We have a procedure here on the ships that when a crew member is not well, he or she will go to the ship’s doctors. Now if the doc thinks the crew member cannot work, he or she is what we call “signed off,” meaning that they cannot work until seen again by the doctors and pronounced fit for duty. This is obviously an important procedure as you don’t want a sick crew member making your chocolate melting cake, do you? Seriously, we have very strict guidelines for crew when they are ill and the medical staff on the ships provides them with brilliant medical care and I thank them so much for doing so. Usually, when I am informed about a crew member being signed off work, I am not told why as that is, of course, confidential information. Sometimes, though, the crew members will tell me themselves and, indeed, such was the case a few weeks ago.

I haven’t written about this as I wanted to make sure he was better before I mentioned this and do so, by the way, with his permission. You see, this staff member was signed off from work and ordered to have four days of bed rest because he had been wearing tight pants and shorts which had given him something called a “twisted testicle.” I will stop here for a few minutes to allow the male readers of the blog to check their undercarriage in panic.

OK, now that we are all back, let me say that I was horrified when he told me this but at the same time I had to say that it doesn’t surprise me as this is another one of those fashion gone mad moments. I see my younger staff members and, indeed the metrosexual CD’s, wear these ridiculously tight pants which pushes their meat and two vegetables up around their nostrils so damn right it’s going to twist your bollocks around.

But men are not the only ones are they who put up with pain for the sake of fashion. I see it every week on the ships. Ladies can be seen on elegant nights walking down Promenade deck in seven-inch heels looking like a drunken stilt walker. Now, I am a middle aged fat bloke whose understanding of fashion is the same as Donald Trump’s understanding of flying economy class. But even I have to say that I don’t understand why ladies put themselves through this and wear shoes that leave them blistered and bloody. I asked one of the young ladies who works here on Carnival Breeze about these shoes and explained I would be writing about them in my blog. She is 20 something and has an understanding of things like this and she taught me a phrase I have never heard before. She said these shoes with huge heels are often called ……and excuse me being blunt here……they are called “**** me shoes.” Who knew? So there you go, it’s all the rage apparently for women who are on the prowl for prey to wear “**** me ” shoes. And if there are any Latvian ladies reading this please note……………I am wearing “**** me” socks.

Time for today’s Q and A……….off we go

Rick Drake asked:

We are sailing on the Carnival Legend out of Dover on August 20, 2013. We’d like to spend a day in Dover the night before the cruise. How would you recommend that we get from Heathrow to Dover without renting a car? (Not sure I can handle driving on the wrong side of the road.)

John says:
Hello Rick Drake,

In the weeks ahead, I will be posting information on transfers from the airports to Dover and hotel information, as well. If you don’t want to do this, the Heathrow Express train service right from the airport will get you to Dover station with one change or there is a direct bus service through a company called National Express. Tony L — if you are reading this and have any other advice please can you post to Rick? I will have more information soon and please let me know if I can help further.

Best wishes and see you soon.

John

Charles Forshee asked:
John,

I am a Carnival stock owner and was thinking about buying some more stock. The question I have is, if I have my wife buy the stock in her name will she also receive the on board credit for
her owning stock? I couldn’t get an answer from Carnival costumer service.

John says:
Hello Charles Forshee,

It is only one OBC for stock holders per cabin, Charles, I am afraid. Please let me know if I can help further and I will be here for you.

Best wishes to you both.

Brad Burchill asked:

I am a proud member of Cruise Critic’s Roll Call and we have a large group of 120 for the Carnival Breeze cruise of November 6 which is the trans-Atlantic crossing cruise. We will need three meetings arranged with a private room blocked on the following dates – 11/8 at 2pm. 11/14 at 2pm and 11/19 at 2pm. We prefer the piano bar and will require bar snacks and bar waiter service as well and most importantly, a PRIVATE PARTY, sign outside the piano bar. Can you organize this, John?

John says:
Hello Brad Churchill,

It will be an honour to have you all on the ship for the crossing and I will certainly help. Now we are sometime away so I would ask that you write to me again here one month before the sailing or one week before on www.facebook.com/johnheald if you can, please. I can’t promise the piano bar as that will depend on scheduled activities and other groups but I am certain I can get you this at least once. The bar waiters will be there to provide service with individual payment on sail and sign cards. So please do not forget to remind me and I will do my best to arrange this.

Cheers.

Elizabeth Zomer asked:
Hi John,

I just wrote a comment on your latest, and thought I might ask you a quick question as well. As I said earlier, my family and I – all 19 of us! – are sailing out of Miami on the Carnival Breeze Feb. 2, 2013. This is a gift from my father-in-law to all of us. He has terminal cancer and dreamed of cruising with the whole family, including the nine grandchildren. The children will be just shy of 13 years old all the way down to three at the time of sailing. All this rambling is leading up to asking how will we likely be seated by the staff? We have chosen Anytime Dining and we won’t dine together every night, but on those nights where we’d like to, is it possible? I didn’t think we could be accommodated at 19 of us.

Thank you in advance,

Elizabeth

John says:
Hello Elizabeth Zomer,

Thanks for taking the time to write and I am so sorry to read about your father-in-law who is in my thoughts. We do not have tables for 19 but we can arrange two big tables side by side so as long as you enter the dining room together, you will be seated together. If there is anything else you can think of that I can do for you, please let me know.

Best wishes.

John

Joshua Noseda asked:

Can I please ask why Carnival Cruise Lines, which is owned by a Jewish family has no Jewish services on their ships? I read today that you did not even have the courtesy to answer a question about this and the Hanukkah celebrations and had someone else answer, Cheryl. This is very poor customer service and obviously I will need to take this further with the senior management and Mr. Arison himself.

John says:
Hello Joshua Noseda,

I think I replied to a comment similar to this in a recent blog where I expressed regret that I had missed a comment posted in the blog about Hanukkah which was picked up by a colleague of mine and fellow cruise director, Chris Roberts. He answered that we do have Hanukkah celebrations and the Menorah lighting ceremony each night and apologised as do I. Please let me know if there is anything I can do for you.

Best wishes.

John

John Clark asked:
Hey John,

Quick question for you. My wife and I will be cruising to Mexico on the Carnival Splendor this fall. Do you have any idea if the bars on board will carry Gosling’s dark rum and ginger beer so I can get a proper Dark and Stormy? I know what you’re thinking and no, I don’t work for the Gosling’s company. Just a fan of the drink as long as it’s made correctly. Thank you in advance for your attention to my silly question. Keep up the good work.

John says:
Hello John Clark,

I did check with the ship and I am so sorry but we don’t carry this brand. There are other dark rums we do carry which hopefully will make your Dark and Stormy (my first ever time I have heard of this drink) for you. Have a wonderful time, thanks for the kind words and please let me know if there is anything I can do for you.

Best wishes.

John

Wilma Brooks asked:
Good Afternoon John,

I am wondering how to sign up for the Bloggers Cruise. We had already booked before we knew it is a bloggers cruise. My husband and I would love to meet you. We will be on the Carnival Breeze January 13 – 19 with our daughter, her friend and my grandson. Just the two of us will be on Jan. 19-26. The second half of our cruise will be our 13th Carnival cruise and we have enjoyed every second of it!!!

Thanks so much,

Wilma Brooks

John says:
Hello Wilma Brooks,

This is fantastic news and I am honoured you want to be part of the Bloggers Cruise 6. We will be taking a registration here on the blog in or around October and will then start to provide you with details of what will happen. You will love this ship and when you register we will make sure your cruise is even more special. See you soon and thanks so much for your brilliant loyalty.

Best wishes.

John

Ryan Lee asked:
Hey John:

I am curious – I was on Carnival.com looking at possible destinations for my next cruise I saw various destinations listed but some of the ones that are listed are ports that Carnival doesn’t
go to ports like Trinidad & Tobago or Cancun and Acapulco Mexico. My question is why is that? Are these just specialty ports? Hope all is well and have a wonderful day good sir.

John says:
Hello Ryan Lee,

That’s a good question that I will have to talk to the beards about. I get the feeling that it’s probably a map you’re looking at that lists all of the various ports in a particular region, including ones where Carnival doesn’t currently call. Like I said, I’ll check it out and let you know as you bring up a valid question.

Best wishes.

John

Susan Richmond asked:
Hi John,

Through our years of cruising, we’ve enjoyed purchasing items from Gifts & Services on carnival.com for friends and ourselves. Yes, we advertise for Carnival year round. 🙂 The selection is very limited now so I’m hoping that means a new Gifts & Services program is in the works. Do you know if and when that will happen? We’ll be cruising the Carnival Dream for the third time in September (our 12th cruise).

Thanks!

John says:
Hello Susan Richmond,

Yes, indeed, a new site is forthcoming and, in fact, since you posted this question, new items have been added. There will be more each week or so until the new site is revealed. I will keep you informed and please let me know if there is anything I can do for you before you cruise again.

Best wishes.

John

And that’s your lot for today.

Let’s take a break and meet yet another one of our fabulous cruise directors. This chap is simply one of our very best and one of the nicest chaps you will ever meet. Yep, it’s Todd.

Todd Wittmer – Cruise Director

Born – Philadelphia, PA.

Raised – Annapolis, MD.

Now Living – San Diego, CA.

Started with CCL – In May of 1999 as a Social Host. My first ship was the Holiday.

Started as Cruise Director – In May 2002. I received a full promotion in 2003.

Current ship – Carnival Splendor.

Fun Facts – I have been fortunate enough to work on 14 different Carnival ships and four start-up teams.

Favorite Activity – Deck Party/Ultimate Couples Challenge
Favorite Sport – Surfing, Golf
Favorite Sports to Watch – Football, Golf
Favorite Hobbies – Reading, Movies, Food
Favorite song – Anything I can sing along to or find meaning in.
Favorite color – Light Blue.
Favorite food – Sushi, Pizza, Mexican
Best time of the day – Sunset
Favorite animal – Dog
Favorite Place – Hawaii / San Diego (Home)!

Parting words – What a wonderful career Carnival has blessed me with. I have been awarded so many wonderful opportunities, close friends and priceless memories. This will be the ultimate chapter in my life and one that will always push me to continue to strive for my dreams. They do come true.

Todd is, as I said, one our very best CD’s and one that all our newly promoted cruise directors should aspire to be. Genuine, caring, funny and always around the ship, these are the factors that make Todd such a wonderful person and I congratulate him for all he has achieved.

So here we go with another cruise and, like last one, as you will now see, it’s a very international affair and here are the countries with the highest counts:

TOTAL GUESTS: 4,651

United States: 1,286
Canadian: 440
French Canadian: 161
Russian: 308
German: 94
Dutch: 102
Portuguese: 28
Japanese: 48
Spanish: 281
Australia: 41
Israel: 395
United Kingdom: 1,440
Mongolia: 1

GUESTS UNDER 18: 1,451

Having so many international guests does cause some concerns with communication but our brilliant crew really work very hard to make sure they all have a great time. Perhaps the one crew member who lets these international guests down is me……because I am so awful at other languages and, again, I think we should consider for these high counts an international CD as Costa Cruises has. And from a revenue perspective I am making three announcements a day about what’s happening on board and to many of the guests it must just sound like noise…… irritating noise at that I’m sure. There will be one more cruise on August 14 with high international counts and then we should return to a much higher percentage of American guests.

Language is indeed a funny old thing, isn’t it? I am a bit thick, as you know, but I can sort of understand how the world began with so many different languages. I mean, many thousands of years ago, before Uncle Google was invented, it was extremely unlikely that a tribe in deepest Botswana would come up with the same word for water as a load of Mexican Mayans.

But I am not intelligent enough to work out how English, which has been around since the Saxons were kicking the crap out of the French, has so many regional variations. And, more importantly, why those regional variations are still with us today, now that we all watch the same television programs whether we live in London, New York, Sydney, Atlanta, Toronto, Little Rock or Edinburgh. How did that happen, how did regional accents start? Any clue?

Anyway, I am sure that the guests will have a great time as they have done so far on this brilliant ship and the crew continues to be outstanding and I thank them for their continuing hard work. Let’s see where they and the guests will be sailing to this cruise.

  • Thu, Aug, 02 Barcelona 5am-5pm
  • Fri, Aug, 03 Marseilles 7am-4pm
  • Sat, Aug, 04 Livorno 7am-7pm
  • Sun, Aug, 05 Rome 7am-9pm
  • Mon, Aug, 06 Naples 7am-7pm
  • Tue, Aug, 07 at sea
  • Wed, Aug, 08 Dubrovnik 7am-7pm
  • Thu, Aug, 09 Venice arr @ 2pm
  • Fri, Aug, 10 Venice dep @ 7pm
  • Sat, Aug, 11 at sea
  • Sun, Aug, 12 Messina 7am-4pm
  • Mon, Aug, 13 at sea

Another wonderful itinerary and, as always, I wish you were here. Just one note about last cruise and that’s about the new seat saving policy we have in place here. This is well documented on my Facebook page but I have to say how fantastic it is and how wonderfully it was accepted by the guests last cruise. Today will be the first time we have implemented it for an entire cruise and then at the end of the voyage we will report back to the beards, tell them how it went and then we’ll evaluate our findings. I will let you know when I hear more about this. I was also astonished how the proper press, reporters like Gene Sloan of USA Today, picked this story up and wrote about it and I am honoured that the press who do, it appears, read the rubbish I write both here and on my Facebook page. I wonder if Gene writes his brilliant pieces like I do………in his underpants?

One last note about the seat saving (I hate the word chair hog, that seems to have been spawned over there) and that’s a thank you to you, yes you. I say that because the beards also read my Facebook page and this blog, yes, they do. From Gerry Cahill on down, they read my Facebook page and Carnival’s Facebook page and all our Carnival social media sites and from these pages they get an understanding of what you enjoy and what you want to see changed. And along with a bit of gentle prodding from me, they worked to get this hot topic changed so this is proof positive that Carnival’s social media sites are so important to you and to us and I thank all of you who read and comment on them.

A little while back, I wrote a blog about that book 50 Shades of Grey and bugger me I should contact the author and demand a percentage of their royalties. You have no idea how many guests this past cruise have told me they bought the book because of my blog. I am not kidding, there must have been a good dozen or so who were on the ship last cruise and had either downloaded or uploaded or indeed had gone to a ship and bought it. And not just those who were on board last cruise either. I have read comments here and on my Facebook page saying the same thing — “We bought the book because of you, John.” One lady called Amy bought all three in the series because of me and read them in just three weeks. Her husband, Peter, is now recovering from exhaustion and rope burns.

Anyway, I was talking to a blogger who sailed last cruise and she was telling me that you can now buy official 50 Shades of Grey clothes, art work, underpants, ties, lingerie, jewels, beauty products, bedding and home furnishings in the Fifty Shades of Grey brand. Oh, FFS! What a load of bollocks. Only women could take a book about rumpy pumpy and turn it into a shopping trip for some scented candles. Obviously men, we could never get away with this. Do you think Big Jugs magazine does a nice selection of men’s ties? No, of course not, and if we dare buy a tie that has a huge pair of knockers on it then our wives would strangle us with it. But then, what do I know? Kinky rumpy pumpy for me is keeping the light on and, besides, all this S&M stuff can’t be good for my Carpool Tunnel syndrome………can it?

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.