Taking Down The Enemy

July 19, 2011 -

John Heald

Guest—————Ref: 848002951A
Cabin: 6*** Booking #————– Added-Changed: 07/17/11
COMMENT ON GUESTS

Mrs._____ came to the desk to say that there were a group of men wearing inappropriate T-shirts on Lido Deck and it had disturbed her and her children. Guest advised that we would look into the situation and security called to assist.

I was fascinated when I read this report and called the chief security officer to find out what it was all about . It seems we have a group of college graduates from Boston who decided that they would wear T-shirts with colourful slogans on them. Apparently they were standing next to this family wearing T-shirts that read “Remember My Name. You’ll be Screaming it Later” and “Does this shirt make my d ***k look big?”

Now this is a bit of a dilemma. These are paying guests after all so what to do, should we have asked them to change their shirts? These are a young group of college graduates and have paid a lot of money to fly over to Europe to cruise on their Carnival Magic. Do we have the right to tell them what they can wear on Lido Deck? I would be interested to read your comments on this. In the end, it was decided not to say anything. I think if we had received multiple comments from different guests, then maybe we probably would have done but in this case, we let them be and so far we have not received any more negative comments about the T-shirts or the people wearing them. Anyway, the chances of anyone sporting the slogan: “I’m not a gynecologist but I’ll take a look” getting any rumpy pumpy are surely bugger all and is surely the most perfect form of contraception.

I wear nothing but T-shirts when I am on vacation even though with my stomach, I look like Winnie the Pooh. The only thing in the world worse than me in a T Shirt is a man my age and my weight whose T-shirt is tucked into his pants.

Then you have the T-shirts as worn by my younger metro sexual colleagues. One of the entertainment staff here who has a girlfriend and likes football and movies with explosions in it came into my cabin yesterday in a pink T-shirt. I joked with him about this and he told me that he was “confident about his sexuality and therefore he could wear anything.” Unfortunately, the problem with wearing a pink T-shirt is that I’m afraid you don’t look confident at all. You look like someone who has posters of George Michael on their cabin wall.

But it seems that these days, people can wear anything on their T Shirts and we will (except the lady who complained of course) accept it and even laugh. I wonder if I was to walk around the ship wearing a T Shirt that says ” French Yacht Captains Smell “or ” I Love Animals……they are DELICIOUS on it ………..would the guests complain?

Of course, and I am sure that while most would giggle at my French T-shirt, a few would launch into a tirade about meat and animals, and after a while, I would have to apologise and send fruit baskets to a few vegetablists.

So are T-shirts disturbing? Should we have told these graduates to remove them, do we need to become the fashion police? It’s a difficult one and, as I said, I appreciate in advance your comments on this. It takes a lot for me to be offended by what someone has on their T-shirt and I think the only time I told someone to take it off was on the Carnival Conquest last year. I had come out to host my travel talk to discover a man sitting on the front row……………wearing…………a Royal Caribbean shirt……………the bastard. I made him take it off and he sat there in the audience bare chested for ten minutes while a staff member went to the gift shops and got him a Carnival shirt. Seeing his nipples was a small price to pay.

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

Bryan Leigh asked:
John,

I will be cruising with a group of right now about 35 people on the Victory on Sept 4, 2011. My question is there any way to set up a tour of the bridge on a sea day or in port? Most of the group have sailed with Carnival before but we do have a couple of first timers.

Thanks.

Bryan Leigh

John says:
Hello Brian Leigh,

Thanks so much for bringing your group on the Carnival Victory. Unfortunately, we don’t do any group bridge tours these days due to the various security restrictions. We do though have two departures of 16 guests who will have paid to take the Behind the Fun excursion. Yes, there is a fee for this and it is worth every single penny and then some, I promise. Not only do you visit the bridge with the Captain but also the engine control room and many other crew only areas. This would be the only way the group could see the bridge, I am afraid, and if you want to do this, you should visit the shore excursion desk once you embark and you can purchase tickets for those who want to go.

Please let me know if you need anything else.

Best wishes,

John

Lanz asked:
John,

We will be sailing on the Magic out of Galveston, TWICE, once with my Mom and Sister and again in January with my DH. My Mom is 81 years young and I have a cabin close to the casino, where she will spend most of her time, lol. I have requested early dining and wondered if I could choose a dining room location that would be as close to our stateroom as possible. Is this possible?

Thanks and Best Regards,

Lanz

John says:
Hello Lanz,

You are going to truly enjoy this brilliant ship and I am sure the casino will look forward to welcoming your mother. If you write to me here six weeks before you sail with your requested forward or aft dining room choice, I will certainly do all I can to help you.

Best wishes to you and the family.

John

Byrony asked:
Hi John,

I have read your blog these last few weeks and am horrified at your humor and how it represents Carnival. You said in the blog I read today that Carnival has a problem getting rid of its party and booze cruise image. Well I don’t think you are helping them with this. I am sure RCCL and NCL must be laughing out loud at all the business they get from people who read your blog .

John says:
Hello Byrony,

I realize, of course, that my blog is not for everyone and I live in the hope that in fact rather than lose business, the blog actually attracts people to Carnival. Anyway, once again, I apologise if you don’t like the blog and let me also confirm clearly that Carnival is a party ship and a booze cruise in the same way that Judge Judy is thought of as a sex goddess in Botswana.

Best wishes,

John

Tricia Loy asked:
Hello John,

I have a question about the cove balcony on the Breeze. I have booked 2310. I wonder if some cove balconies may be better than others when/if it comes to the balconies? I understand the “cove.” So between the lifeboats which are above us, is their sunshine that can come between 2 of the lifeboats? So that I might have a chance of sun on the cove? I am also looking at 2298, because it appears to be between 2 lifeboats. Just wondering.

John says:
Hello Tricia,

This is a very good question and, you know, I had to ask someone here because I didn’t know the answer which the housekeeping manager tells me is, yes. Now, obviously, the sun depends on the position of the ship etc. but during the day the balconies do indeed get sun on them. I checked and the best bet would be 2298 which does have no blockage from the lifeboats. I hope this helps.

Best wishes and hope to see you next year.

John

Christopher Busby asked:
Hi John,

We returned home last Sunday after our cruise on the Carnival Freedom and I wanted to tell you about a very special moment for us on embarkation day. My sister-in-law Cynthia has down’s syndrome and some vision loss but loves to go on cruises with this being her second. After we had boarded, eaten and gotten settled into our cabin we heard the announcement for the muster drill. As we headed down the hall to the elevators I saw one of the crew members turn and look at us and he immediately hurried down the passage way toward us, took Cynthia’s hand from mine and said “I’ll take her”. He asked Cynthia her name and if she was ok and then he turned back to us and said this “You do know that they are Angels don’t you”. We nodded in agreement and then he said this “I know they are Angels because I have one at home and her name is Arrianna”.

By this time we were at the elevators and he made sure we were able to board the next one available. I looked for him everywhere for the next seven days but never saw him again. I think he told us his name was Alan or Allan and I would guess Indonesia as home. I didn’t try to ask at the GSD as I know they would not be able to give me information on a crew member but you may be able to locate him and act as the go between so that we could send a small gift to his daughter. We were on the the lido deck/cabin 9205 and he was stationed near the elevators on the right/starboard side. If you can identify him I would send a letter to you and you could forward it to him thru the proper channels. I would like to have the correct spellings of their first names so that I can properly address them in the letter (no last names).

With all the talk about tipping in some of the posts, I have been reading I think we need to remind people that all these men and women that wait on us in the dining room or buffet, clean our cabins, cook our food and the hundreds that we never see working in the background are human beings working away from their families for five and six months at a time, go home for six or seven weeks, and come back and do it all over again with just phone calls to stay connect with those families. I don’t think I could do it. We were on the aft lido deck late one night early in the cruise and got to talking with a young man from India that was bussing the tables. The next evening he spotted us in the main dining room, came over and said hello and that he was working the tables on the other side of the room. The thing is that every night after that he seemed to make it a point to come by our table and say hello and if he saw us on deck during the day he would always stop and check on us. The point being that he was not looking for an extra envelope from us at the end of the cruise but going above and beyond his job to see that we were being taken care of.

Thanks for the great cruise and we are already looking for our next one. If you can assist me in the matter I spoke of before, it would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks,

Chris

John says:
Hello Christopher Busby,

What a beautiful story and I know I am echoing the thoughts of everyone who is reading this by saying thank you so much for sharing it with us. This is what makes our crew so special and I will do all I can to find out who this is for you. It seems that he made a difference to your cruise and meeting Cynthia made a difference to his week as well. Everything you said about the crew was so wonderfully kind and indeed it is always, always important to remember that they also have lives back home. They have good days and sad days and those sad says are usually when they miss their families so very much. So thank you once again and I will do all I can to find out who Allan is.

Best wishes to you and all the family.

John

Couple Who Cruise asked:
Hello John,

On your Facebook page you wrote about chair hogs and said that it’s a problem on every line. As usual, that’s you talking shit because we have cruised on Oasis and Equinox and it’s not a problem there at all because they don’t allow it. They have rules and they enforce them by having the crew stand by the chairs watching to see if anyone tries to seat save. Stop talking out of your fat ass John and do something about the problem on Carnival ships.

John says:
Hello Couple Who Cruise,

Thanks for taking the time to write and thinking of my bottom while you were doing so. There are not many people who think of my bottom at all these days except when I go see the doctor about my hemorrhoids. I have two of them so they also, I guess, are a Couple Who Cruise.

Seriously, I apologise if I got my facts wrong but I had read comments previously to writing that indeed seat saving was a problem on other cruise lines and I am fascinated to read it’s not. Certainly, if this is the case they are to be applauded as we still haven’t got it right but one day I am sure we will because………..we must.

Best wishes,

John

Cindy Hancock asked:
John,

My Husband Richard and Son Jonathan along with My Father Don will be on the Inagural Sailing of the Magic out of Galveston November 14, 2011 ,they would like to meet you and enjoy a cigar with you. They know that you are busy so just a few minutes will be wonderful they will be in cabin **** Hancock and Pfautsch. Thank you in advance.

Cindy Hancock

John says:
Hello Cindy,

Absolutely. One of the events I will be hosting will be the Cigars Under The Stars event and I will be thrilled if Richard, Jonathan and Don would join me. I look forward to this very much and I will see you all soon.

Best wishes to all.

John

Christine Bauman asked:
John,

Carnival’s 40th Anniversary is coming up in 2012. Will there be any kind of special events/activities planned on board the ships sailing that year? Or has no one thought about it?

I enjoy your Facebook updates, as well as your blog. Enjoy the time with your girls on board!

John says:
Hello Christine Bauman,

That is a brilliant question and, you know what, I bet there will be. I don’t know exactly what those events will be but I will make sure I ask and keep you informed. Thanks so much for all the kind words and hope to see you next year for our 40th anniversary celebrations.

Best wishes,

John

Paula Westmore asked:
John,

There should be a place where passengers can go online to see what crew member is on what ship. Many of us have our favorite stewards and waiters and want them to serve us again and having a place to see where they are would be advantageous and simple to do. Can you get this done? The waiter we had on Sensation was useless and compared to the server we had (Janil) on the Triumph.

John says:
Hello Paula Westmore,

I do indeed realise that many of our guests like to hope that the waiter or stateroom steward they enjoyed so much on a cruise will be with them again on their next Carnival experience. The problem is that a site like this would be a massive task to design and an even bigger one to upkeep. Right now, there are many, many thousands of crew working on our ships and each week across that fleet hundreds will leave for vacation and/or vessel transfers and those that are leaving are replaced with hundreds more. So to have this on a publicly shared data base is not going to happen, I am afraid. If there is someone you are hoping to see again, maybe I can tell you what ship he or she is on.

Best wishes,

John

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

You know, all sorts of people take cruises, even the rich and famous. And if they do cruise, they usually choose Cunard as their line of choice. Now amongst those who cruised with Cunard is someone you probably never would imagine would take a cruise. Yep, the TV host who turned competitive furniture throwing by guests into an international spectator sport, is a Cunard fan and as you will see here……………wrote a special blog that I think you will really enjoy and will surprise you.  Great story, Gerry, and obviously this return journey is going to mean one I am sure of mixed emotions for you and your family.

Well, as you know, we had to change itineraries this week as the port of Monaco was closed and we swapped to a reverse itinerary. Most of the guests are understanding and some have concerns that are valid and we are doing what we can to help them. Here are three very different stories from the incident report which shows you the consequences of what happens during situations like this.

Ref: 848185146A
Cabin: ——- Booking#: ——- Added-Changed: 07/17/11 – 07/17/11

C – 9*** – DEBARKING IN MESSINA
Guests were supposed to be disembarking in Messina to spend time with family there. Guests were upset but understood that change had to be made. Guests were offered complimentary phone calls.

So the story here is that Messina was to be the last port of the 7 day cruise and of course that has now changed as we are here today. This young couple, Wesley and Sarah Jane, were going to disembark the ship in Messina to spend four days with Wesley’s brother who is stationed at the United States Air Force Base Sigonella in Sicily. The new itinerary means that they can no longer do this and they have had to pay to change their flights as well. I spoke to them both and they are obviously bitterly disappointed but understanding. We have given them free phone calls to both the airlines and their brother and, hopefully, their travel insurance will help them with the cost of changing flights.

Here’s the next one.

Ref: 848001962A Cabin: —-Booking#: ——– Added-Changed: 07/16/11 – 07/16/11

C – 1*** – TICKETS TO THE VATICAN

Mr______ came to the desk and said that he had booked a private excursion of the Vatican online at biglietteriamusei.vatican.va/musei/tickets/ and wanted Carnival to change them as he refuses to spend money on the internet as it’s our responsibility.

I highlighted this one because I wanted to point out that even though it really isn’t our responsibility that the guest services associates (God, I miss calling them pursers) have spent many hours on behalf of over 100 guests e-mailing the Vatican ticket office to explain and to change tickets for guests. You know, it is often overlooked that unlike hotels the front desk of a Carnival cruise ship will always go that extra mile to help even when, as I said, we don’t really have to. Oh, and just for the record, the Vatican have been very helpful in rearranging everything for the guests while the Coliseum where guests have bought tickets have ignored all our communication and guests will show up hoping their tickets are accepted.

And finally this…

Guest: ————–Ref: 848003955A Cabin: **** Booking#: 49Z5J9 Added-Changed: 07/18/11 – 07/18/11

Mr_____ has arranged private tours for his group of 8 and was told by the operator in Livorno and Rome that on the days the ship will be there they have no availability and the Rome operator is charging 25% cancelation and guest says that is $275. Guest was very angry and is demanding Carnival pays the $275. Guest also wanted complimentary tours for both ports.

Oh, well. Not much to say here really except, yes, I have loads of sympathy for the guests, I really do, but to ask for us to pay the cancelation fee and give eight complimentary excursions in two ports……………..well, I think he is, as my father would say, ” Living in cloud cuckoo land.”

So there you go, three different stories from the change of itinerary…………….complimentary tours my, arse.

I stood at the back of the Showtime Lounge here on the Carnival Magic and slowly moved into position like a hungry lion stalking his prey. I was ready, poised like a coiled spring waiting to explode from the shadows. I waited, keeping to the edges of the theatre, the lights were down, the Destination Unknown Magic show had everyone’s attention………nobody noticed me………I was the grey man.

Out of the corner of my eye, I saw something move something that made my defenses stand to, I had found him……..my prey…………and he was mine.

I crept toward my target……mouth open…..breathing through my nose so he would not hear or smell my cappuccino flavored breath……………I told myself that I should have had a pre-mission sugar free mint.

I stopped about 10 feet short of where he sat. He was wearing an Abercrombie and Thingy sweat shirt and jeans and his muscles rippled through this sleeves……………this was not going to be easy.

I considered calling for back up but decided against this in case any sudden additions to the area where he sat would alert him. I remembered my training and before my final approach, I made sure that no coins or loose objects were in my pockets and would rattle thus alerting the target which I had designated………Bastard 1.

It was time. You don’t think about danger at this point. Your mind is focused only on the mission as you play out each and every scenario and my mission was to take down Bastard 1 who had become a clear and present danger.

I waited………..suddenly and without notice, he drew his weapon……..I had been slow……….too slow………….I would have to act now before it was too late and he fired. I sprang from the shadows ignoring the yelps of pain from other guests as I trod on their feet………….I only had eyes for Bastard 1′s weapon.

I watched as though in slow motion as his right index finger hovered over the trigger and from this distance it was hard to tell what the weapon was it could be a 9mm or a Magnum, but as I ran full pace toward him, my worst fears were realized, it was a Radio Shack……….one of the most powerful weapons in the world. I was now inches from the target and I knew it was now or never.

He had seen me, he was confused and panic set in, would he fire his weapon and go down fighting or would he realise that he was out gunned and surrender?

He looked at me, studying his opposition. I expanded my chest to make myself look bigger and stronger, my eyes burrowing into his, never flinching. I watched his trigger finger and I was ready to use my close combat fighting skills taught to me by Kung Fu Master Gerry Cahillsan to disarm him…………..and then suddenly…………….without saying anything……………he put down his weapon………he was beaten.

I took the weapon from him making sure my finger did not accidentally touch the trigger. I bent over and whispered some words of wisdom in his ear, took the weapon and returned to my seat. I was on a high, adrenalin was pumping through my veins and I knew that it would be some time before I would come down from the excitement of this mission. I knew how that Navy Seal team who took down Osama Bin Bastard must have felt.

Yes, I had made some mistakes. My approach vector had been all wrong and my shoes were new and squeaked which could have alerted him but I had won and I had captured the weapon. It would be locked in the chief security’s safe until the end of the cruise. The battle was mine……………and that was one 12-year-old who would never use a laser pointer on the dancers 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.