DRESS CODE: LIVE FROM THE FRONT LINE

February 29, 2012 -

John Heald

There’s been talk about whether we need to start making announcements asking people to turn their cell phones off before shows. Personally, I don’t think we’ve reached that point just yet as most people are quite courteous when it comes to using their phones which would make it seem like overkill.

In reality, it’s pretty difficult to hear the phones ring anyway in our theaters. You see, 27 cats could be having cattle prods shoved up their arses and none of our guests would hear anything. The sound in our theatres is full and meaty and creates a great atmosphere for our guests and gives energy to the cast. Someone’s Eyephone spouting off the James Bond theme has as much effect as a hamster farting in a hurricane.

Many people find ring tones the world’s most annoying sound but on ships, certainly it is not. I’d rather be subject to a guests cell phone playing Moves Like Jagger than as I did yesterday at my Travel Talk where some chap had brought his breakfast from Lido and I was subjected to him munch and slurp his way through a bowl of cereal while I am trying to talk about where the sodding gangway is in Montego Bay.

By the way, what kind of person would sit in the second row of my travel talk on the Carnival Magic wearing an RCCL T-shirt and baseball cap? I was going to have fun with him but realised that this is maybe what he wanted, so I ignored him in the same way Calvyn ignores the Die Hard trilogy in favor of Steel Magnolias and his Will and Grace box set.

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

Lil Warwas asked:
Dear John,

If at all possible, could you get me the recipe for the lasagne in the Cucina del Capitano? We had the pleasure of it on the Carnival Magic Nov 14 and I am still thinking of it! My mom used to make a roast in her pasta sauce sometimes when I was a child and it reminded me so of her! She passed away a few years ago and this brought back so many nice memories of her. Please, if you can send me the recipe so I can make it for my family for the holidays. By the way, our trip was awesome! We loved the new Carnival Magic and everyone was so great as usual. I don’t understand people that complain about the little stuff. I always come away from our trips on Carnival with a huge satisfaction but maybe just a bit of sadness that I couldn’t stay longer.

Thank you.

Lil Warwas

John says:
Hello Lil Warwas,

Thanks so much for the kind words about the wonderful Cucina del Capitano. It really has become a huge hit here and tonight as I write to you there are 110 people booked to enjoy their meal there. The bad news is that the chef while allowing me to share recipes from the main menu he won’t share ones from Cucina as he has some trade secrets I am afraid. So I hope you get to cruise again soon and try your favourite dish once again.

Best wishes.

John

Lenny Karl asked:

I was curious why Carnival never has adult-only cruises. I am a single man in my 50’s and would cruise Carnival if they had single cruises and adults-only cruises. I do not want to spend my vacation with horrible rug rats and I bet ya many of my age would agree. Singles only adult cruises would sell and I am surprised that Carnival has not seen the light.

John says:
Hello Lenny Karl,

Carnival is proud to be a family cruise line and although we do occasionally have large singles groups sail with us you won’t see us turning a ship over as a singles/adult cruise and I doubt any other cruise line would do this either. I hope you can find a time when the child count is low so you can come sail with us and meet some new friends.

Best wishes.

John

Thomas Romuald asked:

You always talk about Platinum passengers and yet ignore Milestoners. I am a Milestone member and we are treated the same as Platinum passengers even though we have taken more cruises and spent more money than the now thousands of platinum passengers. I hope Carnival will start to take care of people like me and reward them and not drop us in the same barrel as platinum passengers as we deserve better.

John says:
Hello Thomas Romuald,

Thanks for writing and of course we truly appreciate your incredible loyalty to Carnival and I hope that under the existing loyalty program you will already see how much we value you and the time you spend on our ships. Soon the new loyalty program will arrive and there will be four levels of which you will be at the highest and I am positive you will appreciate what we will be doing for you. So long may your loyalty continue and if there is anything I can do for you, please let me know.

Best wishes.

John

Jorge SALTARIN and Jenny ROJAS asked:
Dear John,

We have had a very good experience with Carnival in the past especially in 2008 during our Miami cruise to Bahamas, but nowadays we didn’t receive any response to our letter from Nov. 19. We had to cancel our cruise from Galveston because our flight was delayed from Bogota to Houston because of weather. We spoke with Ms. Ana Myers and sent the letter to customer service but NEVER received a response for our petition to change the date of the cruise or return the money. We told Carnival about this problem with international service because the weather conditions at the airport in Bogota but never received any response. Please could you help us?

All our best regards,

Jorge and Jenny

John says:
Hello Jorge and Jenny,

I am sorry to read about your travel woes and I will make sure I pass this onto one of my colleagues so that they can look into your situation. I am sorry it has taken me so long to reply but I will investigate this for you both. Thanks for writing to me and someone will be in touch.

Best wishes.

John


Gregg Metody asked:

When will you be on the Carnival Magic? I want to make sure I don’t cruise with you. Yes you read that right as I don’t want to cruise with a director who has such a disgusting toilet based sense of humor. We are looking at June 12 so please tell me that you won’t be there.

Thank you,

Gregg Metody

John says:
Hello Gregg Metody,

I am very glad that you wrote to me because the last thing I would ever want is to stop you from cruising on this magnificent ship Carnival Magic. I realise that my humour is not for everyone and you will be glad to know that in June I won’t be here and the CD will be Butch Begovich who is a brilliant CD and guaranteed never to offend anyone. So please go ahead and book and I wish you and your family a wonderful cruise.

Best wishes.

John

Becky Noll asked:
Dear John,

My husband and I just got off the Carnival Liberty yesterday and I just wanted to say it was our third cruise and by far the best yet! The Carnival Liberty is an amazingly beautiful ship, we were lucky to have Butch and Amy 6’3″ as CD and assistant. The only things we weren’t crazy about were the ThirstyFrog Red beer (too sour for our taste, we prefer a nice Blue Moon – no wisecracks, please), and Guy’s Burgers could have done without the added butter. This did not, however, prevent my husband from eating there twice! And once we figured out that from certain parts of deck 2, we had to go up to deck 4 then back down to 3 to get to our dining room, it was all good. Best of all, I finally won a coveted Ship on a Stick! We’re already planning next year’s cruise. It annoys me to see so many people complaining about every little thing. I just wanted to send along a big THANKS to all the Carnival folks for doing all they can to give cruisers a truly fun time. My motto is, “Don’t sweat the petty stuff, and don’t pet the sweaty stuff.” Keeps you happy!

Thanks to everyone again!

Becky Noll

John says:
Hello Becky Knoll,

Thank you for the great review and I am so glad that your husband tried a Guy’s burger twice before he realised it may have too much butter in it for his tastes, I love the way you told that story. I will be passing your words onto the ship and they will be thrilled, of course, and I hope we will see you both soon. Finally, your words at the end of your post are so important and I thank you for this positive outlook on life.

Best wishes.

John

David G asked:
John,

My wife and I were on a cruise on the Carnival Liberty over the holiday season and found that there was a lack of respect from the crew to those non Christian passengers. We could handle the decorations but the religious singing in the main lobby by the staff and the bible readings at the show were obnoxious and showed total disrespect to those of other religions or who may not have any religious affiliation at all. Had we known this we would not have cruised. I would suggest that you advertise the fact that it is a cruise where Christmas will be “in your face” so that others are not upset as much as we were.

John says:
Hello David G,

While I do understand your concerns, our ships are not unlike other places such as shopping malls with decorations and such and we do try our best to celebrate Hannukah on board as well. I was surprised by your “bible reading” reference as I am not aware of any shows in which we do this. I do hope that you had fun and enjoyed the service of our friendly crew.

Best wishes to you both.

John

Tina Salvatore asked:

I too have just found your blog and wanted to say that I was an avid fan of the Nation of Bugger Off but that was until I had my first cruise on the Carnival Conquest in Feb 2011. Yes, I was on the ship that was fogged in the first day and hit in the port by another ship and have its itinerary changed because of all the issues but it was still a most wonderful and fun time we’ve ever had cruising!!! I have become a loyal fan of Carnival and have even convinced my other family members who were sworn to the Nation line to try your ships. We will be a family of 11 now sailing on Carnival Dream on February 18 (school vacation again) and can’t wait to show them how much fun your line is and how wonderful your chocolate melting cake at dinner can be! We look forward to more and more trips with Carnival and are planning Europe as soon as our 13 year old is out of the house but for now, we’ll see you in the Caribbean every year! Thanks for such a wonderful vacation!

John says:
Hello Tina Salvatore,

I am smiling from ear to ear. Thanks for this great review and it’s a joy to know that the chocolate melting cake and the crew of the Carnival Conquest have made a Carnival fan out of you. This is truly brilliant news and I hope the cruise on the Carnival Dream was just as good. Please let me know if there is anything we can do to keep you as a Carnival fan and thanks again for this wonderful post.

Best wishes.

John

The Pratt Family asked:
John,

I hate to say this but as someone who has cruised Carnival four times since 2009 that the breakfast meals are now so boring and bland that on our last cruise we missed them because there was nothing to eat at all. We are from the south and could not believe our eyes when this past week on Carnival Fantasy we saw no grits, biscuits and gravy, buttermilk biscuits, etc I spoke to so many of my fellow passengers all of who said that breakfast was a letdown. We literally had nothing to eat until lunch was served so I think Carnival needs to realise that us Southeners need more choices and better choices at that.

John says:
Hello Pratt family,

Thank you for your advice and I shall be passing this to the chef. I understood we did serve grits on the ships but I may be wrong. I always thought that we had a good choice of breakfast items but it looks like we need to provide more on the ships that sail out of the south. Thanks again and I will make sure the right people see this.

Best wishes and hope you had a great cruise.

John

Janet Learn asked:
Hi John,

Just wanted to let you know we just got off the Carnival Triumph on Saturday and had a really great time. It was our first time on this ship and as usual she was all we expected and more. The staff went out of their way to take care of us and make sure we had a wonderful time. By the way, Felipe says “Hola” to his papa. You sure know how to pick them. He is a great cruise director, taking time out to speak to all and make sure their cruise is special. We also want to acknowledge our maitre d in the London dining room. “007” is the best maitre d we have ever had. He always stopped at every table with a kind word. He is the only one we have ever seen help the staff set up tables when things got hectic and he always joined the fun in the entertainment portion. Ardani and Jose were our team head waiters and did an excellent job. Kudos to the seating staff also who always greeted us by name and gave us wonderful seats. “Classy Cassie” – one of the entertainment staff is also from England and is hoping she can be with you next year on the Carnival Breeze. She always said hello to me and we had a great time at the deck party and playing trivia. I came home with one medal and two gold ships on a stick! I don’t want to forget Phurita our room steward on Empress Deck. She was great. Our room was always cleaned in a timely manner and she was always available to meet our needs, even getting us an extra blanket on a cool night. We enjoyed the debut of the Burlesque show which was done in very good taste – a beautiful show! My husband was taken up on stage by one of the girls, his eyes wide and with a big smile on his face — he’s 67, by the way. He gladly went to the guillotine and got his head cut off by Kevin the Magician. What fun!!

The embarkation at Galveston is greatly improved since the arrival of the Carnival Magic. The lines are much shorter, faster, and the layout much roomier. I can’t comment too much on the debarkation since we are VIP Platinum and we were off the ship and in the parking lot by 8:04 am – record time! The only shortfall of the whole cruise had nothing to do with Carnival or her fine staff. I was very disappointed in some of my fellow passengers. What has happened to decorum like say “please” and “thank you” instead of demanding? I saw pushing, shoving, yelling at staff and other guests. Also guzzling as many free drinks as possible at the “return guest” and farewell parties until one fellow had to go to the men’s room to vomit so he could come back and drink more. There’s always a few bad eggs in the basket and I want to commend the staff for having the grace to put up with some of the shenanigans that go on. With that said, we are definitely looking forward to being on the Carnival Spirit this coming May to Alaska and then the Carnival Magic in 2013. Have a great day John and a Belated Happy Anniversary to you and Heidi and of course Kye. Please forward these remarks to whoever needs to know.

Thank you.

Henry and Janet Learn

John says:
Hello Henry and Janet Learn,

Thanks so much for this magnificent review and apart from the behavior of some of the guests it seems you had the most wonderful time. Seeing how the crew made such a difference to your vacation is so brilliant to see and they will love seeing their names here. I hope your husband’s head is OK after Kevin’s magic feats and it sounds like you had loads of fun. Thanks for the kind words for my family and we wish you both all the best and hope that we get to sail together very soon. Please let me know if there is anything I can do for you.

Best wishes.

John

That’s all for today…. But it’s not

Now I must be mad. I must be as bonkers as a bag full of rabid hamsters because I am going to talk about dress code again. Hold on, before some of you head for www.ihatefatcruisedirectors.com please bear with me because it involves a question from a blogger, a brief answer from me and a longer answer from someone on the frontline.

So, here we go with the question.

Carla Sanchez asked:

On elegant night during our Thanksgiving cruise I watched a man walk straight past the dining room manager in a pair of old jeans and a T-shirt that looked like it had never been washed. This repulsed me and why I ask do you bother having a dress code if nobody is prepared to refuse entrance to them. This NEVER happens on Royal and never happens on Celebrity so why does it at Carnival?

John says:
Hello Carla,

I just wanted to take the time to write and say thanks for your post. I will be answering this question shortly and before I do go into this further, I just wanted to say that I hope you had a great cruise despite your misgivings.

Best wishes.

John

So, the dress code thing ……again. And I will say now that I will not be dumping a huge dollop of my opinion on you today as we all know what my opinion is……it’s all about choices. So what’s it like to be at the sharp end of the dress code scenario?

To find out I asked our senior maitre d, the man with the Sinatraesque voice and the man who didn’t just touch the Blarney Stone, he ate it and washed it down with a pint of Guinness……we are talking, of course, about Mr. Ken Byrne.

Hello John and Bloggers,

Since the introduction of the relaxed dress code, while some of our guests do not read this, the vast majority follows and respects the policy for elegant evenings and other more casual evenings. We always have a maitre d and/or hostess at the doors welcoming guests. We always approach those guests who are not dressed correctly in the most gracious way and explain the dress code for that evening. We inform them that this evening is Elegant Night, and that they need to be wearing long pants/shirt/jacket and shoes. We ask them to change and that they are welcome to return to the dining room and continue to enjoy their evening.

As you can imagine there are some guests who are not happy at what they have just been told and will scream and shout and swear saying, “It’s my vacation and I paid for the cruise” and “What are you going to do to stop me?” There are times when you may miss a guest enter the D/R because you are busy talking or helping someone else which makes it more difficult to ask them to leave and change clothing once they are seated at the table.

It is also important to remember in some cases guests may have lost their luggage and, of course, we make exceptions here. However, by not enforcing the dress code, dress shorts become beach shorts, collared sports shirts become beach shirts, and sandals become flip flops topped with a baseball cap!

So there you go John, we do enforce it, and I totally agree that people should respect the dress code and comply with our policy, without the maitre d’s having to tell guest they must dress up.

Regards,

Ken

So there you go. It must be very difficult for Ken and his colleagues to catch everyone and to confront them. One would hope that the guests see the rules and comply with them but obviously while the vast majority do, some do not and again, it’s their vacation so you can understand why some don’t want to be told what to wear. This subject will continue to be open for debate and meanwhile let me thank Ken and his colleagues across the fleet who all do a brilliant job and who many of you have written and told me how the maitre d has made a difference to your cruise.

It’ s a busy time here and along with running the ship and hosting shows, blogging and Facebooking, I am also putting the last few things together for the bloggers cruise. One of the things I was so looking forward to was having the girls here with me but unfortunately that won’t be happening.

Here is Heidi to tell you why:

Hello everyone,

I wanted to take a moment of your time to say a quick hello from Kye and I. First of all, thank you for all the nice comments on Facebook after John said we could not join you all for BC5.

Luckily, Kye doesn’t understand yet that we were supposed to see you all on the ship and that it’s not happening now. Unfortunately, I DID know I was going to have someone cook for me and tidy up after me and oh, of course seeing my husband (did you notice the order of importance) …….

It’s just not to be. Eleven hours on a plane, my doctor said, is not what you need right now young lady. So, Kye and I will stay put. I am working to get back in shape and hopefully we’ll meet lots of you on the Carnival Breeze this summer.

Kye is doing really well. She is a little chatterbox and loves doing “a show.” Instead of “Ladies and Gentlemen,” she says “Lady and Gogomo.” She has her own microphone and sings and dances to her heart’s content. Wonder where she got it from????? She is always happy and very social and caring, other qualities she’s got from her Dada.

Right now, Peppa Pig and Curious George are the most important people in her life, apart from John and I, which is so cute. She loves helping me cook and we make cupcakes just about every week just so she can decorate them.

As she is getting a little older now, realization has set in that John is not here with us all the time which sometime causes some sad scenarios but then again, when her Dada is home, he spends more time with her than most Dads do and she makes up for it. Not long and John will be home again but before that he is going to spend some time with everyone joining the Bloggers Cruise and I wish you all great weather, smooth sailing and lots and lots of fun. Please don’t wear him out too much!!!

Until next time,

Kye and Heidi xx

It was when Kye was a year old or so that I posted a photo here that someone lifted and used to enter Kye in a baby model contest online. We found this out some months later and obviously since then we have been cautious to put photos on the blog of our little one. But I want to show you what I helped make one night on the Carnival Splendor.

And if I do say so myself, that’s not bad for three minutes’ work.

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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