied “Oh I washed them Mr. John. Very dirty.”…………oh joy.

I returned to my cabin. Light was streaming through the windows. I searched for an eye mask thinking I had one left over from one of my trans-Atlantic flights but couldn’t find one. I was so desperate for sleep that I took a pair of my underpants and ignoring the slight smell of curry, I placed them over my head and as the darkness enveloped me I feel asleep……looking like a Mexican wrestler.

And as soon as I did that’s when the clanging and banging started as the deck crew started work on the lifeboat deck directly below my cabin. It felt like I was in the middle of the musical Stomp. I tried to sleep. But exhaustion is a funny thing. It sends the brain haywire. Deaf and blind, I lay there with Stomp going into the third act with a pair of my own underpants over my head and for some reason……..and this is no joke…….all I could think about was Kathy Lee mincing around the deck of the Celebration singing “If they could see you now.”

Anyway, tired on not ……………here comes today’s Q and A.

Emily Bartman Asked:

My nephew is in the Navy stationed in Afghanistan and he is scheduled to be coming home in the next month or so – he doesn’t know the exact date and couldn’t tell us if he knew it.

We are sailing on the Splendor Oct 3 – 9, and was wondering if there is any kind of Military discount? If there were any inside staterooms left by the time we find out he is back and he can get the week off, is there any kind of set Military discount?

I think I read somewhere that it is dependent on the ship and particular cruise.

It would be great to have him join us and a perfect decompression for him after six months in the scary frontier of Afghanistan. He is a SeeBee and is building a military base ground up near the Pakistan border, and apparently they encounter mortar shelling daily.

I know he is far from alone on this and every soldier returning from duty probably deserves an affordable Carnival Cruise, but just thought I’d ask.

Thanks
Emily

John Says:
Hello Emily

I am sure you must be very proud of your nephew and his service to his country. Carnival does indeed offer military discounts and I am going to have a colleague call you or e-mail you directly so we can see if we can help out. It will be my honour (spelt correctly) to meet him when you cruise here on the Carnival Splendor and if he does join us please make sure I get to know so that I can do something for him. Someone will be in touch soon.

Best wishes
John

Deepwater Asked:
John:

It was posted on Cruise Critic that children are not allowed in the steakhouse. I want to make a booking for our cruise on the Dream but we will have our 4 year old son with us. Can he come because according to the cruise critic he can’t so can you tell me what’s write and whats wrong.

We love your blog by the way
Gregg and Helen

John Says:
Hello Deepwater (Gregg and Helen)

Yes of course you can bring your child — we have absolutely no restrictions on this. However, I would advise you to bear a few things in mind. First of all there is no children’s menu so please I would advise on making sure he had something to eat from Lido before your meal. If you do order him anything he would be charged the full price of $30. You may also want to bear in mind that the service in the steakhouse is more leisurely paced than what we provide in the main dining rooms. This means there are gaps between each course and you need to allow at least 2 hours or more for the meal. This maybe a little too much time for your son to stay interested so maybe for this reason and to allow Mum and Dad some romantic times, you may want to consider allowing him to have some fun at Camp Carnival. Anyway, the bottom line is yes, you can bring him but I wanted to try and paint a clear picture for you. I hope this helps and if you have any other questions please let me know.

Best wishes
John

cruisin’lovebirds Asked:
JOHN PLEASE REPLY: 9/19 SAILING:

Hi John – as you suggested months ago, I am writing to remind you that Gary and I are sailing on the Carnival Legend 9/19. It’s our 33rd anniversary, and we have been celebrating with a cruise for about the past five years. Our friends Tommy and Maxine Platt will be sailing with us, celebrating their 53rd anniversary.

Being blessed with other sailing opportunities means we are Platinum and loving it! If there is any chance for a round table up on the center area at Late Seating we would be deeply appreciative.

No requests, complaints, or orders! Just a big thank you for your blog which we enjoy daily. I will be bringing a little gift for Wee Jimmy and trying to remember that he wants to be known by a real name.

Thank you John!

John Says:
Hello Cruisin’lovebirds

I am sure you are very excited about your cruise and I have asked my great friend and brilliant Maitre D Ken “No Surrender” Byrne to see if he can help with your table request. You can also expect a little gift from me.  Have a wonderful anniversary and a fabulous cruise.

Best wishes
John

Joan Asked:
John, (please reply quickly b4 Mathew’s cruise on 8/30)

That was such a fantastic story from Publix Super Markets & the lady that wrote in should be commended for hiring Mathew. I’d like to send Mathew a cake on his 1st cruise ever if you can let me know the details rather quick.

I loved the two videos as they always make me laugh. You’re such a kind & wonderful person for caring the way you do and for writing such a great blog thingy. It makes me realize that there are still good, decent people around.

Give Kye a hug from me… and squeeze her just a little because my grandkids always say that I tend to squeeze too tight. I don’t get to see them often and want to make it last.

Have a great day,
Joan

John Says:
Hello Joan

I am so sorry that I read this after Matthew’s cruise had finished. However, I can tell you that Trevor and the staff on the Carnival Fascination gave this young man the most fantastic time. For those of you who may not know what this is all about, Matthew is a young man with learning difficulties and I was alerted by a blogger that he was going on a cruise. So I asked Trevor to do something special for him which he most graciously did. Here is a photo of Matthew with the Fascination Dancers.

So I am sorry that you didn’t get to send him a cake but thank you so much for thinking of him and for your kindness. Michael had a brilliant time.

Best wishes
John

Lynn in VA Asked:
Hi John, Please reply.

In your Aug.10th blog you answered my plea for help (concerning the Sea Miles to Fun Points conversion that left us 50,000 points less than what we should have). Yesterday I received an e-mail from Marilyn, Carnival’s Director of Loyalty Marketing. She said she looked into our problem and 50,000 points have been added to our account. Thank you so much!! I’ve been trying to get this fixed since January and it took you and your contacts only 8 days to solve it. WOW!!!

Any chance that more ships will get a Pasta Bar? I know most don’t have the room to do it, but even a modified version would be great. We just loved it, ate lunch there 4 days out of 7 on the Carnival Dream!!

Lynn

John Says:
Hello Lynn in VA

I am glad everything worked out with the bank thingy and I was glad to be able to have helped you. The pasta bar on your Carnival Dream is a huge success as will the Italian family restaurant be I am sure on your Carnival Magic. When things are a success we try not to limit them to one ship or one class. Hopefully we’ll see more pasta bars and our other new and exciting food and beverage options on other ships in the future.  Best wishes and thanks for taking the time to say…….thanks.

John

Joseph Pool Asked:
Hello John!

I am writing to ask for a favor in having me and my girlfriend (Kathryn), as well as the couple we are sailing with (Jennifer & Richard) seated at a table for 4 if possible on the Carnival Destiny, sailing September 16th. I just wanted to add that this is me and my girlfriend’s second cruise. After years of my mother (who is platinum with carnival) asking us to cruise with her, and me always turning it down, I finally caved earlier in the year. We were all on the Inspiration in March and we had an amazing time and are definitely hooked now. The maitre’d at the time was great and highly entertaining, I think his name was Super-Charged Joseph. I am in the U.S. Coast Guard, and my girlfriend a teacher, so we are definitely looking forward to our vacation, which is definitely well deserved for both of us! Carnival is definitely the best value for a vacation, and I have now convinced many people at work to consider you guys, especially after they saw our great pictures from the last cruise. Thanks for helping everyone John, it is much appreciated by everyone on this site, as well as over at cruise-critic!

John Says:
Hello Joseph Pujol

Super Charged Joseph………you know I don’t think I know him. Anyway, he sounds like loads of fun and certainly having a maitre d with a personality that is fun and maybe even a little extravert always adds to the whole dining experience for sure. I will ask the maitre d on the Carnival Destiny who will do his best to make sure that you are seated as requested. I am sure you will have fun together and may I take this chance to say thank you as a sailor for your service with the United States Coast Guard. Have a brilliant cruise.

Best wishes
John

Tom Foster Asked:
John, (Please Respond)

This is a little out of your normal question area, but as you do tend to fly to the UK as often as your schedule allows, thought you might have some insight on this.. I am looking at flights to get my D?W and I into Barcelona for the T/A of Your Carnival Magic next year, and I have found (what I think) is a good price of about $400pp us one way From Houston, But I have not heard of the airline before. It is SAS for the Overseas part of the flights. Is this a decent airline or are they down there with RyanAir? Trying to get everything set up as far in advance as possible, And I just don’t want to get burned by an airline not making it on time. Thank You for all you do for us Readers. Hope to be able to meet you on the Carnival Magic next year..

John Says:
Hello Tom Foster

SAS is a fantastic airline. Now I have not flown with them since my European familiarization trip for the Carnival Liberty in 2006. Scandinavian Air Services is the Danish national airline and while I don’t remember the food or service I do remember the flight attendants all being ummm ………..nice…………if you know what I mean. It seems like a great deal to me and I am looking forward to seeing you next year on your Carnival Magic. Thanks for sharing this information.

Best wishes
John

Abraham Asked:
John, PLEASE RESPOND!

You constantly talk up your crew and so I have to ask if you have hearing problems? My wife and I are ardent cruisers and we just got off our first cruise with Carnival on the Miracle. Yes they smiled but they were robotic and the most frustrating thing was they spoke no English. How can you expect good service when the people serving you look at you like gormless idiots when you make a simple demand of them? The standard of spoken English on Celebrity, RCL and Princess is better by far. I will say though that the food was of excellent standard in both the dining restaurant and the steak place but both were spoiled by inadequate English speaking service.

Abraham
Freehold New Jersey

John Says:
Hello Abraham B

First of all thank you for the praise of our food quality which is something we are very proud of. Compared to what you pay for other cruises and the affordability of a Carnival experience, it never ceases to amaze me how our food and beverage folks manage to produce such quality and such variety. Harry…….I don’t want to sound too defensive here but I our crew all speak good English especially those in the service areas such as the dining rooms. Certainly some speak it with a heavy accent (like I do) but each and every one of them has to pass an English exam before being allowed to work onboard. I would like to know your table number or sailing date and cabin so I can investigate this for you and ask the ship management to see about the standards of those who served you. However, while I am happy to say that I would like to follow up on this for you I also have to say that calling the people I work alongside “gormless idiots” is extremely harsh and somewhat unkind. Anyway, please write to me again telling me more information and let’s see where we can improve. Thank you for taking the time to write and I hope to hear from you again soon.

Best wishes
John

Roger Rabitt and his wife Nancy Asked:
Hello John, please would you reply to my quick question

Does the Glory bloggers cruise have personal time with you? We have not cruised with you but are thinking that we would like to do this. Can you let us know what this is all about?

Thanks so much
Roger

John Says:
Hello Roger Rabbit and his wife Nancy

The bloggers cruise on the Carnival Glory will be the 4th time we have all gotten together. It basically is a chance for the people who read my daily musings to get together to have fun. Yes, there will be lots of private events for bloggers only and there will be lots of times where we will have time to meet, mingle and have fun. This next week I will be talking with the 344 Stephanies about what we are going to plan to do and I will share this with you all here. I promise you it will be fun and as the CD I will still get to host all my shows as well. I truly hope that you and Nancy Rabbit will join us. Maybe with a name like that there will be lots of little rabbits joining us as well.

Best wishes to you all
John

Elton Kikuta and Teresa LeClaire Asked:
Dear John,

It’s been five days since our cruise ended and I have sadly accepted the fact that there will be no adorable towel animal on my bed, I can no longer go up to the Lido Deck for a snack, Manuel from the Black Pearl dining room will no longer make a recommendation as to what dessert to order, and no matter what cable or satellite package I have, I will not be able to find your morning show. In other words, I am back to the real world. I’m sure I’m not the first person nor will I be the last that had to be dragged down the gangplank to debark the Splendor. Every day and every evening provided me with memories I will forever cherish. There is one afternoon, however, that my travelling companion may not feel the same as I do. The morning started out innocently enough. Breakfast bright and early on the Lido and off to snorkeling in Cabo San Lucas. As our excursion leader was taking us to our snorkeling site, he made a few stops along the way to point out some areas of interest. The water was rather choppy that day and so there was quite a bit of sway as we sat in our Zodiac. I looked over at Teresa and laughed as she was pretending to look nauseous. I joined in the fun and made my best vomit-inducing faces. I had to admire Teresa for she was really putting on an Academy Award caliber performance. Then I realized she wasn’t acting. As we took off for our first snorkeling site, the swaying stopped and so Teresa felt a bit better. We arrived at Santa Maria bay, received some last minute instructions, and jumped in to start snorkeling. After a few minutes I paused to clean my mask and looked around for Teresa. I spotted her bobbing up and down holding the top of her head. Apparently, she was so mesmerized looking down at the fish that she swam headlong into the side of the boat. After a bit more snorkeling, I paused again to find Teresa. She was bobbing up and down again, but this time the color of her skin matched the emerald green waters of the bay. Then, uh, let’s just say the fish around her also had breakfast from the Lido deck… four times. As I looked underwater, the scene before me was not unlike a frenzied piranha feeding attack. I think Teresa felt the same way and made her way back quickly to the boat. After we all got back onto the boat, we headed to Chilean Bay for another round of snorkeling. Thinking the worst was over, Teresa was a gamer and jumped right in. Then proceeded to not only share her buffet breakfast again, four times, but also got stung by an irate jellyfish. We got back to shore, did some shopping and sight-seeing and then headed back to the ship. Aah… safe at last, right? Wrong. As we headed up the gangplank to board the ship, Teresa tripped on a rung, fell and scraped her leg and bruised her arm. A painful, yet perfect way to end her day.

I mentioned earlier that every moment of the cruise provided memories for me and your stories and anecdotes play a big part. Thank you for letting us share this with you. We can’t wait to go on another Carnival cruise. Although I believe Teresa will be heading to the spa rather than snorkeling!

Thanks for the memories.
Elton Kikuta and Teresa LeClaire

P.S. Thank you for the trophy and picture. We were on the August 8-15 cruise and I’m the guy that ran into an old college friend!

John Says:
Hello Elton Kikuta and Teresa LeClaire

I remember that letter you sent me for the Morning Show very well and by running into a friend you had not seen since college proves that you really do meet new and old friends on a Carnival cruise. Poor Teresa, going though all of that, taking the time to feed the fish and then some ungrateful jelly fish decides to have a go. That is quite a story ad thank you for sharing. I hope she is OK now though and I have heard some complaints from Nemo and his mates that since she left they have been very hungry indeed. I wanted to say a big thank you for taking the time to write. I love hearing from people who have just cruised with me and your posting has been most rejuvenating. I hope you will keep reading the blog thingy and I hope we will get to sail together again soon………..and so does the marine life of the Caribbean.

My best wishes to you both
John

Candyce Asked:
Hi John!

Love your blog! I haven’t had the pleasure of being on a ship while you’re CD yet, but I’m sure I will soon. I am booked on the Carnival Fascination September 4th and I can’t wait!!!

Naturally I’ve been reading the Carnival Fun Ship Forums every day…for the past one hundred and eighty or ninety some odd days. (Sure I could have just said 180+ days, but I don’t think you would have truly understood the strain on my patience unless you had read it all out in just this way lol.)

Moving on, one thing that is repeated over and over for discussion, debate, helpful hints, is the oh so stressful “MDR (Main Dining Room) Attire.” I mean people take this stuff personally! Of course we all want to look our best and appreciate each other’s best. We don’t want any of our senses offended by other guests. When the Carnival staff is too slow in addressing a dress code violation, some passengers even take it upon themselves to deal with it. I can’t imagine the strain that the Carnival employees must all be under night after night.

Therefore, I have a suggestion for Carnival and I really hope it is considered. I initially had the idea that a penalty fee should be incorporated for the MDR Dress Code Violations. Maybe something like $5 for flip flops, $10 for jeans or whatever the most common offenses are. Then I thought what kind of marketing strategy is that?!

Our goal (well Carnival’s goal) is to make money, not lose it. Therefore we need Guest Retention and Customer Loyalty. So I had another supermarvelous (the idea is too grand for just one word) idea.

The easiest way to eliminate the problem is to neutralize the situation. To keep customer satisfaction, they must be given a choice.

Perhaps the time has come for Carnival [Fun Ships] to reinvent themselves a bit. Carnival’s very history stems from being a pioneer of the industry. Well, as the saying goes, if you wait long enough then history repeats itself. The Fun Ships are just the place to market my new idea and it’s an almost instant profit.

I don’t have exact numbers to work with at the moment, so I will go with what sounds reasonable. Once you hire me for your marketing team, and we negotiate salary and benefits, then I can get you all the numbers you desire.

To summarize: The Carnival Fun Ships should implement a policy of allowing guests to pay $5 or $10 for dressing casually in the Main Dining Room. Of course an idea like this cannot simply be suggested and walked away from.

It is safe to say that at least 40% of cruisers today are under 30 years old. (I am 29.) It is also safe to say that many of us, including those of us who work in corporate America, have not had to dress as formally as the older generations. Certainly we all have our moments where we dress up for semi formal or formal occasions. However many of us are in positions where we wear jeans and other casual attire so often, that we must shop when the need arises to dress more formally. Or we have that one nice outfit that we must wear to every formal event.

Speaking for myself, I like to dress up for the MDR, because it gives me a rare opportunity to dress up. My fiancé (29), however, would just as soon wear jeans and a nice button down or skip the MDR altogether and head to the Lido deck for dinner.

Certain details would naturally still have to be discussed. Such as, do the more casually dressed individuals sit in a separate area, will the diners be intermingled, what to do if there are more of one type than seats available, etc. However, one thing that cannot be ignored is the good business sense of such an implementation.

Certain individuals, both young and old, want to dress up for the MDR. However, many parents would love to take their 3 year old to dinner without worrying about spills on the good shirt. Many grandmothers would be content to dress up themselves without also having to force the children to stay neat. Couples who gaze longingly toward the MDR while heading to Lido deck may have less arguments because one doesn’t want to dress up for dinner.

I feel that it is MORE than safe to assume that at least 500 guests per ship would be willing to pay $5-$10 per day for the option of not dressing up. Granted, there would need to be some guidelines on how casual the attire can be. This is another detail that can be discussed in length later.

Let’s talk numbers. No matter what the amount, Carnival is almost guaranteed to make a 100% profit on this idea.

Even if we consider a 3% reduction on formal diners in the MDR per evening, there would no doubt be at least a 1% – 2% increase in diners choosing the MDR over the Lido deck for dinner. The additional 1% – 2% may even be made up after a one year review when the food budget for the Lido deck is able to be lessened due to the decrease in diners there. While the need to increase budget for the MDR is not likely in that period of time, providing we are still accounting for the original 3% loss in diners. This budget may in fact become lighter also because the amount of wasted food should decrease. In addition to everything else, even if the remaining 1% of possible loss to the MDR should impact the wait staff’s tips, it would be by less than $1 per day.

At the very minimum, 500 people, paying $5 each brings forth a profit of $2,500 for Carnival. If the $5 were to be per day, in a 3-9 day time span, that makes a profit of $7,500.00 – $22,500.00 for Carnival per cruise. A $10 fee instead gains $15,000. – $45,000.00 per cruise. Even if certain scenarios like $5 per child/$10 per adult or $10 per day for 5 days or less, $5 per day for 6 or more days would still bring about a healthy profit.

Going with the range I have listed above, after one year (sailing continuously for 365 days) the Carnival Fun Ships would make $912,500.00 – $1,825,000.00 based on this new program. Did I mention this was per ship? We’re talking a margin of $20,987,500.00 – $41,975,000.00 for the entire Fun Ship Fleet per year. Do I have your attention now?

Even if the range of $912,500.00 – $1,825,000.00 – was the total for all of the Fun Ships, who would want to throw away at least a 95% return on almost 2 million dollars? (Deduction for the cost of marketing this new plan.)

Do you agree that it’s a safe presumption to say that at least 22 passengers per ship would be willing to pay $5 per day for the option of dressing casually in the main dining room? That is all we need for the $912,500.00 Almost one million dollars gained for the cost of a new commercial.

I’m certain that you and I are both confident that there would be many more than 22 passengers paying for this option. Especially as the younger generations begin cruising more.

I would be happy to sell this idea to Carnival Cruise Lines. I know that we can work out a number that is satisfactory us both. I have also sent a letter to both the corporate and marketing offices. I am a huge fan of the Carnival Fun Ships. I hope that Carnival is a fan of my idea also. Please feel free to contact me at the email address provided above.

Thank you for your time!
Candyce S.

That’s all for today and I will return with more questions tomorrow. It was nice not to have defended my belly or my teeth today.

And as usual we continue now with a recap of last cruise which included an unhappy Jehovah’s Witness who left me an 11-page letter listing 40 reasons why she did not like the ship or me, beautiful weather in Mazatlan and Cabo and rain in PV. Overall it was as it always is here at Carnival …….a fun for all cruise with most people telling me what a great time they had and that they would be back for more. Our loyalty and cruise chaps and Owen took many deposits for future cruises and that’s a great sign indeed.

So overall things were good although two very frustrating things happened on Saturday. The first was frustrating because it was a stupid mistake on our part that upset quite a few of our guests. You see during the week we make 2 time change. The first on Monday night moving our clocks forward one hour and then on Friday night moving our clocks back one hour. Unfortunately the chap how was supposed to change the computer that in turn changes the clock on the telephones ummmm…….forgot. This meant that the wakeup call times were wrong and some guests who had set a wakeup call for 8 am got one at 7 am. They did not realise until for example they turned up for an 8:30am massage only to find out it was 7:30am.

As you can imagine……..some were quite upset. I made an apology announcement and the guest services manager and I spoke to some of them who were the most angry and we took care of them accordingly. Someone’s forgetfulness and the fact that we rely on a computer to do this means that guests were upset for something that could have and should have been avoided. Making a public apology is not something I like to do unless it involves the entire ship, like in the case of a missed port etc. But in this case there were too many people affected for me not to do this and hopefully most understood that mistakes do happen.

My other bout of frustration was brought on by this e mail.

From: SPLENDOR GUEST SERVICES MANAGER
Sent: Saturday, September 11, 2010 10:51 AM
To: SPLENDOR CRUISE DIRECTOR
Cc: SPLENDOR HOTEL DIRECTOR; SPLENDOR GUEST SERVICES SUPERVISOR;
Subject: ____- Mr. & Mrs. ——— 9/11 Complaint
Importance: High

Good Day John,

Guest came to see me very upset because of the mention of 9/11 in the FT’s and mostly because of the flag in the lobby. Guest says that other nationalities died in 9/11 and not just Americans and to fly only the American flag is discrimination. I explained the obvious but guest wants a meeting and wants the flag removed if other flags are not put there… Guest is British John.

Well, let me apologize (spelt the American way) on behalf of all my fellow Brits. Everyone is aware that people from many other countries perished on that terrible day but everyone knows it took place on American soil and….look I am stating the obvious here aren’t I? There is absolutely no need for me to explain anything else. And in fact I have to admit that I didn’t call the guest back. That is very unlike me but honestly, if a man took the time on their vacation to complain about something like this….well what could I possibly say to him that would make him change his views? So I didn’t call him back and the flag remained in the lobby until we arrived in Long Beach.

That was the week that was. Here is who is sailing with us today on voyage SL7091210

TOTAL GUESTS                   3,395

TOTAL NON US                    441 – 209 from Canada, 88 from Mexico .

PAST GUESTS                       1,382

Under 2 Years 30
2-5 Years (Camp Carnival) 94
6-8 Years (Camp Carnival) 48
9-11 Years (Camp Carnival) 56
12-14 Years (Circle “C”) 38
15-17 Years (Club 02) 44
18-20 Years 96

I just want to pop back and talk a little more about the time change error we made and my subsequent public apology. You know, saying sorry to one person is hard enough but saying sorry to 3,000 people as us CD’s sometimes have to do is truly difficult and to do it well and sincerely is even more so.

Saying sorry because you’ve been forced to means you’re not sorry at all. An apology has to be real to heal and when you are one on one with someone that’s easy. But doing it over a PA system, well that takes time and practice. And this brings me to the chap Anchorman who wrote that really nasty comment in the blog last week suggesting that unless I lose weight immediately that I would die and that there would be a vacancy for a senior cruise director at Carnival.

Well, I have had some time to think about this and honestly Anchorman…..I think you should apologize to my wife who read that comment and cried. Yes…..you made my wife cry. And while I would have accepted a quick “Sorry, John” before because it had already upset me but now…..now you made my wife cry and I were a brave man, a man with a spine and some iron in his blood I would say: “I don’t accept your apology…. And I want you chained to the smokestack and flogged.” But I can’t because that would be unprofessional of me…… wouldn’t it?

On a much happier note………….here is the current Piano Bar Entertainment schedule and the dates they leave the vessel.

FA       Rick Atha                                010/18/10

FD       Robert Crucilla                       010/19/10

SE       Brad Alexander                      010/26/10

SP        Ramiro Quezada                     10/08/10

GL       Bruce Mcghie                         10/09/10

EC       Dana Honey                            10/11/10

LI        Walter Boik                            10/16/10

IS         Mikael Smith                          10/23/10

VA      Randy Heidema                      10/24/10

DR       Jason Davis                             10/30/10

VI        Justin Abrams                         11/07/10

SL       Agustin Villarin                     11/21/10

PA       Kyle Bronsdon                        12/03/10

CQ       Milburn Dumas                      12/12/10

DE       Larry Maconaghy                   01/10/11

IM       Tom Grable                            01/14/11

TI        David Ross                             01/15/11

LE       Paul McIntosh                        TBA

PR       Michael Smith                                    TBA

MI       Todd Troutman                       TBA

FS        Jordan Heppner                      TBA

EL       Lizl Strauss                             TBA

My thanks to blogger and Chairwoman of the Piano Bar Association, Divetrash and to Rob in the Miami office for sending me the details to share with you all. Here’s a question……….who is your favourite all time Carnival Piano Bar entertainer?

Well, this week marks the end of something that we have all been involved with over the years and I am, of course, referring to the comment card. For 20 years I have been standing on stage asking you to please fill them out and to please make sure you give us the best possible rating because if you don’t we will all be fired and have to work down a coal mine or in a sewage farm or even worse ……work on a ship with a climbing wall.

I am joking of course…….well……….a bit……..because let’s face it those comment cards and the way you filled them in were manipulated to a certain degree by us the cruise directors. Now the more smart guests (like those that are reading this now) ignored what me and my colleagues said and gave us your honest opinions. However, many did not and they filled in the cards as we had suggested. Now you see the CD’s and ship management were judged by the results on these cards so of course we all did what we had to do to encourage you to fill them in….. ummm…. correctly.

This was easy back when the rating choices were poor, good, and excellent. In fact everything was excellent and the waiters and stateroom stewards would all wish you an excellent day and that they hoped the food was excellent and didn’t that dress look excellent on you sir.

Anyway, you get my drift here I am sure. I should also mention that there was tremendous rivalry between the ships and the ratings that were received from the comment cards were a brilliant way to see who beat who and who was the best cruise director and who was the Corey Schmidt………sorry mate ………just kidding.

Corey and I had a great rivalry when he was on the Carnival Victory and I was on the Carnival Triumph. Each week we would wait for the ratings to come in and we would see who beat who. Then along came the change of wording and we moved into meeting and exceeding expectations which I know I have said before here on the blog I personally thought was a load of bollocks. It is hard to exceed someone’s expectations when they have cruised multiple times with us because it is that we met their expectations time and time again that they kept coming home to Carnival.

So the CD’s found a new way to get the best mark of exceeded. This was by saying that it was the pass mark and anything else would be considered a fail. This wasn’t actually too far from the truth as the company goal back then was to constantly exceed people’s expectations……a fine vision statement and one that worked for us but very hard to understand when filling out an evaluation of your cruise.

Well, now we have new management at Carnival and those of them that have beards have decided there will be no more paper comment cards onboard. What there will be though is easier to read, far much more thought out reviews which will be sent to you via e-mail directly after you cruise. Now I don’t know about you but every morning when I log on to my computer, my inbox is stuffed to overflowing with messages, none of which ever has anything to do with cruises, work, blogs or my family and friends. Most are from companies offering me Viagra and loans to pay for it. Then there are usually a couple from someone I’ve never met telling me my thingy is too small and that they would like to offer me a new one. I am sure that like me you delete these straight away as we probably do with lots of other on-line surveys we are asked to take. My hope is that this will not apply to the surveys we are going to ask you to take. In fact we have already started doing so and the feedback we are getting has been brilliant and it appears that most people are indeed taking the time to complete them.

It goes without saying of course (but I will say it anyway) that we can only continue to improve by having you our guests take the time to tell us what they liked and what they didn’t. I hope therefore you will complete these surveys and if at any time you have any questions about them please let me know. Thank you…….and have an excellent day……..bugger…….old habits die hard.

Let’s go back to my attempted sleep of yesterday. Just to recap. Heidi and Kye are shopping in Long Beach and I am very tired and trying to get a nap. But Ketut has washed the curtains so the room is filled with sunlight, the deckhands are banging around one deck below and I have a pair of earplugs in now to drown out the noise and a pair of my own underpants over my head in order to block out the sunlight. So then it got worse because I had to go to the bathroom. So, I got off the bed, pulled my underpants just above my eyes, went into the bathroom. On the way out of the bathroom I caught sight of myself in the mirror, wearing the underpants like a skullcap. The other thing about exhaustion is that it encourages hysteria. I laughed, then saw myself laughing, and laughed some more. I returned to bed, still giggling and still with Kathy sodding Lee singing that song in my head. At some point I lost consciousness. And then I woke up one hour later and sat here in my underpants and with my spare pair still resting on top of my head. And that my friends is my life……..and as always I enjoyed sharing it with you.

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.