APPLES AND ORANGES

September 7, 2011 -

John Heald

With Bloggers Cruise 5 just a few months away and with everything I have to do next month in my brand ambassador role, I have been spending lots of time talking to the beards in the office. Among those with hair on their faces that I’ve had conversations with are Eric and Everett, the two young beards who have done so much to enhance the blog and my Facebook page.

Yesterday I was on a conference call and while we were waiting for two other beards to join us, Eric and Everett started to talk about fruit and specifically Apple. And while I sat here on the Carnival Magic in my underpants waiting for the call to start, I listened to them both dribbling and drooling about the Eyephone 5 that apparently is on the way and that this shiny thing, the Eyephone………is the world’s most important invention of the last 100 years – the Eyephone.

Now normally I don’t get involved in conversations like this but I couldn’t help myself this time. Really chaps, the most important invention in the last 100 years? More say than the flushing toilet? Let’s see how cool your Eyephone makes you look when you’re carrying your number twos around in a bucket. What about pain medication? Would every beard with an Eyephone who would like to have hemorrhoid surgery without anesthetic, please raise their hand? You’ll have your precious apps to take your mind off the scalpel slitting through your arse. And don’t forget your bucket. You’ll need it.

I wouldn’t be surprised that if I was to survey 100 kids that half would say that their Eyephones and Facebook were more important than their parents. They’d probably swap their mother for a Playstation 4 and a free Wi-Fi. The Eyephone thing has gone mad. Most Carnival executives have thrown away their raspberries and changed to Eyephones. One Carnival vice presidential beard who is in charge of the food and has been responsible for the brilliant innovations and steakhouses and who has taken our food from good to brilliant always had a raspberry (Blackberry) but even he has gone to the fruit basket and picked an Apple. I saw him with his new shiny Eyephone when he was here on the Carnival Magic and he drooled over it the same way I drool over Megan Fox’s bottom……..They’re just cell phones with silicone breasts and hair extensions. And as the conference call began, I imagined the beards sitting around the table. There would be people with names like Jim and Stephanie and Eric and Everett and a splattering of Jordans and each of them would have Eyephones and Eyepads. Jordan probably has underpants with that Apple sign on the front of them!

But what worries me is how much time people with Eye stuff spend to convert non-believers? They’re not getting paid. They simply want to spread their happiness. It’s the sort of thing aliens would do if they wanted to covertly and slowly make sure that all humans had an Apple product that when they were ready, would admit an app that would suck out all our blood leaving the little bastards to take over the planet. You know, when those who worship the sign of the Apple and start telling you how great the product is and what a loser you are for still having a raspberry, I often wish there was a button that as soon as you pressed it gives the Apple lover instant explosive diarrhea. Yep…….there should be an App for that.

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

Brian in Missouri asked:
Hi John…

I absolutely love reading your blog. I do not post insane requests on here or anything like that, and I have only been on three cruises (but booked on our fourth in February)! It is getting more and more annoying to read the stupid comments and requests on your blog. It has almost gotten to the point where I will stop reading because my blood pressure gets elevated by at least one or two posts a day. I suggest that you and/or one of the “beards” weed out the trolls and people who do not have “please” and “thank you” in their vocabulary.

Brian from Missouri

John says:
Hello Brian in Missouri,

It is always a great joy to read that people like my blog and I thank you for taking the time to tell me that you do. Good manners cost nothing, a rule my parents taught me and one that I intend to teach my daughter as well and it seems while most people who ask me for a request were brought up with the same principles, although some it seems were not. It is important I think to know that when I get a comment that I may think has been written by a “troll,” I always check to see if they are legitimate and the sad part is that with the exception of one or two……..they all are. Thanks for cruising with us, Brian, and I hope we see you many more times and remember if you ever need anything please do ask me and I will do my best to help you.

Best wishes.

John

Qu asked:
John,

My wife and I are going to be taking our first Carnival cruise although we are veterans of over 20 cruises mostly with Celebrity and Princess. We are excited to be going on the Carnival Splendor and would like to ask a question about dress code on formal evenings. On Celebrity and Princess, my wife would wear a long elegant Vera Wang dress and I a tuxedo. We wondered if we would look out of place if we were to wear this on the Carnival Splendor. Thank you John for your help and for this funny blog and please can I say that as a Californian, I appreciate Carnival not abandoning us like other lines have.

John says:
Hello Qu,

I was very pleased to read that you will be sailing the Carnival Splendor for your first cruise experience with us and I have no fear or trepidation in saying that I am positive that you will have a brilliant time. There will be two elegant nights with the main one on the evening of the first day at sea and to answer your question, the answer is no, you will absolutely not look out of place. Yesterday on Facebook we were all talking about dress code (again) and so this post is very appropriate. I will admit that having spent four months as cruise director on the Carnival Splendor that many of your fellow Californians preferred a more elegant casual approach and I am sure you will draw comments of how wonderful you both look rather than anything else. So please, yes, wear your evening wear and enjoy the night. I really enjoyed my time on the West Coast and I hope that your cruise will be the first of many with us. Best wishes to you both.

John

Stargazer asked:
John,

My cruise on the Carnival Freedom was my second with Carnival and the service was terrible from start to finish in every area. But the kicker was when I asked a photographer to take a photo of me and my three children with our camera using one of Carnival’s backdrops of the Titanic stairs on formal night I was rudely told that it wasn’t allowed. I am a single mother and can’t afford to pay the high prices Carnival charges for its photos. There should be provisions made for single mothers and to be told no and that it was not allowed was disgusting to me. The photographers name was______ and my booking number was ****** and I have written to Carnival about this and have gotten zero response.

John says:
Hello Stargazer,

First of all I am sorry to read that you were not pleased with the service on the Carnival Freedom and I have sent this to the ship and the people in our Miami office. I see you posted this a month ago so I am sure you have heard from them by now but as I said, I have sent it to them again just in case. I am sorry that the photographer (whose name I have deleted from the post) was, in your opinion, rude but I promise you he was just following instructions. The portraits are just for our professional photographers to use and, of course, we make money from selling the photos. I do understand that these high quality portraits have a cost associated with them and of course I have every understanding that being a single Mum must be difficult. So please accept my apology and I hope in turn that you can understand that the photographer was just following his duties. I hope that you did have fun together as a family on the Carnival Freedom and someone will be in touch soon.

Best wishes.

John

Carol Anne P asked:
John,

I have a question about table reservations. I see that you are taking reservations for tables of two and that’s what I am writing for but there is a twist. I have emailed you in private twice but gotten no reply so I guess I have no other choice but to ask you here. I won’t state why but I need to make sure that my husband and I do not under any circumstances get seated with other passengers. It’s not that we are unsociable but more of a personal nature that if you had bothered to reply to my e mails you would understand. Our cruise starts from Galveston on 9/11 aboard the Carnival Conquest and our cabin is on deck 6299. I hope this gets done as it is so important to the two of us.

John says:
Hello Carol Anne P,

I am sorry that I didn’t see your email, what address did you use? It is difficult to keep up with all the correspondence I get here and on Facebook as well as email but I honestly do try my best. I see that you are sailing in a few days and so I have asked the maitre d to do his best to arrange a table for two. I can’t promise that it will be so but he will do his best. I hope you have a brilliant cruise.

Best wishes to you both.

John

Kurt asked:
John,

Settle a bet. The hot tubs on Carnival. Are they salt water or fresh water?

John says:
Hello Kurt,

I wonder who wins this bet and what the prize is? The answer is……drum roll please………fresh water. The pools are salt water but the whirlpools have fresh water.

Best wishes and hope you won.

John

Javier Macias asked:
John,

I have been searching for some information about cruising for Spanish-speaking people but can’t find any and was directed to your blog. I want to book a big family group of 22 Cuban Americans many of which won’t speak English. Is there a Carnival boat that has shows and entertainment in Spanish and one that preferably sails from South Florida?

John says:
Hello Javier Macias,

Thank you for finding the blog. You know many years ago Carnival did operate a Spanish-only speaking cruise ship called Fiesta Marina which had been the Carnivale. However, these days all our ships have English as the spoken language at the shows and by the service staff. Now if you were to book one of our ships that sail from Miami or Port Everglades I could assist you with a Spanish speaking waiter and there would be a wonderful Latin band for you all to dance to but the shows and announcements, etc., would be only in English. I hope that you can book, it would be wonderful to have you on board one of our ships and please let me know if I can help further

Best wishes.

John

Paul asked:
John,

I have been reading your blog for several months now. There seems to be a recurring comment regarding the rudeness of Texas passengers. As a Texan, I find myself completely dumbfounded by these posts. I have cruised out of Texas three times and October will be my forth. Sure I have encountered rude people, but there are no doubt rude people on every cruise and out of every port. The number of rude people I have encountered has been very minimal. I just wanted to take a moment to thank you for taking up for us “rude Texas cruisers.” I also want to thank Carnival for bringing Carnival Magic to Galveston. We are looking forward to getting to sail her and I think Texas is very well deserving of this honor.

Thanks,

Paul

John says:
Hello Paul,

I think the best way for me to answer this is to simply say that I was “completely dumfounded” myself. Having been the CD on the Carnival Conquest for four months, I have nothing but wonderful memories of the guests who I tried to entertain. We are all excited to be bringing this wonderful ship to Galveston and I hope to see you there.

Best wishes.

John

Deb D. asked:
Hi John,

I’m a solo traveler and I really have to hunt, and hunt, and hunt for the absolute best bargains so that I can enjoy a cruise on my own. Even a lot of inside cabins are too pricey simply because I have to pay for two people. Although many think the Epic homely, to me she’s brilliant because of the Studio cabins for solos. The occupants of these cabins have their own lounge and even their own CD who arranges get-togethers and activities so you can meet people, etc. When will Carnival catch up with NCL in this regard? Also, I will be on the Triumph 9/17. Do you know of any activities, or get-togethers, etc. for the solos?

Thanks much.

John says:
Hello Deb D,

I found this post fascinating, especially the bit about NCL having a special activity director for single cruisers. When you sail on the Carnival Triumph there will be a meet and greet for single guests. There is no point in not admitting that compared to what you have described is available both in accommodation and in activities, as it seems we indeed have different ways of catering to single guests. Thanks for telling me about this and I will send this to some folks here at Carnival to let them know your thoughts on single cruisers.

Best wishes.

John

Bobbie Alex asked:
John,

While I like the information your blog supplies, I think it’s time you entered the PC world and realize that many people could be and probably are easily offended, by what you mean to be a joke! You seem not to have any sympathy for people with physical, mental or other disabilities and while this may OK in the UK it is not OK here in the United States. Please take this to heart.

John says:
Hello Bobi Alex,

Please allow me to apologise immediately if I have written anything that has offended you which I guess from reading your post I obviously have. Could you write again and let me know specifically the things you have found to be offensive? I know that respect must be given to everyone but I also have to share my belief that there has to be some room for laughter. A travel writer whom I greatly respect described my humour as being “inappropriate” and I can see their point to a certain degree but I have to say that as we approach the end of 2011 and with all the problems the world has I think we don’t need more and more rules and PC regulations, we need as much laughter as we can get. I always make fun of myself first and then others and I know along the way that I may offend some and for that I sincerely apologise.

Best wishes.

John

Mike Hyer asked:
Hello John,

Thanks for all you do and I sure do hope you are enjoying having your girls on the ship with you this week. I have seen a few comments regarding on shore personnel. I wanted to give a shout out to our CVP. Omir “Alan” Hantem was awesome during our initial decision phase. I know at times he probably wanted to come through the phone and tell me to make up my mind but he was as cool as a cucumber and really assisted with pricing and cabin availabilities at three different ports and three different ships. When we finally made our reservations, it was on a Sunday afternoon, his off day but he wanted me to call him whenever we made our decision. He was very friendly and professional and deserves some recognition from the beards above him. We decided on the second to last Carnival Elation sailing out of Mobile in October and we are really looking forward to it. Alan was on top of things when our final payment came due and made sure he called and sent an email reminding me of when our final deposit was due. We have received nothing but excellent customer service when dealing with Carnival. This is our second Carnival cruise and our seventh overall. My wife and I actually met on the now-defunct Big Red Boat back in the mid-1990s and have enjoyed cruising ever since we got married. Hopefully this cruise is a carrot that we can dangle over our girl’s head as an incentive to really want to go to kindergarten this year. Thanks as always for what you’re doing and providing a voice and a face for the entire Carnival brand. You also give us an inside look at what working on a cruise ship is about. Hearing your stories about customers and their demands, I do not envy you in one bit but I certainly love hearing the tales that are thought of by the passengers to get something free out of nothing.

God Bless,

Mike

John says:
Hello Mike Hyer,

What a wonderful post on which to end today’s Q & A and I am thrilled to read about Omir. He will also be thrilled when I send him this and he is another example of how hard our shoreside team is working to provide the best in customer care. I remember seeing the Premier cruise ships docked in Nassau when I was there on the Carnivale and Carnival Fantasy. Goodness me, those days seem so long ago. I hope we do see you again and if there is anything you need please let me know.

Best wishes to you and the family.

John

And that’s your lot for today.

Time to meet the latest group of brilliant piano bar entertainers…………here they are.

Carnival Sensation: Adam Saxe – 09/01/11
Carnival Fascination: Larry Maconaghy – 09/03/11
Carnival Dream: Milburn Dumas – 09/03/11
Carnival Conquest: Walter Boik – 09/04/11
Carnival Victory: Tom Grable – 09/04/11
Carnival Ecstasy: Agustin Villarin – 09/08/11
Carnival Destiny: Seth Gibson – 09/10/11
Carnival Miracle: William Barclay – 09/11/11
Carnival Triumph: Lorraine Ingle – 09/22/11
Carnival Legend: Lizl Strauss – 10/02/11
Carnival Paradise: Jordan Heppner – 10/07/11
Carnival Liberty: Pollyanna Jones – 10/08/11
Carnival Valor: Robert Crucilla – 10/16/11
Carnival Elation: Bruce McGhie – 10/22/11
Carnival Imagination: Angela Johnson – 11/04/11
Carnival Splendor: Jason Davis – 11/13/11
Carnival Fantasy: Hrvoje Knezevic – 11/28/11
Carnival Inspiration: Jafar Curry – 12/03/11
Carnival Pride: James Quigley – 12/04/11
Carnival Spirit: Keith Turner – 01/06/12
Carnival Freedom: Marty Gast – 01/14/12
Carnival Magic: Jim Morris – 01/15/12
Carnival Glory: Tom Riccio – 02/26/12

Recently I spoke with Laura AKA “Divetrash” who is our President of the Piano Bar Entertainers Appreciation Society about who are considered the top three in the fleet and I know she is polling that information for me on Cruise Critic. I am sure that you have your own thoughts, as well, so please let me know who has impressed you in the piano bars and if you wish, who has not. Thanks to you and thanks to all of them for continuing to make the piano bars so much fun.

So the guests here are lovely this week and that’s despite 411 French Canadians and 268 Russians. However, I think it is safe to say that some guests are a little less well traveled this cruise. Here is one reason why I say that.

Guest: Mrs _______ Ref: 00886675119A Cabin: _______ Booking#: _________ Added-Changed: 09/05/11 – 09/05/11

MONTE CARLO WILL NOT ACCEPT U.S. DOLLARS

Mrs ________ came to the GSD desk and said that she had walked into Monte Carlo and tried to purchase souvenirs but the shops would not accept US dollars. GSA confirmed this to be correct and guest got very angry saying that everyone took United States money on her last cruise which guest says was to the Baltic. Guest said that all she had was US dollars and if she changed them to Euros she would lose money on the exchange rate. Guest said that Carnival had misled her as passengers should have been told this when they booked.

This is not an unusual comment. It won’t be the first and it won’t be the last time that this happens. I talk about this at my orientation meeting and it is in print as well yet each cruise we have a guest or two that seem shocked and angry when stores in Italy, France and Spain won’t take the dollar.

Apart from the odd moan and groan everything is going well and we are in demonstration free Rome today. I was a bit cheeky yesterday and made sure that the big screen had a clip of the thousands of people in Rome yesterday crowding the streets demonstrating against the government’s budget cuts. We definitely made the right decision on this one.

I want to tell you about my left arm and about a girl called Helen. I remember vividly, back when I was at school, competing with a school mate to chat up this gorgeous girl. He was captain of the football (soccer) team and was therefore equipped with a wedge like torso, firm thighs and shoulders broad enough to land a 747 on. Me? Well, back then I was supermodel skinny with a face dotted with zits and a hairstyle designed by mum putting a cap on my head and cutting around the edges. The only way round this was to try and make Helen laugh so I told my best joke about the nun and the elephant and the result was that 30 minutes later the girl was behind the bike sheds playing tonsil hockey with the captain of the soccer team. This was proof that whoever said that, “Women don’t care about looks and prefer a man with a sense of humour” was obviously talking bollocks. Fill a room with gorgeous looking women and have me and Johnny Depp walk in and I guarantee that even though Johnny Depp is as funny as a bleeding hemorrhoid, it will be Mr Depp who gets the girls.

It’s true. A sense of humour is worth bugger all in the rumpy pumpy market. Ladies, do you look at Jay Leno and think “Phwoar?” Is David Letterman a sex object, was John Candy Johnny Depp in a fat suit……nope……they are the funniest of people but like me they have all probably lost women to people like that American Idol chap Ryan Seaweed. I think that the evidence is even more acute for women. Rosanne Barr and Joan Rivers. Notice anything they have in common? Yes, you’re right! They’re all much funnier than Megan Fox yet I know whose bottom I want to wake up next to in the morning.

Anyway, back to this young lady called Helen. I lost her to Carl, the captain of the school football team but a year or so later when I was around 16 years old I went to a party and thanks to the fact that Carl had emigrated to Australia with his family and that Helen was drunk on some cheap wine, I managed to walk her home and do a little fooling around. I was in heaven. But after that we lost touch and I never heard from her again. Until this morning.

I wasn’t feeling my best when I sat here to write to you in my underpants at 7:50am. I have had the most awful pain in my left hand and through the top of my arm and after ignoring it as men do I finally asked the nurse and she said I have something called Carpool Tunnel Syndrome. This apparently could be a side effect of my diabetes but more likely she said because I have been sitting at the computer incorrectly and have damaged the nerves. So she gave me an arm brace to wear although I tried it on and its sodding uncomfortable so its sitting in my sock drawer at the moment and I am working through the pain.

Anyway, I wasn’t feeling my best until I went to Facebook. I have 18,200 friends now and it’s growing so quickly. One thing I have noticed is that everything on Facebook is accelerated. Friendships are established, invitations are accepted, and opportunities are created. But also, dreams are crushed. I know this morning I decided to search for Helen as she had been on my mind, don’t know why, she just was. Anyway, I found her Facebook page and there she was, the girl who I had kissed passionately and squeezed parts of her like I was trying to get juice from an orange. I often wondered if she remembered that kiss and that stolen moment as we fumbled in the dark. Obviously the experience of being kissed and groped by me did indeed have a profound effect on her because her Facebook page proudly states ……….she’s a lesbian.

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.