LET’S SEE WHAT’S INCLUDED

May 7, 2012 -

John Heald

I have done many boring things in my life. I’ve seen the musical Mamma sodding Mia. I have played Scrabble. I’ve sat through a three-hour training session on board about safety shoes and how to pick up a box. I have been in an all-day marketing meeting where beards utter words like “blue sky thinking” and “raising ideas up the flagpole and seeing which way the wind blows” and I have watched Sex and the City 1 and 2. I am therefore an expert on boredom and how deeply it can affect my ability to stay calm and not want to poke my own eyes out with a toothpick. Some people are able to fall asleep when they are bored. But not me, I just get frustrated and for some reason when I check my sugar level and I am bored, it goes up. When I am bored, I get mad — mad at the man who dreamt up these ridiculous marketing words and the plonker who thought it would be a good idea that a movie about three women and a horse who live in New York and have rumpy pumpy with their bras on.

These buggers made my life boring. I am not a violent man but when I am bored I find myself thinking about doing bad things to Sarah Jessica Seabiscuit with a chainsaw. Why is the fat bloke talking about boredom I hear you cry? Surely he is too busy with the new ship and the blog and Facebook and www.Latvianwomeninsuspenders.com and stuffing his face with pasta, isn’t he?

Well yes, for the most part you would be right but not yesterday. Carnival Breeze is on sea trials, the yard office is closed and the young entertainment staff and Calvyn all decided to go to a club on Saturday night and on Sunday they took the train to Venice leaving me all on my own and bored out of my sodding mind.

Monfalcone is a lovely little town and I really tried to think of something to do but having been here many times, I knew there would be bugger all apart from eating and shopping. Now I could have gone to the art gallery but that would have taken my boredom to a whole new level. You see, with the greatest respect to those who love art, I would rather have someone pump gas into the crack of my arse and then have H82seaugo set it on fire then go to an art gallery. Once, when I was an idiot, I went to Paris with the young lady I was dating at the time who insisted we go to see the Mona Lisathingy at the Louvre. So we took the tour of the gallery where a French guide spoke for 45 minutes about her sodding smile. He knew everything about the painting but bugger all about deodorant. I think that the Mona Lisa is covered by bullet proof glass to stop people like me who are bored out their minds taking a knife to it just to stop Pierre the tour guide from endlessly talking about it. And I’m sorry but I think a painting of Megan Fox’s bottom is far better than anything Leonardo Da Vinci ever did. OK, time to stop talking about being bored and time to crack on with some Q and A………..off we go.

Debbie Chisora asked:

Perhaps you should listen to Dave C and his offer to help you John. I was on the cruise with you in the Baltic on the Carnival Splendor and you were carrying a lot of extra weight and at times your appearance did not IMHO come up to the expectations of the passengers. My daughter had a recurring weight problem and thanks to Bonita Fat Burner pills which has 100% natural herbal ingredients so it’s perfectly safe for your body to take. This miracle pill has taken my daughter’s weight from 375 pounds to 280 pounds in just nine months and I think you should consider this John, again IMHO. The other reason I am writing to your blog is to tell you that we will be with you on the Carnival Breeze on the September 7 cruise from Barcelona. Our last cruise on Carnival Dream we had a big problem with dinner as my husband and I who are in our late 50s and our daughter were sat with two other couples both in their 20s. Come on Carnival, how does that make sense? Well, after the first day we demanded to be moved and were given a table just for us three which we much prefer and that’s what we would want again, a private table for the three of us. I hope this can be arranged and I will bring you some of the Bonita Fat Burner pills and maybe you can speak to Dayna my daughter about how it has helped her. Thank you John and please watch your weight. Booking #******

John says:
Hello Debbie Chisora

Thanks for thinking of me, you are most kind. Many congratulations on your daughter’s weight loss and while I thank you for the suggestion please don’t worry about the pills. I am doing this important weight loss myself my way and indeed I think I have lost a bit of weight since we last cruised together. I will certainly help you with your table for three and as we are sometime away from the sailing date please may I ask that you send me your request one month before you sail. So, on August 7 please send it here marked time sensitive or maybe you can send me a note to my Facebook page 10 days before so either way I don’t forget. I will see you soon and wish you all a fantastic cruise.

Best wishes.

John

Daniel Bearcrofter asked:

I have been on many cruises with Costa, Holland America and we just returned from our eight Carnival cruise so as you can see my wife and I love to cruise! Boarding was a breeze. Maybe because we got on the ship at 2pm, embarkation was the quickest ever. Tampa is a fantastically easy port to begin with; this boarding was absolutely exceptional in that there were zero people ahead of us. Check-in to room was probably done in less than 10 minutes, including a stop for the obligatory boarding-day picture! Ship is probably the ugliest Carnival ship I’ve ever been on. I’m betting designer Joe Farcus wishes he could go back and re-do this ship. Everyone has a bad day, and alas this was not Joe’s best effort. That said, his bad day designing ship interiors for Carnival will be better than any of us could ever hope for. The glass art on stairwells was pretty nice, but the rest of the ship left me cold. As Carnival’s chief architect, Farcus does some amazing work, but I just didn’t love this one. Cabin staff was amazing and our cabin attendant, Anoop from India, was wonderful. These guys work extremely hard and if you appreciate their efforts, please show it with a little something in U.S. currency! Likewise, with our wait staff (Salvo from Croatia and assistant Carlos) for table 221, early seating. Wonderful job and great ambassadors for Carnival. These guys too work extremely hard. I didn’t get a comment card. I wanted to make sure the people who made this cruise special were recognized.

John says:
Hello Daniel Bearcrofter

Thank you for this wonderful review. Joe Farcus has a brilliant mind and his entertainment architecture is certainly a escape from the everyday way we live our lives. Everyone has their own favourite Joe designed ship and Carnival Legend is certainly one of mine. I want to say a huge thank you for taking the time to write and I will make sure that everyone you mentioned gets to see your words of praise for their fantastic work.

Best wishes to you both.

John

Nancy Zeman asked:
Hello John:

Thank you for your blog. I enjoy reading it and about all the new things coming down the pike with Carnival. My brother, niece, and her boyfriend, and I will be going on another Carnival cruise, May 26 from Miami. We loved our first cruise on Carnival last year. This will be my ninth cruise (second on Carnival) but I have always cruised on the Carnival family of companies. We appreciate the low-key atmosphere and the great ports – including Grand Turk! What a wonderful time we had there. We’ve had a rough year as a family as my 80-year-old mother has been ill due to a brown recluse spider bite. My brother, Mick, who will be sharing a cabin with me, has been her primary caretaker. This cruise will be his first chance to get away from the responsibilities of caring for her. I was wondering if there is something special you could do for him? We will be on the Carnival Liberty (can’t wait to try Guy’s place!) in stateroom 6395. I appreciate anything you could do John. I hope to one day cruise with you.

Sincerely,

Nancy Zeman

John says:
Hello Nancy Zeman

Goodness me, I think the words “spider bite” will terrify many reading this and I send my best wishes to Mum and I will indeed send him something.

I hope you can all relax and have fun together and I wish you the best of times.

John

Martin Mays asked:
John,

I just wanted to take a minute and recognize one of the Carnival staff for doing an outstanding job and going above and beyond what I would consider his normal job. His name is Aaron Johnson and he’s a personal vacation planner. My family and I have been booking our cruise vacations through him for the last few years and no matter what questions or issues we may have, he has always been available to us even on his days off. He’s always been extremely friendly and courteous and goes out of his way to make sure our vacations are hassle free. I’ve referred him to many friends and they all have said the same thing. Please pass this up or down the chain so his supervisors know what a great job he does.

Thank you.

Martin Mays

John says:
Hello Martin Mays

It is always wonderful when we read of the shoreside people who have worked hard to make sure the arrangements for your cruise have been taken care of in a special way. I will make sure Aaron sees this as will his boss so thanks very much for taking the time to write.

Best wishes.

John

Whitney asked:
Hi John!

First and foremost I would like to thank you for the hard work you put in to help all of us. I truly learn so much from your blog and Facebook. It’s also interesting to see into the career
of a cruise director. Seeing the problems you have to deal with makes me happy I’m not in customer service because I know I’m not even half as patient as you are! My question is about excursions. My husband and I are going on our second cruise in May. The place I’ve wanted to visit most since a child is Grand Cayman. I want to see the most that I can, so we booked two excursions through Carnival. The times don’t overlap, but there is only 30 minutes between the time the first is over and the second starts. The second is a trip to Seven Mile Beach which I know is relatively easy to get to without a Carnival excursion, but my husband refuses to do anything yet that is not a Carnival excursion as he’s afraid to miss the boat. I wanted your opinion on if we should cancel our beach excursion and take a taxi to the beach or if we should be fine with doing the two excursions. Thanks John so much for all that you do!! You truly are the best and Carnival is so lucky to have you!

John says:
Hello Whitney

Thanks so much for those kind words and I hope I have written this answer in time because I see you are cruising this month. My apologies for the delay and yes, take the beach excursion because everything is included from your own private chair and umbrella to lunch and, of course, round trip transportation to and from the ship. I hope the skies are blue for your day in Grand Cayman as Seven Mile Beach is amazing and you will have a fantastic time.

Best wishes to you both and I am humbled by your wonderful words.

John

Georgie Marino asked:
Hi John

First of all – your blog is fabulous – one of the few things I look forward to each day. We were on the Carnival Magic Mediterranean cruise last August and it was more than wonderful. We wanted to go on the June 3 Carnival Breeze cruise but I need to have surgery – so I’m ready to book either the Sept. 7 or the Sept. 19 Carnival Breeze cruise. Will you and/or Ken Byrne be on the Breeze for either of those cruises? Please let me know.

Love and kisses.

Georgie Marino

John says:
Hello Georige Marino

I hope this reply finds you well following your surgery and I wish you a full and quick recovery and both Ken and I will be on the ship to give you the very best of times.

Best wishes.

John

Joe De Luca asked:
John

New York deserves better than the rust bucket Carnival Miracle. C’mon, Carnival, stop sending the best ships to the ancient nearly-deads in Florida and give us a decent boat. I am Platinum VIP and if Carnival wants my business, then they had better do something and send us a new ship.

John says:
Hello Joe De Luca

Thank you for your loyalty, Joe, and I am sure by now as a Carnival fan, you will know that we are sending the Carnival Splendor to New York next year. However, the Carnival Miracle a truly magnificent ship and is for many their favourite so your description of her is unfounded to be fair mate. Thanks again for your loyalty and I hope we see you on Carnival Splendor.

Best wishes.

John

Pamela Hattaway asked:

Do you know if the ship Carnival Fascination has any AA meetings? My husband heard they have some meetings called Friends of Bill W on some cruises.

Thanks for your help.

Pam

John says:
Hello Pamela Hattaway

Yes indeed, we have Friends of Bill W meetings each and every day on every ship. Please let me know if you need anything and I hope you have a fantastic cruise.

Best wishes.

John

Jenni Tan asked:

My husband purchased tickets to eat at the steak house restaurant on the Carnival Valor for our 10th wedding anniversary and there was a total lack of vegetarian options for the main course of the meal. I was offered a mushroom dish and that was it and I was severely disappointed and was still charged the $30 even with only one main course to choose from. This has left me very angry and as one of thousands of vegetarians who cruise your ships, I say that you should respect our needs and include more options.

John says:
Hello Jenni Tan

Firstly may I say that I hope you had a fantastic cruise and I wish you many more happy years together. I know that the steakhouse does have a menu which, as the name suggests, is based around dishes made mostly of meat. However, I will let the chef know of your disappointment and ask him to look into the possibility of adding more options for you and other vegetarians. I apologise that you were left disappointed and I do really hope that this aside you had a brilliant time together.

Best wishes to you both.

John

And that’s all for today. Thanks to everyone for their comments and questions.

Over the last few days, I have posted some new and exciting features that will appear on the Carnival Breeze and for the most part, they have been received with excitement and with the knowledge that choice is a good thing. If you think back to maybe 10 years ago, there was far much less choice on board and not just in food and entertainment areas either. I remember the days when guests were offered the choice of cash or Sail & Sign and when I was an assistant bar manager the safe would be full of many thousands of dollars. I can only imagine how much cash was onboard by the end of a seven-day cruise. Then, as a CD, I would sit backstage with a huge pile of cash for bingo prizes……….yep, cash was king. I am told that the world is going to be cashless by the year 2050 and that as each year passes, less and less places will accept cash at all.

It’s not that easy though. Not only can’t you use cash on the ship but have you ever tried to last a few days without using cash? I don’t mean sponging off other people. I mean literally not laying a hand on any coins and notes. I tried to pay for the taxi that brought me from the Trieste airport hotel in Monfalcone with my Carnival travel and expense credit card and the driver looked at me as though I had just offered him my gentlemen’s sausage as payment. I guess it does make sense in a way not having to carry dirty old money with you …… right up to the point when you get of a plane and find you need a dollar to pay for a sodding luggage trolley.

And what about tipping? I know many of you like to tip in cash and certainly that’s a great thing but if cash disappears, what about street collections? What will we give the Salvation Army at Christmas and how about street performers they would die of poverty which would be a real shame …..….. Except for those creepy mime artists…………can’t stand them.

Despite a few grumpy comments on Facebook about extra charge items, guest reaction to the Carnival Breeze has been nothing short of sensational and has been met with huge excitement. So I thought we should take a look at what you can have on the Carnival Breeze without paying an extra penny on a 12-day cruise.

Let’s start with shows.
– Four stunning new production shows
– Six different comedians who perform a total of 28 comedy performances
– Three variety entertainers
– A fat bastard of cruise director performs some rubbish comedy, as well.

You can listen and dance to:
– A seven-piece band
– A duo
– Three solo musicians
– Two DJs
– Piano Bar soloist

And some, just some of the many complimentary activities will include:
– Karaoke and Superstar Live Karaoke
– Dance classes
– Trivia contests and games
– Sing a longs
– Deck parties
– The brand new Hasbro, The Game Show.
– 12 movies on the Seaside Theatre big screen
– Movies on the stateroom TV’s
– A library
– The huge water park
– The Serenity deck which, unlike some other lines, is free
– The ropes course
– Basketball/soccer/volleyball court
– Mini golf
– Foosball
– Ping Pong
– Pool tables
– Water aerobics
– Deck games and pool games

Activities and shows and events you pay for……….ummmm………..the Thrill Theatre, laser tag, bingo and babysitting services at Camp Carnival. Did I miss any?

Let’s talk food.

Here is the food that is included in the cost of your cruise
– The Punchliner Comedy Brunch Presented by George Lopez
– Breakfast on lido deck or in the main dining rooms
– Guy Fieri’s brilliant burgers
– The new Comfort Kitchen on Lido
– Blue Iguana Cantina
– The Grand Buffett
– Lunchtime fare in the Serenity area
– Chef’s Choice
– The New York Deli
– Sea Dogs on SportSquare
– Indian Tandoor
– 24 hour Pizzeria
– Mongolian Wok
– Sweet Spot Lido Dessert Bar
– The Taste Bar offering a different pre-dinner on different nights (including sushi from Bonsai Sushi)
– Dinner at early, late or Your Time Dining
– Relaxed dining on Lido including complimentary sushi
– 24 hour coffee, ice tea and lemonade
– Late-night snacks
– Jamaican patties served in the casino from midnight
– And 24-hour free room service

Oh, and we will put a free chocolate on your pillow every night in case you get the munchies.

Here is what you pay extra for:
– Bonsai Sushi
– RedFrog Pub’s snacks at $3.33 each
– Cucina del Capitano – $12 per person
– The Fahrenheit 555 steakhouse – $30 per person
– Drinks, wine, cocktails and specialty coffees

I am sure I may have missed something and yes, we do charge for a few items but when you look at the lists above, I think we offer a brilliant product, don’t you?

Well, the ship is back from its successful sea trials and now Carnival Breeze is at the pier where until May 31, she will remain. More and more Carnival crew are arriving and today we started rehearsals for Hasbro, The Game Show and thank goodness my Sunday boredom has disappeared as the busy times return. There is one other thing I forgot to mention that is at the top of my boredom list…….shopping. Not only is it boring as an art gallery but it means that you will, as a man, end up in a huge argument with your wife or partner You see, it is absolutely bloody impossible for men and women to spend the day shopping without a huge argument breaking out…………unless:

1. He is metrosexual
2. He has been castrated
3. He is dead
4. There is the absolute 100% certainty there will be rumpy pumpy at the end of the trip.

Before I headed to Italy I had a week off, as you know, and one of those days we went shopping for clothes for Heidi because she has nothing to wear for the Carnival Breeze‘s inaugural cruise apart from the 397 dresses and blouses hanging in her closet. I knew even before we went to the Bluewater shopping mall what would happen and I was right because it’s always the same
Heidi will try something on while I stand with Kye waiting…..slowly losing the will to live. Heidi will then come out of the changing room and ask my opinion.

I will say, “I love it.”

Heidi will say, “Really?”

I will say, “Yes, it’s gorgeous, buy it now. Please save my soul so I can get out of this non- air-conditioned over-lit hell hole. Yes, I really like it. No, I am not just saying that. It’s the best sodding dress I have ever seen in my life. If you don’t want it I will have it and wear it on the stage for the handover ceremony. Please for the love of God, just BUY THE SODDING DRESS!”

Of course, she won’t. Kye and I will be forced to visit another 107 shops……then go back to the first one…….and buy it. And that is exactly what happened. Oh, FFS!

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.