Both Ends

September 14, 2010 -

John Heald

It’s Monday evening, 12:10am and I thought I had better get a start on tomorrow’s (today’s) blog. So while the girls do their starfish impressions here I sit…..in my underpants……writing to you. I had a plan in my mind as to what I would start with today but that plan has changed because I have the TV on…..and I am watching animals have rumpy pumpy. Yep, one of the cabin TV channels is showing a documentary about animal porn and it’s hard to write about anything at all when you are watching two zebras having sex. Actually though, it’s all a bit….ummm…boring.

Right now the program is focusing in on two huge insects. I am not sure exactly what they are but you wouldn’t want to find one in your shoe. The reason I say boring is because there seems to be a huge lack of experimentation across the entire animal kingdom. It’s all bang, bang, bang and you never see elephants in stockings and suspenders or a pair of giraffes swinging from a chandelier.

There is also the lack of any facial expressions. Human beings perform all manner of crazy facial distortions during rumpy pumpy (allegedly) and will look like Judge Judy one minute, Ernest Borgnine the next.  Animals, on the other hand, don’t pull any expression at all — or at least nothing we humans can interpret. They look the same as always….bored…..you are probably expecting me to add something about how my wife Heidi would know all about that look…..and you were right….I just did.

OK, I was going to finish this bit and move on to other more important things but bloody hell now the program has moved on to kangaroos who apparently have something called a bifurcated thingy — and “bifurcated,” for those of you like me, had no clue what that meant means “forked” and I think its best I leave that one there don’t you.

Right let’s talk about more serious stuff ……… oh bugger…….well just when I was about to we have moved from kangaroos to dolphins. The host of the program is obviously an animal expert because he is now telling his audience that dolphins have retractable thingies which can flap around like a piece of string in the wind grabbing passing objects and throwing them into the air. Now that’s something I would like to have. I doubt the ladies would find it attractive but how brilliant to be at the steakhouse and be able to grab the lobster tail right off the plate of the couple at the next table. Yep…..a retractable thingy. Fun at parties? Yes. But sexy? No.

So animal rumpy pumpy is then boring to the extreme. The only animals I have ever seen do anything interesting while having rumpy pumpy was when I saw two dogs going at it in a shop doorway turn around to check out their own reflections…..still I was in Naples……the dogs were Italian…………. so that explains that then.

OK, I really have to stop now and move on to some Q and A

Karen Sperling Asked:
John, please reply

Love reading your blog. I still remember being surprised on my first cruise back in 95 at how many fellow Brits were on the entertainment staff. Although I now live in San Diego I still miss London from time to time.

My next cruise on Carnival will be my 15th with them. I will be on the Carnival Spirit leaving from Hawaii on September 26th. I would really appreciate it if we could have a table for 2. We are already confirmed for early seating. Our room number is 1194.

Thanking you for your help,
Karen

John Says:
Hello Karen

You can take the girl out of London but you can’t take London out of the girl.  Thanks so much for the kind words and I am sure that your 15th Carnival cruise to Hawaii will be your best yet. I have asked the maitre d who I know will do his best to help you. Please have a terrific time and tell us all about your adventures when you get home.

Best wishes and thanks for the kind words
John

Yankee Fan Seth Asked:
John reply needed to my question

Will the chef and dining hall manager confirm that he can cook kosher food and that I can inspect the food as its being prepared? This will be all meals. I do this on Royal and they accommodate me without question. Before I consider booking Carnival I need absolute guarantees that this will be done!!!!!!

Seth

John Says:
Hello Seth

Thanks for taking the time to write. I must admit that my knowledge of Kosher food preparation is somewhat limited but I did speak to the chef and while we don’t have a separate oven to cook the food in we do have kosher food that we will steam and cook separately for you and of course you may inspect the preparation at anytime you wish. If you decide to sail, which I truly hope you will, please let me know when and where you are sailing and I will alert those concerned

Best wishes and hope to hear from you soon
John

Jan “Peaches” Silvius Asked:
Reply if you have time.

OK, John, today’s blog was a blast from start to finish!

#1. The ‘same social standard and values as my wife and I’……perhaps my Ricky and I were that other couple. But guess what? We didn’t hold it against them that they had never had a good time before and didn’t know how to act. At least usns in Texas know how to injoy everbody, no matter what ther credut card shews…LOLOL. Welcome to CCL, folks, it’s a great mix of people from all walks of life. I have never ever had bad tablemates and I have some former TM’s that I will be cruising with again. But then, you are a lot nicer than I am.

#2. The CC poll? Well shoot. I wasn’t even asked about it. Dang it all, I would have been able to tell them that what you do is a wonderful service for those that are in need of it. I thought that was what nice people did for others. It’s not begging, and I’m not asking for anything, but I think it is wonderful that you do this.

#3. The family with the ill son? That’s the reason that you do this. Perhaps I should tell them on CC to check their ego’s at the door and get on that CCL and be nicer and kinder, for you just don’t know what others are going through.

My heart goes out to you, missing your Heidi and Kye. I cannot imagine it, but I hope also that you don’t leave us. Looks like I may, after 23 cruises with CCL, be able to meet you on the first cruise out of Galveston on the Magic! My fingers are crossed; I would like to tell you in person that I think you are doing the best of jobs…

Oh, that ‘rich’ man?? If his happiness is tied up in the amount his black card brings him, then he is a poor man indeed.

Peach

John Says:
Jan “Peaches” Silvius

There certainly have been some interesting comments recently here on the blog thingy and you highlighted most of them. While personal attacks on me are something I can live with it certainly is hard to understand why, if people hate this blog and what I do so much that they still keep reading it and posting on it. Your response highlighted that the vast majority of people who read this blog and the cruise boards and who sail with Carnival are spirited, fun and kind. So thank you for being just such a person and if there is anything I can ever do for you please let me know

Best wishes to you and the family.
John

Marc G. Asked:
John Please Reply,

I’m sailing on the Destiny 10/28 for Halloween and I’m wondering if by then The Chefs Table will be installed on that ship? I love the idea of eating in the galley and also drinking all that wine so I’m curious to find out.

Thanks a bunch.

John Says:
Hello Marc G

Yes indeed the Carnival Destiny will have The Chef’s Table by the time you sail as it opens on October 8. Please let me know if you would like me to make a confirmed reservation for you. It is a fabulous event.

Best wishes
John

Geanine Asked:
John PLEASE REPLY

I really don’t know how you keep it together, between all the dumb complaints and missing your family. Hope you get to see your girls soon!

My husband and I just booked a quick 3 day on the Sensation for Sept. 2 of this year, to celebrate our 17th wedding anniversary. I know it’s very close and I still don’t a seating time if you could see if there is any room in anytime dinning or just a table for 2 you would make both of us really happy.

Our cabin # is E147.

Thanks John,

And safe travels
Geanine

John Says:
Hello Geannie

The girls are here and are having loads of fun. I will certainly ask the maitre d’s on the Carnival Sensation and I am sure they will be able to help you. Have a great cruise

Best wishes
John

Schoifmom Asked:
John (please reply) –

My husband and I are taking our first cruise on the Sensation October 3. He has resisted cruising for years because he’s “seen Titanic too many times.” While I have assured him that there will be no icebergs in the Bahamas, he now insists that we will get lost in the “Bahaman triangle” in an attempt to be funny. Is there something funny that some crewmember could do to attempt to convince him that there is an iceberg sighted?

Thanks … and love your blog!!

John Says:
Hello Schoifmom

I am so glad you are enjoying the blog thingy and many congratulations on taking your first cruise despite Leonardo De Crapio (spelt correctly) trying to stop you. Please don’t worry, tell your husband all will be well and I will ask the CD to have a bit of fun with your husband. I am sure that he will have a brilliant time. Please tell me all about it here on the blog thingy when you get home. Best wishes to you both.

John

SeetoSea Asked:
John

I want to add to my comment that I think the questions that beg for help and tables and free gifts are pathetic and should have no place in this blog. It should be all about factual areas that will improve the product for us your customers and not full of people pretending to be your friend and then ask for something. While I will never ask you for anything for free or a table I do have one question that is can you tell me if the Dream will have a priest sailing at Christmas?

John Says:
Hello SeetoSea

You do seem very upset about my helping people and I hate to see anyone upset so please let me apologise that this is so. I will continue to help people when asked though and maybe you could skip over the Q&A section. I will certainly check on the priest being on your Carnival Dream and please give me a few days and I will get back to you. I hope that we can be friends despite our differences as to what this blog should be about.

Best wishes
John

Love2cruise (Gordi) Asked:

I have a quick logistical question for you. I see on the Baltimore sailings that the ship leaves Baltimore, then calls in Port Canaveral before going to the Bahamas. Is this not a violation of “Jones Act”? Is it because of the other International ports in between? I am just curious as I know this comes up a lot in Hawaiian sailings. If this is the case, why doesn’t the Spirit sail from L.A. then have a “quickie stop” in Ensenada before heading to Hawaii? Time issues?

John Says:
Hello Love2cruise (Gordi)

You are indeed correct Adam. The Jones Act/Passenger Services Act does not apply to the Carnival Pride as the ship does indeed call at a foreign port, in this case the Bahamas, before returning to Baltimore. As for the Carnival Spirit’s Hawaii cruises, the same rules apply — we have to either operate from or stop at a foreign port. Please let me know if I can help further.

Best wishes
John

Susan Garoutte Asked:
John (Please reply)

Is there a way to send email messages to the Cruise Director for a particular ship? I’m guessing the CD’s are kept pretty busy overseeing the innocent turnip peelers in the galley to avoid waking any passengers at almost 6 PM!

I love that you were willing and able to do something special for the young Publix employee! Just one of the many things that makes sailing Carnival special! Regards to your sweet ladies back home!

Susan – Carnival Dream 9/11/10

John Says:
Hello Susan Garoutte

I am grateful for the kind words and often when I get a comment about people not liking the help requests I receive there is a comment that follows where that talks about how my colleagues and I have helped others and how much it is appreciated. I cannot unfortunately give out employees e- mail addresses however if you have a specific message for a specific CD please post it here and I will make sure that I send it on including your email so they can reply. Is this ok with you?

Please let me know.

Best wishes
John

Maribeth Kring Asked:
Dear John, Please Reply

Was just looking at the cruise finder thingy and an idea for the Carnival website came to mind.

A lot of folks want to book a cruise based on the SPECIFIC destination…..i.e. not just Caribbean but San Juan or Grand Cayman…etc. it can be quite time consuming to go through all of the offered cruises looking for a port you want to visit. For instance, say someone was looking for a cruise that included a chance to visit with Nanni?

Could they add a feature with a list of specific ports that you can select in combination with your other preference choices?

Just a thought,

John Says:
Hello Maribeth Kring

I actually have to admit Maribeth that I thought we could do this already. Anyway, it would certainly make sense to do this and so I have sent this on to someone with a beard to see what they say. I hope you and your daughter are well and hope also to see you soon.

Best wishes
John

That’s all for today and a reminder to everyone that I am still 3 weeks behind so please don’t worry if I haven’t answered your question yet, I will ….promise.

I was hoping to show you two wonderful videos today but there are some problems involving IT and tofu so we will post those tomorrow instead.

I mentioned the name Corey just now and as many of you know he was a cruise director with Carnival up until 2004. In fact he was (along with Brett Alans) was one of three of Carnival’s senior cruise directors. Corey was known as “The Birdman” because he had the most brilliant bird act that involved guests interacting with his pigeons……..sorry……..exotic parrots and along with an amazing stage presence and dashing good looks (the bastard) he was probably one of the very best CD’s in the cruise industry. I know many of you have wonderful memories of your time with Corey as do I. It was fantastic to see him again as it’s been three years since we have been together and honestly the banter…..that’s a good British word “banter”……that Corey and I had together over the years was instantly rekindled and it was just great to see him. Corey is now in the movie business……..and that’s not a shocker to me or anyone who really knows him.

His job ………well although he could probably be in front of the camera if he wanted, he is doing one of those jobs that you rarely think about. He is the locations chap…….the guy that goes out and after reading a script decides what house, bar, ship, plane etc the shots outside of the studio will be shot at. He has worked on lots of major TV shows and is currently working on the new Adam Sandler/Al Pacino movie called Jack and Jill. I am sure Corey will be the best location manager in the industry just as he was the best CD in the industry and if he gets fed up with Hollywood and hobnobbing with the stars and their bottoms………then he could easily walk right back into a CD job……….and be the best once again.

Here we are yesterday on the stage of the Spectacular Theatre on the Carnival Splendor.

You can follow Corey’s daily on-set movie reports on @birdact on Twitter. It’s a wonderful look behind the scenes of the movie industry and the life of a CD who we miss………very much.

Well, here’s why I decided to call today’s blog thingy “both ends”

From: SPLENDOR GUEST SERVICES
Sent: Monday, September 13, 2010 6:21 PM
To: SPLENDOR CRUISE DIRECTOR
Cc: SPLENDOR GUEST SERVICES; SPLENDOR GUEST SERVICES SUPERVISOR; SPLENDOR GUEST SERVICES MANAGER
Subject: Cabin _______

Hello john,

Please see below.

[9/13/2010 3:45:00 AM CHAR]

Guest stated that this morning she walked out onto her balcony and found someone had vomited onto her balcony from above. Guest was very upset and has asked to speak to you John. Note: A full stage 1 clean of the balcony was completed by 11:30am.

And one can understand why she is so upset. You wake up, stretch and realise you are on vacation. It’s the first morning of your cruise, you are happy, excited and suddenly you remember…..you have a balcony. And so clothed in your Carnival bathrobe you open the balcony door, breath in the fresh air…and step right into a pile of diced carrot and chocolate melting cake.

Seriously, I am not making light of this, it must have been very distressing for her. However, having seen my welcome aboard show last night what gave her the impression that I was in charge of puke? Anyway, I spoke to the guest and apologized and politely told her that we were not going to disembark or arrest the guest as she had requested. I mentioned that she was on deck 6 and that there were 4 decks of balconies above her. Now there are times when some of you probably think I make some of this stuff up…….but there is no need and besides………you can’t make stuff like this up.

Because this lady who again I feel very sorry for but she wanted us to collect some of the vomit and send it to the police for DNA testing because she wants to take legal proceedings out against the person who let go his dinner. So I called CSI…….Carnival Sick Investigators. As I said ………. you can’t make this stuff up.

Now the other end.

A few months ago I decided to put some humour into the boat drill or safety briefing as well now call it. I certainly don’t take away the seriousness of this life saving information but you are all out there for 15 minutes…..so surely a bit of laughter shouldn’t be a problem………….should it?

Guest: Mr. ————-Ref: 842021129A
Cabin: ——–Added-Changed: 09/12/10 – 09/12/10

UPSET WITH CRUISE DIRECTOR

Guest called the GSD and said that he did not appreciate the cruise director’s joke during the life boat drill. Guest has asked for a meeting with John. Tasked to CD

So, this week during the drill as well as saying that the lifeboats are built with special buoyancy as to make them unsinkable even with flooded and then asking why we don’t build the ship out of the same material and suggesting that lifeboats and life rafts have water food, first aid, signaling equipment, cappuccino machines and that my life raft had a Hooters on it.

I also said this: “Please when using the stairs always grasp the handrail in case of a sudden unexpected movement of the ship. Also, for your safety and comfort please only drink bottled water when ashore in Mexico and avoid unpurified ice otherwise you will experience a sudden unexpected movement……or 10.”

And that was that. Well I am afraid that this particular joke offended a guest from Los Angeles. He is Mexican and felt that I had disrespected his country and he was really mad at me. I felt awful afterwards. So my question to you is simple. Is this offensive? It is true by the way, our ship’s doctors ask me to mention this but now I am second guessing myself and need your help ………..do you think this is offensive? Please let me know.

I saw something I have never seen before yesterday. At the Captain’s Celebration (which I am more convinced than ever that we really must improve) I met the most wonderful family. There was Mum and Dad and their two children Mark and Rebecca. We had a family photo taken and we spoke about the fact that they had cruised with me on the Carnival Triumph back in 2001. They didn’t have Mark or Rebecca then as Mark is 5 and Rebecca 3. However, what struck me was Rebecca who is a beautiful happy child and who held my hand tight when we had our photo with her family and the captain.

So, Rebecca has Down Syndrome but that’s not what struck me……nope. It was the dolly she was holding. At first appearances it looked like any child’s doll but as we got together for the photo I noticed that it the ears were set low on the head and that it a flattened bridge across the nose and a slightly protruding tongue. I then realised that this was a Down Syndrome doll……and I had never seen one of these before.

I was intrigued and asked Mum if she could tell me if these dolls were commonplace and as a Dad myself I wanted to know what the benefits were. Mum was more than happy to tell me that the doll was designed with the aim of giving her daughter Rebecca a toy that reflects her as she is, and not the mainstream version of Barbie’s physical perfection.

Now I never played with dolls as a kid but my sister Suedrip did and so did my best friend Alan. Seriously though I suppose the whole point about dolls is that they are a way of escape into a world of fantasy and make believe. How many real people actually look like Barbie……apart from the surgically enhanced guests I have met here on the Carnival Splendor? What was different about Rebecca’s doll was is that it looked real.

Rebbeca’s Dad hated it at first but then he said “but that doesn’t matter because Rebecca loves it ……………. and nothing is more important than that.”

This morning I sent Rebecca a big bag of toys and games and later today she has a surprise coming ………Fun Ship Freddy is going to be knocking on her cabin door.

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.

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