A Vice Presidential Blog

April 25, 2011 -

John Heald

As I sit here in my Ryan Air seat heading home for a day and a half to see the girls and collect shoes and diabetic medicine I feel realise once again just how far superior the cruise industry’s level of customer service and passenger hospitality is compared to that of the airline industry. Comparing ours with theirs is like comparing the acting skills and class of Dame Judi Dench and Lindsay Lohan, the beauty of Megan Fox’s bottom to the bottom of a sweaty yak and the magnificent chiseled torso of Johnny Depp to my space hopper stomach and flabby lily white thighs.

In this case I am not going to talk about the sullen flight attendants or the chicken sandwich that cost $9 and was so tough it asked me for a fight. Nope, I have something far worse to talk about.

That’s because I have a candidate for the worst thing in the entire universe. It’s worse than finding a short curly hair in your food, than call centers, than having people tell me on the blog that I am fat and will be dead shortly. It’s worse than having to use my underpants as a pillowcase, paper cuts, people who get in the elevator before you get out and worse than listening to the people in the cabin next to you have very loud rumpy pumpy when you haven’t seen your wife for 3 weeks. Yep, let me tell you what that it thing is. It’s Priority Boarding on Ryan Air mixed with Italian organisation.

For those of you who don’t know Ryan Air is a low cost, no frills airline although by the time you have added all the extra charges for bags, check in, boarding pass, toilets and breathing …….. a sentence with the words low cost in it can only be completed with the words…….my arse.

Anyway, they have open seating which unlike open seating on the Carnival Magic where you will be greeted by a gorgeous Latvian hostess and a singing Irish maitre d, on Ryan Air you will be greeted with……..well……..bugger all really as the 18 year old flight attendants are usually popping zits in the mirror or talking about last night’s rumpy pumpy with their boyfriends or girlfriends or the pilot!

So, to avoid the mad rush of finding a seat you have the option to have priority boarding for which I had paid $20 extra. Now I have used this system before from London airports and it sort of works. There is a separate line and you do exactly what the thing says, you have priority boarding which means I get an aisle seat and can sit there, dribbling, and talking to myself to avoid anyone wanting to sit next to the fat, dribbling mad man in 18A. If that doesn’t work and it looks like someone may take the chance, a lift of the leg and a scratch of the my gentlemen’s sausage and adjoining two Brussels sprouts usually has them moving down the aisle with a look of disgust. This leaves me the immense satisfaction of having an empty seat next to me.

So this afternoon, there I was, waiting to priority board my flight to the girls. There were two lines at Trieste Airport, one for priority borders like me and another for the losers. Except I in the end turned out to be the loser. That’s because although they let the priority borders through the gate and down the stairs first…….waiting for us at the bottom was a bus. Which by the time it left to take us the 50 feet to the plane was full of passengers get on the actual plane en masse. I was, in effect, paying to be first onto the bus, but last onto the sodding plane.

We arrived at the plane and all hell broke loose. This was Good Friday but there was nothing God or Christian about what happened next. As soon as the bus doors went “swisssssshhhh” 150 people ran for the steps of the aircraft. Me and my fellow “priority boarders” were furious and one Italian man went crazy pushing old people aside scout of the way holding his boarding pass above his head like a fishing trophy shouting “prioritio, prioritio”…..but nobody gave a crappo.

He pushed past a mother and a baby, out the doors and onto the plane, knocking a few blind people and octogenarians and treading on some hamsters as he went. I rushed after him, desperate to make use of my priority status, abandoning all sense of discipline and good manners. I burst onto the plane to find the only three seats with extra legroom at the front already taken. Five of the six in the middle with an inch more legroom were taken too.

If someone had said that George Clooney and Megan Fox were handing out free rumpy pumpy onboard I doubt the scrum that I witnessed would have been any different. It was simply crazy.

Eventually I walked down the aisle looking for a seat and was met by Henrich the flight attendant who was getting it in the ear from two people who had also spent $20 on priority boarding. Now I have seen hundreds of people complain and comment to me personally over the years and as I start these blogs properly again next week I am sure I will be telling you more stories about the outrageous and sometimes right on the money complaints. My point is I have spent most of my life listening to complaints and rarely made one to anyone about anything. But this time I had to. I had paid for a service I hadn’t received. I asked Heinrich for a refund for my priority boarding but all I got was a robotic, icy cold “No refunds are given” I am not a violent man but Heinrich was very close to having my foot priority boarded in his bottom.

But I was defeated. I took my aisle seat on the second to last row and started scratching my meat and two veg. But this was Good Friday, the plane was full and a lady sat next to me despite my rummaging and just to finish the day off she decided we were best friends and she spent the flight telling me this horribly sad and tragic story about her brother who had killed himself and that she was flying to the UK to arrange the funeral. Then she fell asleep, her head tilting towards me….…..a channel of dribble making its way slowly down her chin.

Time for some Q and A – away we go.

Robert (Bob) Dennard – AKA Kokomo_Man Asked:
John, PLEASE Reply

I’m sitting in the Ft. Lauderdale airport and couldn’t wait to tell you how much I enjoyed the Bloggers cruise for the past week. To quote a well known cruise director… It was “brilliant”. For those who were not part of my new “family” that were on the cruise (or if your just are curious), I posted a “Live from…” series of my journal entries from every day of the cruise. Here’s the link:

http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1368136

I’m writing to you John for two particular reasons. I want to pass on thanks and kudos to some of the outstanding crew members of the ship so first… I know you will pass this on to the appropriate people to get them the recognition they deserve. The second reason is that I know your “blog thingy” will also get them the public recognition they deserve for their exceptional work.

Before I name a few names, I’ve first got to say that everyone on the ship was exceptional. It’s really hard to single out just a few because there were so many smiling, professional, and courteous faces. Every one of the crew of the Glory… regardless of their job… always seemed to have a smile and a hello no matter how brief our encounter. If I were to properly say thank you to all of them by name, I would need several pages of the “blog thingy”. So please be sure that the appropriate “beards”, managers, and supervisors know just how much I appreciate all of their efforts. Now… at the risk of leaving out over a thousand names, here are some special folks.

The first person was “Gabby” our room steward. In addition to his overall “brilliant” performance as the steward, we had a couple of extra requests that I know he had to go out of his way for every day. He always did it with a smile and at the time we requested. So to Gabby… thank you very much.

Another person that went out of his way to make it a very good cruise was named Osmond. He was one of the people on the Lido deck responsible for keeping the tables and area around the pool clean and “ship shape”. But he did far more than just his job. He always took a few minutes to stop by and say hello. He always had a smile on his face and a few minutes to chat a bit. All of the folks on the Lido deck work very hard but Osmond went the extra mile.

Our dinner waiter, Edy Dwi (table 443) and his assistant Suraj went “above and beyond”. This is another one of those areas where an army of people make this happen… chefs, cooks, and a hoard of others behind the scenes along with the other assistant waiters. But Edy and Suraj were superb. They knew our names after the first time we sat down… knew what we wanted to drink… what kind of bread, extra butter and a host of little bits that made them so good. And even on debarkation morning… as the “woman to blame” and I were sitting up on the Lido deck with our “morning coffee” Suraj came by to chat and say goodbye.

Last but by far not least, the Piano bar. We spent our late evenings in the Piano Bar with the incomparable Ron Pass. (We would not have booked this cruise but for Ron being on it.) But this isn’t about Ron… that’s another story. The exceptional person I want to tell you about here is Pantita Ruayphirom. She is a drink waitress in the Piano Bar. She has a smile for everyone that just lights up the room. She would see me come in the room and after the first couple of times knew what frozen concoction to help me hang on to bring. (A Hurricane Wave by the way.) And after the first couple of times she would even know my sail & sign number so I didn’t even have to dig for the card. That may not seem like a big deal, but it’s just those kinds of little things that make such a big difference. Her genuine friendly attitude and ready smile was always there. I don’t know how she does it night after late night but she does.

We did “take care” of each of these people individually at the end of the cruise. But we could not possibly afford to reward all their efforts with mere money though we did the best we could. So I leave it to you John to be sure that they each know just how much the “Woman to Blame” and I appreciate their extra efforts.

Bob – AKA Kokomo_Man
Memories of Naked Fanny

John Says:
Hello Bob – AKA Kokomo Man

I had a brilliant time at BC4 and it was brilliant to read that you did to. I know that amongst the group of blog readers who cruised with me were many experienced and loyal Carnival fans and that always has me feeling a little nervous hoping that we exceed their expectations. But I see as far as your concerned we did and I thank you so much for taking the time to write. I will make sure everyone you mentioned sees your words of praise and that so too will their supervisors. I hope you will be joining me on BC5 and until then I remain here if you should need anything.

Best wishes

John

Vietnam Vet Cruiser Harry Asked:
John–Please Reply,

Just got off the Triumph and just as you promised there was a Veterans meeting listed in your program on the last day afternoon of the cruise. I attended as did 25 other veterans but there were two problems that I need to complain to you about. There were 3 people there who were not veterans and had never served the United States of America. When we introduced ourselves they said they were there to take part and we told them they had to leave. The other problem was even bigger and that was there was no staff present to help us with ceremonies or provide free drinks. These are the people like me who have given so much and we should be rewarded. Please make sure without fail carnival improves this most important event.

John Says:
Hello Harry G,

First of all let me thank you for your wonderful service, nothing in this reply is as important as to remember that. However, I do want to let you know that we do allow all our guests to attend the veterans meetings. I wonder, do you think that the two people you asked to leave were maybe there to express their gratitude to those present? I am sure that’s why they had attended and to ask them to leave was wrong I am afraid. I also want to mention while we don’t serve free drinks at these events a staff member should be there and I apologise sincerely that this did not happen. I will make sure I emphasise to the fleet to make sure someone is there. I truly hope you had a wonderful time and thanks again for your incredible service.

Best wishes

John

gman0119 Asked:
Please Reply John,

I just returned from a 7 day Carnival Triumph Cruise. It was from 2/26/11 – 3/5/11. It was an absolutely fantastic week, and I wanted to tell you about it and give you some names of Carnival employees who went above and beyond!

I will start with employees first:

London Dining Room – Table 142 Head Waiter Alexandro. We bonded with him the minute we met him! Great sense of humor and always pleasant. My girlfriend asked him if she could adopt him, but he said his wife might not like that! LOL He had an assistant who did a very poor job, but Alexandro always made sure that his customers were taken care of. There were many times he would do things the assistant is assigned to do to make sure we were served. On the last night of the cruise, I told him the things I noticed and I thought he was going to choke up and cry. I think it was probably the first time someone noticed how far above the normal that he goes to please guests. He made a lasting impression on us! Next is the New World Pool Bar. (Lido Aft – what has become the adult pool on other ships). There were 2 female bartenders, Yati and Mary who were simply outstanding. I went there for all my soda refills. One day when I was there, a customer was raising cane because his S&S card wasn’t working. Yati calmly spoke to the man and he continued to verbally bash her and Carnival on everything. Me being a cop, I couldn’t take it, and I diplomatically (HA!) told him to keep it down and cool off. He said a few more things until I went and stood behind him with my arms crossed, in typical “cop” fashion. The head bartender came and resolved the issue. As much as this idiot bashed Yati, the next customer she waited on got her gentle smile, and great service. I was so overcome with her professionalism that I called her over and asked for another soda, and tipped her a ridiculous amount for a free soda, and told her what I noticed and how much I appreciated how she handled it. She did get tears in her eyes and grabbed my hand and thanked me. What a great lady! Next is the Casino Bar. I went one night and my girlfriend wanted the drink called Kiss on the Lips. I was blushing as I asked for it, and the female bartender, who goes by the name Nappa, which is short for an extremely long name, looked at my girlfriend and mouthed a good MMMWWWAAAAA! We cracked up laughing, and for the rest of the week, anytime we walked by, she would look at us even if we weren’t stopping and give us a mmwwaaa! Besides that, she was a very hard worker, and is someone that Carnival can be proud to have as an employee. We were in room 8229, not far from the bridge on the port side, and we never got the names of our cabin staff, but the female was so nice. She would stop what she was doing to call us by name and say hello. So very sweet.

The trip was memorable for many reasons, but I don’t want to take up too much of your space. We booked the Chef’s Table through you, so thank you for the champagne and chocolate strawberries delivered in your name. That was an unexpected, pleasant surprise.

Thanks to you and Carnival for a wonderful week, and rest assured, I can’t wait to go on the next one!

John Says:
Hello gman0119,

Before I thank you for this great review I want to thank you for standing up for Yati. I truly appreciate this mate, thanks so much. Your review highlights just why Carnival continues to be the world’s most popular cruise line and I will make sure all the brilliant employees you mentioned get to see your words of praise and they will be thrilled for sure. I hope you will back onboard one of the ships soon and when you are I will be here if you need any help.

Best wishes to all,

John

Liz Kess Asked:
Hello John! (please reply)

I am getting married onboard the Splendor on May 1, 2011. We have 22 people cruising with us, most of whom have never cruised! My fiancé and I have only been on one (the splendor Feb 2010, and loved it), so while we are not exactly veteran cruisers, we are excited to introduce them to it! Especially a few family members I have coming from Scotland (I am half Scottish :))!

Anywho, I know that you are VERY busy, buttttt is there any way we could bother you by requesting a note in our room from you? I am just a huge fan, and it would great for our wedding album lol!!

Orrrr maybe a discounted dinner at the steakhouse or excursion for my soon to be hubby and I?! We are both around 23, and have paid for the large portion of the wedding, so that would be a hugggeee treat! Can’t wait to hear your response! Even if it’s that you think I must have slipped, hit my head, and fallen into the Clyde for a bit too long to think you would have the time for any of those wishes 😀

John Says:
HELLO Liz Kess,

Many congratulations in advance. This is your big day and we are honoured that you are spending with us here at Carnival Cruise Lines. Are you nervous? Don’t be, it will be a brilliant day and a brilliant cruise leading to your brilliant life together. I will send you a note and a gift and I hope at some point during the cruise you stay out of bed and get some rest. Scottish ….. I knew as I saw the word discount that you were.

Best wishes to you both,

John

Barry P and Family Boston Mass Asked:
John, (reply)

First time carnival cruisers going on your Valor ship May 1. We are in the 7381 AND WANT A TABLE FOR 4! My son Brandon has a birthday on the 4th and can you arrange a cake (NO NUTS AS HE HAS ALLERGIES) to be brought to the table. We had you as Cruise director during hurricane jean when we had to spend an extra day at sea because port of Canaveral was closed.

John Says:
Hello Barry P and Family Boston Mass,

I have written to the maitre d and he will do his best to assist you with your table request. I can’t send Brandon a cake as these need to be ordered through www.carnival.com/bonvoyage or from the Formalities shop on board. I will though be happy to send Brandon a birthday gift to wish him a happy birthday. I remember the Hurricane Jean cruise well and hope you have great weather and a fun time on the Carnival Valor.

Best wishes

John


Elissa ( Crazy4Koko) Asked:

Dear John,(please reply)

Though I’m sure that Camel crotch #5 has probably permanently clouded your mind and fried your sinuses, but I just wanted to send many thanks for giving Mum a reason to smile on our recent Inspiration cruise. I have so many things to tell you about this lovely ship, I don’t even know where to start!

You may or may not remember, but I made a small request of you ‘way back’ in January to help honour my Mum for her first vacation since my dad’s death in 2006. Inspiration docked in Tampa on what would have been Dad’s 71st birthday. I know she was very nervous about being able to ‘let it go’ while on board, perhaps more worried that I wouldn’t have a good time…

Embarkation went smoothly, and I must say that ‘as usual’ each and every employee we passed was courteous and friendly, be they Port authority or Carnival staff. Before we knew it, we were onboard the Inspiration and had a DOD in hand.

That evening after sailaway, we returned to our room to find a letter, a ship on a stick (known to us as a ‘Caribbean snow globe’) and the most delicious chocolate covered strawberries that have ever crossed our lips!! Mom was absolutely overcome with such generosity, all she could say was ‘wow’… Thank you so much! That’s soo nice’!! Over and over again. I saw the smile I’d been missing for so many years… and it would be one of MANY over the next several days. I thank you from the very bottom of my heart for that, and even as I sit here in the early morning hours, remembering her face wells my eyes with tears.

We tried ‘anytime’ dining, and I am very glad we did, although if you decide what time you are going to eat based upon your wait staff, is it still considered ‘anytime’ dining? Our wait staff for the entirety of the cruise were Julius Caesar, David, and Mandic, who were found in the Mardi Gras dining room.

They were fabulous…actually, they were beyond fabulous.They were attentive, made dinner suggestions, saw to every need, and made us laugh until our cheeks hurt every night. I noticed that Julius had been ‘employee of the month’ for February. I think it should be a tie for March. David and Julius brought out the best part of Mom every night we sat at the table, and had as much energy in the morning on Lido deck as they did in the evenings! If there truly is any meaning to being ‘happy to serve you’, these boys were the epitome of the suggestion! I will have to post pictures of some of these boys’ antics on your Facebook page, and if you should happen to be in touch with Julius, please let him know that he’d better be careful of what he wishes for…because they just may end up on YouTube!

I also have to give great Kudos to our room steward, Jerry, responsible for the forward rooms on starboard side Empress Deck. He was like a ghost, quick and efficient without you knowing he’d even been there, save for the sparkling clean room, turned down beds, full ice bucket, and towel animals, yet had a smile and a hello for each of us by name whenever we saw him in the hallway…there was not a need he couldn’t satisfy for us.

BUT… and this is where I have an issue with Carnival, and NOT the staff….
We had problems with our television…several times, actually… I thought for a while it needed quarters in order to actually stay on, as it would shut off frequently, and required a ‘cool down’ period. Not a huge issue, but a bit annoying, especially when trying to watch some of the informational channels…but at one point, the TV came alive, or haunted by the ghost some former passenger who wanted a free cruise for undercooked eggs or some such nonsense… I was unable to turn it off, turn it down, (I think they could hear it 5 decks down~) change the channel… I was helpless with the remote in my hands and even the old fashioned manual method of using the buttons didn’t work…frantic, I caught Jerry in the hallway, and he fixed the problem within seconds by unplugging it from the wall. ‘It happens all the time’ he said with a smile… he told me if it happened again, to let him know… like heck…this damn Yankee can unplug a TV from the wall to fix it…and I did. This guys’ got enough to do.

HAPPENS ALL THE TIME?? Why? John, seriously. These men and women work their tails off day in and day out, 7 days a week for months at a time… they have to worry about haunted televisions, too? Why hasn’t this been replaced? I doubt it is some kind of conspiracy theory that broken TVs come out of the room stewards pay, and I’m willing to be that ‘somebody’ knows about it other than Jerry? (cabin e7, by the way)

Two other issues I think need to be brought to someone’s attention… Alcohol in the pool areas, and broken handles in the public bathrooms. (There really is no point in complaining about chair hogs in the Serenity area now, is there? LOL)

On the last couple of cruises, alcohol has been forbidden in the pool areas……If you were in the pool, you were not allowed to have a drink in your hand, or on the pool edge…….. It was also not allowed in the hot tubs. Inspiration is the first ship I’ve noticed that allowed this, and not only in the Serenity area. Perhaps security was tied up with the boys in coconut bras, the bachelor party boy’s antics, and general issues, but this one struck a chord with me, especially when I was picking up empties from the side of the pool and putting them on a bench.

Broken handles in bathrooms in public areas is something I think a passenger should never see… I can’t imagine a broken door handle being ignored by anyone, and would think that it would be repaired in between cruises? Given the outstanding level of cleanliness I constantly experienced as I ‘people watched’ in the dining area, it just doesn’t sit right with me.

I know this letter has been exceedingly long, and by now I’m sure your blood sugar has tanked and you’re running for a brownie, but I had to drop you a line.

When all is said and done, this cruise was all I could have hoped for, and more. You will be happy to know that not only did Mom find her smile, and her laugh, and her spark, that she wants to plan another one! Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!!

Most sincerely,

Elissa ‘Crazy4Koko’ Buja

John Says:
Hello Elissa ‘Crazy4Koko’ Buja,

This must have taken you a long time to write and in case I forget I need to say a huge thank you for taking the time to do so. It is because of reviews like this that we can continue to be the best and I have sent specific emails to the ship and the managing beards in the office regarding the bathroom handles, the alcohol concerns and all the points you raised. As for the TV, well that’s just ridiculous and I am so sorry that you had to go through all of that just to watch television. We will do better I promise. I know that these will be immediately investigated and corrected. The last line though of your review was simply priceless and that we made Mum smile is absolutely brilliant. Thanks then for this wonderful report and I will make sure all the write people see it. Best wishes to you both.

John

Judy S. Asked:
JOHN REPLY!!!

I just wanted you to know that my dad passed away in 1982 and reading your Blogs reminds me of him each time! He also used the words KNOCKERS as you did as well as a few others I won’t mention! Never thought I’d hear his words again-you made that possible!!!

John Says:
Hello Judy S,

In honour of your father let me say that when I was at school Sally Pool had the best pair of knockers in the class. Thanks Judy, I am honoured. My best wishes to you and the family.

John

John De Canio Asked:
John, need this replied to

Considering you are the brand ambassador I think it’s shameful that you use sexual references and profanity on this blog. My question is why Carnival has no religious program onboard its vessels. I am a regular cruiser on the Legend which has a chapel but no priest which is stupid and sums up the poor management that allow this to be and allow you to keep your job. I will be on the Legend again during Easter; will there be a Priest onboard to conduct mass?

John Says:
Hello John De Canio,

I am well aware that there are times that I get a little naughty here on the blog thingy and I am truly sorry if this upsets you and I promise that is not my intention. I do know that our Spirit class ships have a chapel yet no religious services on board most of the time for which I apologise and while I am apologizing let me say sorry that we won’t have any onboard this cruise. Our religious program certainly could use some improvements that’s for sure …….and we must do better. You are receiving this reply in printed form thanks to Wee Jimmy the CD as you are currently on the ship and I wanted to make sure you saw my apologies. I wish you a wonderful cruise

Best wishes

John

Kathy Driscoll Asked:
John to reply please,

Can you tell me how I can get a job as a technician in your entertainment department. When I go online all I get are agencies trying to charge money to give me the info. I need this as soon as you can by immediately replying.

John Says:

Hello Kathy Driscoll,

There are agencies out there that you need to be careful about because as you said they do charge money. May I suggest you start your journey at www.carnivalentertainment.com and this will tell you all about the job and how to apply. I wish you much success.

Best wishes

John

Jeanette Asked:
John, please reply,

I am curious, there is one Asst CD that I have seen on two different ships, but I forget his last name. His name is James and he was on the Liberty in Sept 08 and Splendor 09. He is English, fairly young, and is bloody brilliant!!!!!! He is one to watch!

Thanks John!

John Says:
Hello Jeanette,

You are talking about the brilliant James Dunn who has just finished some time on the Carnival Conquest and will be heading for the CD chair on some of the ships this year. He will make a great CD and I wish him all the best. Thanks for thinking of him

Best wishes

John

And that’s your lot for today and a huge thank you for all the great comments. Now I am well aware that I have been concentrating on your Carnival Magic these past few weeks and therefore it’s time to remember that there are other ships in the fleet as well. One of those is the Carnival Pride which is currently sailing to a port that should be on everyone’s bucket list……and that port is Cleveland, Ohio…….bugger…………I mean Bermuda. And here to tell us all about this wonderful place is the ACD of the Carnival Pride and our great friend Jaime.

Dear John,

What a wonderful conclusion these past few weeks have been to my two-year stint aboard the beautiful Carnival Pride. I will leave the ship with so many fond memories of my fellow crew members, the amazing guests that I have met and most recently the stunning port of call we have visited. These past two weeks the Pride, its guests and crew had the remarkable opportunity to visit one of my new favorite ports of call- Bermuda. This year Bermuda celebrates its 402nd birthday (only slightly younger than Kirk)! Initially we were a little nervous with the Bermuda triangle and all (not really) … but it turned out, on both of these past two cruises we were welcomed by friendly natives and beautiful weather.

Bermuda is a small island of about 64,000 residents. The houses are all painted in bright blue, yellow, pink and orange hues. Each building has a white, limestone roof that not only brightens the entire environment; it is predominately because the locals catch rain from the roof to consume fresh water. Bermuda is well known for its prime real estate prices but if I won the lottery I would love to buy a little shack on the water. The architecture and the natural surroundings of Bermuda are amazing. The pictures hardly do it justice.

Between this cruise and last I had nearly six full days to explore this awesome place. Over the course of these two weeks I visited Horseshoe Bay – with a nice relaxing atmosphere, a few jellyfish washed up on the beach and its famous unique pink sand. Thank goodness the jellyfishies didn’t bother my friends or I, the only cure for a jellyfish sting is urine. Personally, I would choose to stay stung (which is hard to say 10 times fast… your doing it now, aren’t’ you?). I saw downtown Hamilton, where they serve tasty native food. I went on the amazing ultimate catamaran reef and snorkeling excursion. Not only did I see beautiful fish and marine life I also experienced a nice relaxing catamaran ride, with extremely knowledgeable guides who taught us about the island along the way. I observed the wonderful caves of St. George and a beautiful view from the top of St. David’s Lighthouse. This lighthouse is the first thing the sailors see as they approach Bermuda, and I can guarantee you that the view from the top is indescribable. If you are ever faced with the opportunity to visit Bermuda, I cannot recommend it more or say enough great things about our experience there.

After spending time with the Carnival Pride’s new cruise director Brent Mitchell, Kirk and I are both happy to be leaving our home in his capable, friendly, Canadian hands. If you have the chance to sail on or return to the Pride I greatly encourage you to do so! Brent will celebrate his 10-year anniversary with Carnival on June 2, 2011. He is not quite as aged or experienced as John or Noah however he has a great love and passion for the job. He truly seems to enjoy hosting, he has a great charisma and love of people and like many Canadians he loves hockey! Even though I must say the Detroit Red Wings are the only team who have been in the playoffs for twenty consecutive years (thanks Brent!) ::smile::.

On Sunday the real vacation in San Diego begins. Looking forward to seeing you on the Carnival Liberty after June 4.

Thank you for all of the kind comments and words of love from my previous post.

Wishing you all the best 

Jaime Deitsch
Asst. Cruise Director/Girl on Vacation!!

So you know I always…….well….most of the time…….admit to you here on the blog thingy when we make a mistake. And one of those mistakes was that on inaugural cruises of brand new ships we wouldn’t give the guests who have paid to go on the inaugural cruise any memento that they were actually the first ever guests to sail on that ship. I had literally begged he beards to do this but it never happened.

Now though we have new beards in the office and they listen …….. a lot ………and so I am proud to tell those that are sailing on that first cruise that you will get a special memento that I hope you enjoy. I am not going to tell you what it is until the day we give it out and then I will put a photo of it here on the blog thingy. It is though only for that first cruise of May 1 but ……. I will see if I can scrounge up some more for BC5.

And so talking of the beards, most of them are here on the ship as we are just one week now from our inaugural cruise from Venice. The ship looks great and it is amazing how much work has been accomplished in the last few days. I have done 11 new ships as the start-up cruise director and I have to admit on a few of them I have been concerned as to if or not they would be finished on time but they always seem to come together and are delivered right on schedule. This certainly applies to your Carnival Magic but the Fincantieri team went into hyper drive these last few days and she looks….absolutely brilliant. See for yourself with more stunning photography work by senior photographer Mr. Radu.


We had a meeting yesterday and finalized the smoking areas for the ship. Here they are:

  • Deck 10 Lido: Open Deck Mid-ship Bar – Portside
  • Deck 10 Lido: Open Deck AFT Bar – Port Side
  • Deck 5 Promenade: Outside Piazza – Port Side only
  • Deck 5 Promenade: Casino – Portside – Designated Tables and Slot machine only
  • Deck 5 Promenade: Inside Vibe Dance Club and Outside Lanai Portside
  • Deck 5 Promenade: Outside Red Frog Pub Lanai Portside
  • Caper Insert: Public lounges and indoor areas onboard the (Carnival Magic) are non smoking. Smoking is only permitted in designated sections of the Casino, Vibe Dance Club, and Play it Again Piano Bar. Cigars or pipe smoking are only permitted on deck 5 Outside Ocean Piazza. Although smoking is permitted in staterooms and balconies, it is discouraged as a safety precaution…

This information will be added to the Fun Times and we also have added this note as well:

Although smoking is permitted in staterooms and balconies, it is discouraged as a safety precaution. Please respect your fellow guests when smoking on the balcony

Now I personally don’t like the smoking in the cabin thing, that’s my opinion and it doesn’t seem to match others at Carnival. Smoking on the balconies is a contentious subject and one I thing we have all flogged to death enough times here. I think it’s an OK thing to do, others disagree. But respecting those on the balconies either side of you is important as we have highlighted in this notice and I think it will help. Saying that we have 600 Russians onboard and that means 575 of those will smoke and that also means that there will be some huge breasts on lido deck as well but more about that next week.

My phone just rang in the middle of me writing that last bit. It’s 6:45am and I write at this time so that the phone doesn’t ring and I can concentrate and make this blog mildly entertaining.

Yet the phone rang, it was one of the office beards who is now onboard and she said she wanted to talk to me about promoting the RedFrog Pub. Except she didn’t say “promote” she said “drive” she wants me to “drive” the RedFrog Pub. She can’t say promote or similar words because it’s not a hip marketing word and you can’t be part of the get-a-long gang unless you speak a language of blue sky bollocks. The one that gets me the most though, the one that makes me want to stuff a pair of my underpants down their throat when they say it is “reach out” …….. this has replaced the word “call.” People no longer call each other, they reach out. Oh FFS!

And so this lady “reached out” to me on the ship’s internal cell phone. You may have known that every ship has this system with each senior officer and department head and their assistants carrying internal cell phones. This got me thinking……why do we bother even putting the phones in the crew cabins anymore because no bugger uses them. And it’s the same at home isn’t it? Is it just me or do your friends and family mostly call you on your cell phone? I wonder if the landline is going to go the way of the Betamax video, the Sony Walkman and the climbing wall………all of which are so yesterday.

Let me think, who calls me on my landline at home? Mmmmmm, my Mum and Dad because they are set in their ways like most of their generation. The only other people are cold callers trying to sell you insurance. Unlike cell phones which allow you to lie at will “Sorry, can’t talk. I’m in an area with a bad signal……hello………..hello…..can you hear me now?” landlines completely bugger you. Everyone knows exactly where you are which means you can’t say “Sorry, bad line you’re breaking u…” before pressing “end.”

But here on the ship I sometimes refuse to answer the cell phone. That’s because it’s never on my desk like the other phone is. It’s either elsewhere in the cabin and if I am working at the computer I just can’t bend me arse over to pick it up. I like the cabin phones. I like the way they feel. I like that they don’t run out of battery, that you can’t drop them down the crapper Mostly I like that landline phones because without a doubt a brainy beard from some university is one day going to tell us that cell phones turn our brains into a bubbling pool of cancerous soup and they will be banned. Sometimes I keep my ship’s cell phone in my pants pocket which means that my bollocks are probably turning into two radioactive Brussels sprouts.

It’s getting close now this inaugural cruise thing. I know this because anyone with the words vice president in front of their name is here. When I first started at Carnival there was one senior vice president, 3 vice presidents and they reported to the president who reported to Micky Arison who reported to his wife.

These days we have……..well I have no bloody clue how many we have and some of them have some very fancy corporate beardy job titles. At Carnival, as at most big companies I guess, you can arrange the words in pretty much any order have absolutely no idea what they mean. I met one today who I have never met before. He’s new, he’s a nice guy, we spoke for 10 minutes and when he left I hadn’t a sodding clue what he did. He said his title was something like “Vice President Guest Solutions and Delivery Category Mechanisms” ……I still have no idea what he does and you know what……………….I bet he doesn’t either.

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.