CONVERTIBLE BLOG

October 6, 2011 -

John Heald

So as you know I am in Miami. Considering I need to travel to the office for meetings with beards and visits to Walgreens to stock up on hemorrhoid cream and the fact that walking is against the law in Miami, I decided to hire a car. Now I went to the concierge desk at the Intercontinentalarriothyatt where I am staying because a sign told me that they had a Hertz car hire on site and the concierge asked if I’d like to see the “car menu.” What? There’s a car menu? Brilliant. Of course I’d like to see the car menu. Jose the concierge then produced a leather bound folder and inside a choice of cars was exquisitely laid out like our steakhouse menu. At the top, as if it were a Gordon Ramsay signature dish, was a list of Hertz Prestige Cars which included a Mercedes sports car for $1,000 a minute. At the bottom, like it was a child’s portion of chicken nuggets at McDonalds, was a tiny Toyota Bollockthing that you could hire for just under $24 a year. There was also the car I really wanted on the menu, a Ford Mustang GT, the car menu equivalent of a Guy Fieri Burger with all the trimmings.

Now obviously Carnival was paying and I was using my corporate travel card which I am cautious when using but I still get into trouble. You see I am supposed to keep all me receipts and fill in a form and the end of each month. Now that sounds easy doesn’t it but the problem is that the form is more complicated than quantum physics…….in Mongolian……..and I tend to lose my receipts which causes me to get a huge bollocking from the accounting ladies. Their names are Mercy and Dee and I know that they must look forward to getting my travel and expense forms as much as they would look forward to stepping in a huge pile of dog turds. So ladies, please accept my apologies and I promise to do better.

Anyway, I am allowed to rent a car but it must be no more than a standard car which poses me a bit of a problem. You see standard means bloody small and when you look like you’re eight months pregnant like I do, standard means sodding uncomfortable. Anyway, the rules are the rules and as I don’t fancy Dee’s foot in my arse, I ordered a standard car and they sent me a Jeep Cherokee which because as the concierge said “It was an upgrade as you stay regularly at the hotel.” He said that with the palm of his hand open and pointing toward me and so realising that this must be a Miami tradition I gave him a “low five ” and went to my car.

Driving in Miami as I have mentioned is something that I enjoy as much as I enjoy explosive diarrhea. I have written recently about the horrors of I-95 and the fact that Miamians have yet to discover there is a stick thingy in their steering wheels which activates things called indicators which tells the poor sod behind you that you are about to change lanes. But what I noticed today as I drove to the office was how many people in Miami have convertibles which in Miami is as ridiculous as me owning anything with the word “medium” on the label. Let me explain what I mean.

You may dream of driving a convertible car along Miami’s Ocean Drive waiting for a near naked Latvian woman on rollerblades to ask you for dinner at Prime 112 followed by loads of rumpy pumpy. Bollocks. I have driven a convertible in Miami and I am here to tell you that you will arrive at your destination with a clown-like red nose and a shirt that appears to have spent the past few months at the bottom of a Frenchman’s toilet. You just can’t drive a convertible in Miami, it’s 100 degrees and your skin will simply melt. But hold on because it’s not just the heat that is a concern, it’s the wind too. Wind you see messes up a girl’s hair. This is a fact. Every girl I know loves the idea of driving in a convertible, but after just a few moments every single one wants to put it up again screaming “My hair, my hair, put the roof up you bastard it took me 23 hours to do my hair and now its ruined.”

Even if you can manage the heat and the wind, you still have the problem of embarrassment, especially in Miami. This isn’t a problem in New York or London or Michigan or Botswana but in Miami I can promise you it absolutely is. You may think, as you cruise about in your convertible that you look good. But unless you are Megan Fox or Dwyane Wade, which you are not, I can assure you that actually you look a total plonker .

I can sort of understand the message you are trying to give out. That you love the wind in your hair? That you are young at heart? That you are available? But you aren’t. You’re middle aged and married and have massive sweat marks under your arm. But I don’t care. You see this Jeep rent a thingy I have drives like a drunken yak and I just saw a man drive into the Carnival office in a convertible Porsche 911. He doesn’t look like Johnny Depp and who cares if he has lakes of sweat under his arm, I want one. I don’t care about what people think and besides…..they say that Porsches are driven by men with a small gentlemen’s sausage. Well if that’s true……I should definitely be driving one then.

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

John Grubbs asked:
Hey John,

Just a note to say thank you for your blog thingy. I enjoy reading it and it helps me remember some of the great times I have had on CCL ships. My wife and I are sailing on the Magic Jan 8. I was hoping you would be our CD, but heck, you can’t do them all. We sailed with you years ago on the Jubilee. I remember you walking toward my wife and I in Playa del Carmen, you were wearing two different color shoes at the same time. I was going to joke with you and ask for a comp room upgrade. I already sent you a request to get us a reservation at The Chef’s Table and you were very kind to oblige our request. Anyway, since I figure we won’t get the upgrade we will just continue to sail on the carnival Magic and have another wonderful vacation. One last thing, have you ever considered doing a road show with the USO? You could bring a few of your dancers in their heels and feather outfits and be a real smash here in Afghanistan. There are a bunch of us guys that read and enjoy your blog thingy, it makes us smile and escape for a few minutes. We appreciate everything you and Carnival do. God bless and stay safe dude.

John G.
Kandahar Army Air Field

John says:

Hello John Grubbs,

Thanks so much for taking the time to write and I am sure many here will join me in thanking you for your service and I hope you are well and staying safe. I don’t ever remember wearing different shoes, what was I thinking? I am so sorry I can’t be with you in January and although I can’t give you an upgrade, it would be an honour to send you something to say thank you for doing what you do. Please can you remind me a few days before you sail on my Facebook page if possible or a month before here on the blog thingy? Thanks so much once again and I would love a chance to come out and entertain the people who deserve some fun more than anyone.

Best wishes to you all.

John

Patrick and Merry Crawford asked:

Just a comment really. You were our cruise director on Carnival Liberty on her maiden transatlantic voyage. I think 2002? Anyway, we think you were fantastic. We are now up to 50 cruises and haven’t had a better CD so don’t listen to some of those negative remarks.

John says:

Hello Patrick and Merry Crawford,

Thanks so much for the kind words, they mean so much and I hope that one day soon we will be able to cruise together soon. Its comments like this that keeps me going. Thank you once again.

Best wishes to you both.

John

Owen Whitlock
John,

I just booked the blogger’s cruise today. I booked it through a TA (that would be me) and reading the posts, I am wondering if I will be able to participate in the activities since I didn’t book with the Cruise Critic TA.

Thanks.

Owen

John says:
Hello Owen Whitlock,

Thanks so much for booking the Bloggers Cruise 5 which I have every intention of making the best ever. You don’t need to worry about how or with whom you booked because there will be a full bloggers roll call in the next few weeks and we will take a list of names to see who is coming and to whom invitations and gifts will be sent. Look for that roll call soon and if you have any questions please let me know. I will see you soon.

Best wishes.

John

David Ronovitch asked:
Hi John,

I was on the Carnival Magic with you as cruise director and have two major complaints. When we cruised Europe with RCCL we had ATMs that gave Euros not dollars but I went to your machine and it gave me $300 not 300 Euros. I went to the front desk and they refused to take the money back and credit my account. This was terrible customer service. Then when we got off the ship we had to wait 45 minutes for a taxi but when we cruised on the Independence of the Seas RCCL provided us with free transportation to the airport. Why is Carnival so cheap? One last thing, while the food quality was good the service from our waiter wasn’t because of his lack of English skills and twice he didn’t understand what we wanted and brought the wrong thing. Overall I was not impressed and we never saw you except during the shows and on TV.

John says:
Hello David Ronovitch,

Let me start by apologising that you didn’t get to meet me. I do host all the shows and morning shows and try to be around the ship as much as possible but obviously I also have this blog and the Facebook page to look at as well. We do have signs at our ATM machines that say that that they give out US dollars but I do agree that we should have ones that give out Euros and I am trying to push for these for the Carnival Breeze. The taxis are a negative in Barcelona as there just don’t seem to be enough to cover all the guests from the various ships that use Barcelona as a home port. I was surprised to read that RCI gives free transportation to their guests to get to the airport. We offer a shuttle service for $19.95 to the airport which is very popular and for Carnival Breeze, next year I would recommend that people think about this option because of the taxi problems you mentioned. All our waiters do speak English and I am sorry if your waiter did make a few mistakes with your orders. I will pass this comment to the ship and I thank you for taking the time to write this. I do hope you had a great cruise.

Best wishes and hope to see you soon.

John

Cubs Fans Cruisers asked:
Mr. Heald,

Your potty mouth humor is something that I have to subject myself to in order to get the information that I admit this blog does provide. I am sure many others will agree that you step way over the line with your comments some of which seem to be politically motivated and your comments about the environment are particularly disturbing. My DW and I will be on the Conquest in December BKG#****** and as it’s our anniversary celebrating 30 years I would like a table for two so we can spend some romantic times together. Both of us are educators and we deserve this time together. I suggest you consider changing your ways as you would for sure receive more readers.

John says:
Hello Cubs Fans Cruisers,

I am sure you are very excited to be sailing on the Carnival Conquest and I will ask the maître d to book a table for two for you and he will do his best to assist you. I realise that my silly sense of humour is not for everyone and my comments are my own opinions and like all opinions not everyone is ever going to agree with you. I wish you a wonderful cruise and I will try to find a balance of fun and information here on the blog thingy.

Best wishes and have a great cruise.

John


Michael Shelton asked:

Dear John:

Please help!! I don’t know who else I can ask. I completed a cruise on the Carnival Legend on August 7. After incurring over $2000 in Sign & Sail charges, I went to a future cruisers presentation on the last day of the cruise, where I was advised to (and decided to) get the Carnival MasterCard. Joel from the cruise desk said that my S&S charges would be transferred to the new card. I got the approval email the night before we arrived in port, but there were no Sign & Sail charges on it, and no points. So I went to the cruise desk and told Joel about the issue. He tried to “retrigger” the system to get my points for the $2,000 expenditure. Needless to say, it never happened, and I neglected to get Joel’s information since we were in the middle of disembarkation at the time. I wrote to my Carnival travel consultant, who just emailed me an overview of the program. I wrote to the card provider, who wrote me back that purchases have to be transferred to my account by the merchant (that’s Carnival). So now I’m stuck. I can’t get anyone via email or links in the Carnival website, and I can’t reach Joel on the Legend to see if he can send an email to get this fixed. I’m starting to be very disillusioned with Carnival. You were very good at getting me to book a grand suite and to spend over $2,000 aboard, but since the cruise ended, I keep running into one brick wall after another. Am I doing something wrong? Did I not spend enough? I’m putting the subject of this note as “Carnival Policies,” since the policy of Carnival seems to be to stonewall me. I would appreciate any help you can give me.

Regards,

Mike

John says:
Hello Michael Shelton,

I am really glad you took the time to write to me about this and I am sorry that it has taken a long time for me to get back to you. It seems there was an error here and its one we need to look into and indeed I will do this immediately for you and someone will be in touch with you ASAP. Please stay in touch with me and let me know what happens as we try to sort this out. My apologies once again.

Best wishes.

John

Ryan M and Tim K asked:
John,

My partner and I are booked on the Carnival Splendor’s October 9 cruise and am hoping that you can seat us at a table for 2. We are a gay couple and on our last cruise we were not accepted by our tablemates and this was very distressing. We will be in cabin 6355. Please can you get this for us.

John says:
Hello Ryan M and Tim K,

I will be happy to put a table request in for you and I see its this Sunday that you cruise so I am glad that I saw this now. I will certainly do all I can for you and hope you enjoy your cruise.

Best wishes to you both.

John

Paul and Michele Johnson asked:
John,

I booked a 7 day Mexican Riviera Cruise on the Carnival Splendor on July 31, 2011 from Long Beach, Ca. All I have to say is “WOW!” The crews service, food, entertainment, the excursions all booked through Carnival was to put in a few words nothing less than indescribably great, “OVER THE TOP!” We had such a great time and our quest for our 25th Wedding Anniversary was more than we could have ever imagined. Thank you to Roland the maitre d in the Black Pearl, the cruise director, stateroom steward, room service, cooks, and those staff members behind the lines who clean continually, great job. Your Splendor staff deserves our praise. We are hooked on Carnival. The “FUN SHIP” phrase is putting it mildly. Thank you for the best time. Carnival is on top of their game in all areas. I have been on other lines and they should be shaking in their boots. Your staff was awesome!

Paul and Michele Johnson – room 1021

John says:
Hello Paul and Michele Johnson,

This is a brilliant post and I am thrilled to have read it. Also thrilled will be Roland who will see this later today. I am so glad you had fun and what you said is a great advert for what Carnival is all about. Thanks so very much and if there is anything I can do for you please let me know.

Best wishes to you both.

John

Alicia asked:
Dear John,

Sorry for repeating my question. I was just on my very first cruise on the Carnival Magic. I had a great time and the entertainment staff had a huge role in it along with you. I’m glad to know that you will be on the Caribbean cruise out of Galveston. I would like to know if the same dancers will be on that cruise as well. Please do let me know. I don’t mind if this question is published for there might be others who want to know. I truly appreciate your reply.

Many thanks.

Alicia

John says:
Hello Alicia,

I am so glad you had fun on the Carnival Magic and I see you will be back with us on the Carnival Magic in Galveston. The cast will still be on board although the new cast will be as well as they will be learning the shows ready to take over on November 27 when the old cast leaves. Once again I am so glad you had fun and I will see you soon.

Best wishes.

John

Tracey Evans asked:
Reply John!!!!

There are rumors on Cruise Critic that the bed bug problem has returned on the Triumph. We are on her next week for our sons graduation cruise and I am now terrified that we will all get bitten. Please tell me what’s happening.

John says:
Hello Tracey Evans,

This is the last time I will type these words as you will see in a moment but I am happy to say the rumor on Cruise Critic is wrong, 100% wrong. There have been no reported cases in the past months of any bed bug problems and I see that you posted this on August 21 so you have already been on your cruise and have seen for yourself that there was nothing to worry about. I hope you have a great time.

Best wishes.

John

Amanda Myers asked:
John,

I have recently gotten home from the August 5, 2011 Mediterranean cruise and I just want to say that it was wonderful. I was in the singles group and had so much fun aboard. The staff was great and the food servers in the Southern lights restaurant were amazing. Petar, Zsusa, and Maximo worked extremely well together and remembered food allergies of people and made sure nothing they received had their allergy in it. They made sure everyone had the food they wanted and were always there when something was needed. They went above and beyond their duties as waiters and helped make this the best vacation I have ever had. All the staff was very accommodating. I will definitely sail with Carnival again soon!! Thank you for a wonderful vacation.

John says:
Hello Amanda Myers,

What a fun group you all were and your Bruce Springsteen chap from the Carnival Legends show was truly brilliant. Thanks so much for taking the time to write and I will make sure everyone on board sees your words of praise. I miss the ship a lot and I know what a brilliant crew we had there. I hope we see you and the singles group again very soon.

Best wishes.

John

Julie asked:
John,

I have a couple questions about dining. There have been rumors that they no longer serve lobster tails and prime rib on the formal night and that they are not serving the buffets after 4 p.m. Please say this isn’t so!? I have been bragging these two things up to my family for years and now I am going on my 10th cruise and taking most of my family with me (most of them have never been on a cruise) and I would hate to disappoint them.

Julie

John says:
Hello Julie,

I remember this was mentioned on my Facebook page a few weeks ago and I answered then that both these rumours were false. We have not stopped serving lobster tail and prime rib and the alternative dining continues as normal from 5:45pm – 9:30 pm. I wish you all a wonderful cruise and thank you so much for your loyalty.

Best wishes.

John

Ruth Moorman asked:
Dear John,

I’m so excited to have booked my 10th cruise on the Carnival Valor with my husband and two daughters for Dec. 18th. The problem is, we are only listed as having been on seven previously instead of nine. I’m sure that this is because we were on the Carnivale in ’88 and ’89 and they probably didn’t keep computer records then. What do I need to do to get my platinum status that I have been looking forward to for so long? P.S. I’m in my underwear too!!(A rather granny-ish nightgown, unfortunately!)

John says:
Hello Ruth Moorman,

Writing in your underwear feels liberating doesn’t it? Anyway, thanks so much for your loyalty and I will now send this to someone to see if they can help you. If you have proof of these cruises, photos, tickets etc there will be nothing to worry about and someone will adjust your status accordingly. I will send this to the beards now and you will hear from someone soon.

Best wishes and have a brilliant 10th cruise.

John

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

Over the past few months I have had some real concerns with posts from Cruise Critic members. As I mentioned yesterday there are some who post there who do not like anything about me and have said things that are personal attacks on me. Fair one. That’s their choice and I have to accept that and I do. There are also a few who are bullies and on the very few occasions that I have read the links that people post here, I am always surprised that they are allowed to continue to post their venomous replies. There are also those who I think have never cruised with Carnival or who sit naked in their parent’s attic doing their best to slam Carnival as much as they can. Then there are those who hate Cruise Critic and will post here pretending to be a Cruise Critic member just to damage the reputation of the site further.

So I have decided to act and have made this decision mostly because I am so bored with trying to decide if the post is true or not. So as of today I will not post any comments that have the word Cruise Critic in it. I am doing this because most of the time they are spiteful and hateful regardless if written by a true Cruise Critic member or not. There is no doubt that the site is full of wonderful people helping each other out just like we do here and on our Facebook page. But it is obvious that this can’t continue and I want nothing else to do with Cruise Critic posts, they can stay over there. I think it’s best for everyone.

Now the only exception to this are these two points. If there is a rumor that has started on Cruise Critic and you are concerned or want clarification if it’s true or not, please do write but please don’t include the link. I will then do my best to say that it’s true or false. I will also be proud to continue to help organise meet and greets as I think these are wonderful ways to make new friends and share the love of cruising with the people you have been writing with over the past few months. I hope all Cruise Critic members join me here and on Facebook.

What I won’t be posting anymore is Cruise Critic links and comments that say I am a Cruise Critic member, etc. And so for the last time ever, I say a huge thank you to all the wonderful people who help each other and share what is good and what Carnival needs to do better and if there is anything I can ever do for you please let me know……and I say the same to those who don’t like me.

So here I am in Carnival’s marketing department writing this blog and getting ready for the next meeting. I am surrounded by tofu and EyePhones, of course. Now as you know I don’t have one of these and I know that the EyePhone has been a huge success, and no small part of that success is down to the rise of the application……..or “apps” as the beards call it, which are little floating stools of downloadable software ranging from currency converters to a pretend pint of beer.

They can do anything from turning your phone into a flashlight and making it look and sound like a light saber, all the way up to a device that measures exactly how much of a bloody idiot you look while wielding your light saber phone in public. There are some amazing apps. The iFart — the phone makes a noise like a fart. It’s a fart made cool by putting the letter “i” in front of it. Popular with schoolboys and…….ummm……people like me I guess. Still, I don’t need an app for that as I have an arse for that. There’s also Take Me to My Car — it works like this: you get out of your car and the app pinpoints your location via GPS and then, later, it guides you back to your car. If you’re the sort of person who can’t find your way back to your own car, then frankly you and this (cr)app deserve each other. Another favorite is Hold On! — a big button appears on the phone’s screen. You see how long you can hold it. That’s it. And finally, there’s Good iDea — find someone who’s bothered to download Hold On! or any number of equally mind draining EyePhone applications. Next, take their EyePhone forcibly from them, and shove it right up where their light saber app don’t shine.

Can I suggest another EyePhone app? Here’s what it does: if anyone in your meeting says anything such as “Let’s ladder up and swankify this idea” or uses their phone to drink a pretend pint of beer, what you do is simply press a button on your EyePhone and it remotely and silently lifts up a pair of my underpants that have been recently iFarted into and uses them to gag the person who is talking such bollocks……..yes……….there should be an app for that.

The beards are obviously depressed today and I can certainly understand why. Steve Jobs was an incredible man and it is obvious we have a lot to thank him for. Our children (Kye included) who so easily use touch screen of iPads and iPhones (spelt correctly in his honour) will surely never be able to fathom what life was like before Steve Jobs revolutionised their lives. His main gift seemed to be giving the world exactly what they wanted which is something Carnival tries to emulate and as people we should too.

It was a fitting tribute that today as I went to have a meeting about the bloggers cruise that on one of the beard’s desk was an EyePad………with an app showing a burning candle. I asked Jordan our Director of Carnival.com how he felt and he simply said……………”iSad”

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.