A Kiss and a Hug

November 24, 2010 -

John Heald

Good morning everyone. This is going to be a quick blog today because the 344 Stephanies and the 44 people whose name start with an E and the one and only Vance will be travelling to meet their families for Thanksgiving. I also have been instructed to hurry up and write because I have been told I am taking Kye to a place called Marsh Farm today which is a place where Kye can feed baby animals and tread in cow poo. So, my apologies in advance for this being a quick blog thingy devoid of any questions being answered although I promise to answer a double load on Friday.

As you may know on Sunday I will be flying to Miami on Virgin Atlantic. I love Virgin ……….. my only concern is will they go all the way……….OK……….stupid joke. I have been told that I will be warmly welcomed by our shore side people all of whom were reading our blog about the Carnival Splendor incident and for some bizarre reason they seem to think that I did something special. This means that many of the people in the office will not just want to shake my hand but kiss me as well. Now whenever I go to the States and meet ladies I always get worried …………..about the kiss.

The “colleague kiss” is all very strange to me and is a show of affection which despite the fact that I see these people maybe once or twice a year and most of whom I have no bloody clue who they are……..feel its mandatory to kiss me. I have never quite mastered the social greeting and I am also someone who believes that you should kiss only a) your children and b) the person you are having rumpy pumpy with c) any photo of Megan Fox’s bottom. Honestly……why can’t we just say hello or just shake hands? The clashing heads, should I or shouldn’t I go for the other cheek too, the mutual whiff of halitosis caused by tofu and garlic sandwiches.

Then there’s the men. American men hug. British men don’t. That’s just a fact. Now when another man hugs me I have no idea how to respond. Am I supposed to put my arm around him and should I slap him on the back three times which seems to be the tradition? Carnival’s marketing men hug. Our operations men hug. In fact, the only men who don’t hug me when they see me are the ones from public relations and the only reason they don’t is because they don’t want to spill their glass of red wine.

Worst still is when I meet some of the Italian captains who now work in the Miami office. They hug as well but also sometimes…….not always………they will kiss you as well. The hazard with this is that if they go for the kiss, while I other opt for the hug my gets slobbered on. Yep…….. the man hug is a minefield. Pat or not to pat on the back? If the chap hugging you is considerably taller will I end up nuzzled into his chest and risk suffocation? Where do I place my arms – around his neck? Too childish. Around his waist? Too romantic. On his arse………only if he’s French. Hug for more than a couple of seconds that’s not a man hug ………..that’s a man hunt

OK, as I said this is going to be a quick blog because we also have other things to do today as well because Heidi has deemed this a family day…………..so I had better crack on.

Yesterday on my Facebook thingy I asked the question about if or not guests who had cruised recently had received their online review card and a total of 348 people replied. Having read the answers, I guess it’s 50/50 which means half of those who cruised recently didn’t get a review card. And while one or two didn’t really care if they did or not most of those who didn’t get one wish that they had. So with these facts in hand I spoke yesterday to one of the directors, Mark, who is in charge of this procedure and asked him what the parameters were. Here is what Mark told me:

The goal is to provide one survey invitation per cabin per voyage. This is intended to provide a fair representation of the voyage and be a voice for those in that cabin and a fair representation of the overall voyage performance. Second, to receive a survey invitation, we must have the guest’s email address, they must not have opted out of receiving email communication from Carnival, and the guest must be designated in our database. I’m working now with our Data Warehouse team to make certain that every cabin receives a survey invitation.

Thanks Mark. We all realise that this is a work in progress and of course I think the most important fact that we have learned there is that the guest must have said yes to receiving further internet information. It will be interesting to see how many people who said they did not receive a review card had in fact declined to that option. Anyway, we realise that it is a work in progress and we thank you for taking the time Mark to answer this important question. If any of you have a follow up question for Mark please let me know here on the blog thingy.

Let’s continue now with our series of introductions to our piano bar entertainers by popping on over to the Carnival Valor to meet Billy J Clay.

Name: William Barclay “Billy J Clay

Hometown: Vancouver, Canada

Short Personal Bio: How long with company, style of entertaining and general info 5 years with the company. Style is considered eclectic, standard oriented, that generally pleases most audiences.

Most Requested Song: Piano Man

What’s the best part of being a Carnival Piano Bar entertainer? Interaction with the audience

So as mentioned we are having a family day today. The sun is shining and it’s so cold I saw a lawyer with his hands in his own pockets. Sorry………. stupid joke. Tomorrow we are expecting snow which means for the first time this winter I get to say…….and regular blog readers will know what’s coming………yep………..Global Warming My Arse. Honestly it’s so cold already in the UK. It was so cold that when I woke up in the morning I found a tiny ice cube in my bed. I threw it in the fire and it went “FART”…….sorry………………stupid joke.

Anyway, as I was saying. This morning after going to some kids farm to catch foot and mouth and mad cow disease we will then head to town to start the Christmas shopping. Oh joy. Obviously though I mustn’t moan or grumble because this after all is my daughter’s first proper Christmas. At the age of 19 months, she has a vague grasp of it being a special time and hopefully when we get the Christmas tree she will enjoy the pretty lights and putting the star on top rather than last year when all she did was try to eat the pine needles.

Then of course she will have presents. Just how many presents, is the question. Thanks to the kindness of my family and friends and many of my family of blog readers she has been spoiled completely since being born. This has resulted in her accumulating a total of four My Little Ponies, each one a different shade of sickly pink, including one which smells, revoltingly, of coconut. She has dolls and toys and things that are still entombed in the packaging. So the dilemma is this. Do we buy her one present or lots?

Well in the end was my wife who made the decision and she told me that we will be buying her one big present (apparently some kind of assault course for kids called Tumble Tots) and a contribution in Kye’s name to St. Jude Children’s hospital. They will receive the My Little Ponies as well.

OK, I know a lot of you are heading home or travelling to be with family and I wish you all safe journeys. Tomorrow the ships will be serving a special Thanksgiving Day dinner and I thought you might like to see the feast the chefs will be preparing………….what would you have?

We don’t celebrate Thanksgiving in the UK but I have so much to be thankful for. My family and of course all of you who keep reading my daily musings. I am also thankful to the guests who sailed with me the week of November 7 on the Carnival Splendor most of whom were truly brilliant. The word thank you is one of the most commonly used words in the English language and it is important therefore that we realise that it remains one of the most important words in the world. I know some of you have seen this video already but in case you haven’t I invite you to have a look at it now, not just because it shows how positive its makers were during difficult times but mostly for the simple message at the videos end that means so much to me and all of us at Carnival.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and your families.
Your friend

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.