Con Te Partirò

October 11, 2010 -

John Heald

It appears I have offended 2 different people live and in writing these past few days. Let’s start with the live one.

Guest: __________ Ref: 842237489A Owner: (LEIK) Leon Kirton
Cabin: ——— ————-Added-Changed: 10/11/10 – 10/11/10

UPSET BY CRUISE DIRECTOR JOKE

Mrs.______ came to the GSD and was upset by joke Cruise Director used in the show. Mrs.____ said that John was offensive to the Jewish people.

Tasked to Cruise Director

And now the written comment

Darryl

John, I have been reading your blog for a few months and have never commented before but your comments about President Obama were disgusting. The American people are looking for something new. They are hungry for a different kind of politics and for you to dismiss him with your heartless attempts at comedy I felt sick to my stomach. This blog is no place for political views and I am so mad that I am writing to your President Cahill with my thoughts on this and about you. Our President is a superstar, so polished, so eloquent, so learned so everything you are not. You just lost a blog reader and maybe much more!

OK, let’s start with the first one. The joke the lady is referring to is something I hoped to be able to show you on video today but it will have to wait until tomorrow as the video isn’t ready yet. It was at the Welcome Aboard Show where I had a honeymoon lady on stage with me. I asked her what her maiden name was and she told me Ginnsberg adding that it was “a good Jewish name.”  So I asked her what her new name was and she replied “O’Hara.”

“Oh,” I said, “Is that Irish?”

“Yes,” she replied.

“So you’re Irish/Jewish now which means you want to have a few drinks you just don’t want to pay for them.”

So, that was it. She laughed, the audience laughed and I moved on thinking no more about it. Yet this morning here was this comment made by a lady I had obviously offended.

Then there is the comment from Darryl. He is referring to the blog I wrote about Thomas who looked just like the President and who when he came on stage was booed by some of the audience. In that blog I suggested that Obama go on Oprah and get some of his popularity back for the sake of Thomas the Mailman. It really wasn’t a political statement in any way.

However, I owe both an apology and maybe I was out of line on both occasions but honestly I didn’t mean it either time. And I am not looking for sympathy or defense as this certainly isn’t a “woe is me” piece at all.

I don’t think of myself as a comedian but when I write and when I am on stage I do try and make people laugh and like comedians I sometimes don’t give enough thought to offence. It’s not because I don’t care who I offend. It’s because there isn’t always time to think if a joke will be offensive before you say it. You think it and have a split second to decide if or not to say it or not.

Comedy is after all a moral thingy because most jokes are at someone’s expense. Whether it’s Hardy bullying Laurel, Jerry smacking Tom in the face with a frying pan, or me making a joke about my own weight problems.

It wasn’t always like this though. When I first started with Carnival the comedians and the cruise directors filled the room with Polish, Irish, Italian, fat, thin, Bush, Clinton, gay and straight jokes and jokes about every conceivable ethnic background. Not any more, the world is now obsessed with not causing offence. And because of this there is a genuine fear lurking amid today’s Punchliner comedians and amongst some CD’s who dare to be funny that someone, somewhere will complain.

And of course when they do the people back at Miami HQ have a difficult job because they have to be aware that nobody should offend the guests who fund the company and keep Carnival at the top of the industry.

The problem is, of course, that people are offended by very different things. The same people who laughed at my Irish/Jewish joke may later this cruise be offended by something else I or the comedians say or do.

I remember my good mate and Carnival’s 355th best comedian once telling me that if a joke is funny enough, people often forget to take offence. I think most people would claim that they didn’t find disability funny, for example. But I have seen literally dozens of comedians back home in the UK make jokes about Heather Mills that were entirely based on the fact she has only one leg. I even once wrote in a blog many months ago that she is now working at IHOP and I didn’t get one complaint about that.

It used to be the case that if something offended a guest, they complained and you said sorry. Everyone considered this fair enough, and everyone shook hands, forgave and forgot. But today the age of political correctness has removed any such compromise and there are days when I think it may be safer to write factual, non-opinionated blogs and not even try to attempt to be funny on stage.

And then I remind myself that life is to short not to laugh and even though I am fat, ugly and have an arse that can empty a room in seconds…….I believe that it’s people like Al and I that have been put on God’s Green Earth for one reason only…..to try and make people laugh. Most of the time I think we succeed…….but I will tell you……it’s getting harder to do each and every day.

Anyway, both Darryl and the guest here this week have received personal apologies from me.

Time for today’s Q and A…..here we go.

IcebreakerVic Asked:
John – IMMEDIATE reply needed

There is a link which was started today that YOU MUST READ about the disgusting experience another CRUISE CRITIC member had on the DREAM.

http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1279186

How come CARNIVAL HATES NON SMOKERS so much and that they allow cigar smoking on the balcony which CAN KILL people who smoke AND THOSE THT DONT! I am not sure when you will get this comment but I bet when you do I am sure you will read that many others agree with me that CARNIVALS SMOKING POLICY SUCKS.

I read that you smoke stinky cigars so you should be ASHAMED for doing so and poisoning the passengers you smoke around.

Vic

John Says:
Hello IcebreakerVic

Well let’s get to the most immediate thing first. Carnival does not hate non smokers and to say that is with respect……ridiculous. Over the years we have reduced the smoking areas around the vessel and we continue to do our best to find a happy ground where smokers and non-smokers are content.

I won’t say that we have reached that place yet but we are certainly trying and will continue to do so. I didn’t read the whole link thingy because I guess you sent me this comment when it was first placed on the site and it has now grown I see to become a big topic as smoking always is. What I will say is that I was surprised that a guest smoked a cigar inside the cabin and while I can understand him (or maybe her) smoking on the balcony it is rare indeed to find people doing so inside the cabin. Maybe this is an area that we need to address and I will certainly bring this up on my call this week to the big beards in the office. Now as for smoking on the balcony….well if I were to do that and I heard someone on the balcony next to me I would probably ask them if the minded if I smoked as is common courtesy.

So the bottom line here is that we will see where the future takes us and as we go forward we will do our best to provide more outside comfortable areas for smokers as well as at least one indoor area such as the cigar bar while the majority of the rest of the ship remains smoke free. The cabin…………well that is something I will address once again

BEST WISHES
John

Lisa C Asked:
John (Please Reply)

Or maybe it should be-

Heidi Please Reply-
We sailed with John on his transition week cruise (8/1/10). We talked with John early in the cruise but never managed to find him again late in the cruise so we could give him the present we had brought with us. So, we dropped off the present for Kye at the GSD on the last night of the cruise but we never heard if John had actually received it. My husband (I’m using his name to type this) posted a similar “John Please Reply” question around August 11th. We have not seen a response and it seems that it has been long enough that he should have gotten to it by now. So, if John is too busy (which we would understand him being) could you check and see if Kye has a T-Shirt from Texas that you never packed? I hope it fits. I had to guess at the size since it’s hard to tell from the pictures how big she would be when you got on the Splendor. If it was misplaced somewhere between GSD and John, that would be unfortunate but understandable.

Thanks
Lisa C

John Says:
Hello Lisa C

I wish Heidi could reply but she and Kye are on their way home and as I sit here in my underpants they are flying care of British Airways back home. Kye loved the T-Shirt and I am so so glad you wrote because when the guest services chap brought the shirt up to my cabin there was no note with it so we had no idea who it was from. It was though her favourite colour and now we know who sent it we can take a photo and post it here on the blog thing which we will do soon. Thanks so much for allowing Kye to become a Texas girl and I feel so bad that I didn’t get to thank you in person. So for now this written words of thanks will have to do along with the hope that I hope we meet again one day soon.

Best wishes to you both
John

sheli1 Asked:
John reply!

Can you confirm if Jen Baxter will or will not be the CD on Legend for our cruise of October 3rd.There are conflicting reports on Cruise Critic and we had her last year and we found her voice soooooooo annoying.

Thanks

John Says:
Hello sheli1

I was very surprised to read that you didn’t like Jen Baxter as your CD as she is very popular with many guests. Anyway, you are on the ship right now and I am sure you are having fun with Wee Jimmy your cruise director. My apologies for the late reply to your post.

Best wishes
John

Ira Jaffe Asked:
Dear John – Please Reply

Leaving soon – Oct 14th on the Carnival Destiny – room 1127 (one of the last ones left when I went to book!)

This will be our 4th Carnival Cruise (5th is already booked for XMASS on MY Carnival Dream).

The cruise on the 14th was a last minute booking for my fantastic wife on her 40th Birthday. All along I was planning on buying her jewelry – but decided to buy her memories instead.

Not sure what I am asking for, but figured I would let you know about her upcoming “big” birthday, and hope you can do something special for her. She deserves it just for putting up with me for the past 13 years!

Thanks in advance,
Ira

John Says:
Hello Ira

Thanks so much for booking another fun for all cruise vacation and I will be honoured (spelt correctly) to send your wife something for her birthday. I think this cruise will bring her so many wonderful memories and maybe you can buy her some jewelry as well   🙂

Have a wonderful cruise and tell us all about it when you get home.

Best wishes
John

Livia Colon Asked:
Dear John,

I am inquiring as to when The Chef’s Table will be added to the Carnival Valor? I will be sailing May 8th, 2011 on my honeymoon cruise and would love to attend.

Thank you,
Livia Colon

P.S. I find your toilet humor quite comical! I almost peed my pants when I read of Heidi’s fear of spiders and what I’ll refer to as the poo incident.

John Says:
Hello Livia Colon

The brilliant Chef’s Table is a massive hit on every ship it’s on and by the end of this year it will be on every single vessel so yes indeed, the good news is that you will be able to enjoy this amazing seven course dinner, tour of the working galley and a night you will never forget. Please let me know nearer the time if you want a reservation and I will help you.

You and Heidi seem to have the same fear……….just the word spider gives her goose bumps ….. in much the same way as the words John’s Underpants does.

Best wishes
John

Melissa Zavorski Asked:
Please reply

Hello-

I do enjoy reading your blog!! I do not have a request as much as a question….

We are going on the Carnival Dream leaving October 9th. On October 13th it is both my husband and daughters birthday…37 and 6. I was wondering if you have seen anything in your time as a cruise director that people have done to make it a special day even though we are away from the rest of our family members. I will order the cake (which can that be personalized to the youth??) and decorate our room but what have you seen that you thought was a great idea??

I appreciate you taking the time to reply!!
Melissa

John Says:
Hello Melissa

I guess you won’t be seeing this now because today you are boarding your Carnival Dream. I will be sending both your husband and your daughter a birthday wish and gift. I hope you have fun and my apologies for the late reply.

Best wishes
John

Matt Asked:
Hi John, (Please Reply)

My family and I had the pleasure of sailing with you on the Freedom in July, 2009, and had one of our best cruises…We are still laughing at some of the great entertainment and jokes that you do on stage.

My wife and I got her parents to join us on a cruise aboard the Carnival Dream in June, and we were hoping that you were going to be our CD, but that wasn’t the case. I constantly read your blog, however, I don’t usually make comments. Reading your blog takes me back to our memorable trips with Carnival, and it amazes me how you seem to provide an endless smile even to the rudest people in the world. I wish I had your demeanor. If I was in your position, I would have inner-tubes and strings off the back of the ship, and the rude, mean people can float out there for a week or until they learn to be nice.

Anyway, I wanted to tell you that my wife and I are going to be on the Carnival Valor on October 24th, celebrating our wedding anniversary. We’ll be in Cabin 9207, and would love it if you could please send a request, on our behalf, for a table for 2. If you can’t, I truly understand…I’ll still be a reader of your blog-thingy.

Keep up the great work, John! We look forward to many more cruises with Carnival, and hope that you will be our CD again.

All the best,
Matt
Harrisburg, PA

John Says:
Hello Matt

I have wonderful memories of the Carnival Freedom and I am glad we got to share some together. Thanks so much for continuing to sail with Carnival and of course it will be my pleasure to ask the maitre d to assist you with your table request. I am so glad you enjoy the blog thingy and I wish you both a brilliant time and a very happy anniversary

Best wishes
John

Shari seibert Asked:
“”””””””PLEASE REPLY JOHN”””””””

Morning John,

Let me start by saying I have become hooked on your blog and your Facebook thingy. I’m constantly reading your comments to my daughters (who right now aren’t interested because they aren’t happy that I have a cruise booked and they don’t) but anyway …The hubbie and I are taking our first vacation alone in 20 years and we wanted to ask for your help in getting a table for 2 in the MDR. We are booked on the Elation November 11th. Wasn’t sure if I should put the booking number on here. Hope someday we can be lucky enough to have you as our CD. Wondering if Stan the Man is with the Elation now?

John Says:
Hello Shari Seibert

Stan the Man is on the Carnival Fantasy and I have asked his colleague on the Carnival Elation and asked him to do his best to make a reservation for a table for 2. I hope you have a great time and of course I hope you continue to enjoy the blog thingy.

Best wishes to you and the family.
John

Mary D. Freidel Asked:
My husband and I will be leaving Fort Lauderdale on October 26 on the Miracle. I understand you could place a request for the both of us to sit at a 2 person table in the MDR during our cruise. It is very exciting for us as we have never even had a balcony and we have the Grand Suite. (I’m surprising him with it for his 60th birthday) We have had 33 years of a wonderful life together and I think he deserves it after putting up with me for so long. One day I hope to tell you the very unusual way we met. But I know you haven’t the time now. So if you could do this one little thing for us I would appreciate it. Oh…I love your blog. Thanks Mary Freidel Cabin #6215

John Says:
Hello Mary.D Freidel

What a wonderful surprise your husband is going to have when he walks into your suite. I am sure that this will be the perfect cruise for you to celebrate his milestone birthday. I have asked the maitre d to do his best to reserve you a table as requested. Have a brilliant cruise.

Best wishes
John

Lorinda Asked:
John reply please

My question is about the Steakhouse because I can’t seem to get a straight answer from anyone. Do you have a big selection of vegetarian dishes because me and my sister are both non meat eaters and don’t want to book if there is nothing for us so send you response quickly.

John Says:
Hello Lorinda

The Steakhouse is mostly based around steaks and meats within the main courses which are complimented by a beautiful lobster tail and Chilean sea bass. However, if a vegetableist gives us proper notice (say the day before by calling the steakhouse) that a vegetarian dish is required the chef will make something special for you. There is also the French onion soup, the salads and of course the dessert, none of which have meat in them.

I hope this helps and if you have a follow up question please let me know.

Best wishes
John

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

OK, before we talk about this week let’s have a recap of last cruise

  • Great weather
  • Mr. Cloonpitt volunteered for the Welcome Aboard show and then threatened me with legal action if I didn’t remove it from the cabin TVs because he was an actor. I didn’t remove the whole show but did edit out his bit. He still was not happy and threatened me with legal action …….but not before asking for a free copy of the show. He didn’t get one……and he didn’t get a sodding fruit basket either.
  • The rest of the guests were marvelous and loads of fun. The Japanese Karaoke group was as passionate for this as I am about Megan Fox’s bottom and the few occasions I stopped by to watch them it seemed that country music was their favourite to sing. You haven’t heard Achy Break Heart sung until you have heard it performed by a brilliant 60 something Japanese man

And so just before we move onto this cruise let me show you a video of a chap who performed in the talent show. It features a brilliant performance of Marvin Gaye’s Let’s Get It On followed by the whitest performance of the same song you will ever hear.

That was the week that was and here is who is sailing with us this cruise.

GUEST COUNT                                3,355

NON US                                             419 – 68 FROM MEXICO AND 41 FROM AUSTRALIA AND 41 ALSO FROM HONG KONG

PAST GUESTS                                  1374

Under 2 Years 24
2-5 Years (Camp Carnival) 84
6-8 Years (Camp Carnival) 94
9-11 Years (Camp Carnival) 123
12-14 Years (Circle “C”) 157
15-17 Years (Club 02) 115
18-20 Years 70

Now we have had our fair share of service dogs and these are usually labradors or similar breeds but look what we have sailing this cruise:

From: ———–(CCL)
Sent: Saturday, October 9, 2010 1:33 PM
To: SPLENDOR GUEST SERVICES MANAGER; SPLENDOR GUEST SERVICES SUPERVISOR; SPLENDOR CRUISE DIRECTOR; SPLENDOR MAITRED; SPLENDOR HOTEL DIRECTOR; SPLENDOR HOUSEKEEPING MANAGER
Subject: 20101010 SPLENDOR / 2 SERVICE ANIMAL

Hello All,

This is to advise that guests  ———–and ———are traveling on the Splendor 10/10/10 in cabin _____, ______. Both guests are traveling with a service dog.  Mrs. ______ will have a 3 lb Chihuahua and Ms. _____ will have a 7 ½ lbs Chihuahua they are requesting second nature litter. We have received in advance the current vaccination paperwork. The guests have been advised that this is required and they will need to travel with original paperwork and they needs to contact the Department of Agriculture for that ports of call that she is visiting.

I was intrigued when I saw this as I doubted that a tiny thing like that would make a good Seeing Eye dog unless its owner was very, very short. But of course they are not seeing eye dogs but are what are called “medical alert dogs” and while I can’t discuss what medical conditions these ladies have, I can tell you that if their owners have a problem the dogs will bark and alert passersby. Being Chihuahuas though I wonder if they bark in Spanish……….. “Woofo, woofo.”

And so I have a busy week which is good of course because it will help remember my family is 5,000 miles away. I have a conference call regarding new menu items during which I will press home the following:

  1. RETURN OF THE STEAK SANDWICH ON LIDO
  2. ADDING DR PEPPER AND ROOT BEER TO THE BEVERAGE MENU ( INCLUDING DIET VERSIONS)
  3. HAVING A SUGAR FREE CHOCOLATE MELTING CAKE

The last one is just for me and even though it will probably taste pretty awful compared to the full loaded original, I really would like to at least offer my fellow anti-sugar guests the chance to try one.

Well by the time you have read this the Queen Elizabeth will have been given her Royal seal of approval as Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth names the ship that now carries the mantel as the ship with the most famous name at sea. Tomorrow or perhaps Wednesday I will include a full report from our man in London and Cunard’s extremely proud President Peter Shanks on what I am sure was the most special of events. Here’s what Peter had to say late on Sunday night …. a few hours before the ceremony.

John

The scale of this is a little overwhelming. The expectation and media interest is I think unprecedented. The sun will be shining tomorrow – and we will go out there and deliver one of the greatest days in the history of Cunard – and a privilege for us all to be part of it We will make sure you and your bloggers get to see all the photos and videos of what happens tomorrow. In the morning – ‘The wait is over, and another proud journey for this famous brand begins….’

Best Regards to you and your bloggers – from a rather proud Scotsman.

Peter

And we have a late-breaking photo of Peter meeting Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth

Congratulations Cunard and congratulations to everyone who loves cruise ships and ocean liners because you now have a ship that every ship spotter must now see before they die.

I have had guests show me their lists onboard our ships. What’s that? You swam with dolphins? Explored Machu Picchu? Had your hair cut on a beach in St. Tropez? Actually I can’t stand those lists that feature in magazines and on the internet…..you know……One Hundred Movies to See before You Die; 200 Restaurants you have to eat in Before You Die, 297 Albums you have to own Before You Die, and so on………etc.

And furthermore, the more someone tells you how incredible something is, the more disappointing the reality turns out to be, largely because of the drum roll that preceded it. Take the Eiffel Tower. I visited the Eiffel Tower when I was in my twenties. I stood in a smelly elevator that took me at a snail’s pace to the top of a rusty, dirty tower thingy waiting to have my mind blown.

I’d heard that it was breathtaking and that I would be overcome with the desire to have rumpy pumpy with the girl I was with. I’d read descriptions of the romance that would burst from within me and that the view was Grand Canyonesque in its brilliance….. brilliant, romantic and stunning my arse. It stank of piss and some Frenchy bloke had a feel of my girlfriend’s bottom as he pushed past. So we went back to the hotel, ate pizza and watched a French dubbed version of Knight Rider………Eiffel Tower……… I’ve had more impressive trips to the toilet.

But as with Concord, Queen Mary 2 and Megan Fox’s bottom……..The Queen Elizabeth is surely on everyone’s must see list. It’s certainly on mine

It’s now 8:50am and I have my Morning Show in 25 minutes. For the past 5 weeks I have returned from the Morning Show to a hug from Kye and a hug from Heidi and I don’t mind admitting that since they left there has been an empty feeling inside me. Last night I woke up thinking I could hear Kye crying…..silly old fool. Having Heidi and Kye here with me for 5 weeks was simply wonderful. I have never been happier. To come home from a show and have Kye run towards me with her arms open wide saying “Dada” is something that would melt the coldest heart. Having Heidi to talk to about ……well everything and not come home to an empty cabin was indescribable.

And to see them drive away yesterday from the pier to the airport with little Kye waving both arms up and down brought tears cascading down my face………….a bit like now.

So as I am determined not to finish today’s blog on a miserable note let me just say that yesterday we confiscated 5 large bottles of mouthwash that contained liquor. That’s 5 bottles . I mean you may be able to get away with one bottle in your luggage…..and that’s may not grab our attention…….but 5 …….of course we are going to suspect something………unless of course you’re French.

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.