Excuses…..a good one is brilliant and there should be an equivalent of an Oscar ceremony for the best ones. They represent the human imagination at its most brilliant. However, a good excuse is rare while bad ones are as common as climbing walls…….. and as far as ship excuses ……. well having been at sea for 24 years……..well I have heard them all before.

Yesterday one of the staff was late for debarkation…..35 minutes late to be precise. His excuse was “My alarm didn’t go off.”  Now, I knew that this chap hadn’t gone to bed until 5 am because one of the other staff had already told me that there had been a bit of a Playstationxbox marathon last night. So, when I asked him if going to bed at 5 am to be up at 7 am had anything to do with it, he stuttered and stammered “Umm, well, Yes, but ummm, the alarm, I didn’t, ummmm, ah ummm.”  I then sent him back to his cabin to make friends with a razor and some hair gel. Now, had he come up with a better excuse then maybe he wouldn’t still be pulling pieces of my shoe out of his arse.

It’s important to choose your excuse carefully. One of the girls I dated (I like that — one of the girls – as though I was some sort of Russell Brand — the long haired tosser) loved to talk. Her name was Sarah, a massage therapist who I met on the Carnival Sensation. She could talk for hours and one day we were watching a movie in the cabin. It was the beginning of our relationship and I really liked her. But she wouldn’t stop talking. Anyway, the movie was really good and I was aware that she was talking and talking and finally she must have gotten to the point and expected me to answer. But I hadn’t heard a thing which made her mad. Now, I was hoping that a spot of rumpy pumpy might be on the cards later so rather than telling the truth and saying, “I hadn’t heard a word you said love, shut up and let me watch Steven Segal kill people.” I told her I was deaf in one ear, in an attempt to explain why I hadn’t been listening to her. It worked. She believed me and felt sorry for me.

We were together for six months during which time I kept forgetting which ear it was I was supposed to be deaf in and sometimes I forgot completely. I lived in constant danger of exposure. I got away with it, mind you. And if you’re reading this now, Sarah…..sorry love. Oh by the way ……the relationship ended not because she discovered I wasn’t deaf…..nope……..she realized that she preferred Italian canoli to British you know what.

My best excuse ever though was when I was a social host. I was supposed to be on gangway duty but had totally slept in. I was meant to be there by 8 am, but I had woken up at 9:15 am. By the time I had gotten showered and dressed I would have been nearly two hours late. Well sod that I thought – I might as well pack my Samsonite now because the CD at the time was not a chap with a forgiving nature. The only sane course of action was to throw a sickie. So I called the cruise director’s cabin. Now some may have pretended to be sick and called using an “ill” voice. But I knew Mr. Capone my cruise director was a wise chap who wouldn’t fall for that so I called and said “Sorry Mr. Capone. I didn’t get to the gangway this morning. I shat myself in the elevator.”

I went on to explain just how embarrassing it was and how I thought it might’ve been something I ate last night. I told him how I had to waddle back to my cabin, making the description as vivid as I possibly could. I offered to come up to the CD cabin to apologize in person but for some reason my boss told me not to and to take the rest of the day off. I did…..and I slept the day away in my bed and my unsoiled underpants……….you may know that Eddie Capone (the godfather of comedy) and a great friend is still entertaining guests on our ships and is still a brilliantly funny entertainer. However, I have never told him the truth until now……….. sorry Eddie.

Time for today’s questions………off we trot.

Sharon Sorlie Asked:
Please reply

Thank you John for the excursion suggestions. I will definitely take each one under advisement. I forgot to ask about the best snorkeling excursion. Emily & I want to snorkel once. Which port would you suggest?

If a table for 4 would be possible I would be forever grateful, as it would save me time standing in line on the first day waiting to find out if we can have a table for 4. Carnival Liberty Nov. 13th Cabins # 6293 & 6295. Where is Ken these days? That would make our cruise complete if he too was our maitre D. He too was on the Dream.

I am so excited that Todd is the Cruise Director. We had the pleasure of his & his parents company on the T/A – Carnival Dream – he and his “Dream Team” were amazing. It was nice of course to have Tea with you and 500 other guests. I will never forget accidentally barging in on your meeting with a vice president of something. You were so gracious and kind. Thank you for being “Carnival’s Ambassador”. By the way I loved your Magic Video Post. I wonder if you could do a few of them every now and then. They are fun and different. Just a thought.

John Says:
Hello Sharon Sorlie

I am glad you read the shore excursion recommendations I sent you and if you have any follow up questions please let me know. All our snorkel tours are excellent and come with full instruction and equipment. I have forgotten if there was one port you were interested in, if so please let me know and I will take help you accordingly. I will send your table requests to the ship and ask the maitre d to do his best to help you. Todd as you said is a brilliant CD and after his hard work on your Carnival Dream I am sure he is very much looking forward to the Carnival Liberty. Have a wonderful cruise.

Best wishes to all
John

Jenn Asked:
Hello John…Please Reply

I was checking out the new site for the Magic…very impressive indeed. I’m all geared up to go on another cruise with you, you just make them so special, but I’m a little disappointed with the staterooms. There don’t seem to be any interior adjoining staterooms that can accommodate more than 2 people. You see my husband and I will soon have 4 children…yes, on purpose…and we dearly love travelling with them, however I am TERRIFIED of balconies, get motion sickness and don’t want to put my kids in a completely separate room where I can’t see them…spending a week in a separate room from my husband isn’t an option either.

I’ve been trying to find some other alternatives…unfortunately I would have to go on a “something of the Seas” and I really would rather not. What I’m hoping is that you might be able to tell me…in the remodels of any of the older ships…is there, or could there be any plans to make more adjoining interior staterooms, specifically those that would accommodate more than 2 passengers each. I really do wish that those of us with larger families were able to book cabins without being forced into oceanview/balcony staterooms. Not only because they are more expensive, but because balconies and children don’t mix very well and I get so sick being on the bottom 2 decks.

All I’m saying is that options are nice…people like options…and it would be really nice if the Fun Ships…which have always been so family friendly and have some of the best Children’s programs on the water…would offer more of these options to families of 5 or more.

OK That’s my rant. Now…thanks for keeping such a great thing going with your blog. I’ve been reading since day 1. I can hardly wait to sail with you again. I just hope I don’t have to wait until my kids are all grown up!

John Says:
Hello Jenn

I am so sorry to hear about your phobia and proud of you that you still manage to cruise even though it sounds like you may suffer terribly from sea sickness. I am sorry to say that the majority of the adjoining cabins are indeed outside or balcony cabins. They are so because most of the requests we get for adjoining staterooms are for outside or balcony rooms. However, I am going to send this to someone in the office and ask them to have a look at the fleet but I am pretty certain we don’t but I will certainly confirm either way. I totally understand your predicament and I hope we can find a solution that allows you to sail with us. Someone will be in touch soon with either good or bad news and if there is anything else you feel I can do you please let me know.  Best wishes to you and the family

John

Linda Asked:
John, Please Reply if you can

I want to tell you how much, (your loyal carnival cruiser), that I appreciate everything you do. You’re funny, kind and loyal to you cruise family and your own family. I also, would like to send my best wishes and a huge thank to your wife and daughter allowing us to share you with them.

To Bobby D about religious services, when I cruise (#11 in NOV 2010 and #12 FEB 2011 and #13 DEC 2011) I make sure that my Lord Jesus is always with me. Do we need a formal service, no Jesus didn’t. His service was where the people are. Bring out your Bible on a cruise, read it in a public area and see how many you touch. Have your own service, with Gods wonderful and most beautiful view in the world, the open seas. Just a simple thought.

Oh by the way John, I don’t want anything; I just felt a need to say how wonderful you are. I will be seeing you on my NOV cruise and I will have something for you.

Sincerely and with love, Linda

John Says:
Hi Linda:

Oh, Linda, those are such wonderful words and I truly appreciate you taking the time to write them. And that goes also to the words you wrote to Bobby D as well. Please make sure you leave me a note at the guest services desk when you arrive so I can meet you and send you a little something as well.

See you soon

Best wishes
John

J.K.P. Asked:
John (would request immediate response)

Just gotten off the Valor where no mention was made by any of the crew about Vietnam veterans. On NCL last year every Vietnam veteran got a free drinks party and a gift. Carnival does nothing for people like me who if you took the time to find out would see there were lots of on cruises all the time on every ship every week. Vietnam was the hardest of any wars and I and my other vets who cruise deserve more

John Says:
Hello J.K.P.

I see that you are very upset Harry and that makes me very sad. I am not sure if the ship had a veterans meeting or not but certainly I will remind the ships that they should if possible schedule one every cruise. I thank you for your service and while I am sorry that we won’t be giving you free drinks and gifts I can promise you that we will make sure that you and all service personnel are honoured whenever possible. I hope you had a great cruise.

Best wishes
John

Samantha Flynn Asked:
Dear (Sir) John! (Please reply)

Being an RN in the GI lab, I wanted to tell you that colonoscopies CAN be fun!! We have a good laugh every day!! (Use your imagination!!) HA HA!! My DH and I are returning to the seas again this Oct celebrating our FIRST anniversary! (We honeymooned out of Galveston last Oct but are going out of good ole NOLA this year) just writing to tell you that we enjoy your blog!! My DH is a cruise ship STALKER, watching webcams, searching websites and blogs for any information! He knows tonnage, length and capacity of most of carnivals fleet!! (Yeah he is weird and I think he needs medication… but I love him)… ohh i do have a request!! For our Oct 30, 2010 sailing on the triumph, promise us a beautiful, buoyant ship, plenty of good food /booze and awesome memories!!

love ya!! mean it!!
samantha!

John Says:
Hello Samantha Flynn

Your husband sounds like my kind of guy and if he ever has a question or needs any information please tell him to ask me and I will do my best to help him. Having a colonoscopy was no fun, then again I was so numb the nurse could have driven a Lexus up there and I wouldn’t have complained. I am so glad you enjoy the blog and I hope you do for a long time to come.

Best wishes to you both
John

NYCPHIL Asked:
JOHN (PLEASE REPLY)

John – you must realise that most people who ask you for stuff are blowing smoke up your oversized ass. I am not going to BS you but just ask for a table for two for Fantasy sailing December 6th in cabin U120.

Thank you
Phil

John Says:
Hello NYCPHIL

I have to say that that was the strangest way I have ever been asked to arrange a table for someone. I am not sure if you were having fun or being serious but regardless I will ask for a table for you. Have a fun cruise.

Best Wishes
John

Chance Asked:

I’ve tried to find Magic’s guest capacity, but have been unsuccessful. Do you have a number?

Really excited…booked on the December 18th Christmas 2011 Cruise.

John Says:
Hello Chance

The ship at double occupancy will be carrying 3,690 guests in 1,845 guest staterooms. She is 130,000 tons and I am sure by now you will have seen www.carnivalmagic.com and taken a virtual tour of the ship. I know you are going to love her and I will be writing much more about her very soon.

Best wishes
John

Peter Dorenski Asked:
John (Please Reply),

I don’t post much here but I want to join the rest of the folks from Cruise Critic that have stated how much they despise the dining room dances. It is intrusive to your passengers and embarrassing for the wait staff who should be concentrating on service not gyrating on a podium like cheap hookers. Please talk to someone and make sure they consider changing this stupid spectacle. If hundreds of Cruise Critic readers who are all frequent cruisers state how much it is hated than I would imagine the hierarchy at Carnival must take immediate note.

Peter

John Says:
Hello Peter.

I think just as I did with power strips and hamburgers I am going to make this question the last one I reply to on this particular subject as we have beaten this to death now. I think it’s best to clarify here and now that we have no intention of stopping these dances and parades as the majority of guests seem to enjoy them as I can assure you do the crew who perform them. If you would like a table at the back of the dining room which may be a bit quieter, please allow me to help you reserve one of these the next time you cruise. Thank you for taking the time to write.

Best wishes
John

Watkins Family Asked:
John Please reply

We really didn’t care for our cruise director on the Imagination. I won’t say her name here because I don’t want her to get in trouble but her “woo hoos” on the loud speaker all day was grating on the bones. Our next cruise will be with Felipe according to the schedule on your blog. Can you tell me about him? Thanks for the fun blogs

Emily

John Says:
Hello Emily Watkins

Let’s concentrate on Felipe rather than the past and I can promise you that he is one of our upcoming stars. I am sure Linda, Carolyn and others will tell you just how wonderful he was recently when they sailed with him. Here is a photo of the young Brazilian and some information in his own words.

I hope you have a great cruise

Best wishes
John

Hi John:

I first joined Carnival Cruise Lines after graduating from college in Brazil in January 2002 on board the Carnival Imagination, in the position of staff waiter. I still remember watching the cruise director on TV in the staff mess during set up time (Mark Price) and saying “That’s the coolest job ever! One day I’ll do it…” Needless to say my co- workers had a good time laughing at me. One day I heard about this bartender from England that became a cruise director, or that coffee girl from South Carolina that did the same. All of that just gave me a huge motivation to keep moving forward…

Technically I had everything against me; I was “just” a waiter, English is not my native language and there was absolutely no history of anyone from my country to achieve such position. In 2004 (after proving my total lack of coordination and balance for the position of waiter) I was promoted to social host onboard the Carnival Victory. Surprisingly, the position was offered to me by one of Carnival’s former cruise directors. That was just what I was waiting for…

After a few months on the Carnival Victory, I had the pleasure to work on board the Glory (2004) during the social host college, a brilliant project back then that gave me the chance to meet John Heald, Heidi, Butch and many other current famous icons of Carnival. Since then, I have been on many ships as a host, assistant cruise director and finally cruise director. I have to say, this has been a great journey and it feels refreshing each and every single day… You never stop learning!

My favorite animal? Horses!!! Big time!!! I used to compete representing Brazil in jumping competitions and was South American’s Vice-Champion on Junior’s Category (yeah, I know, second place). Won a few titles in US as well while living in Massachusetts. But it doesn’t add anything to this profile so I don’t know what I’m talking about… (by the way, I had cool pictures to add to this profile but nothing can beat a fall from a moving horse. That hurt back then…).

Anyway, Carnival has given me the best job in the world. To work entertaining people is just amazing. It never gets old. It’s never the same. Each and every cruise, each and every guest, they all have something new to offer, to teach, to add… I cannot believe the company pays me for doing this… (Oh crap, did I just say that?). I love fast cars, love playing with the bands on board, singing, trying new things, re-inventing myself and my schedule… At the end of the day, going to bed absolutely exhausted and having the chance to see yourself on TV making people laugh is just priceless (come on guys, we all enjoy that!!!).

I’m definitely looking forward to many more years to come and, going back to a regular land based office position seems to be impossible… I have red, white and blue running fast in my veins now…


Marty

John,

A quick request. Lots of folks ask for special favors: gold ships, best seats in the house, special gifts, etc. I too have a request, but it is none of the above. What I would like is……the winning lotto numbers, I know you can do it, they say you can do anything. If that’s not possible, could you tell me where the designated seating is for anytime-dining on the Splendor? We’ll be there Nov 14th and we are really looking forward to the “John Heald Experience” (Like it or not, you have set the bar pretty high for CD’s!)

John Says:
Hello Marty

Trust me mate……..if I had the winning numbers I wouldn’t be sitting here in my underpants but rather sitting in my private jet being served caviar by a naked Latvian supermodel. What I can tell you is that the Your Time Dining assignment is located on the upper level of the forward dining room which is called the Black Pearl. Do you need my help with anything in this regard? Please let me know if you do.

See you soon

Best wishes
John

That’s all for today. I will be back with more tomorrow.

I want to pay homage to two colleagues of mine who work for Holland America. One of them is a Cruise Director and this is how he saved the life of a guest. www.hollandamericablog.com

I am sure some of you will want to send these two chaps a message of congratulations via the blog. They should be very, very proud.

I mentioned last week, here on the Carnival Splendor each and every cruise I get complaints that we don’t have enough activities in Spanish. It was the same this week except this time the comment was rather different. Here it is.

Guest: Mrs. ———-Ref: 842021982A
Cabin: ——– ——–Added-Changed: 09/20/10 – 09/20/10

BOAT DRILL AND ANNOUNCEMENTS NOT IN SPANISH

Mrs.____ came to the GSD. Guest does not speak English and asked in Spanish why the boat drill had not been done in Spanish. Guest said that she and her family did not understand. Guest also said that the announcements and shows were also not in Spanish.

Well, the first thing to mention is that we made sure we gave this lady and the 12 family members she is traveling with a written explanation of what to do in an emergency and a number to call should she have any questions or concerns. When it comes to safety and especially our safety briefing we obviously need all the guests to understand how to save their life should an emergency arise. If we have a large number of Non US citizens we will make sure that we conduct the drill in their language. However, the non US citizens count shows we only have 29 Spanish speaking people on board and the guests that said the announcement was not in Spanish are US citizens. It is therefore impossible for us to know how many do not speak English.

I have discussed this with the captain and we have decided to give an overview of the drill in Spanish as this comment is typical each week. Anyway, we will help ease these comments with a short explanation in Spanish and hopefully this along with the few activities Marcello the ACD will be doing will make them mucho happyo.

As I mentioned yesterday the new portrait of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth that will proudly hang on her namesake ship was unveiled in London. Here is an exclusive look at what happened introduced by our great friend, our man in London and Cunard’s President Peter Shanks:

Let’s take a break and head on over to Vance who is going to tell us all about the results of the Red Frog Coaster competition for your Carnival Magic……..Vance…….over to you.

Raise a Glass; Winners Announced for Carnival Magic’s RedFrog Pub Coaster Contest

Thanks Vance and congratulations to the winners of the Red Frog contest.

Now that the RedFrog Coaster Contest is over, let’s turn our attention to the next contest that allows our guests to Make the Magic Yours.

Delicious Competition Indeed; Carnival Magic’s ‘Name the Dish’ Contest Begins Today!

Now the pasta dish looks delicious and I know many of you love food so I hope you will all enter …………..oh and have some fun with it.

This morning started with the usual Morning Show on TV and today’s mixed bag of goodies included a letter from someone called Hazel Potts who is from …….you won’t believe this ……… California. Hazel just graduated as an emergency nurse and starts work after the cruise. Hazel by the way is 61 years old and just completed 4 years at University in a program specially for something she called “returning students.” She is here with 12 family members who wrote to me to send their congratulations to her……I thought this was wonderful and I have not heard of this program before.

Also, there was a letter from a guest who was not happy with the TV. This time a guest wrote directly to the captain saying how disappointed he was that this “Californian ship did not get Californian TV. I guess he means that we get our TV feed from Denver and not from LA or San Francisco. I will be calling him later to discuss why this is. Why would someone come on vacation and 2 days into the cruise write to the captain about TV local news? I mean when you think about it that’s all the difference is right? I mean, the programs on the networks are the same aren’t they? It’s just the local news that is different even though it’s read by people who all have huge amounts of hair and finish with a story about a skateboarding dog.

This week we started The Chef’s Table and it’s been a complete sellout. I think this has been one of the best additions to the fleet this year and tonight I will stop by and visit the guests and see what they have to say about the experience. Please remember, if you would like me to reserve a spot for you just let me know here on the blog thingy. I had a thought though. I am often asked if I could secure spots for guests at the Captain’s Table. The answer is, unfortunately, no. This isn’t because I don’t want to but because usually it is decided by the office, or the captain and hotel director.

The Punchliner Comedy Club is going very well and adding it to the last night’s entertainment lineup has been a great success. I was not happy……never have been actually………with us just offering Carnival Legends on the last night so I moved the comedy club to the last night as well with good results. Here are the figures.

7:30 pm                       210

8:30 pm                       280

9:45 pm                       350+

11 pm                          290

12 pm                          275

I certainly have added to the entertainment options and of course we have Superstar Live coming in October. Just a reminder to those who may not know what this is that it is karaoke with a live band. Here on the Carnival Splendor this means that they will be singing with a live 10-piece band. If you have ever dreamed of prowling the stage like Freddie Mercury or spent your younger years singing into a hairbrush………then Superstar Live is just for you. This will give office workers, construction chaps, nurses, stay at home mums and even accountants who have the souls of rock stars a chance to have the most fun they can have……. without getting arrested. If you rock……..then Superstar Live is something you must take part in.

Here is the song list which I can post thanks to the kind permission of Tim Cabral who is overseeing this superb project.

I am very much looking forward to this but I do have a concern. You see, this event means that there is absolutely no need for a talent show as basically that is what Superstar Live is……a talent show…..i.e…..guests singing with the band. Now most of the ships don’t do talent shows anymore and I guess I am an old stick in the mud but it’s been a staple part of our entertainment for many years and quite honestly…….I love hosting it.

After all, over the years I have introduced guests who can genuinely sing and do so with genuine passion and soul. I have also introduced guests who really think they are great singers yet sound like a dog getting its prostate examined by a vet with a hangnail.

The 20 years I have been hosting these shows has meant that there is a exclusive list of songs which I have grown to hate with the same passion that I hate paper cuts and the French. These are usually the wibbly wobbly note bending Mariah Carey type bollocks of a song…… anyway ……here is my top 10 talent show songs  I hope I never have to hear again ever…….. list

10.       The Rose

9.         I Will Survive

8.         Unforgettable

7.         His Eye Is On The Sparrow

6.         Any song by Mariah Carey

5.         I Will Always Love You

4.         Greatest Love of All

3.         Wind Beneath My Sodding Wings

2.         Crazy

1          My Heart Will Go On.

I would rather let Stevie Wonder give me a vasectomy……..then ever have to listen to any of these songs……..ever again.

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.