The Red Light District

August 23, 2011 -

John Heald

Ref: 872294249A Cabin: **** Booking#:******Added-Changed: 08/21/11 – 08/21/1

CABIN COMMENTS

Guest called the GSD at 6:15am and asked that someone come immediately to their cabin as the red stand by light on the television was stopping them from sleeping. Guest also asked that the stateroom steward remove the Bible from the cabin but he had not done so. Joiner on duty went to cabin and placed a piece of black tape over the red light on the television and the guest handed the Bible to him which was delivered to the GSD.

Added-Changed: 8/22/11 – 8/22/11 – Mrs. _______ removed all gratuities from cabin ______. GSA asked if she would like to discuss why this was done but she refused.

Red lights, Bibles and canceling gratuities. Let’s discuss this and try and work out what’s going on here. Ummmmm……….ummmmmmmmmmmm……..well honestly I haven’t a sodding clue. Do you?

Time for some Q and A………here we go.

Wanda Puckett asked:
Hi John,

Just started following your blog and comments and I absolutely love it. I will be enjoying my tenth Carnival cruise September 26 on the Carnival Fantasy. It will be my third (or fourth) on the Carnival Fantasy and I absolutely love it. My husband proposed to me in the piano bar on this ship in 2004. Just wanted to “poop” in and say hi. Looking forward to maybe sailing with you one day. Keep up the great blogs.

John says:
Hello Wanda Puckett,

It is always such a pleasure to welcome new readers to the blog and to Facebook and especially one who has been such a loyal customer to Carnival over the years. How brilliant that your proposal took place on the Carnival Fantasy where you will be returning to once again. If there is anything you need before you sail please let me know via Facebook and I wish you both a wonderful cruise.

Best wishes.

John

Julie Gregory asked:
John,

I am cruising the Carnival Spirit 9/13/2011, and lucky for me I will be Platinum. Started cruising 2/20/2009 and just love it! My question is I understand on Cruise Critic that Carnival has set up a certain time for a meet and greet for Cruise Critic members, but that it was still under debate. Can you please let me know which day and time we will be scheduled for the Cruise Critic meet and greet so I can post it on our roll call? Thanks so much, and have a great week!

Julie G.

John says:
Hello Julie Gregory,

Many congratulations on reaching your Platinum status and doing so on the gorgeous Carnival Spirit. I have asked all the cruise directors to set up a meet and greet on either embarkation day or if there is a sea day directly after sailing then it will be scheduled for that afternoon. The Fun Times will reflect this with a “Cruise Critic Meet and Greet” listed in the rundown. If there is a specific time you would like to request please let me know. I wish you all a wonderful cruise.

Best wishes.

John

Jeffrey Berliner asked:
John,

My wife and I were on the July 10 sailing of the Carnival Magic. We have done 16 cruises (not all on Carnival) and just wanted to let you know that this cruise may have been the best. The ship is beautiful, the food and service was excellent, the shows were great and you were hilarious. We agree with you that live music is best, and while many walked out on the violinist, and we are not real classic violin fans, we enjoyed her show. I am just disappointed that we didn’t get a chance to meet. It is interesting to read the blog and the Facebook posts to see what we missed on the cruise, all the complaining that people do. I don’t know how you deal with it without going crazy. I know that you get many complaints, but I just wanted to pass along our praise for a job well done by you and the entire staff that we came into contact with. No fruit basket or autographed book, but many good memories.

Best regards.

John says:
Hello Jeffery Berliner,

I was just telling a guest this morning how on a ship with 4,500 people how difficult it is to meet everyone, especially when I have blogs and FB and all the other stuff that goes into running the ship. So I apologise that we never met in person but I am so glad that you had such a great time and that the cruise was your best yet. I hope that we will see each other on board again and this time we will get to shake hands. Thanks so much for those very kind words and I am so glad you had fun.

Best wishes.

John

Veronica C asked:
Hello John,

I was part of a Cruise Critic roll call on Carnival Spirit on the May 4 sailing. Since returning I have read that on NCL and RCCL the captain and cruise director and other ship officers attend and stand at the door to meet the passengers. On our roll call there was no captain or cruise director just one lady who stopped by for 30 seconds and then left again. Why is it John that Carnival cares little for these functions and yet the other companies do? I feel very slighted by this having now seen that other Cruise Critic meet and greets are treated with care and attention by the other cruise companies.

John says:
Hello Veronica C,

First of all I do hope that you and your Cruise Critic friends had fun and that after talking to each other online that meeting in person gave you a chance to meet new friends and hopefully some of those friendships will last a long time to come. I have (as I mentioned above in answering Julie’s question) recently asked all the CD’s to set a permanent time for these very important Cruise Critic meet and greets. However, as important as they are, it is not always possible for the captain to attend. The CD maybe able to but again, it depends on his or her schedule and what is happening at that time. Please don’t feel slighted and I do hope that you had a wonderful cruise.

Best wishes.

John

FrankE asked:
John,

Will you definitely be the cruise director for the first cruise of the Carnival Breeze, John? We sailed on the inaugural of the Carnival Splendor with you and had so much fun that we want to do it again and were looking at Carnival Breeze. Will you be there? You may remember me as I was the one who forgot the words to Mack the Knife in the talent show and you came out and held the words up for me and said that you were my music stand. It would be great to hear that we will see you on the Carnival Breeze.

John says:
Hello FrankE,

Yes indeed, I remember that well and standing there holding the words for you was fun especially if I remember I had my back to the audience and I did a little bottom jiggle while you sang. I will be there on the first cruise of the Carnival Breeze and I am glad that you will be there as well. Please let me know if you need anything.

Best wishes.

John

Carlynn Chappell asked:
John,

I am going to be cruising on the Carnival Sensation in cabin R75 along with my daughter Jade for some mother and daughter time. She is 17 and I wanted to know what time the teen ClubO2 closes at night. Can you send her a gift? She has done well at school and I am a single mom.

John says:
Hello Carlynn Chappell,

After checking your booking number I see that you actually board the ship on Thursday so I am glad I caught this. Club O2 closes at 2 am and I am sure Jade will have fun there. I will send you both a little something and wish you a brilliant cruise.

Best wishes.

John

Terry Mavis asked:
John,

Would you please post the cruise directors for Carnival Triumph for February 2012 cruises or at least advise when they will be available?

Thank you.

Terry Mavis

John says:
Hello Terry Mavis,

Thanks for writing and I will have the completed schedule sometime in the middle of September. It’s almost done and as soon as it is I will post it here on the blog thingy. Please let me know if you need anything else.

Best wishes.

John

Thomas asked:
John,

When the Carnival Magic comes to Galveston, will you still be the cruise director?

John says:
Hello Thomas,

I will be the CD from the cruise of November 14 and leave for vacation on December 4. I return again at the end of January. I hope I will get to see you and we are all very excited about bringing this amazing ship to Texas.

Best wishes.

John

Bill Duncan asked:
John,

I am really concerned as I just booked a cruise on the Carnival Conquest for me and 12 other people to celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary. Then I read this review on Cruise Critic that now has me concerned I may have made a big mistake.

Most of us do not smoke and certainly don’t drink a lot either and when I read about how people are allowed in the restaurant in “swim trunks and sleeveless tee shirts” I was very surprised and somewhat shocked. This is our first Carnival experience and so I guess I am asking you to clarify if this and the other statements the author made are true. Thank you for your time.

John says:
Hello Bill Duncan,

I am so glad you decided to write to me so I can absolutely say that you have not made a mistake. Let me start by saying that Cruise Critic is a brilliant site for people to be able to post their opinions about their cruise and most are honest and subjective. However, there are some people who sometimes, you have to wonder, were they on the ship at all. Now far be it for me to say that the author of this was talking nonsense but I can assure you and promise you that we never ever let guests into dinner in “swim trunks and sleeveless tee shirts straight from the pool.” In fact I sent an e mail to the maitre d of the Carnival Conquest who wrote this to me: “John, we have never allowed bathing suits and trunks at dinner or sleeveless t shirts and I am upset that this accusation has been made at me.”

As you can see, he is really upset and I don’t blame him. Look, I know that we let some of our dress codes slide, allowing a T-shirt here and a pair of jeans there but to state that we have guests coming in swim trunks is quite honestly a lie. The end. Bill, please take the time to read the other reviews on Cruise Critic which are honest and true and most of which give the Carnival Conquest rave reviews and although I can’t say for certain as time doesn’t allow me to read them …..I bet none of them mention swim trunks being worn in the dining room. So have a brilliant time and I wish you a very happy 50th wedding anniversary.

Best wishes.

John


Kelli Pilsbury asked:

Hi John,

Thank-you so much for answering my last question! My husband is a huge wine lover…….but fussy. My next question for you: Why can we each take a bottle of wine on board for a three-day cruise, but still only take one bottle each on an eight-day cruise? I suppose it is either a tracking issue or legal issue?

John says:
Hello Kelli Pilsbury,

I have to say that this is a rule that I never quite understood but it is the rule. If you are on a three-day cruise or a 16 day trans-Atlantic crossing then the one bottle rule stands. I will bring this up with the beards again. I will say that our new wine list has something for everyone and hopefully your husband will agree. Please let me know if you need anything else and have a brilliant cruise.

Best wishes.

John

Helen M asked:
Hi John,

I have enjoyed reading your blog so much these past few weeks as I have been preparing for our first ever cruise. I know that people ask you for things here and normally I would never do this but I know if anyone can get this done you can, John. My fiancé has returned from his second tour of Afghanistan. He doesn’t have one of those war stories you read about so much because he is a chef and cooks the hundreds of meals for the men and women at Bagram Airbase. I don’t get to see much of him and I was hoping that we could have a table for just the two of us so we can get to know each other again as it’s been seven very long months. We will be on the Carnival Fantasy ship on 9/10 for five days together. Thank you John and thank you for keeping me laughing. Booking ******.

John says:
Hello Helen M,

There are still some people who question why I help people with dinner seatings and there are still some who get angry about it. So for those who question “Why??”……here is your answer.

I wish you the very best time Helen and I hope that this cruise will bring you closer together. I have asked the maitre d to reserve you a table for two and please thank your fiancé for the wonderful work he does and give him a big “welcome home” from us all.

Best wishes.

John

Lifelong Browns Fan asked:
John,

I sail on the Carnival Freedom right at the start of the NFL season and I am getting conflicting reports that the boat will show the games. The game I want is Bengals at the Browns and it is on CBS. This is the Browns year and I have never missed the start of a season in 15 years and I wasn’t happy when I discovered that my wife had booked a cruise. Will the game be shown!! Please respond!!!

John says:
Hello Lifelong Browns Fan,

I can feel your passion Mr. Brown and I am glad this is going to be your year. I have no idea who the Browns are but if their game is shown on CBS there is a chance that we will get it and that it will be shown in the Carnival Freedom’s sports bar on deck 5 forward. I can’t promise for sure but I hope for your sake and your wife’s that it is. Have a great cruise and hope you win the World Series.

Best wishes.

John

That’s all for today and I will return tomorrow with more and each day on Facebook.

Well I finally got told what my confirmed schedule is for the rest of this year and there have been one or two changes. Here it is:

So I was due to leave the Carnival Magic on October 6, have two weeks at home and then head to the first cruise of the Carnival Liberty as she comes out of dry dock. I will also spend some time on Carnival Liberty during dry dock taping before and after videos with the beards for the blog and Facebook. Now I am not sure if I am staying the whole two weeks or if I am going to fly from Miami to the dry dock facility in Freeport, Bahamas, but I will be showing you close up what happens during this time. Now this means pulling me off the Carnival Magic earlier than forecast. And no……I can’t tell you any details about the Carnival Liberty yet but the fact that Carnival is taking me off the ship, lodging my fat arse in an economy seat and making me wait for four hours under the kind and welcoming hospitality that is Miami Airport’s United States Customs and Border Protection, shows you just how excited everyone is about this project.

So this is what’s happening then:

SEPTEMBER 16: FLY FROM BARCELONA TO LONDON AND TO THE GIRLS AND TWO WEEKS VACATION

SEPTEMBER 29: FLY TO MIAMI

OCTOBER 2: SAIL CARNIVAL LIBERTY TO FREEPORT DRY DOCK

OCTOBER 22 – 29: SAIL ON CARNIVAL LIBERTY AND BLOG FIRST CRUISE FROM DRY DOCK AND HOPEFULLY SHARE SOME STAGE TIME WITH MY MATE KIRK THE CD

OCTOBER 29 – NOVEMBER 7: MEETINGS IN MIAMI WITH THE BEARDS RE BLOGGERS CRUISE NUMBER 5

NOVEMBER 7: HEAD TO GALVESTON FOR PREPARATION OF CARNIVAL MAGIC’S ARRIVAL

NOVEMBER 14: RETURN AS CD ON CARNIVAL MAGIC

DECEMBER 4: GO HOME FOR A PROPER VACATION

Now it is still my intention to have a bloggers breakfast or something in Galveston to mark the arrival of the Carnival Magic and I don’t have details of this just yet but I fully intend to meet as many of you as possible. Now I know me leaving the Carnival Magic early will disappoint some people who are sailing here and please allow me to say how sorry I am for this. I go where the beards tell me to go but I will certainly miss this amazing ship and sailing with you.

Let’s take a pause and have a look at some stunning photos of Venice at night as taken by the one and only Mr. Radu.

I have to say what a busy few days it’s been for the beards in the office. Hurricane Bastard has played havoc with scheduling and itineraries with probably the most challenging being the Carnival Victory. As you know, the United Sates Coast Guard closed the port of San Juan and the Carnival Victory had to depart, despite dozens of guests not having checked in yet. And so, for obvious safety reasons the ship sailed out of the path of the storm leaving those disappointed and I am sure some very angry people behind. Carnival though is so good at these kinds of situations now. We certainly were not always so but the last few years I think that our response teams and our care teams both shoreside and on board have done a brilliant job making sure that when something like this happens the guests are taken care of properly. And so they were all placed in hotels and when the storm passed they will be flown to Barbados to join the Carnival Victory tomorrow (Wednesday) and once on board I can promise a whole big fuss will be made of them.

Other ships have had their itineraries changed and each of those ships will have the same scenario on them. Most guests will be disappointed. Most guests will be understanding. A few guests will throw all their toys out of the stroller, jump up and down, scream, shout and hurl abuse because it’s Carnival’s fault that Hurricane Irene is heading their way. Such is life on a cruise ship. Let’s hope that Irene buggers off quickly. Anyway, the beards are continuing to meet in the “situation room” which is a state of the art conference room with ummmm……. ummmmm …….telephones…….and ummm……..a table and chairs………and they will all be monitoring what Irene is doing. We will keep you informed on carnival.com and on my Facebook page, as well.

One of the Facebookers, Tony L, who sailed with me recently and who came on board with one pair of underpants and a $10 bill and did not change either of them, asked if I would write a timeline of a typical day at sea. So this was my day yesterday as noted down by my wonderful assistant Melody with personal gaps written in by me.

7:00am: My alarm goes off. It’s my raspberry alarm and it plays the theme from West Wing so I can feel all presidential when I wake up. Sad bugger, aren’t I? Then it’s time to have a shave, shower, and my first pee of the day which being diabetic and with all the pills I take means my first pee looks like Ozzy Osbourne is going to rise up out of it.

7:35am: I am dressed and ready for the day. I check my sugar level – it’s 6.1, not sure what that is in the US standards but it’s about normal for me. I then do my blood pressure. I do this every day, I don’t know why. I guess I have become paranoid about this and bought myself a machine. This morning it’s 117/71 which is good I guess. Glad it wasn’t hooked up to me during the night when I had a dream about Megan Fox and a trampoline! I then take my morning pills which include my diabetic pill, my multi vitamin, cinnamon, cod liver oil and an extra B12 pill as well.

7:45am: I am now having breakfast which is an effervescent orange drink called Berocca and a cup of tea which I make myself. I know I should eat a good breakfast but the Berocca and the tea are good enough to get me through the morning.

8:00am: Now looking at the first thing I always look at when I sit down at my desk ……… nakedlatvians.com…….kidding……….www.bbc.co.uk and check out the news and what’s happening around the world.

8:10am: Open up the email box hoping that I will have only a few. But of course I don’t because I have two accounts. My ship cruise director account and my Carnival shore side account. There were a total of 15 in my in boxes when I went to bed and this morning its 71. Bugger.

8:45am: I have spent the last 35 minutes answering and sorting emails as well as deleting the offers of a larger thingy and a loan to pay for it. Then right on time as always in comes Melody my assistant. She has the letters that have been dropped off at the morning show and more importantly she has coffee from the Promenade Cafe. Cappuccino, skim milk, extra hot, two Splendas. I have a total of 12 new letters overnight. All but two are dedications for the morning show. One is a letter of complaint about the lines for the Vaperettos in Venice. This is standard I am sorry to say but when 4,000 guests from the Carnival Magic plus another 3,000 from the Star Princess all get off together there are going to be lines. The letter is to the point if not a little flippant and I keep it on my desk to call the guest later in the day. The other non dedication letter is another usual type, a request to visit the bridge without paying for the Behind the Fun tour. If the guest is in the Coast Guard or has served in the Navy or has a special reason why, then I will ask the captain. There is no special reason why here except it’s a graduation cruise for someone called Tyler whose parents love him very much but not enough to pay for the tour. I will send them a note back, with an apology and a trophy for Tyler, aged 16.

9:00am: Calvyn walks in dressed in – well have a look for yourself what he was wearing for the Morning Show.

He never dresses to Carnival “code” but it doesn’t bother me. He is an unusual …….ummmmmm……..shape and finds it difficult to get a uniform to fit properly and obviously I understand how he feels. But there is another reason I let him get away with this. You see he is not your cookie cutter good looking handsome or cute E staff member. Yes, he may have the posture of a three-legged yak and yes he may be as camp as Richard Simmons’ underwear drawer (sorry Richard and the guests who complained) but he is so talented and the guests………well they love him so who am I to say that he should conform? Anyway, he walks in singing that sodding Justin Beaver song again so I throw a desk calculator at his head. It hits him and he yells “Ow” and it’s off we go to the morning show.

I am going to stop there as some of you may have already slipped into a coma. I will be back with 9:15am – noon……tomorrow. I feel like Jack Bauer…….without the explosions, the man bag and not going for a poo for 24 hours, of course.

Well it’s 10:55 am now this beautiful Tuesday at sea and I just walked the ship after my Morning Show and said hello to lots of guests although I got little response from some of the kids. Do you remember when we were at school and those big text messages we used to read….they were called books. I noticed today as I wandered the ship and looked at the many children sitting on deck and along the Lanai with their parents that not one of them was reading a book……. not one. They all had their heads buried in prayer…….well, that’s what it looked like but of course their heads were bowed as they worshipped at the temple of Playstationnintendobox portable games, their minds concentrating totally on beheading a zombie.

But that’s part of the modern family I guess. Gone are the days of The Cosby Show and the Brady Bunch. Anyway, the Cosbys would show a family in love and despite their problems they would all get resolved just in time to go and eat vanilla pudding. And the Bradys…..well there were six kids. None were drug users or had criminal records yet we all loved the show and I loved Marsha. She was my first Megan Fox. Nowadays, the shows have to feature a family with no Mum or no Dad or a divorced family or a kid who is actually a mass murderer or a mother who has three jobs including a stripper but comes home to look after her teenage son who wants to be a girl and change his name from Calvin to Clarissa.

As I have mentioned in a couple of blogs last week, we have close to 1,500 British guests on board and when I say British I mean Scottish, Welsh, Irish and English and it’s fun listening to all their different accents. At the welcome aboard show I had a delightful young man called Ben on stage. He is seven and from Manchester and had a very cute and very broad Manchester accent. I also had Vera, a Scottish lady married to Dougal………what a fabulous name that is ……. Dougal …………for 52 years. As I interviewed both I could tell that the multinational audience could not understand a word they were saying so I found myself translating from Manchurian English and Scottish to……..well, American I guess. There are many regional accents in the UK, I like this, it gives us some identity and even if we move from London to Louisville or from Newcastle to New York we still have our accents, but will the next generation?
I worry about this because if you think about it whether you live in Cardiff or California, Seattle or Southend on Sea…….kids all watch the same TV.

British kids today spend half their day watching pink animated programs from America and are becoming a generation that thinks you dial 911 if you want the police and that “colour” has no “u” and they all talk like someone from that annoying TV show Glee.

A few years ago everyone thought that speaking properly meant you had to talk like the Queen who speaks like she is trying to keep a peeled grape between her buttocks, and that her vocal cords are actually made from glass. Walk around the Carnival Magic today with 1,500 Brits on board and while my generation still speaks proper English the kids sound like Beeoncehay or Justin Beaver.

But it seems that even I am slipping…………I have always considered myself to be as British as spotted dick but not anymore it seems because yesterday my mate Alan called me on my cell phone and asked “How are you?” And I replied “I’m good.”

“Sorry – you’re what?” asked my mate. I realized what I had said but it was too late and a massive bollocking followed as my friend berated me.

Americanisms from British children can just about be excused since they watch American TV all day and are too young to realise how silly they sound (that’s realise spelt properly). But from a 45-year old fat British cruise director saying this stuff, well I sound ridiculous and the more I think about it the more it seems I am really becoming American.

“Can I get….…” has largely replaced “May I have….…” when I order food. I say “apartment” not flat and the other day I remember now I said “that sucks.” Rubbish is garbage and when I mentioned this to Heidi this morning on the phone she said I also say “mail man” instead of the postman.

I’ve nothing against Americanisms – when used by Americans. It’s when us Brits use them that it’s bloody embarrassing. And now, as I sit here in my underpants (thank goodness I haven’t started calling them ummmm – what do you Americans call them by the way?) I realise it’s a losing battle because just a few minutes previous to writing this blog I had to go to the bridge and asked someone to “hold the elevator” and not “hold the lift.”

Still, thankfully there’s one US word that I haven’t yet started to say. The one Americans use for “arse,” I don’t mean ass……no I mean “fanny” which we use for something else entirely. Yes, when us Brits start asking, “Does my fanny look big in this?” ….the English language will be lost forever.

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.