HELLOS AND GOODBYES

June 24, 2011 -

John Heald

I wrote on Facebook the other day about how the noise flip flops make really makes my hemorrhoids flare up. So add to that finger wag that people do when they can’t be asked to come over to you and expect you to walk to them like a subservient dog. I saw that some others had listed cold callers as their most annoying thing yet surprising nobody mentioned noisy eaters. How can cold callers be more annoying than noisy eaters? You can slam down the phone on a cold caller and listen, to some beautiful silence. But are you allowed to stab a loud eater in the eye with a fork and tell them to shut up? No. You’re expected not to notice while they chomp away like a human blender.

Here are some other things that annoy me:

1. When I am buying a new pair of trousers why do shop assistants who are usually called Nigel or Ben or Calvyn whip the curtain back at the precise moment when I am wearing nothing but white slightly stained underpants and say: “How are we doing, need any help?”

2. People who take too long to put their stuff back in their carryon bags at the security check points on the ship and at airports and is it wrong to fantasise about them being removed for a close encounter with some latex?

3. These new super-sensitive alarms we have at our photo galleries now on the ships which go off every five seconds and make other guests think you need to steal the photo of you in that yellow dress that makes you look like a NY taxi.

4. The people at large department stores who try and who bully you into debt saying, “If you sign up for a store card you’ll save 20 percent on your purchase today,” and then look bored when you reply that you’ve got so much racked up on your other store cards you may have to sell your liver to pay your bills.

5. Lines. Is there a retail law that states there will always be seven cash registers installed, but only two ever open?

6. Women who make their bored husbands comment on every garment they try on. He doesn’t care………he’s too busy staring at other women’s breasts.

7. Why did the beards only put one popcorn machine on the Carnival Magic when we have 300 – 400 people watching the movie. And now it’s free popcorn, everyone wants some.

8. People who are rude and cut into lines on Lido Deck………yes Sergei I am talking to you.

9. Guests that rub my belly and say “When’s the baby due?” …………I should be allowed to water board the bastards

10. And I have to say despite the fact that it’s environmentally friendly and loved by vegetablists and polar bears, I have to say I am having a problem adjusting to this new put your key in the slot thing in the cabin to turn the lights on. Twice now I have finished a show and rushed back to the cabin, run into the bathroom and hit the light switch forgetting I need to put the key in the slot which means I miss the target completely or end up pissing in the sink. Either way……Ketut isn’t happy.

Time for some Q and A. Off we go.

Wendell Pendell asked:
Hi John,

I’ve cruised 13 times with Carnival including your wonderful BC4 for which I thank you kindly. I occasionally cruise on other lines. One line whose name starts with the letter “N” offers a delightful onboard experience called the Pub Crawl for a reasonable fee like $30-40. I’m told that Carnival has offered this in the past on certain cruises, but I don’t believe I’ve ever seen it on any of my cruises. Any chance that Carnival could start this up again, in particular for my next cruise November 18th on the Carnival Spirit? You would get a whole bunch of signups just from my Cruise Critic Roll Call group (which consists largely of the Spirit Dawgs who have done the Spirit’s Thanksgiving cruise together for each of the last four years). You’re not gonna let another line have more fun than Carnival, are you?

Thanks mate,

Wendell

John says:
Hello Wendell,

It’s funny how Carnival is sometimes referred to as the “party cruise line” yet we discontinued our pub crawls and yet NCL offers one on their ship. I personally think that this is something that if controlled by the staff that should and must be brought back and it is in fact part of my weekly phone call with the beards next week. I would hope that by the time your Dawgs sail that this will be back as a regular event. I promise to keep you informed and if you need anything else please let me know.

Best to you all and thanks for the kind words on BC4.

John

Paul Duckworth asked:
John,

I recently heard that Princess Cruise Line will be returning to Galveston in late 2012. I like the choice of itinerary that Princess has chosen, and would therefore like to book the cruise at some point in the future. I am booked on my 4th Carnival cruise later this year and plan to someday achieve Platinum status on Carnival. Since Princess and Carnival are both part of CCL, I thought a Princess cruise would count toward status on Carnival. However, when I called Carnival and asked them if that was possible, they said it was not. I was wondering if you could confirm this for me one way or the other.

Thanks,

Paul

John says:
Hello Paul Duckworth,

I think I may have mentioned a few times what a huge fan of Princess Cruises I am and I know many people who like me love their ships and their service. Each line that is part of Carnival Corp is operated as a single entity and therefore has their own loyalty programs. I know that some very senior beards looked at a loyalty program for those who sail on the corporation ships but because each program is so different it was thought to be not possible to do. It is a shame, but it is understandable I guess. I hope you have a wonderful time and enjoy a fantastic cruise with Princess.

Best wishes,

John

Francis J asked:
John,

Carnival Triumph is getting lots of bad write ups on Cruise critic with people saying the service is bad and the ship has no working stabilizers and so it is very rocky. One poster said the food was the worst they had eaten and another that the cruise director was the worst they had seen. So I am very nervous as we have a family cruise booked on the Triumph for July 24 and we are very worried we may have chosen the wrong cruise line for our vacation.

John says:
Hello Francis J,

Please don’t be nervous. Let’s start with a reminder that people’s comment on Cruise Critic and on any public forum is a personal opinion and not always based on fact. For example, I checked with the ship and I can promise you that at no time this year has the ship had any problems with the stabilizers which are both working perfectly. If the ship was moving more than normal it would have been an adverse effect of the weather. I am sure Francis that if I were to look at the reviews of the ship on Cruise Critic there would be far more excellent ones than negative ones and I can assure you that you will have a brilliant time. Finally a fact that I hope you will be overjoyed to read. You see some (not all much to my annoyance) guests receive review cards at the end of their cruise and the scores they give are calculated by people with beards and those marks are given to the ships.

So far for the month of June the top three ships are in reverse order:

3. Carnival Ecstasy
2. Carnival Conquest
1. Carnival Triumph

So there, you are actually sailing on what your past guests have rated so far this month, the best ship in the fleet. How brilliant is that?

Best wishes to you and the family.

John

Margaret Paterson asked:
John,

Looking forward to cruise in July and really enjoy planning holiday. Wondered if there was any chance of Magic fun times being added to your site.

Thanks

John says:

Hello Margaret Paterson,

I will be seeing you soon and with apologies for them being late I can tell you that the FT’s for Carnival Magic are now on the blog. See you soon.

Best wishes,

John


Yellowjacket Brandon asked:

Hey John,

Me and my girlfriend will be going to spend our graduation on Fascination and want to get a table for 2. Its 4th July cruise and we are in R101. Can you send us something nice? We both graduated West Virginia State University.

John says:
Hello Yellowjacket Brandon,

I will certainly ask the Maitre D and ask him please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, to reserve a table for 2. I will also send you something to congratulate you on your graduation. Have a great cruise and best of luck for the future.

Best wishes,

John

Amy asked:
John,

Can you tell me where I can purchase or the name of the great tumblers (cups) in the Unicorn Cafe they had on the Legend? They were plastic in yellow and green.

John says:
Hello Amy,

I checked and unfortunately we only sell these at the coffee shops and not online anywhere. We probably should but we don’t. I am so sorry I don’t have better news for you and if there is anything else you think I can do for you please do let me know.

Best wishes,

John

Cynthia Hancock asked:
John,

My Husband Richard and Our Son Jonathan along with my Father Don will be sailing The Magic November 14, 2011 out of Galveston, they would love nothing more than to have you join them for a drink and a cigar they will be in Cabin 9362, this is their “Man Cruise” and they couldn’t be more excited they are going to head down a day early and watch her come in, I hope you can arrange a small window for them, I know you are very busy but it would make their trip, My Father is 73 and I never thought he would agree to travel without my Mom, so I would love this to happen.

Sincerely,

Cynthia Hancock

John says:
Hello Cynthia Hancock,

What a brilliant thing…..a Man Cruise. How wonderful that three generations of men will be sailing together, I think it’s absolutely brilliant. That cruise we will have lots of bloggers on and I will be holding a bloggers get together in the RedFrog Pub and we will host a cigar under the stars night as well, which under the current smoking policy is the only way I can currently enjoy a cigar. It will be my honour to meet them and look forward to doing so.

Best wishes to you all.

John

Mama Bo asked:
John,

I absolutely agree with Len. Carnival should compensate us for taking you off the Trans Atlantic voyage. Who is this James anyway? I did the Dream TA with Todd and even he who is supposed to be one of your best directors wasn’t good enough. It is really bad planning on Carnivals part and something must be done for those of us who have paid thousands of dollars to cruise on this voyage.

John says:
Hello Mama Bo,

I am very sorry that I have disappointed you and others by not being the CD for the trans- Atlantic voyage. However, I have absolute faith in James Charlton as do the Miami office and we all think he will do a brilliant job as your Cruise Director. Please don’t worry and while I can’t offer you anything but my apologies and my best wishes for a great cruise I hope you will allow James a chance to prove himself by walking up the gangway ready to have a brilliant time. Do that and I absolutely know you will.

Best wishes,

John

Louise B asked:
John,

While I know you will not be our CD on our upcoming cruise on the Inspiration on Saturday July 2nd I was hoping you might be able to send personal congratulations to our daughter. It would mean a great deal to her as she has graduated high school despite overcoming personal challenges that included being bullied over her weight. She is the apple of my eye and if anything could be done for her I would appreciate it so much. I love your blog and have been reading it for 2 years and never miss one. My favorite so far was the one where you had some hot sauce in Barbados or somewhere. I honestly could not stop laughing for a long time. Thanks for all you do and here are my daughter’s details.

John says:
Hello Louise B,

Let me quickly say I removed the booking number you put at the end of the post there as I don’t like to publish those but don’t worry as I have your daughter’s details. It would be my honour (spelt correctly) to send your daughter a note of congratulations and a little something along with it. I won’t comment too much about what she has been through but I hope the bullies were caught and dealt with properly. I wish you a wonderful cruise and I am so glad that you enjoy the blog and I hope that you continue to do so. The hot sauce…..in Bermuda…..Oh yes that was sheer and brutal pain. Maybe we should make the bullies drink a bottle of that.

My best wishes to all,

John

That’s all for today. So let’s see as we start another cruise who is sailing with us on voyage MC9062411:

GUESTS: 4409

NON US OR CANADIAN
DUTCH 15
SPANISH 47
ITALIAN 10
PORTUGUESE 12
GERMAN 21
RUSSIAN 143
FRENCH 40
JAPANESE 11

UK 110

So the kid count has gone way up from last cruise and so has the overall count. Let’s see where they are all going.

Fri, Jun, 24 Barcelona dep @ 5pm
Sat, Jun, 25 Monaco 9am-8pm
Sun, Jun, 26 Livorno 7am-7pm
Mon, Jun, 27 Rome 7am-10pm
Tue, Jun, 28 Naples 7am-7pm
Wed, Jun, 29 Messina 7am-6pm
Thu, Jun, 30 at sea
Fri, Jul, 01 Mallorca 7am-4pm
Sat, Jul, 02 Marseilles 8am-6pm

Once again the fact that sticks out there is that we have only one sea day. Let’s hope the weather is a nice as it was this last cruise because it was simply perfect for 12 straight days. I was talking about lunch the other day and how the barbecue is very popular. Also very popular is the new dining room lunch menu. Here’s why:

Well, it’s 5:45am……yep 5:45am and here I sit in my underpants writing to you. We just started debarkation and I made my first announcement. It always feels like I am kicking the guests off when we start this early but with many having early international flights, we have to do it this way. Also leaving today are Heidi and Kye. At this point I should allow the people who hate me talking about things like this a chance to leave because honestly I don’t feel like writing anything else today so thanks for your time and I will see you back here on Monday when we resume with normal blogging service. And so for the two of you who are left I say thanks for sticking around and allowing me to use this blog for a bit of therapy for myself. You see I have to ask myself this question. Am I a bad Dad?

It is a question that has been keeping me awake. I am writing this as I said at 5:45am and while Heidi is quietly packing Kye is fast asleep in the bedroom. I can hear the gentle purr of her snoring. I just went in there to have a look at her and can inhale her distinctive smell. I never knew how much you could love something until she was born. Her birth completed my life. Which brings me back to that question that is gnawing away at me. Am I a bad Dad?

Very often I am asked “What’s the hardest thing you’ve ever had to do?” Most people are waiting to hear me tell them tales of the Carnival Splendor fire or nasty guests who throw wet laundry at me, so it usually comes as a surprise when I say that it’s the many times I have to leave my little girl and my wife as I head to another ship. I am sure you ask that to any crew member with a family and they will say the same thing.

A month after Kye was born, I had to go to the Carnival Legend. It was heartbreaking leaving Heidi and Kye on the doorstep as I headed to Tampa. That wasn’t as bad as the times that I have left them later because now she understands I am leaving. But it was my trip to the Carnival Splendor and the four months that I did there as cruise director that broke my heart. It wasn’t the fire but my return home afterwards that broke my heart and I have never told you this before.

Heidi and Kye came to meet me at Heathrow airport. I could see them both among the crowd. Heidi had a huge smile because she had been so worried about me during those 3 days with no communication. But Kye still hadn’t seen me. As I got closer, she was still looking past me and, as I arrived for an embrace, I realised that she didn’t have a clue who I was. That’s changed now as she has gotten older and when she saw me this time she ran into my arms which was joyful beyond measure.

It may seem hard to comprehend, but work for me is travel. I do it because I love it, but also because it is my career. I have a dream job, but it comes at a cost. I am one of the many absentee fathers in this world. And I have it easy. If I were in the armed forces I might not see them for nine months and have the ability to call them like I do, so I know that I have it easy compared to many.

Kye’s word for phone is “Dada.” She points at any phone and says “Dada.” At first it was sweet, but now it makes me sad every time she says it because she associates me with being away from her. I try to be the best father I can be. I spend as many weeks each year doting on my family, relishing family life. But then I am gone again. The stifled tears on the doorstep as I leave followed by the tears in the car as I pull away for life on the ship once again.

Which brings me back to that question that has been keeping me up at night. I hope that one day Kye will be proud of what I have done the places I’ve been, the people I have met and the things I have achieved. Until then, there is one thing that might work. Kye loves Barney, and if I could get a full size costume of the purple bastard and get off the plane wearing it…..there is no doubt she would recognise me then and to associate her Dada with Barney would make her so proud of me. Such is life.

Goodnight.

Your friend,

John

Hi, I’m John, and this is my blog. So please don’t mistake my opinions — or those of my dear friends, fans or commenters — for those of Carnival Cruise Line or Carnival Corporation. My apologies in advance for anything I may say that upsets you, but this disclaimer covers Carnival and puts the blame directly on me………….. bugger.

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