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July 16, 2012 -

John Heald

From: BREEZE GUEST SERVICES SUPERVISOR
Sent: Friday, July 13, 2012 9:17 PM
To: BREEZE CRUISE DIRECTOR
Cc: BREEZE ASSISTANT CRUISE DIRECTOR; BREEZE GUEST SERVICES; BREEZE GUEST SERVICES MANAGER; BREEZE GUEST SERVICES SUPERVISOR; BREEZE CRUISE STAFF
Subject: 7319 – ——— – wants to meet you tonight, John.

Good evening,

Please be informed Mr. ———– would like to meet you at 8:15am tomorrow, John, before he goes ashore. He is unhappy with the fact that he has had to pay for cold medicine in the gift shop and is requesting a meeting. I have explained you are busy at that time at the party but he was most insistent. Can you meet him? Kindly advise if possible to arrange it?

Thank you and kind regards,

Guest Services Supervisor
Carnival Breeze
Carnival Cruise Lines

Oh, joy. So off I went to meet a man who was very upset at having to pay for cold medicine in the shops on board and he was even more upset………..because I am embarrassed to say……..I was late. ……18 minutes late, to be precise. And that’s because after many years of faithful loving service, my watch has gone wrong. I looked at it and it said 8:05am. And when I looked at it again sometime later it still said 8:05am. Since then, it just chooses random moments of the day to work and that just won’t do. Now, Heidi will tell you that there is no point in me having a watch as time keeping is not one of my strongest attributes. However, I love this watch. I saved up hard earned money to buy it some 15 years ago and gave it loving care and attention, but now the bastard has stopped working and this is annoying, especially as I shall now have to go to the Carnival Breeze Fun Shops and buy a replacement. Yes, I know I could send it to the watch repair place in Venice today but as I can’t even get an Italian waiter there to get me a bloody coffee without a 30-minute wait, how the heck am I going to get someone here to understand that I want him to repair my watch? However, I need a watch because I need to tell time unless I am going to use the moon.

For me, going around without a watch is worse than going around with my thingy sticking out of my pants. It also brings me on to the biggest problem I’ve found in my quest to find a new timepiece. There’s a world of choice out there but everything is unbelievably expensive and fitted with a whole host of features that no one could possibly ever need. I have flown many times across the Atlantic but at no point in the nine-hour flight did I think: “Damn. I wish my watch had an altimeter because then I could see how far from the ground I am.” That’s the pilot’s job. Let me sit here and enjoy my Diet Coke and breathe in other people’s farts.

You might think, then, that my demands are simple. I don’t want my new watch to open bottles. I don’t want it to double up as a device to remove nose hair. I just want something that tells the time, not in Michigan or Bombay, but here, now, clearly and with no fuss. However, in recent months, someone has decided that the watch says something about the man as I saw when I met that Mr. Perfect I wrote about on the blog the other day. And that having the right timepiece is just as important as having an Italian designer suit, your hair designed by someone called Pierre and a watch that is advertised by a supermodel, a tennis player, a race car driver or David sodding Beckham. Then we have one of our captains, who shall remain nameless, who has a collection of watches. Yes, a collection. But despite this, he has just spent thousands of pounds on a watch made by Pathetic Phillipe or something like that. And I can’t see why.

Except, of course, I can. Seiko can sell you a reliable watch that has a backlight for the hard of seeing, a compass, a stopwatch and a built in AK 47 all for $49.99. And that’s because the badge says Seiko, which to Mr. and Mrs. Snob says you have no sense of cool. To justify the enormous prices charged these days, watchmakers all have idiotic names, like Bleijenburgen and Ross or IWC which also makes root beer. Then there are the watch companies that claim to make timepieces for fighter pilots and cruise ship captains. Then there is a watch company that claims to make watches for Special Forces soldiers who needed a good watch to see what time it was when they shot Osama Bin Laden in the face. What’s more, all of the watch companies say they have been making watches in shacks in a remote Swiss village for the last one thousand years.

How many craftsmen are there in the mountains, I wonder? Millions, by the sound of it. You see them on the watch adverts in the glossy magazines all wearing brown coats and holding a pair of tweezers used to make a watch heavier than the Carnival Breeze for LeBron James to wear on his wrist.

Yep, Hublot has made watches for the World Champions of the NBA, the Miami Heat, and that gave me a brilliant idea. I deserve a nice watch. I have never really owned a nice watch so now I think is the time and I think a nice dollop of sponsorship is called for. So Mr. Hublot, you make a watch called the King Power and I want one. In Rose Gold, please. If you give me one, Mr. Hublot, I promise to wear it on stage, talk about it on my blog and on my Facebook page and we will have Hublot sponsor the countdown clocks that all our guests love to see as they mark down the number of days left to their cruise.

Yes, it’s time for me to get sponsorship and Hublot watches are the perfect partner for me. Please, can someone let them know. I LOVE HUBLOT – THEY MAKE THE BEST WATCHES IN THE WORLD…………that wasn’t too obvious was it? Oh and if Gas X or Depends is looking for a Facebook page to sponsor………….I know one that will suit you perfectly. Oh and the chap who wanted to see me about the cold medicine. I apologised for being late. Listened to him tell me that we charged too much for cold medicine and I directed him to a supermarket next to the ship in Dubrovnik yesterday and said he could get all the medicine he wanted much cheaper. He seemed OK with that and that job was done. But it wasn’t.

From: BREEZE GUEST SERVICES ASSCOCIATE
Sent: Saturday, July 14, 2012 4:54 PM
To: BREEZE CRUISE DIRECTOR
Cc: BREEZE GUEST SERVICES SUPERVISOR; BREEZE GUEST SERVICES; BREEZE HOTEL DIRECTOR; BREEZE F&B MANAGER; BREEZE HOUSEKEEPING MANAGER; BREEZE GUEST SERVICES MANAGER
Subject: Mr._____________

Hello John,

Sorry but Mr. _______came to the desk because he said you had sent him to the supermarket by the ship but it was closed because it is Sunday. Guest asked that you speak with him immediately.

Thank you and kind regards,

Guest Services Associate
Carnival Breeze

Oh, bugger…………I know what time it is now……………..fruit basket time.

Time for today’s Q&A sponsored by HUBLOT watches………………………….here we go.

Janet Welwyn asked:

How come almost every time I write something on the comment wall it keeps saying, “Your comment is awaiting moderation.” Seems like a pathetic attempt at customer service to me.

John says:
Hello Janet Welwyn,

That is a good question, so let me try and explain. We do have to read the comments before posting them. We do this in case there are any that may have something offensive or inappropriate in them. We publish 99 percent of the comments, including any that may not agree with what I say nor have a negative point to make but we have to be careful as I am sure you understand. That’s why the wonderful team of Mary and Mischelle approve them before posting and with 350 comments a week minimum, it may take some time before yours gets posted but post it does get as you will have seen by the fact that this comment is featured here. Please let me know if there is anything I can do for you and I will do my best to answer you as soon as possible.

Best wishes.

John

Karen asked:
John,

My sisters and myself are sailing on the Carnival Breeze Dec.2. Can you please let me know who the CD will be? Make three sisters’ day and tell us it will be you. We have sailed with you before and you made it special.

Thanks,

Karen

John says:
Hello Karen,

Congratulations on booking this cruise and I can assure you that the Carnival Breeze is our best ship yet and she will provide you with a brilliant time. I will be on board although at this point it looks like Butch will be the CD. I will be there for other reasons as we prepare the naming ceremony and I will also host some shows. So I will see you there and if there is anything I can do for you three, please let me know.

Best wishes.

John

Miriam B asked:

We are four couples booked for 46 days on the Carnival Splendor to New York. My two concerns are that this will be our first Carnival cruise and we have heard that your line has a problem with kids being rude and running wild. We are hoping that this will not be the case when we cruise and booked this because we didn’t think there would be any on the ship. Can you confirm? Then we need to know if there will be enough to do as we have also read that the days spent at sea can be boring on Carnival!!

John says:
Hello Miriam B,

Thanks for getting in touch. I am not sure what your source is for these comments and I am glad that you have given me the chance to reply. There are some ships, that during various times of the year, do have a large number of families on board which we love because we are proud to be a family cruise line. However, the kids running wild statement you were told is simply not true. Yes, there are some naughty kids and, yes, at peak times, there are groups of kids having fun around the ship but, for the most part, they don’t interfere with other people’s enjoyment of the cruise. On your cruise, there will be very few and, in fact, we show less than 100 and most of these will be spread out through the three legs of the voyage with very few, if any, being there the whole 46 days. As for the sea days being boring, well this again is simply not true. The cruise director will plan activities, events, shows, trivia games, dance instruction, arts and crafts and bridge instruction and lots more to make sure you are anything but bored. So please go on this spectacular voyage ready to relax and have fun and that’s exactly what will happen. I wish you all a brilliant time.

Best wishes.

John

Viveck asked:

We are coming to cruise Carnival for the first time and are very excited to be doing so. I do have a question though and hope you will be able to answer it for me, Mr. Heald. Does Carnival allow me to bring my kite with me? I am a big kite flyer and have won championships at my home in Dubai. My parents and I will be on the Carnival Splendor ship and it would be exhilarating to fly my kite while we are at sea. Thank you for your careful consideration to my request.

John says:
Hello Viveck,

Thanks so much for asking this question and I am afraid the answer is that we do not allow this to happen while you are on the ship. Now, you can bring your kite on the ship and use it in the ports but not while on the ship for safety reasons. It is a shame as I think it would be thrilling for people to see you demonstrate your obvious skills. I hope though that you and your family have a brilliant time and please let me know if there is anything I can do for you all.

Best wishes.

John


Susie Eves asked:

John,

We cruised with you on the Carnival Sensation many years ago when you were less heavy and I was surprised to see how much you have grown. LOL! My husband and I were on our honeymoon then and we have cruised three times with you guys since then. We are coming back again for #4 and I am glad I found your blog here because I have been seeing you grant wishes. I would like to ask that you get my husband and I a table for two for our cruise this time on the Destiny when we go on Aug 2 and we will be in cabin 2377.

Thank you, John.

John says:
Hello Susie Eves,

Thanks for writing and I am glad you have found the blog and continued to cruise after we met back in 1994. I have asked the maître d’ to assist you and I know he will do his best to help you and I wish you a wonderful time.

Best wishes to you both.

John

Natalie Goodman asked:

Our family sailed on the Carnival Fantasy this week and I wanted to write to you about the magician, Sibi. He was a fabulous entertainer. Our three children range in age from 3 to 10 and they all greatly enjoyed his shows and magic classes. He came by our table at dinner every night and always had a unique trick for each of our children. He even made magic cards for each of the children that attended his classes. The only bad thing I could say was that his classes were not listed in the daily schedule. We just heard him announce the times and location during his show. His classes were always full, but he shared the library space with other groups. It would be nice if Carnival would provide a location for his classes and list his shows on the schedule. They definitely made a difference on our vacation. Our children practiced his tricks over and over for his show on the last night. I would love to see Carnival provide more activities like this that families with younger children can do together.

John says:
Hello Natalie Goodman,

Thanks so very much for taking the time to write about this young man. He is one of the table magic artists who work the dining room and perform some amazing close-up magic. Sibi sounds like he really made a difference to your cruise and if he is doing magic classes then, yes, he should have had these listed in the Fun Times and by copy of this to the hotel director on the ship, I will make sure they will be. Thanks then for bringing this to my attention and I am so glad to read you had such fun together. I hope we will see you all again soon.

Best wishes.

John

Michelle Lowery asked:
John,

I just wanted to take a moment to thank you, Mr. Radu and all of the hard-working crew aboard the Carnival Breeze. The ship is amazingly beautiful and you have all worked so hard to bring her to where she is today. I know you’re working diligently at trying to post videos, blogging about the ship, and answering questions and I just wanted to say “THANK YOU.” It’s those two little words that people sometimes forget to say and I hope it makes your hard work and troubles worthwhile. I’m looking forward to seeing you on November 24 in Miami.

Your fellow cruiser,

Michelle

John says:
Hello Michelle Lowery,

Thank you so very much. It is posts like these that are so valuable to the crew and they will be thrilled when I show them this. Bringing out a new ship is never easy and they have done a fantastic job here in making sure we have the best ship in the fleet. I am going to pass this also to Radu who continues to provide us with amazing photos of the ship and the ports. I look forward to seeing you soon and thank you again for this delightful post.

Best wishes.

John

Rosella Bradley asked:
Hi, John.

My friend and I are booked on the Carnival Breeze and we noticed that it is a Bloggers Cruise and we were wondering what happens on a Bloggers Cruise and do you have to be a member to enjoy it? Looking forward to cruising with you again as you were on our first cruise and thought you were very funny.

John says:
Hello Rosella Bradley,

I am very happy to see that you will be on the Bloggers Cruise here on the Carnival Breeze in January 2013. There will be close to 500 guests who have signed up for this specifically and now you can join them. There will be private shows, events and activities and a gift or two as well and, most importantly, you will meet lots of other people like you who love Carnival and love cruising. Later this year, we will take registration here on the blog and will give you more details then. I look forward to seeing you both.

Best wishes.

John

Dr. Jerry Berman asked:
I am glad that Troy Linton is back. When will he be CD again? We remember him from years ago and he was the best CD ever, after John Heald. Also, whatever happened to Ryan Fitzgerald?

John says:
Hello Doc,

Yes, indeed. Troy is back and we are so happy to have him back in the CD chair and, in fact, he is currently on the Carnival Inspiration as CD. Ryan is now a beard. Yep, he works in the office in Miami and has become a valuable asset to the shoreside entertainment department. Thanks so much for mentioning these two great chaps and, of course, for your kind words about me. I hope to see you both soon.

Best wishes.

John

And that’s all for today.

I have been posting bios and photos of some of our cruise directors and I am going to continue today, sort of. You see, I have been hearing a lot of great things from guests who have posted on my blog and our Facebook page about a young man who is an acting cruise director. This means that he hasn’t yet been fully promoted but is still doing the job and, in this case and from what I have heard, he is doing that job brilliantly. Who am I talking about? It’s Matt Mitcham.

Matthew Mitcham

Matt was born in Birmingham, England, in 1985. He was by far one of the best looking kids of this middle school and even auditioned for the Nutty Professor Role. He is now a keen 26 year old quickly taking America by storm. He has given us a quick insight on how it all began with us at Carnival Cruise Lines.

I first became a social host for Carnival in 2008, working out of Galveston, Texas, on the Carnival Ecstasy. Now, for a city boy who had never been out to the states before, it was quite an experience. The hardest part was understanding the 15 different meanings for the word “y’all.” My first contract was like a dream, going to Cozumel and Progresso every cruise and really learning how to become a good host.

After a couple of contracts on the Carnival Valor and the Carnival Pride, I was promoted to ACD. At this point, I really knew that a cruise director is what I wanted to become. I spent a lot of time with some great mentors learning the tricks of the trade and really took the time to try and make it my own. After four years with the company, I am now enjoying travelling around the world as acting cruise director and look forward to hopefully having my own ship one day.

Well, Matt, the way you are going, you will have your own ship very soon, so keep up the great work and I am sure we will be hearing your name a lot over the next few years.

I like magazines. I like ones about cars and things I will never be able to afford. I like Cigar Aficionado but hate the fact that cigars are now featured in just two pages and the rest is about the world’s most pointless game…..golf.

What I don’t like are Heidi’s gossip magazines about who Tom Cruise will marry next and which star is skinny or fat and which of Hollywood’s elite has gone stark raving bonkers and married a horse. I like looking at the pictures in National Geographic magazine of people who’ve been eaten by sharks and who were lost in the jungle and had to eat their own arm.

Anyway, the reason I have mentioned magazines is that we just started a magazine swapping club with an open basket placed in the Library Bar where guests can leave, borrow and return magazines and it is going really well, with more than 100 magazines already there. It is interesting seeing what people read and as well as the obvious like Time, People and countless gossip mags, there are magazines from the UK, the States, Australia and there are some more diverse ones with my two favourites being the wonderfully titled Soldier of Fortune, The Progressive Farmer and one called Inked Girls which is rather naughty and celebrates the world of Tattoos. Sadly, though, there was no sign of Latvian Women in Stockings Weekly but I did get HUBLOT MAKES THE BEST WATCHES MAGAZINE. Anyway, I think this is a good thing and let’s see if the guests think the same.

So as I mentioned on Facebook on Saturday and as some who are sailing with me on the Carnival Breeze have reported on our Facebook page as well, we had a very unfortunate incident during the show that night. The show is called Divas and is a high energy, brilliantly choreographed show featuring the music of Madonna and Lady Ga Ga and Cher and many more of the world’s greatest divas, excluding Calvyn, who, for some reason, is not mentioned. So I introduced the show as normal and headed to Lido to grab a quick dinner when my phone rang. It was backstage. There was a problem. I turned on my heels and a few moments later, I was in the show room and saw what the problem was. First of all, there was no cast on the stage which was empty save one guest who had come up during the show and started to dance with the cast.

This is obviously very dangerous for the performers and indeed the guest. Now the back stage crew had tried to escort the guest off the stage but she refused and fought back and so I had no choice but to call security and a few moments later after she continued to refuse to leave, we had no choice but to literally pick her up and she was unceremoniously carried through the audience kicking and screaming by six assorted security and other crew………in front of 1,000 other guests. I apologised to the audience and indeed to the cast and a few minutes later, once we had reset the lights, sound, cast and crew, we restarted the show where we had stopped it and we did so to thunderous applause from the guests.

So what of the guest? Well, it would be quick to assume that she was intoxicated but that was not the case and all I can say is that she left the ship in Dubrovnik, Croatia, under medical care and I hope she gets well soon and, in many ways, I feel so very sorry for her. The problem is that the guests probably think she was drunk as well as that is the natural assumption and I had to think hard about what had happened and if I should let the guests know the outcome. In the end, I decided to because so many had seen it and were concerned and therefore I simply made an announcement that the guest had left the vessel under care and that we all wished her well. She received wonderful care from the medical team and she will continue to receive all the help she needs from Carnival’s shoreside care team, as well. But in my 25 years, I have never had to stop a show and with the help of six security staff, have to carry a guest who is kicking like a bucking bronco through the show …………and I sincerely hope I never have to do it again. One thing that disturbed me just as much as having this happen to the guest was the sight of dozens of guests taking photos and video of the incident. But it didn’t surprise me because such is the YouTube world we live in.

Talking of taking photos, I was writing about this on Facebook as well over the weekend. It is a great feeling having your photo taken and being told how much someone has enjoyed your show and that you are a good cruise director. It is also rewarding when you can turn a negative into some kind of positive and it is also very much part of the job to have to stand and listen to someone who, regardless of what you say, is going to want to tell you what I or the company I work for has done wrong. This is the job of the cruise director.

I accept all of the above and even don’t mind when the old lady puts her hand on my arse while having a photo taken with me which has happened many times. However, there are some guests who cross that sacred barrier, which they must know is there, and invade my territory. So after the incident during the show, I felt it best that I stand at the back of the lounge and see if any guests had comments or needed to chat. Some did and most just expressed their concern for the guest which I think was nice. I had been talking to all the guests around me except the person behind me who had only acknowledged my cheery grin and hello with a curt nod of the head and now this lady began to get closer and closer.

I could feel her breathing on my neck. It was human tailgating. Where was her spatial awareness? I carried on talking to other guests and as I did so, I could hear her start to “tut……tut, tut, tut” and then she let out a huge sigh as though I had been ignoring her for hours instead of maybe the three minutes I had been with the other guests in front of me. I knew what was coming next because it has happened so many times during my 26 years at sea and sure enough, there it was, three tugs on my sleeve. Her patience (all three sodding minutes of it) had run out.

I turned around and gave her smile. It didn’t work. She was clearly upset and her mouth was making weird noises. She looked like a bulldog chewing a wasp. She stepped even closer to me and this time, her breathing was so close I could virtually feel the tip of her tongue on the back of my nose. I took a polite step backwards and at the same time, tried to give her a look that said, “Can you take a step back as well, please, and while you are at it, eat a bloody mint, will you?”

She then started to talk and unfortunately that didn’t help matters either because she was so upset that as she started to make her comments known, she got closer and closer until she was virtually inside me. What was her concern, I hear you cry? Well she didn’t like the service in the dining room. You see, she wanted quick in and out service and felt that two hours was too long and she wanted faster service and was annoyed because her dessert was not served until after the “stupid dancing.” Anyway, I have since spoken to Ken, the maitre d’, and we will for the remainder of the cruise have her and the family in and out as fast as possible which should make her happy.

I was more than happy to listen and help her. It is my job and her comment was something we could help with but did she need to be so close? Unless I’m about to stick my tongue down your throat, lady, there is no other reason to be that close to me.

OK, what time is it? Oh, bugger, I have no idea because I don’t have a watch but that’s OK because the BRILLIANT PEOPLE AT HUBLOT WHO MAKE THE BEST WATCHES IN THE WORLD are going to be sending me one soon.

We are approaching Venice and I have to go to the bridge to give my commentary of what the guests are seeing. I will finish with this. Ketut is here cleaning my cabin and his vacuum machine is right next to me as he cleans the carpet and there is a huge warning label on the side that shouts,”KEEP AWAY FROM YOUR BODY.” I know these labels are to protect the manufacturer but the warning label world we live in is out of control. It’s a good thing I saw the label though because I was just about to insert Ketut’s vacuum-cleaner pipe up my bottom to remove a stubborn piece of last night’s dinner.

Goodnight.

Your HUBLOT loving 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.