QUEENS AND CRUISE DIRECTORS

July 30, 2012 -

John Heald

There has been lots of debate on my Facebook page and, indeed, here on the Carnival Breeze amongst the guests about the opening ceremony of London’s Olympic Games. For the most part I thought it was a piece of typical Britishness. Eccentric and slightly bonkers. A few bits were far to PC for me though and none more so than when the helicopter (we will speak more of that in a moment) flew over the statue of Winston Churchill. Did you see that bit? It was so right that the great man was recognized, yet there was something strange about the great man’s mouth because the cigar between his lips had been taken out even though it’s on the actual statue. I am sure this had been done so as not to promote smoking. I am not sure if I can find the words to say how angry this makes me….and how utterly stupid this is. It’s the same as showing the camp fire scene from Blazing Saddles, yet taking the fart noises out so all you have are a group of cowboys lifting their bottoms slightly off the ground.

That aside, the whole helicopter scene was amazing. How many of you, like me, thought that when Mr. Bond arrived at Buckingham Palace that the Queen would be played by an actor? The fact that she agreed to do this is simply astonishing and should not be overlooked. Except it is. It is being overlooked because of the way she appeared on camera and when the director cut to the images of the Queen, she was either giving herself a manicure or as bored as H82SEAUGO at an “I Love Carnival Convention” (oops). But we really have to give her credit, don’t we? I mean she is 86 and to sit there for four hours without a cup of tea or a pee, is at any age tough and at 86 is quite remarkable. And besides, I doubt she really wanted to be there. She’s stuck with her job, too, endlessly waving and pretending to look interested. Of course, theoretically, she still has the power to start a war but she never does, instead, she announces the Olympics are officially open and buggers of to the palace for a cup of cocoa. You may argue that the pain of being a Queen is eased by her vast fortune. This may be true. But what can the poor dear spend it on? A Hublot watch with diamonds? A Ferrari? When we look at her, we have to remember what she represents. The Queen is the benchmark of what Great Britain is all about. She looks grumpy and bored but deep down she cares. This is her country and one she has given so much to. God Save the Queen.

Time for today’s Q and A……off we go.

Jen asked:

Just to start, I have never sailed on Carnival before but am considering going on a Carnival cruise for next winter break. We’ve sailed NCL many times and have loved it, especially the amazing Epic and villa suite complex. Does Carnival have any plans for an enhanced suite program? Also, something I’ve wondered while browsing your blog, have you ever sailed a line besides Carnival such as NCL or RCCL?

John says:
Hello Jen,

I really do hope you sail with us and we do have some wonderful suites and owner’s suites, as well. I have seen photos of the Epic’s suites and they too look wonderful. I have sailed with all the cruise lines within the Carnival Corporation family but never with RCI or NCL and because I have been a bit ummmmm……..cheeky…..about them occasionally here on the blog, it’s probably best I don’t. I do hope you sail with us though and if there is anything I can do for you please let me know.

Best wishes.

John


April Jackson asked:

I have the most difficult and challenging job in the world. I am a single mother of two young children. My husband left me after the second was born and I work two jobs to raise them with the help of my Mom. So why does Carnival Cruise Lines punish me as a single parent when I try and book a cruise because I have to pay full price for a two year old who won’t eat the food, etc.? Why is there no discount for my four year old either? It’s not fair. I want to book a cruise for our summer break but I can’t because Carnival won’t do anything for me.

John says:
Hello April Jackson,

I am sure bringing up two young children on your own must be difficult for you and I am sure you need a vacation. We do charge guests on a per-bed basis for the first two guests in the cabin regardless of age and a discounted rate for the third, fourth, and fifth guests, which is standard in the cruise industry. A good travel agent or one of Carnival’s personal vacation planners can keep you informed as to when the best rates are available which are usually in the fall. I do hope that you get that much needed vacation and that you take it with us. Please let me know if you have any other questions.

Best wishes.

John

Frank Bianchi asked:

I think it is very unprofessional of you to continue to flame Cruise Critic member H82SEAUGO. Each blog you mention him with disgust and contempt. He is a member of the 20,000 club and a Carnival cruise VIP and Platinum member and yet you flame him all the time you big ass****. His insights to what happens at Carnival are valuable to us at Cruise Critic and we think it’s disgusting that you are allowed to do this. No wonder so many Cruise Critic members dislike you when you do things like this!!!

John says:
Hello Frank Bianchi,

It is interesting that you know that H82SEAUGO is a “he” as “he” writes as Lucinda Lace on my Facebook page. Anyway, you may have noticed that since you posted this comment over a month ago, I have stopped mentioning him/her and moved on. Just as he taunts me on Cruise Critic and other pages, I am sure he/she knows that it was done in good spirits and as I have always said if he/she were to walk up the gangway of a ship I was on or ever needed help with anything before a cruise, that I would be here to extend a hand of friendship as I do to you as well.

Best wishes.

John

Linda Seaman asked:
John,

I have a huge favor to ask of you or whoever is reading this. Thank you ahead of time. I have called Carnival, my TA called and all I have got is a run around. I’m gifting my daughter the best honeymoon in the world, because it will be on the Carnival Freedom in September. Here is my request: she will be turning platinum on this cruise and her future husband first cruise. He did cruise once, to Iraq in the Marines. When I booked this cruise on the Carnival Magic this year BC5, I was told that she will be a VIP. She’s my VIP and I want her to be Carnival’s VIP. I went to print their luggage tags and she doesn’t have VIP on them. I know that the program is changing but I really want to print their luggage tags with a BIG VIP on them. Her cruise history 6/3/95, 6/14/98. 7/1999, 8/2000, 12/2001, 8/2012, 9/2008, 6/27/2010 and 3/4/2012 Total of 65 days. The cruise in Sept will be # 10 and the current Carnival policy states, “With only your tenth sailing — you’ll qualify for the benefits of a Platinum member.” In other words, please change her status to VIP on her luggage tags and have that wonderful Platinum card waiting for her. Booking # 163525 Sept 8, 2012 Cabin 7451 Christina Seaman and Kevin Arnold.

Thank you again.

Linda Seaman

John says:
Hello Linda Seaman,

This is one of those things that I am able to fix immediately for you. Well, actually……it’s not me that has fixed this for you but a lady called Mischelle or Wonder Woman as we call her. Anyway, she informs me that this has now been taken care of and if there is anything else we can do for you please let me know.

Best wishes.

John

Manuel Vargas asked:

I am in full agreement with Manuel because if Carnival sails out of Miami where the most common spoken language is Spanish then you should have Spanish speaking staff and activities and shows and a Latino based food in the restaurants. I am in my 20’s and speak fluent English as I was born in Miami but do you know how many potential customers you are missing because my parents and thousands like them who would love to sail Carnival don’t because they don’t speak English and Carnival makes no effort to look after those like them. Miami is 80% Spanish speaking and it seems Carnival needs a better business module to attract those who live in Miami to cruise with you.

Manuel Vargas

John says:
Hello Manuel Vargas,

Thanks for taking the time to write and I would like to point out that while we don’t have Spanish-speaking shows and announcements on board, that all of our ships have Spanish translated menus and daily programs. Most ships have Latin trios as well that provide wonderful music and dancing and I have seen many guests from Miami enjoy this and indeed the entire Carnival package. We have our new ship Carnival Breeze coming to Miami in November and I hope you and your family consider coming to see what we have to offer. Fun is an international language and this ship speaks it fluently.

Best wishes.

John

Vance Ware asked:

There have been reports that Carnival has stopped the chocolates on the pillow. Is this true?

John says:
Hello Vance Ware,

Not true in any way, shape or form. I hope you will get to enjoy one soon on one of our wonderful ships.

Best wishes.

John

Erin Moore asked:

I am new to this whole cruise world and will be with my hubby on our second cruise this August. I have become addicted since our first cruise last Sept. I read the blogs and message boards daily, that is how I came upon your blog. I just have to tell you after reading for many months, the way you respond to comments and complaints is just brilliant!! Some people will never be happy and are plain a-holes. You still treat them with respect and I admire that. Seams you are excellent at what you do and I hope to sail with you in the future. Just wanted to send a little pick me up note, because I’m sure all the negative emails can get exhausting!

Much love,

Erin

John says:
Hello Erin Moore,

I am so glad I caught this before you sail so I could thank you for those kind words of support and most importantly so I could wish you a brilliant cruise. I am sure once you experience this cruise vacation you will be back for more. If you have time, drop me a line on Facebook (www.facebook.com/johnheald) and let me know your ship and sailing date and cabin number. Have a brilliant time and thanks again for those kind words.

Best wishes.

John

Anne Robson
Hello John,

It is me again and am wondering if you have the schedule for August? I asked this question about two weeks ago and if I missed your reply, I apologize. I truly hope I can meet up with you again as we did on the Magic.

Kind regards,

Anne

John says:
Hello Anne Robson,

If you mean the CD schedule, then today is your lucky day as coming up in a few minutes will be the new CD schedule. I look forward to us sailing together one day soon.

Best wishes.

John

Joanne S. asked:

I have a group of 54 (so far) on the Carnival Breeze on September 19. Of that group, approx 20 of us are doing independent things in Rome. I need to know if there is the usual shuttle bus to take guests from the ship to the main port gate and/or rail station at Civitavecchia in order for us to catch the train. This is not addressed anywhere on the website nor on the travel agent site. Your advice will be much appreciated and we’re looking forward to seeing you again.

John says:
Hello Joanne S,

Yes, indeed, there is a free shuttle bus that will take you from the ship to the gates of the port. From there, it is a 25-minute walk to the station from where you can catch one of the municipal trains that take you to Rome Central station. We also have the “Rome On Your Own by train” which is a private train, no stops and will take you to the station next to the Vatican. During the train journey you can buy tickets to the major sites and the hop on, hop off buses. Please let me know if you have any other questions.

Best wishes and see you all soon.

John

Steve Geis asked:

Blackjack Band on the Carnival Dream is such a welcome change to the same ol’ boring top-40 bands. Blackjack does country, top 40, R&R, classics, standards, etc. And passengers go back to see ’em every night. They mingle with the passengers and hang out with passengers at their tables and they are so friendly & cool. I hope the new 2.0 doesn’t phase out this entertaining group. It is the only one on the seas. Fourteen cruises with three of them on the Carnival Dream just because of Blackjack Band. If they move/change,…so do we. (Also, we are booked on the Carnival Breeze repositioning from BCN to MIA on 11-6.)

John says:
Hello Steve Geis,

I too appreciate this band so very much and despite what the scare mongers on other sites will tell you, we have no intention of doing away with bands like this. They are a valuable part of the entertainment on board for all the reasons you mentioned and I hope they will be with us for many years to come. I will pass this to the band and I know they will be thrilled. ‘

Best wishes

John

Dean Ovett asked:

I have had no reply from Carnival about the letter that I wrote because we missed Roatan port where I had paid for tours for me and four family members. The tour company charged us 12.5 percent cancellation charge but it wasn’t our fault that the ship canceled and other ships had docked as well which makes me spitting mad. No response is not what I expect from a big company like Carnival so I hope you will do the decent thing.

John says:
Hello Dean Ovett,

It is never nice to miss a port and, obviously, the captain only makes that decision when he is concerned about the safety of the ship and those on board. In this case, he canceled the port of Mahogany Bay because of the high winds and this resulted, it seems, in the independent tour operator you had booked with to charge you a cancellation fee. I realize that it’s not your fault that we couldn’t dock, however, it’s out of our control as well and I am afraid we’re not able to reimburse you for the cancellation fee for an excursion you booked on your own and not through Carnival. I do hope though that you enjoyed your cruise and that we will see you again soon.

Best wishes.

John

That’s all for today.

Here then is the CD schedule for the remainder of the year. I apologise that it took longer to post than I had hoped for and I will explain why in a moment. But first, here is who the cruise director will be for your cruise.

First of all, let me say thank you to the beards for allowing me to post this. As far as I know we are the only cruise line that gives guests this information and in such detail. So why did it take so long to post? Well, there are a few factors here and the most important one is quite simply, it’s not easy to schedule 24 ships and, with the retirement of Stephanie Meads and another cruise director who left recently as well, we had to look at who would replace them. We also welcomed two new fully promoted cruise directors in the artist formally known as Jamie Deitsch now Jaime Dee and James “Hiyaaa” Dunn. They both deservedly have their own ships now and they are both wonderful additions. There are some names on there who have their big chance as acting CDs and they include Lesley Sparkles, Ugly Craig, Matt Mitchum, Eric Bouman and others.

We welcome back our good friends Troy Linton and Chris “Bubba” Roberts and it’s great that these seasoned entertainers are back home with us. There is also a new name on the CD schedule in Willie Lee. Our VP of Entertainment Adrian and our Director of Entertainment Chris met Willie when they sailed P&O in Australia and quickly realised his value to CCL……and ummmm ………..stole him. Willie embodies the spirit of Carnival fun and brings new energy and ideas with him and we warmly welcome him to the family. I will have a bio and photos of Willie soon. So my thanks to all our CD’s for the brilliant work they do and the continuing fun they will provide our guests.

So what about me? Well, the plan for me is that I will leave the Carnival Breeze on August 14 and return on September 1. Now, deciding when to take that break wasn’t easy because I had to arrange coverage here plus I knew whenever I took that break that I would be disappointing some people for sure and to those who I am letting down by not being here, I sincerely apologise. But I have to go home and one of the reasons, apart from the obvious ones of needing to rest, be with the family and plonk my flaccid lily white arse down in my chair and do bugger all ……is my arm. I have finally decided to have surgery for my carpool tunnel. Not that big girl’s blouse laser surgery but proper get in there with a scalpel and cut stuff surgery. So on August 16 at 9:30am I will allow Dr Ramitin to do just that and this will hopefully stop the annoying pain that has returned to being pretty much constant these past few months. I was able to have Butch cover me during this time and then once I am back, the plan is to stay until the ship reaches Miami and then hand things over to Butch but remain with him and perform a few bits myself.

We have been showing continuous coverage of the Olympics here on the Carnival Breeze and when we don’t have live music or movies, we have been showing this on the big screen with 24- hour coverage at the casino bar and everyone seems happy that we are. Well……mostly everyone.

Sorry, I try and hold back as often as I can but this time I have no choice but to say, “Oh, FFS!” Our coverage on board comes from the BBC who I think do a pretty good job in making sure they broadcast as many events as possible. If the BBC covered only the events in which British athletes had a chance of winning gold, the entire coverage would last 10 sodding minutes. I am not saying that the American stations are biased but the BBC really does a great job in making sure all the sports are covered across the three channels they provide. And, besides, I just don’t get how this chap can suggest that while the ship is in Europe that we should get NBC! I have apologised to him but there was a definite lack of understanding as to why we can’t get American TV even when I suggested we would need a satellite the size of the Olympic Stadium to pick it up.

But, as I said, the majority of people seem to be enjoying having a cocktail in the sun and watching the games. Today, they will have a chance to watch surely the most pointless event of them all……..beach volleyball. How the heck did this ever become an Olympic event?
Gorgeous, bronzed, blonde Californians with names such as Misty and Summer will be skipping around with a beach ball in little bikinis on a manmade beach in London. They will be keenly observed by a male, middle-aged audience…….ummmmm…….like me. The Americans are favourites but I will be cheering for the Latvian team, of course. Watch out, Misty……….Nora Nippleov and her mates are going to win gold. So pretty girls running around a beach in tight little bikinis….I keep waiting for Benny Hill to come running onto the beach and start chasing the girls.

I should also point out that as London is not known for its pristine white sandy beaches that an artificial one has been made on Horse Guards Parade which is right next to Buckingham Palace. I wonder if the two Princes had anything to do with this? My bet is that it was probably Prince Philip who arranged this, 90 and still going strong.

Look, this is not a political discussion and I have no idea or desire to understand his politics but I do want to say this. Based solely on the statement he made, I think the perfect end to the Olympics would have been for the Queen to stand up and in front of 80,000 people and billions watching around the world on TV and said, “I now declare the London Olympics officially open. And I declare also that Mitt Romney couldn’t be more wrong……London isn’t ready…… my royal arse.”

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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