MASHED MONDAY

November 28, 2011 -

John Heald

As some of you may know I have been nominated for a mash potato award in the category of “Business Person You Should Follow Thingy.” It seems that I am up against the godmother of the Carnival Freedom Kathy Ireland who has millions of followers who like her range of beautiful clothing and home goods plus she has I am sure some men who follow her because she is jaw droppingly beautiful. I have met her and introduced her on stage and she is a wonderful lady and a deserved winner of the award.

Let’s see who else has been nominated by cutting and pasting what the people at Mash Potato have written.

Dave Kerpen – You’d expect the CEO of Likeable Media to have a good grasp of the social media world. Let’s see if his word-of-mouth marketing strategies help him with votes!

Clara Shih – Shih is the clued-up CEO and founder of Hearsay Social and author of The Facebook Era.

Sonny Ganguly – As CMO of WeddingWire, Ganguly understands the social space and is an engaged Twitter user.

Avi Savar – The CEO of Big Fuel Communications has plenty of advice to share on Twitter.

So that’s a stunning ex super model and three company CEO’s and a Chief Marketing Officer whose expertise is ummm…….social media. Actually, while we are here let’s have a look and see what they have written about me shall we?

John Heald – Carnival’s senior cruise director and chief blogger John Heald offers an irreverent option in the “business personality” category.

Now straight away I know I have bugger all chance of winning not only because I am up against some brilliant beards but also what chance do I have if I don’t even know what the word “irreverent” means. I have seen this word used to describe me before and could never be asked to bother looking it up……..until now.

Here is what Dictionary.com defines the word as:

Not reverent; manifesting or characterized by irreverence; deficient in veneration or respect: an irreverent reply.

Origin:
1485–95; < Latin irreverent- (stem of irreverēns ) disrespectful

So I guess when you look at it, this is my profile:

John Heald – Carnival’s senior cruise director and chief blogger John Heald offers a disrespectful option in the “business personality” category and the fat man who writes his blogs in his underpants has about as much chance of winning this award as Paris has of winning the Most Friendly City In The World That Also Smells Nice Award.

Oh yes, I nearly forgot, there is one other chap who has been nominated in this category and that is of course Bill Gates. Now all I do is write some badly put together words and send fruit baskets to people which are a bit different to my fellow nominees. The Bill Gates foundation is the world’s biggest philanthropic organisation with an endowment of $25 billion. This means Bill can go to sleep at night knowing his money is bringing health and hope to those less fortunate than himself which when you think about it is……. ummmm………. everyone.

And it’s not like his generosity has necessitated much in the way of cutbacks at home. He lives in a 66,000-square-foot, $113 million house that is dug into a hill. Inside, the shower curtain is a 4,500 pound slab of Italian marble, the swimming pool is 60 feet long and there are 52 miles of cabling, some of which is used to monitor the well being of his Labrador. I asked Uncle Google to tell me more about him and found out that last year Bill threw a private party and the guest list was so important the American government’s department of homeland security imposed an exclusion zone, even going so far as to ban cars from the nearby interstate.

I wonder though if he is happy and maybe he isn’t. First of all, he has to get up in the morning and think: “Oh no. I’ve still got this face.” And deep down, he’s still a computer geek, which means he has the personality of a washing machine……….oh and he knows that every second of every day of every year someone is pressing “control, alt, delete” and calling him a complete and utter bastard as his system eats your files quicker than a school of piranha would devour Roseanne Barr.

But come on Bill, smile mate. You have got billions in the bank which means you can bounce around on top of whatever Latvian takes your fancy. You don’t need to be funny, or passionate. You just need to yawn, give her something Cartier, and hey presto, you’ll be in your penthouse suite pushing her around the rooms like a wheelbarrow.

Now I have taken the time to look up and research my fellow nominees and I wonder if Bill Gates has done the same for me. Has he asked his computer to tell him who the heck John Heald is? Maybe he has and maybe Bill has laughed at my silly toilet based humour and maybe I will get an email from him asking if we can be friends. OK, that’s bollocks isn’t it? How can Bill be friends with me or indeed anyone? You see, there is definitely no point talking, or listening, to other men because you’re already much richer than they are and all they want is some of your money. And you can’t be bothered with any of that because a six-foot Latvian super model has just walked into the room and you’re thinking of giving her a Fabergé egg.

The fact of the matter is this. It’s very hard to be friends with someone from a different income bracket. You want to go on the Carnival Magic while their vacation is buying a private Bahamian island and filling it with peacocks, caviar and Latvians. You eat a Guy Fieri burger on the Carnival Liberty. They had him round to cook for a private dinner party. And they paid Guy so much he agreed to serve the food himself…….while wearing a pink thong.

So there you go, those are the nominees for the Mashed Potato award and don’t forget Carnival’s brilliant Facebook page has been nominated as well for “Must Follow Brand Thingy“.

Eric the Beard will be here in a moment to tell you how to vote. My money is on Kathy Ireland although Bill Gates has given so much of his own money to help others that he is truly a deserved winner. I am honoured and thrilled to have been nominated and thanks to everyone for voting for me.

Here is Eric the Beard then to tell you how to if you still want to although voting for me may be as pointless as a snooze button on a smoke alarm.

Hello Bloggy People,

As John mentioned, both Carnival and John Heald are finalists in the 5th Annual Mashable awards! John is up for the “Must-follow Business Personality on Social Media” award (along with Bill Gates and Kathy Ireland, among others…) and Carnival is up for the “Must-Follow Brand on Social Media” award. Thanks again to all of you who nominated us!

With that said, winners will be chosen based on the number of votes each nominee receives, and everyone is allowed to vote once a day, every day for each category. So if you have 30 seconds to spare each day between now and 12/16/11 to vote for both John and Carnival, we can all show the world just how powerful the John Heald and Carnival community really is! 🙂

NOTE: Once you get to the voting page you will have to log into your Facebook or Twitter from Mashable’s site in order to vote. I have done this and it is completely safe. All it will do is allow you to post to your FB or Twitter that you’ve voted (should you want to). You will only have to click “Allow” one time.

Now that you know how to vote, here are the links to do so:

Thanks again for all your help, everyone!

– Eric the Beard

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

Francis asked:
John, URGENT MESSAGE!

There was a big problem at the Cruise Critic meet and greet on Magic today with some members divided behind two different would-be leaders. Carnival had nobody there to moderate this and I can see things getting worse. I suggest you speak to someone to get this sorted and quickly as it was a very nasty situation.

Thanks John.

John says:
Hello Francis,

My rule has been not to post anything to do with Cruise Critic outside of meet and greet requests which this sort of falls under. Yours is not the only question I have seen about this as I have been sent three more similar ones today by the beards from “Susan H, Carnival Platinum Cruiser and Bryant100.” So rather than post all three and address this in a few weeks time I decided to bring it to the front of the line. I was aware that there had been some concerns at the first Meet and Greet you all had on the crossing as told to me by James the CD and by Captain Cutugno who both attended the meeting at my request. In fact, I have to tell you that both were very embarrassed by what they heard and what they witnessed and both left rather quickly. I also spoke to a few friends of mine who are valued Cruise Critic members and bloggers when I visited the ship in Freeport and they also expressed how upsetting the event had been. I am not going to comment or get involved in this Francis and respectfully the same applied to my colleagues onboard, it certainly wasn’t their job to moderate the Cruise Critic group. I can only hope that individually you all had a fun crossing and you have many more happy memories of your trans-Atlantic voyage than bad ones.

Best wishes.

John

Gary Feld asked:
John,

We sailed on the Carnival Pride to Bermuda on 9/18/11. I want to thank you for the table for two by a window that I requested on Facebook. The waiters in the dining room, Shrikant, Octavia, and the drink waiter Imade, could not have been better. No matter where they saw me on the ship, they greeted me by name and their service in the dining room was friendly and efficient. Likewise my room stewards, (room 8148) Dian and Jaime were friendly and did a very good job. This was my third time on the Pride and it was in great condition. Whoever was in charge of the Prides’ last dry dock did a very good job.

Thanks again for all you do.

John says:
Hello Gary Feld,

That’s great news and I am glad your table arrangements worked out. I shall be sure to show all those you mentioned your terrific words of praise and I hope we see you again very soon on another Carnival ship.

Best wishes.

John

Paula asked:
Dear John,

My husband, 16 year old son, and myself are excited to be sailing on Carnival Magic out of Galveston December 26. While every cruise is greatly anticipated, we are especially looking forward to sailing on this new ship. It looks beautiful in pictures. We were doubly excited to see on the cruise directors’ schedule that you will be on Carnival Magic in December. However, the schedule shows you going off the ship early in December and doesn’t show the end of the month at all. We love your blog and would love to experience a cruise with you as our cruise director. Please, end the suspense for us…will you be back on Carnival Magic for our 12/26 to 1/1 cruise?

John says:
Hello Paula,

I am afraid I have to let you down as I won’t be the CD on the Carnival Magic as I will be here with my family at home in the UK. Your CD will be James Charlton who you will truly enjoy I promise. If you are a member of Facebook maybe you can drop me a line two weeks before you sail with your cabin number on there. I wish you both a brilliant cruise and get ready to enjoy a fantastic cruise on the Carnival Magic.

Best wishes.

John

Barry Mossman asked:

Wife and I are platinum cruisers going back to the Celebration. As we live in Texas, cruising from Galveston is our fav. The Carnival Ecstasy is our favorite ship. It seems the newer ships just get bigger and bigger. Any thought given to going back to smaller, more intimate ships?

John says:
Hello Barry Mossman,

While I think the Dream-class ships are truly magnificent, I also don’t see Carnival or any other major cruise line ever reverting to a ship the size of the Carnival Ecstasy. I understand that for you and many others this class continues to be the favourite which is why we recently added some upgrades to most of the Fantasy class fleet and will add more in the years ahead. But these days to allow for all the demands of modern cruising and the facilities the guests expect we need to have the larger vessels. So I hope you get to experience more cruises on Fantasy class ships but as you live in Texas I do hope that you will also try the Carnival Magic. I promise, you will really be flabbergasted at how amazing she is. Thanks so much for your loyalty and please let me know if there is anything I can ever do for you.

Best wishes.

John

Stuart Shapland asked:

This is from a platinum guest with 18 cruises under his belt and who is outraged that at the past guest party while on the Carnival Freedom I was not recognized but instead was forced to stand in line like cattle with hundreds of other passengers. There should be a separate VIP entrance for platinum passengers. Then at the party which was no fun at all the Cruise Director Jacques in his annoying South African accent made no reference to me or the other platinum guests. I was so disgusted I left the party early. I have written also to Mr Cahill and to Mr Arison but have received no response from wither which says something loud and clear to me and to other VIPs as well I am certain.

John says:
Hello Stuart Shapland,

Thanks so much for taking the time to write and before I continue please let me say on behalf of Mr Cahill and Mr Arison how thankful we are to you for your loyalty and our hopes are that this will continue for a long time to come. I am not sure if you are aware but there is a new loyalty program close to being ready for the start of 2012 and amongst the changes will be an overhaul of the past guest party. It has long been my belief that we shouldn’t put those guests who have cruised multiple times in the same party as those who have done a three-day cruise and while both are very important to us we should give those guests like yourself something a bit special. And next year, we will when we host a special function on every single ship on every cruise for those who have shown tremendous loyalty to Carnival. I will write more about this in the days ahead.

Best wishes.

John

Richard Taylor asked:
Hi John,

We’re booked on Breeze 9th July, 2012 and celebrating my 65th and my wife, Margaret, 60th. For a surprise present from our family I want to book her a massage, facial, hair and nail thingy in the spa on the day of her birthday, the 20th of July, which hopefully will also be a formal evening in the Restaurant. The “manage your booking” website doesn’t yet allow me to see the packages and book them. I don’t want her to be disappointed so can you find out please when I’ll be able to book up? Many thanks. Oh, and she was born in …..Southend!

John says:
Hello Richard Taylor,

How wonderful to write to someone who was born in the same town as me and from where I am sitting, writing this to you. Congratulations on booking the Carnival Breeze and your wife will love the facilities at the Cloud 9 Spa. The booking for massages etc are set to go live on February 1 2012 at which time I will also be able to tell you when we will hold elegant night as well so please remind me then and also let me know if you are having trouble booking the massages etc. I will see you soon then and get ready for a wonderful cruise.

Best wishes to you both.

John

Peter Hay asked:
John,

I have heard rumors that Carnival is sending a ship to China like RCCL has. Can you confirm this please?

John says:
Hello Peter Hay,

I haven’t heard anything about plans to send any of our ships to China, although some of our sister companies do operate from there. I could tell you the company but I don’t remember and don’t want to give you wong ……..bugger……I mean wrong information. Sorry……stupid joke there.
Thanks Peter.

Best wishes,

John

Ray Mal asked:
John,

I read your blog regularly and, apart from some of the colourful (spelt correctly) language, find myself smiling and agreeing with most of what you write. Like you I am an old English fart and spot on for my weight if I were 9 feet 4 inches tall. Though I often cruise (HAL, Cunard, P&O, Princess and RCI) I have never been on a Carnival ship so, like others, I thought I’d ask you for a gift for booking a Carnival cruise. My simple requests are: You paint the ship from bow to stern in colours of my favourite (also spelt correctly) soccer team (Portsmouth). I would like to watch Dr. Who and my favourite British soap operas while I am on your ship in the Caribbean. Please can you make sure that UK TV channels are available? Assure me that the Latvian lovelies on your private island are as good looking as you claim. Make sure that said lovelies will feed me free champagne and caviar in my cabin every evening. I’m sure you will agree, as will many unnamed Cruise Critic writers, this is not too much to ask. Please let me know which ship you will be painting so that I can view it through the webcam. I’m looking forward to my first Carnival cruise. Seriously though, please keep the blog going. It is a bright spot in a tough day.

Regards,

Ray

John says:
Hello Ray,

Thanks for this brilliant posting and I have asked the beards to paint the Carnival Breeze blue and white and that the smoke stack sounds “Play Up Pompey” when the whistle is blown from the bridge. You shall have Doctor Who and Eastenders running 24 hours a day on the TV and as much spotted dick as you can eat. I will be on the Carnival Breeze next year mate and I hope that you will join me for a bag of Monster Munch and some fun. Thanks again for the great post and hope to see you soon.

Best wishes.

John

Anthony Estavez asked:
John,

Carnival employees are thieves. Maybe not all of them, but it only takes one. We had all our valuables, (Kindle, camera, video camera, IPod, 4 sets of speakers, (2 Bose) and all of my cash stolen by their cleanup crew on one of their privately owned islands. We actually came home with less stuff than we took. Carnival is doing nothing to help us. We want to offer a reward for the safe return of our items, but Carnival will not send an email to the island where the items were stolen to offer a reward. Only 30 people live on this island, and they all work for Carnival. I demand immediate help as I lost $4,000 worth of items and cash thanks to Carnival.

John says:
Hello Anthony E,

I am glad that you corrected yourself and stated that not all Carnival employees are not indeed thieves and I can also understand your frustration and losing so many items. I am guessing you are referring to Half Moon Cay which is operated and staffed by a mixture of island staff and the crew from the ship. I am very sorry indeed that this has happened and I have sent your post and email address to someone who I know will look into this immediately and who will be in touch with you soon. My apologies once again.

Best wishes.

John

That’s all for today. Now obviously I am even further behind in my questions and may I kindly remind you that if you have a time sensitive request to please if you can post it on my Facebook page so I can help you quickly.

So here I am sitting in my little of office writing a blog again after my seven-day absence. Kye has just returned from playschool and is currently calling me Dadda Pig in reference to an obese pig from her favourite TV program. Oh joy. Still, the good news is that the pig has overtaken the sodding purple dinosaur and hopefully Barney is now extinct.

I had a good flight home and am now being taken care of by Heidi who is, despite the piles of dirty underpants and the smell of cauliflower in the bedroom very happy to have me home. We were talking last night how she always feels a little upset when she goes out with Kye and sees Mum and Dad with their children and so I am determined to make sure that this coming year we are together as much as possible and with the Carnival Breeze in Europe that should be easy to accomplish. I have to enjoy as much time with Heidi and Kye as possible as before you know it Kye will be at school and those long and frequent trips to the ship will not be possible.

What else, ahhh yes, my carpool tunnel thingy. So last Thursday I went to see Doctor Longfinger who discussed the two different options I had, surgery and steroid treatment. I asked the Doc what he thought and he told me that surgery would probably be needed but he wanted to try the steroid injection first and so the following day I returned and had the injection. Doctor Longfinger told me that I needed to do various exercises with my wrist and I replied that I had not seen my wife for two months and that it had been getting………..well you get the gist but as usual Doctor Longfinger didn’t crack a smile. Now I must say that the day after my steroid injection I felt pretty crappy with some hot flushes and drowsiness. But today, my arm feels better. Yes it still hurts but I would say that it is 30% better and I have a follow up injection next Monday and if I can avoid surgery then all the better. Heidi has bought me an ergonomicalthingy keyboard which I am sure is helping but my hands seem to be in the wrong position and my typing is much slower and now that I have an ergonomic keyboard I seem to have a craving for tofu?

It was a quiet week at Carnival with the offices being closed for Thanksgiving more of which I shall write about in a moment. The weather around the Caribbean has improved for the most part although the Carnival Triumph had to skip its scheduled called in Progreso today because of high winds. The guests should be happy though as she is heading directly to Cozumel to dock approximately 6 pm this evening and overnight through the scheduled call Tuesday 11/29

Today the Carnival Paradise will set sail for her Panama Canal voyage to her new home port in Tampa, Florida and our chief photographer is there to capture the sights along the way. He started by sending me these wonderful shots from the open decks of the ship looking out at the skyline of Long Beach and of course the Queen Mary.

I am sure you are all looking forward to more great photos from Radu and as always we thank him for sharing his brilliant talents. He will also be holding photo seminars and contests as he did on the Carnival Magic.

Now let’s talk shopping. Over the next two weeks Carnival will begin a brilliant new relationship with a company called On Board Media. This is our new revenue partner who is bringing an exciting and new shopping ashore program to our fleet and some great new bargains to you. Now I know I may have lost some of the men here because I am talking about shopping which like me, some of you find about as attractive as a hemorrhoid. But hold on, this is worth staying tuned for because while you would rather wipe your bottom with sandpaper your wife loves to shop and you need to keep her happy right? So listen up chaps. This new company On Board Media is promising some very special things for those who shop at the recommended stores and before I waffle on about that let me get one thing out of the way. Yes, these stores pay On Board Media for the advertising and promotion they give them and yes, On Board Media pays Carnival, of course they do. However, the guarantee that you will receive on your purchases and the discounts and bargains you will get at the recommended shops is something new and exciting.

Now I won’t go into detail here because the program hasn’t started yet but I know that if you do intend to shop in the ports of call then I absolutely advise you to attend the talks held by the shopping ambassador advisor directors or whatever their title will be. I can tell you that they will all be ridiculously good looking and have names like Brittney, Tara, Clint and Chardonnay.

Now you know by now that the Carnival beards are very much into branding and have given us hugely successful partnerships with people like Guy Fieri and George Lopez and I can tell you that they are very excited about this new program and what it will offer our guests. The talks are being given a prime time slot on all the ships with a 3 pm sea day spot in the main lounge or an early evening slot in the main lounge on embarkation day if the next day is a port of call rather than a day at sea. Now you might think that shopping ashore has gone a bit flat and that the bargains are just not there anymore. Well, as you are about to see from the live talks, the two cabin TV channels and from the brilliant new in cabin book that this is definitely not the case. Go to the talk, check out what they are doing for you and enjoy your shopping time shopping ashore and discover that there are some brilliant bargains in the recommended shops for jewelry and souvenirs and much more and what you will get just for being a Carnival guest.

Here is when the program starts.

Conquest 12/4/2011 New Orleans
Dream 12/3/2011 Ft. Lauderdale
Magic 12/4/2011 Galveston
Triumph 12/1/2011 Galveston
Fantasy 12/3/2011 Charleston
Liberty 12/3/2011 Miami
Glory 12/4/2011 Miami
Ecstasy 12/1/2011 Pt Canaveral
Imagination 12/2/2011 Miami
Splendor 12/4/2011 Long Beach, CA
Inspiration 12/3/2011 Tampa
Fascination 12/1/2011 Jacksonville
Pride 12/4/2011 BLT
Elation 12/3/2011 New Orleans
Sensation 12/1/2011 Pt Canaveral
Miracle 12/4/2011 Fort Lauderdale
Destiny 12/3/2011 Miami
Spirit 12/2/2011 Los Angeles
Paradise 11/28/2011 Long Beach, CA
Legend 12/4/2011 Tampa
Valor 12/4/2011 Miami
Victory 12/4/2011 SJU
Freedom 12/3/2011 Ft. Lauderdale

So to finish with today lets continue with the shopping theme. Just like I was embarrassed to be British during the riots a few weeks ago I had a few emails from my American friends saying how embarrassed they were about the Black Friday thing. It made huge news here in the UK and the video footage of the pushing and shoving and the women fighting each other and using pepper spray was shown over and over again. Personally, I don’t get it. I know that Thanksgiving is the shopping season all about the stuff you can buy for the cheapest possible prices, the 50 inch televisions from China, the latest Blue Ray players from China, the latest Sony PlaystaitionXboxes (designed in Japan) made in China, the latest cell phones made in China. I am surprised it isn’t called “Happy Make China Richer Day.”

I know most places although busy didn’t include the scenes that looked just like the recent riots in the UK but I am afraid that those Brits who don’t know any better thought that this was normal procedure in America. I tried to explain that is all about retailers shifting stock and customers grabbing mega discounts which would bring a tear to the eye of us ripped off British shoppers who pay far much more for products than our American friends, but the image of the pushing and shoving and the two women fighting and using pepper spray on each other is all everyone is talking about.

I hate it when women fight. I had two women fighting over me just before I hosted the Maroon 5 concert. It got so bad I had to call the police because the ugly one was winning.

Anyway, it’s great to be back and thanks so much for allowing me some time off.

You know, I think I’ll use pepper spray on Heidi next time she tries to drag me anywhere near a shop.

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.