FAT CHANCE

February 20, 2012 -

John Heald

Yep, it’s that time again when I am going to talk about me being fat. It’s not something I want to do but the fact that I am blubbery has been pushed in my face like a silent movie cream pie fight ………..that I have no choice.

First came a funny remark from a seven-year-old boy which I believe I mentioned to you on Facebook or the blog last week and I can still hear the little chap ask his Mum, “Why is he so fat?” and I can still remember how much inner strength it took not to tell him Santa wasn’t real and that Fun Ship Freddy was at that moment having rumpy pumpy with Minnie Mouse. Then there is this cruise where we have yet again, as sod’s law would predict, a few members of the “We Used To Be Fat But Then We Drank Loads of Tea That Made Us S**t Constantly And So We Lost Weight And We Can Help You Do The Same” organization ….. They have only been on two days and only seen me so far at the Welcome Aboard Show and the Morning Show but look at this message I received last night from the guest services desk.

From: MAGIC GUEST SERVICES
Sent: Monday, February 20, 2012 7:32 AM
To: MAGIC CRUISE DIRECTOR; MAGIC ASSISTANT CRUISE DIRECTOR; MAGIC CRUISE STAFF
Subject: MESSAGE FOR JOHN

Hello everyone,

Mrs.______ from cabin 2*** would like to arrange a meeting with John. Guest would not tell me what the subject matter would be but just said that she was sure he would want to meet with her. Please can you arrange for John to meet with her?

Thank you and kind regards,

Gustavo
Guest Services Associate, Carnival Magic
Carnival Cruise Lines

Now I had every intention of calling the guest later today but such was her desperation to meet with me that she arrived back at the guest services desk at 8:20 am asking to speak to me. And so the desk called me and that was me, sitting in my underpants in my cabin listening to her offer to help me. I have had this happen before of course and am used to it and am always polite in thanking them for their consideration. This morning though I was bit put out when the lady said that I was “too fat.” And that got me thinking, not about the fact that this lady felt it was OK to tell me that but also, what was I “too fat” for?

As far as I know I haven’t applied to become part of the UK’s Olympic Synchronised Swimming Team. I haven’t challenged Usain Bolt to race down Promenade Deck. I haven’t decided to become a pole dancer and hope that as I swing naked around a pole seductively hoping that ladies will shove a few dollar bills in my G-string. I am a CD. I walk on stage, tell a few lame jokes. The end. I hope that people judge me by how good or bad I am as cruise director not what size trousers I wear.

One time I was pursued all cruise long by one lady who I must admit had lost loads of weight, 100 pounds or more if I remember correctly and she would not leave me alone. She spent the entire cruise telling me I was fat and would die and that I looked unhealthy and that only her teas could save me. Yet through all of this I remained professional and kind and just politely refused her offer and at no time did I tell her that her sudden and dramatic weight loss had left her looking like the Geico Lizard…. in drag. It’s going to be a long week.

Time for some Q and A……..off we go.

Peter Holt asked:
John:

My wife Jo-Ann and I are Platinum members. We saved and went on the Thanksgiving cruise out of Tampa on the Carnival Legend. A family emergency came up and we had to debark the ship after one day. We debarked in Grand Cayman. Two days later my brother passed away.

Everyone on the ship was great and went out of their way to do whatever they could for us and to this I thank Carnival. This trip did cost us a lot of money and I know we won’t be able to recover it. My question is could you or Carnival do something to make this right for us. Thanks, only asking? Thanks John.

Sincerely

Peter and Jo-Ann Holt

John says:

Hello Peter Holt,

May I first say how very sorry I was at the loss of your brother and my sympathies to you and the family? I take it from your post that you did not have insurance for this cruise which is unfortunate. I will be writing to someone today asking them to take a look at your case and someone will be in touch soon. Thank you for your loyalty and I am so very sorry that your cruise was interrupted by the tragic passing of your brother. I do hope that we will see you and Jo-Ann soon.

Best wishes.

John


Lance Brezovan asked:

Do you or anyone at Carnival care about customer service anymore? I have written twice to carnival regarding my anytime dining complaint from the Christmas cruise on Dream and nobody has answered me. We had to wait anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes for a table and for the Christmas dinner my partner and me had to wait 40 minutes for a table for two. We complained onboard and received nothing apart from an apology from the woman at the front desk who couldn’t speak English but that was it. This was our first Carnival cruise and unless something is done to satisfy (we expect at least $200 credit) us it will be our last.

John says:
Hello Lance Brezovan,

I am glad you took the time to write to me because it gives me the chance to apologise that nobody has written to you and to also explain about why the delays happened. Your Time Dining is becoming more and more popular and at certain times it does get very busy. The most popular time is between 7 and 8pm and on the Christmas cruise where the Carnival Dream had 4,400 guests onboard I am sure that this was the case. The ship has spaces for 1,400 on YTD and if a big majority of those come at the same time then yes, there will I am afraid be a wait.

Now personally I think 15 minutes is a reasonable time to wait for a table but 40 minutes is too long so we will work harder there however, again, I must say that at Christmas families to tend to sit longer enjoying the meal and that special family time so this may have been part of the reason that you had a 40-minute wait before being seated. I have spoken to our guest services team and I’m told that we really can’t compensate for this but I do hope that reading this will help you understand what happened and along with my apologies the fact that hopefully you had a great time will have you thinking about returning to Carnival again. Thanks for your understanding.

Best wishes

John

Amanda Klint asked:
Hi John,

This question is actually regarding my parent’s cruise on Carnival Miracle on May 22nd. The cruise is a Christmas/60th birthday present from my mother to my father, and my mother has not had the best experience with sales so far. I feel somewhat responsible as I am booked on Carnival Miracle on April 28th, and after some convincing and gloating from me, she booked the trip for the 2 of them. After beginning to fill out the form online, not completing b/c she was not yet positive, she got a call from the sales department, who convinced her to book over the phone. She wanted to book a balcony room, as in their 5+ cruises the most they’ve had is an ocean view, and usually interior, (I have raved about the balcony experience). Anyway, the issues she’s had is that her sales rep didn’t allow her to pick her stateroom, and didn’t even give her the room number or booking number after she paid! It took her two emails and waiting the entire next day to get the room number, and then another day and two to three more emails for him to give her the booking number. I think that there are better rooms available in that category, but she’s become fed up with dealing with sales/customer service at this point. I really want to make sure they have the best trip possible (they really deserve it), and was hoping you might be able to have someone who is working to help her have the best experience, get in touch with her. Her name is Chris Klint, and I believe it is booked under John Klint, currently in room 6128. Hopefully since it’s so far in the future, you might be able to help out.

John says:
Hello Amanda Klint,

First of all let me apologise that it has taken me so long to answer you as I am way behind in my blog questions. We certainly want your mother to have the best possible cruise and so I have sent this to someone who I know will help you here and be in contact with you to make sure all is well. Please let me know if there is anything else you think I can do to make Mum’s cruise the best vacation she has ever had.

Best wishes to you both.

John


(John) Stephen Jacobs asked:

Hi John,

My partner and I are taking my brother, his wife, and their kids on Carnival Magic, March 11, for my brother’s 50th birthday. This is also a long-promise special trip for the two kids. Our dad was a captain in the Merchant Marine. When I was a kid I used to spend a lot of time on the bridge, even getting to man the wheel when the ship was going up the ship channel between Galveston and Houston. Unfortunately, my dad retired (and subsequently died too young) for my brother to get to have any memories of my dad’s ship. Does the behind the scenes tour goes up to the bridge? Is there anything else available that my brother and his kids could do to really experience what it’s like from the crew’s point of view. We’re in cabin 7459 and 7433. Thank you John.

John says:
Hello (John) Stephen Jacobs,

It will be a pleasure to welcome you and the family here on the wonderful Carnival Magic. The Behind the Fun excursion will indeed take you to the bridge where you will meet the captain and then it’s off to the engine control room to meet the chief engineer as well as a look behind the crew only doors that you will find fascinating. Now the tour does sell out so please buy it from the shore excursion desk on day one and then you are guaranteed that you and the family will get to participate in this great event. Please drop me a not at the guest services desk so I can send the family a little something as well. I am sure this will be a brilliant cruise and I will see you all soon.

Best wishes.

John

Julia Suarez asked:

My boyfriend and I are going on a cruise on the Carnival Sensation. We are both big people and don’t want seats with arms at dinner and was told to write to you to not have chairs with arms or a booths. I don’t know what details you need so here is my cabin number and it’s the same for Manni as well R114.

John says:
Hello Julia Suarez,

Thanks for letting me know and my thanks to my colleague in Miami for looking up your details because I see that you are sailing next week on the 23rd. Anyway, I have asked the maitre d to give you a table, not a booth and for chairs with no arms. I wish you both a wonderful cruise and Have fun.

Best wishes.

John

Lester H asked:
John,

I really enjoy your blog and thank you for all the time you spend keeping everyone informed. I wanted to pass on my thanks also to the crew of the Carnival Victory who were the friendliest crew I have enjoyed in my five Carnival voyages to date. My cabin steward Joy was if you will excuse the pun a real joy and her smile and good wishes each morning were the perfect start to the day. Our waiter Zusanna and her two assistants were also so much fun and made each night’s dinner very special. Outside of the cruise being over too quickly I have no complaints and we are looking now to the Carnival Breeze in Europe possibly in September.

Thanks,

John.

John says:

Hello Lester H,

Thanks so much for the kind words for what seems like a ship that doesn’t get as many mentions here as other ships. I have no idea why that is but it’s great to know that you had such a wonderful time and the crew you mentioned will be thrilled when they see this. I will be on the Carnival Breeze in September and it would be a “joy” to see you there as well. Thanks again and if there is anything I can do for you please let me know.

Best wishes.

John

Jack Simeonoglou asked:
John,

First of all let me say again how nice it was to meet you on the Carnival Magic TA! During our upcoming cruise, the Carnival Pride out of Baltimore on February 26th, our granddaughter Ashlynn will be with us. Ashlynn will be four years old while on the cruise…Although four years old Ashlynn will celebrate her first birthday having been born on leap day February 29th. I’m wondering if possibly the maitre d can be made aware of this big birthday and announce it to the guests and welcome all the diners to sing Happy Birthday to Ashlynn?

Thanks again for your consideration.

Jack

John says:
Hello Jack Simeonoglou,

It was a pleasure to meet you as well and I am pleased to see you will be sailing with us again on the Carnival Pride next week. Now I can’t I am afraid have the dining room sing to your granddaughter because obviously if we do this for one person the maitre d would have dozens of requests for it. However, I will tell the maitre d and ask the waiters sing this at the table for you and I will send her a little something as well.

I wish you all a brilliant time.

John

CruisngGator 123 asked:
Mr. Brand Ambassador,

It is obvious that your cheerleaders are blind to the cuts that Carnival continues to make. It is also obvious that Carnival is looking for a new base customer, someone of lower class who is more interested in paying a low price and happy to receive sub-standard food and service. Your Facebook page is nauseating and the gaggle of cheer leaders who pounce on anyone who dare say anything negative about Carnival or you should get a life. You won’t post this I know but it should be a reality check to you and Cahill that many of us have noticed that Carnival is not the cruise line it was once.

John says:
Hello CruisngGator 123,

I have been sitting on your comment for a week or so now trying to decide if I should post this or not. Reasons not to include the fact that you haven’t used your real name but instead are hiding behind a reptile fetish and also posting it means that I will be accused of only doing so to allow other readers to say the things to you that I can’t. I mentioned on Facebook the other day that I now, thanks to people like you, despise the word cheerleader and the vision of a beautiful lady in a short skirt and with perky…… ummm….pom poms has been ruined. However, the main reason I decided to post this was to let you know that I disagree with what you say and that we’ve made some really terrific changes to the product – Guy’s Burger Joint, Cherry on Top, RedFrog Pub, among countless other enhancements – while still continuing to offer the same value for money fun cruise vacation that continues to attract thousands of guests to our ships each week. I know my style of writing and my Facebook page is not for everyone. But the people there are passionate about Carnival and cruising and they should make no apology for that.

My Facebook page has become everyone’s Facebook page and now people are helping each other with questions and that’s great to see. Opinions are welcome and encouraged and I have seen some hearty discussions taking place there as well which again is something that has enhanced the page. We have 22,750 people there as of today and I hope that number will continue to grow. I also hope that you have cruised with us recently so that you can see that our core elements of value, quality and, of course, fun still remain. I still send you my best wishes even though parts of your post make my teeth itch.

John

Kevin Neilson asked:

Can you tell me if distilled water is available on the CCL ships? I need this for medical reasons!!

John says:
Hello Kevin Neilson,

Yes indeed it is and can be ordered through room service. Please let me know if there is anything else we can do for you and have a wonderful cruise.

Best wishes.

John

Craig Delaney asked:

My wife and I are new to cruising having only been on two cruises. Our first cruise was aboard the Carnival Dream which was awesome. You were our cruise director and made one hell of an impact on our future decision to do more cruises. The following year we cruised on board that “behemoth” from RCCL and found it uninspiring and really nothing more than an overpriced disappointment. In 2013 we will return to cruising on board the Carnival Breeze. Will you be sailing on board this ship once it is sailing and if so do you know when? We would love to book when we know we will be truly entertained. We love you and all the Carnival staff we sailed with aboard the Dream.

John says:
Hello Craig Delaney,

Well after a certain comment just now this was music to my ears. Yes indeed I will be there with you on the beautiful Carnival Breeze and I hope to see you there and that we can have some brilliant fun together sailing in Europe. Thanks again and if you have any questions please let me know.

Best wishes to you both.

John

OK, that’s all for today and let’s see who is sailing with us shall we on this cruise, my first as CD here on the Carnival Magic.

Guest Count: 4,420

Non US:

  • 81 from Canada
  • 23 from Mexico
  • 9 from the UK

And here is where we are going and who is entertaining them:

  • Sun, Feb, 19 Galveston Welcome Aboard Show dep @ 4pm
  • Mon, Feb, 20 at sea Grooveline Cowboy Bill Martin /Just June
  • Tue, Feb, 21 at sea Activities / Deck Party Cowboy Bill Martin /Just June
  • Wed, Feb, 22 Montego Bay Destination Unknown Jason Bryne A Kiss Goodnight 9am-6pm
  • Thu, Feb, 23 Cayman John Heald talent Show And Bedtime Story 7am-4pm
  • Fri, Feb, 24 Cozumel Win Anthony Acosta/ Tony Esposito 10am-6pm
  • Sat, Feb, 25 at sea Asad Mecci and Carnival Legends Anthony Acosta/ Tony Esposito

So we have Asad who is a hypnotist, four very funny comedians, three shows featuring the cast of dancers and singers and some fat bloke doing a bedtime story. And last night the fat bloke did his first stage show since October last year and I was as rusty as 1971 Ford Pinto but I had a great time despite a sodding cold. It is great to be back on stage and thanks to the audience who were so much fun and reminded me just how brilliant a Galveston audience can be. I will hopefully have a few video clips of some of the characters I meet later in the week here on the blog thingy.

My assistant is 6 foot 4 Calvyn Shawn Champagne Martens who is as camp as a row of tents and one of the funniest most extraordinary men I have ever met. Guests adhere to him immediately and his extraordinary wit and talent allow are very evident in the morning shows we host together. He is very funny as I said and one day will be the most eccentric, most hilarious CD we have ever had, yep, he is that good. He gets multiple comments that he looks like “The one from Modern Family” or someone yesterday called him “Ross the Intern.” Regardless, I call him a friend and it’s a joy to work with him …despite the fact that he walks the ship humming Cher songs all day.

Let’s take a break from the Carnival Magic and visit the Carnival Spirit where our senior photographer and great friend of the blog and our Facebook page Mr. Radu is currently sailing.

Here is a selection of brilliant photos taken of the open decks. I hope you enjoy them.

After the show last night I had a walk around the ship and it seems that spring break is here already…………isn’t spring in March or April or did they move it? I was informed that it is Presidents Day weekend and so we have hung a huge flag in the lobby and being a holiday we have lots of kids and teens onboard including many it seems of college age which has surprised me.

After the show Calvyn my assistant and I walked around the ship pausing to look inside the Vibe nightclub. We saw a group of 20-somethings who seemed to be from a less privileged background and had decided to spend the family money on a cruise. This meant that there was no money left over to buy the lads new pants that fit so they were wearing Dad’s instead which meant that their underwear was in full view at all times. Calvyn told me these are called baggies ……..and it was “fashion.” Fashion?! How can advertising that you cannot afford trousers that fit be fashion? How can showing you underpants be fashion? How can having the crack of your arse on so much display that old ladies are putting quarters in there thinking it’s a slot machine be fashion?

These low trouser riding lads were eyeing up a group of 20-something girls who were unable to afford clothes as well and as they could not pay for a skirt had decided to wear belts instead.

Obviously the Carnival Magic bar staff has to ask these lads and lassies for ID before serving them drinks. This never happened back in the late 80’s when I was in the bar department because back then you could tell who was 21 and who was not. The problem is I have reached the age where I am no longer able to tell how old kids are. I had no idea if they are 21 or 15. Regardless there they were last night in the Vibe nightclub, grinding and “Slappin Their Bitch Down” and Dropping It Like They Are Hot in their short skirts and hot shorts and low riding arse crack showing trousers.

And there I stood, in the Vibe nightclub, feeling so bloody old, trying not to look out of place in my JC Penney blazer and polyester trousers held up by a pair of suspenders, with a snotty nose, a pink eye and a towering man who has posters of Richard Simmons and Bett Middler on his wall and whose hand will occasionally pat my bottom.

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.

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