BACK ON THE CARNIVAL MAGIC – WISH YOU WERE HERE

February 13, 2012 -

John Heald

Heidi and I have not celebrated Valentine’s Day since her father passed away on February 14th 2005. And while tomorrow on the Carnival Magic guests will be proclaiming their love for each other and Carnival gives each lady a rose to mark this day of love, I shall be ignoring it. Now this isn’t just because it has for the last seven years become a day of sadness and remembrance because I have always hated Valentine’s Day ever since I was a teenager and I stood by the door waiting for a card to fall through the letterbox telling me that someone loved me. But they didn’t and February 14th was just another reminder that I was ugly and I had as much chance of getting a Valentine’s Day card as H82seaugo becoming president of the I Love John Heald fan club. No mailman was going to find himself with a hernia after delivering my mail on February 14th.

Not celebrating February 14th means I don’t have to wander through the valley of hell…..or as you ladies and Calvyn call them……Hallmark card shops. I hate these sodding shops, full of ridiculously expensive cards with pictures of cute teddy bears which are surrounded by cuddly toys and other stuff that makes me want to projectile vomit…On Valentine’s Day. I don’t want to buy a little teddy bear holding a sign that says “I Love You Soooo Much” with which to “romance” my wife or my girlfriend or indeed for someone whose name ends in a vowel…..both.

I am aware of course that there are far more important things to worry about, such as if the bastard in 51C who spent the entire flight to Houston yesterday coughing his lungs out had Ebola or swamp fever or whether or not I can remember how to be a cruise director after five months of brand ambassador work. But I hate these pink filled shops and I hate the fact that my wife would rather spend two weeks in a Hallmark shop than two weeks in Tahiti.

I hate them because if I had saved the money she had spent on cards then I would have my much wanted Aston Martin and still have some money left over to visit the VIP room of a Latvian pole dancing club. You may laugh, but it’s true. Look, by the time you’ve paid for a card, some scented sodding candles and a helium balloon that shouts I Love You, you feel as if you’ve been taken out to the woodshed by H82seaugo and his mates. Valentine’s Day my arse.

Time for a bit of Q and A……let’s crack on.

Glenn Gledhill asked:
John,

We never get a table for two and have been refused three times when we ask the dining managers and had to endure the horrors of eating with strangers. So imagine my disgust when I read you were arranging these for people who have no more right to one than I do and my partner and I have cruised four times in three years with your company. This is not customer service but favoritism and it MUST STOP NOW!

John says:
Hello Glenn Gledhill,

I understand your frustration, I really do but please understand that per ship, per cruise I ask for less than maybe 5% of the two tops that each ship has available. Please let me know when you are sailing next and I will do my best to secure you and your partner a table for two. I hope to hear from you soon.

Best wishes.

John

Hugo B asked:

My girlfriend and I will be on the Paradise sailing April 2, 2012 and she is very worried about seasickness. I have just lost my job in IT and could only afford an inside cabin at the back of the ship and she is so scared she will be seasick. I read on _______- that cabin R156 is the worst on the ship. Please can you help me reassure Vicki that this is not the case and she will be fine?

Thank you

John says:
Hello Hugo B,

I am so glad you contacted me and please don’t worry. Your cabin is at the back of the vessel but unless there is severe weather your girlfriend will be fine. Now I will be honest of course and tell you that you will probably feel a little vibration when the ship enters port but it is not going to mean in any way that she will feel sick. I would suggest you buy some sea sick pills before you sail if she is that worried but that aside you will both have a brilliant time I promise. If there is anything else you need please let me know.

Best wishes to you both.

John

Harry and Monica Green asked:

On a recent cruise on the Carnival Splendor we had asked you for a gift to help celebrate our 40th wedding anniversary. This was received in the shape of a fruit basket and wine. I do not wish to appear ungrateful but the fruit basket had little or no luxuries to it as one would expect and it was delivered with no plates or knives. Secondly the wine was sparkling wine that when tasted left a lot to be desired. I say this only because I think you should know as I am positive this is not what Carnival’s brand ambassador would want sent to passengers he had promised to reward.

John says:
Hello Harry and Monica Green,

Thanks for letting me know this and while the fruit baskets do unusually containing…..ummmm ……….fruit as well as cheese and crackers they absolutely should be served with plates and knives and I will let the hotel director know this. The champagne doesn’t have a vintage but it does have an expiration date but it is very nice I am told and like the fruit basket was sent with my best wishes for a wonderful cruise and to help you celebrate 40 years together. I hope you had fun and I wish you many more cruises and many more years of happiness together.

Best wishes.

John

Jessica asked:
Hey John,

I just got back this past Monday from an amazing cruise on the Carnival Destiny. I thought Noonan was a really funny cruise director……..and the comedians were really great. I’m writing to find out what the DJ’s name was……..for some reason it isn’t coming to me (I thought it was Ty but not 100%) and I’m interested in seeing if he has a website, Facebook, or twitter…I thought he was really talented and would like to see if he posts any mixes etc. If you could help…I’d be forever grateful…

John says:
Hello Jessica,

This is wonderful to read and I am so glad you had a great cruise and enjoyed the brilliant Noonan as your CD. The DJ’s name was indeed Ty but spelt Tai and I have sent this to him so he can write and thank you for your kind words. I hope that’s OK. I hope we will see you again on another cruise very soon.

Best wishes and thanks for taking the time to write.

John

Darchie asked:

Is soy milk available on all Carnival ships normally, or is that something that would need to be requested ahead of time?

John says:
Hello Darchie,

Soy milk is available on all our ships through room service, from your waiter at dinner, by request on lido deck and from the Promenade coffee shop. Please let me know if you have any other concerns.

Best wishes.

John


Jo Debevec asked:

My granddaughter and I just returned to Miami on the Carnival Valor 11/6……our very first cruise! We have lots of great memories. Absolutely everyone on the staff was very helpful… we were really clueless as to what we were supposed to do next and where to find everything. One thing I would point out is not to try to bring a bottle of alcohol back to the US in carry-on luggage, as airline security will not allow it. When my bottle of rum that I purchased in George Town was delivered to my stateroom the night before arriving in Miami, I was told to pack it in carry-on luggage as it would break in my checked luggage. I should have known better…. and I had to leave behind my bottle of rum. My only other negative comment is that the post-cruise responses are non-existent. I did not receive a statement for charges made to my Sail & Sign card so requested a statement by email after we returned and have not even so much as received an acknowledgement to that request yet. Thanks for your blog……..it was really helpful to me in my post-cruise research.

John says:
Hello Jo Debevec,

Let’s start with a big thanks from me for taking the time to write and for your kind words about the blog. I am so glad you both had a great cruise and was though sorry to know about the lack of correspondence following your cruise. Obviously I am way behind here in answering questions so I probably haven’t helped but I promise to investigate this and have a colleague make sure you are looked after. Thanks again and if you need anything else please do let me know.

Best wishes.

John

Lorrie Broyles asked:
Dear John,

My husband and I are devoted Carnival fans and do not want to cruise any other cruise line. Unfortunately we want to do a back-to-back cruise of Hawaii and Alaska for our 10- year anniversary which will be in 2015. We are concerned that due to the Carnival Spirit leaving to go to Australia we may not be able to do our dream cruise. Please tell me that Carnival has already started thinking about replacing the Carnival Spirit with another ship for those of us who want to cruise Hawaii and Alaska. And if this will help, pretty please with Splenda, Nutrasweet and Sweet-N-Low on top. (I try to stay away from real sugar!!!!)

John says:
Hello Lorrie Broyles,

Timing they say, is everything and I am sure by now that you have seen that we announced a few days ago that the Carnival Miracle will head to Alaska and the Carnival Splendor will head after some amazing voyages to South America to New York. I hope you can find a cruise that you like and that we will see you soon. Thanks for all the sugar and for the sugar substitute and most importantly thanks for your loyalty to Carnival. If there is anything you need from me please let me know.

Best wishes.

John

Cindy Bank asked:
John-

I sailed on the Carnival Spirit this past February and I was hoping to be able to fill out a comment card. I never received one in my cabin and things got a little crazy disembarking so I never got one from GS. I was hoping to be able to do it electronically but have had no luck in finding a link. I wanted to give high praise to Akos at the excursion desk during my cruise. I had friends that missed the ship in San Diego due to weather and so I was asked by them to rearrange their excursions in Cabo. Akos always had a smile on his face and went above and beyond to help my friends out. When they missed the ship on day #1 in Cabo (seas were too rough to allow the tenders to safely take passengers in, so we had another sea day), Akos again went above and beyond to help them out and rearrange things for them. He knew my name and was such a huge help to me and my stranded friends (whom eventually made it onto the ship on Cabo Day #2). What can I do to let Carnival know how wonderful he was to me and my friends?

Thank you!

Cindy

John says:
Hello Cindy Bank,

You just did let Carnival know by writing and posting this here on the blog thingy. We no longer have onboard comment cards but I have just sent this to Akos and the senior management on the ship and all will be thrilled by your kind words of praise. I am sorry your friends missed Cabo but glad you had fun regardless and hope we see you again very soon.

Best wishes.

John

That’s all for today.

So here I am back on the beautiful fun ship Carnival Magic and I must say it’s great to be at sea again. The last two weeks or so have been quite difficult. I have been traveling and flying and packing and unpacking and learning Hasbro Game shows and flying again and taking my laptop out of my bag and taking my shoes off and putting them on and searching for new comedy talent and flying again and asking for a seat belt extension and farting all the way to Houston and freezing my bollocks off in England because global warming hasn’t arrived where I live yet and reading huge books feeling guilty about taking a week off Facebook and missing my wife and daughter and using and forgetting to take my diabetic pill and remembering that I am married and not to look at www.latvianbottoms.com and doing what Carnival wants of me and posting things that aren’t true as because I hadn’t checked with a senior enough beard and being sent the posts on you know where from people rejoicing in my errors.

Despite all of this I was shocked and somewhat concerned last Wednesday when I went for my diabetic check up that Doctor Longfinger said I looked “stressed.” This surprised me because even though I have been busy I certainly never considered myself to be stressed. I have always thought of stress belonging to other people and have always been amazed at what some people do to tell it to bugger off. I’ve never squeezed a stress ball and felt less stressed as a result. Regular readers will know that massage is out as well as I hate them and the one time I had one it didn’t end well for me or the poor spa girl who smelt the consequences of the stress ripping out of my bottom. Can you scream if it hurts? Are you allowed to fart?…….The mere thought of a massage makes my blood pressure rise……………not fall.

And this sodding computer of mine along with my raspberry doesn’t help.

You spend the first five minutes waiting for the damn thing to stop making chiming and beeping noises and the next 20 discovering that it won’t connect to either 3G or the Edge, and that you cannot remember the password you chose for the AT&T G spot thingy. Then, by the time you log on, the battery has died and your charger doesn’t fit the wall socket.

OK, maybe I am a little stressed because the Bon Voyage thing really did get to me. I said something which turned out to be as false as when the British Prime Minister walked down the steps of a Dehaviland aircraft in 1940 holding a piece of paper shouting, “There will be no war with Germany.” But it was the hateful comments that followed this really had me feeling ……… well yes OK…….stressed. I am writing this because I want sympathy? Well yes, maybe I am a bit but I am mostly writing to apologise for being away from you for the week. Normal service has been resumed though and along with the fact that I want to help as many people as I can, provide you with news and fun both here and on Facebook…..I won’t give up writing because I know that would make a tiny little group of people deliriously happy…..and we can’t have that now, can we?

So I am here but won’t be CD until the 19th. This was my decision because although I have been a cruise director for 20 plus years I haven’t been one in the Caribbean for…….well a long time. There have been changes and procedures that have been added that I need to see before walking my arse on to the stage. Things like the fun ashore and fun onboard talk along with a few other changes, as well.

Now I will probably regret this decision as I have missed the stage time so very much. But until the 19th the cruise director will be Hennie Van Heerden and I will make sure I help him all I can but he has already proven himself on the Carnival Conquest so I know he will do a great job.

So let’s see who is sailing this cruise and where we are going:

USA: 3,438
Canada: 138
Mexico: 23
Great Britain (UK): 19
Korea (South): 29

Total guests: 3,991
Children under 18: 339

And this is where we are going and who will be entertaining the guests

Great entertainment and brilliant comedians. I know them all except “Just June” but I hear she is sensational and I look forward to seeing her shows.

It has been strange not writing to you here for over a week and it’s great to be back. Obviously it’s been a challenging few weeks but as I walked the decks last night and watched people laughing at the Punchliner comedy club, dancing to the live bands, drinking a glass or 12 of ThirstyFrog Red, squealing with laughter as the slot machines tell them they have won…or not ……..and sitting with friends and family sharing the good and the fun times, it was obvious that despite recent events the industry continues to be strong. Why? Well price, quality, fun, choice, service, and destinations must be taken into account and if being judged by Lenny and his mates on Dancing with the Stars I would think score an almost consistent row of tens. And yet a Carnival cruise is so much, much more than that.

I look forward to continuing to share everything I can with you as we discuss the good, the not so good and ways we can improve. I can’t wait tell you more exciting news about our fantastic company and industry and and ultimately why you and I and hundreds of thousands of people across the world still think of cruising as simply …… the best vacation in the world. It’s great to be back.

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.