CONDITIONING AND THE AIR TO THE THRONE

August 27, 2012 -

John Heald

Hello, everyone. This is going to be just a quick blog as my arm is still under the care of the doctor and I want to ease into writing again slowly. My arm does feel better but the doctor said I have to be “careful” or I may need surgery again, which I want to happen in the same way I want Captain Hook to give me a rectal exam. While I was away having my carpool tunnel thingy taken care of, some of my Facebook friends wrote a couple of fantastic posts as if from our dog Breeze. They really were fun to read and, obviously, I thank those responsible for writing them.

Breeze is very much part of our lives and, while I am away, there is no doubt I feel more secure in knowing there is a sodding huge German Shepherd ready to sink his teeth into the buttocks of any would be bad guy who is trying to rob my house. Now, Breeze is a wonderful friend to Kye and a security blanket to Heidi but one thing Breeze is not is a fussy eater. I’m sure he would happily eat a hamster that had been dead for a month and enjoy it in much the same way I enjoy a bucket of KFC.

So bearing this in mind I have to share an argument I had with Heidi about Breeze’s diet. You see, we have fed him on basic dog food and bones from the butcher but apparently Heidi is now concerned that his diet is all wrong. Breeze is a healthy dog, fit and with great hips which in a German Shepherd is apparently always a concern. So why the sudden concern from Mrs. Heald? Well it’s all the fault of her great friend Nadia who has a dog called Ralphy who is one lucky miniature dachshund. You see, Nadia cooks little Ralphy special meals from a “doggy cook book” ……….no, I am not making this up. It’s true, really it is. For example little Ralphy gets lamb cakes, beef casserole made with beef, honey, carrots and oats which this doggy cook book calls entitled Champion Casserole for Dogs ………………..oh, FFS!

Heidi has borrowed this doggy cook book and has been bothered by the quote on the front page from the author that says “If I’m not prepared to eat it then I won’t feed it to my dog.” I don’t, in truth, Heidi has time to spend cooking all the dishes in this book but Heidi insisted we “talk about this” last night. The conversation didn’t last long because I reminded my wife that Breeze also enjoys the taste of his own testicles.

This was the longest I have been away from the blog and from Facebook and I have appreciated the rest very much. I am sitting here in my little office typing this in my underpants and also with my left arm in a heavy duty brace which I am not enjoying at all. However, Dr Ramitin was very strict in telling me that I must wear this when typing and so I will listen to the doc and continue to wear it even though it’s as comfortable as having itching powder in my underpants.

But it has been a wonderful two weeks and in just six days’ time, I will be back on the Carnival Breeze. I have even managed to get some rumpy pumpy in……..well…….I nearly did as I will explain. Now don’t worry, this is not going to be a Fifty Shades of Grey episode where I tell you how Heidi decided to attach clamps to my nipples. Oh no, this is far, far worse. I had finished reading Kye her bedtime story which we do in “Dadda’s Bed” and as her eyes closed, I carried my daughter to her bed. Later that night, Heidi and I were in the throes of rumpy pumpy when I rolled over and onto Kye’s Peppa Pig doll. She must have left in our bed and as I did it, shouted “Everyone loves jumping in muddy puddles! SNORT!” Kye is very upset with our dog Breeze because the following morning she found her beloved Peppa Pig doll in his basket…………. without a head. I wonder how that could have happened? Bad Breeze!

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

Steven Topley asked:
John,

There is a very interesting discussion going on the cruise boards right now about how RCI gives Cruise Critic members free drinks at their meet and mingles but Carnival doesn’t. Does Carnival not realize how important CC members are and that our reviews make others cruise? Why no free drinks at Carnival, then?

John says:
Hello Steven Topley,

I think this subject has been covered many times before and while I can’t comment on what another cruise line does or does not do for Cruise Critic meet and greet functions, I can say that while we value each and every guest we can’t differentiate between Cruise Critic guests and other guests when it comes to handing out complimentary cocktails. However, I will send two bottles of champagne and two of our famous trophies to anyone who I arrange a group meeting for whether it be a CC group of a Facebook group, as well.
Thanks for taking the time to write.

Best wishes.

John

Valerie Cohen asked:
John,

In reference to your post about getting into cabins earlier I want to put my point of view forward. Why do I have to be out of my cabin by 9 am? I have paid for a whole cruise and yet you throw me out onto the street. I know you will moan about cleaning schedules but surely the cabin boys would rather have their work spread throughout the day, not just crammed into the two hours between 9am and embarkation. We should be allowed to leave up to noon, like hotels!

John says:
Hello Valerie Cohen,

That is a very interesting point indeed and I know that at times with all the announcements, it does feel like we are trying to get you off the ship. After a brilliant vacation, I can certainly understand people wanting to hang out for a bit longer. But the facts are that we need to get the guests on board as quick as we can and into their cabins as quickly as we can, as well, to prepare for the next group of guests. The ship needs to sail on time and if we allowed for a noon debarkation, then this would not happen. There is also the question of United States Customs and Border Protection who require all guests to pass through their inspections in a timely manner so I doubt a debarkation system that would run for that long would be something they would be prepared to allow. Still, it would be nice to do this but in the cruising world, it is, I am afraid impartial.

Best wishes.

John

Jonathan Lewallen asked:
Hi John,

I just wanted to pass on my thanks to the wonderful crew working on the Carnival Dream. I sailed on the 6/9/12 cruise staying in cabin 1247 and everyone was brilliant. What a wonderful ship the Carnival Dream is! One question… the Encore Lounge music played between shows when the theatre was empty was 1000 times better that the music played on the Lido camera channel can we have this changed to the same music playing in the theatre ?… Please pass on my thanks to Chris who worked in the gift shop. The Citizen watch he picked for my wife was brilliant, it was our anniversary and I was lost for ideas. Chris walked me around the store after having a chat about what she likes to make sure I got her the right gift. He has only been on board for a few weeks and this is his first time on a ship and away from home so please make sure he gets this message and some praise from his manager maybe a little something? The crew is what keeps me with Carnival and I can honestly say after the personalised service and the countless high fives when we passed him on Lido deck or when I was walking past the store, I will be back on the Carnival Dream and hopefully sailing with you soon.

John says:
Hello Jonathan Lewallen,

Thanks for this wonderful review and I will indeed make sure your observation regarding the music is passed on. I know many others will agree when you say that the crew on our ships remains the most iconic feature of a Carnival cruise and that makes us very proud indeed. I hope we will see you again very soon and thanks for taking the time to write.

Best wishes.

John

Al Verni asked:
Hi John,

How often does Carnival change a ship’s itinerary? I sail mostly out of Port Canaveral and the Carnival Glory and now the Carnival Dream have not changed for at least 10 years.

John says:
Hello Al Vermi,

There really is no set pattern to this and we do change ships around now and then. Carnival Dream operates two different week-long itineraries from Port Canaveral, while Carnival Sensation offers two different Bahamas itineraries and Carnival Ecstasy three itineraries. And that’s just from Port Canaveral. So as you can see, we do try to offer up a wide variety of itineraries from which to choose. I will let you know what 2014 will have in store for the fleet soon.

Best wishes.

John

Julie Maracki asked:

I am planning a cruise on the Carnival Freedom and need to know if the swimming pools had chlorine in them. I suffer from an allergy to chlorine and they cause me to have skin irritations and asthma attacks. I am hoping that you do not chlorinate the pools and if you do, that like other cruise lines have done for me, Carnival will accommodate me in other ways to make me happy. Our booking number is ****** and I hope for a prompt response.

John says:
Hello Julie Maracki,

Yes, our pools contain saltwater that is chlorinated to the levels demanded and regulated by the United States Department of Public Health. It sounds, therefore, that you should not use them as the conditions you mentioned may be brought on by doing so. I am not sure what else we can do for you in this regard but if you have a suggestion, please let me know. Until then, I wish you a wonderful time and please do let me know if there is any way I can help you.

Best wishes.

John

Diane Schlosser asked:
John,

Forgive me for I have sinned, and I know better. We cruised with you on the Carnival Dream. It was a wonderful fun filled experience. Then for some unknown reason we decided to cruise with a line I will not mention (initials are HAL) and we were very disappointed. Too many reasons to even go into. All I can say is that we were looking for fun in all the wrong places. And now, my question. We are going to cruise again in January or February. I really would like to cruise on the Carnival Breeze, but would also like to cruise with you again. I know the 2012 cruise director schedule is out, but not 2013 yet. Will you be on the Carnival Breeze in 2013? Believe me when I say the cruise director makes a big difference between a good time and a great time. Thanks for your blog and your entertaining abilities.

John says:
Hello Diane Schlosser,

You are forgiven and while I know HAL is a wonderful cruise line. I am thrilled that you will be joining us again soon. I will be on the Carnival Breeze for the Bloggers Cruise on January 19. I am not sure what is happening after that but I do hope to say as CD a while longer. I will let you know ASAP and meanwhile I hope you may consider joining me on BC6 where I promise we will have loads of fun.

Best wishes and hope to see you soon.

John

Pris McCorquodale Phillips asked:
John:

As you can see, I’m now a travel agent and my first booking is a group sailing on the Carnival Dream next March. Someone suggested you might be able to assist me with a very delicate situation. One of our group member’s husband is terminally ill and he wants her to scatter his ashes at sea during the cruise as he insists that she still go on the cruise. I Googled this and only found notes where P&O and Princess would allow such a ceremony. Since that’s the same family, I’m wondering if Carnival would permit this. Someone on Cruise Critic (I know, I know) said Host Mach once arranged this through you. While I have no idea if that’s true, I figured you might know if this can be done and where she needs to get the forms to transport the remains/ashes and what else she needs to do. I would appreciate any information if you can point me in the right direction.

Thanks so VERY much!
Pris M. Phillips

John says:
Hello Pris McCorquodale Phillips,

Congratulations on your new profession and I am sure it will be a happy and successful time for you. I would be honoured to help you with this and have been arranging such events for guests a lot recently. Please advise your client to have a biodegradable urn and apart from that I need you to send me their names and cabin number here on the blog a month before they sail or the week before on my Facebook page and I will take care of all the arrangements. I hope this helps and if there is anything else I can do for you please let me know.

Best wishes.

John

Sperantza Weissman asked:
Good morning,

I would like to go on Carnival Breeze on Sept. 7 in the Mediterranean but I am very surprised that you do not have “sightseeing or city tour – mild” (for example Palma de Mallorca, Rome), for older people with walking difficulties? Do you offer anything similar? From my experience with other companies, they offer easier tours!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

John says:
Hello Sperantza Weissman,

We do indeed offer these in most of the ports of call that the beautiful Carnival Breeze will call at. Please look at “Easy Rome” which involves no walking at all and is a full tour of all the major sites by coach and photo stops only. We also have similar tours in other ports. Please don’t worry as we have dedicated staff who will help you so why not visit the shore excursion desk on Deck 3 when you come on the ship and let our staff chat with you about what you can and cannot do and therefore find the right excursions for you. I will be there as well to help.

Best wishes and see you soon.

John

Bob Hannon asked:
John,

After what appears to be successful surgery for prostate cancer, my GF (who has had her own surgery woes this year) and I are looking forward to a vacation. She has never cruised, so we are looking at a cruise on the Carnival Breeze to the Caribbean. We were wondering if the CD schedules are published through the spring as we would love to do the trip with you as the CD. Thanks for your time.

Bob Hannon

John says:
Hello Bob Hannon,

Many congratulations on beating prostate cancer and I wish you both nothing but health and happiness in the future. I am not sure if I will be on the Carnival Breeze in the Caribbean short of the Bloggers Cruise 6 on January 19 which I hope you may consider joining me for. Regardless of when you cruise again, I hope you have a wonderful time and please make sure you let me know so I can send you something to say congratulations and to wish you a brilliant time.

Best wishes.

John

Mikey Brown asked:
Another Good Blog – Thanks. I however have a couple of questions.

1) This may be too far in advance, but whom might the CD be for Destiny’s TA on 2/4/13? I know we would all be excited if it were JH. 🙂

2) I liked Noonan’s description of the past guest party – sounds like FUN, but, unfortunately, those of us that were Gold but are now Red will not have that opportunity. Sorry to gripe/whine about this but being demoted from Gold to Red was a bit unfair in my humble opinion.

3) Griping and whining aside, Mrs. B and I are so looking forward to Carnival Destiny’s TA in February. We weren’t considering another cruise for awhile but when this cruise popped up, well it was a no brainer as this will be the first time in 29 years that my wife and I will have been in Spain and Italy. We met in Europe and I dare say Italy and Spain were quite fun.

John says:
Hello Mikey Brown,

I know that with the new VIFP party that there have been some changes but I hope it is not too long before you are able to attend. I won’t be the CD on her crossing and although the schedule is not yet confirmed, it looks very much like Noonan will be the CD and if he is, I know he will do a brilliant job. You will have a wonderful time and please don’t hesitate to ask as many questions as you need and I will answer them as quickly as I can.

Best wishes to you both.

John

Gweneth Hanlon asked:

I hope you can understand, John, why some people want to help you lose your obesity. I just got off the Carnival Breeze with you and saw how big you were for myself and had to comment here. My job has me flying all over the States and Canada and I hate obese people like you ‘spreading’ into my seat. So if you don’t want to lose the weight for you lose it for others who should not have to put up with the discomfort flying next to a fatty brings.

John says:
Hello Gweneth Hanlon,

I totally understand how flying next to a big person like me must be uncomfortable and that’s before we talk about my farts that when I am trapped on a plane tend to smell like a rancid egg that’s been shoved up a skunk’s scrotum. I hope you had a great cruise on the Carnival Breeze and thanks so much for your concern.

Best wishes.

John

Michelle Steffens asked:
Hello John,

I am part of a large group of single people. We’ve talked about doing a singles cruise and just from our area tend to pull in 40 people for dinners and dancing events. I am turning 50 in January and thought how fun it would be to do a singles cruise? Our group of singles is only one group and I am wondering if you could market to all Meetup.com singles groups to pull in a ship full? What do you say? We are all between 40 and 65 and very active. Meetup is national and beyond just single people. If you think this is a good idea, I’d love to see it happening January 10-15 or so??

John says:
Hello Michelle Steffens,

We certainly do cater to singles and have many singles groups sailing with us throughout the year. We are also very much a family cruise line so we really don’t want to get into promoting a ship just for singles. There are specialist single cruisers groups though that do put groups together and I hope you can find them on the internet and that we see you in one of their group cruises soon. If there is anything else I can do for you please let me know.

Best wishes.

John

Chris Kreitzer asked:
John,

First off, I have to thank you and Brent again for a great cruise on the Carnival Pride for my 35th birthday! It is one I will not forget! Okay, onto the business I am sending about. Me and my family LOVE the MDR and because of this we do not want to miss a single meal in the MDR when we are cruising, so we do not book a table at the steakhouse. Has Carnival ever thought about opening the steak house for lunch, maybe even the same menu as the dinner? We all know we put a couple extra pounds on when we cruise so why not get the pounds and enjoy the steakhouse as well as the MDR in the same day. Even if it was only open on sea days I think this would be another way to get more people the chance to enjoy the steak house. I will be enjoying the Carnival Miracle October 5-13! I cannot wait. This will be cruise #3 for me, first 2 on the Pride since January 2011. Thank EVERYONE at Carnival for all the great work they do!

Thank You,

Chris K

John says:
Hello Chris Kreitzer,

I am very happy to read that you had such fun on the Carnival Pride and my thanks to the staff for taking care of you. We did once talk about opening the steakhouse for lunch and offering maybe just the main course and a desert at a reduced price but it was felt that there would be limited interest in this. I will see what the beards think now and float this idea by them again. I am so glad you had fun and I hope we will indeed see you again very soon.

Best wishes.

John

And that’s all for today and I promise to work hard once I am on board again to catch up with as many questions as I can both here and on Facebook. Meanwhile, let’s talk about the weather, starting with the weather here in the UK.

Since I have been home, it has been very, very warm with temperatures reaching 90 degrees. Now while some Brits love this, I do not because I am fat and because fat people sweat and with no air conditioning, I was sweating like Prince Harry will be when he has to explain to his grandmother, the queen, why he was photographed playing naked billiards.

Houses here in the UK just don’t have air conditioning. It’s a good thing we don’t really because Heidi and I would just spend hours arguing about whether or not we should switch it on. What’s your first act on walking into a hotel room or a cabin on the ships? Heidi’s is inspecting the bed sheets for shrubbery and then she will switch off the air conditioning.

This is because air conditioning is to my wife and many others, I am sure, an abomination. She hates lying in bed with a vicious jet of cold air drilling into her face, then wake up the next morning with glands the size of Texas.

Me, well the first thing I do the moment I walk into a cabin and into a hotel room is to yank the air conditioning up to maximum. I want to be as cold as a witch’s you know what as we say where I come from. This leads me nicely then into this comment I was sent a few days ago posted to the blog.

Brad Woakes says:

It has been reported on Cruise Critic boards that Carnival ships now power down during the night to save money and this has resulted in a huge rise in complaints about temperatures in the cabins and air conditioning that is switched off. Another cutback from Gerry Cahill then and something that Uncle Bob would never have allowed. How can you justify this heald?

Please excuse me, Brad, if I make this a general reply rather than just to you as obviously this is a very important point indeed and I think everyone should know the answer to this. Let me start by saying that despite what the New York Times………bugger……I mean the Cruise Critic boards are saying, we do not, on any ship, “power down” the air conditioning at night. Now just as my wife and I argue about what’s a comfortable temperature, I am sure for some guests it’s too cold even with the air con off completely and for some it’s too hot even with the air con cranked all the way up. The standard temperature which all our ships use as a guide line is 70 to 72 degrees. I asked some ships for the number of comments they have received during their last cruise and here are the results.

Carnival Breeze No complaints regarding air conditioning in cabins.
Carnival Magic 3 complaints (out of 1,845 cabins) that it was too hot.
Carnival Destiny 2 complaints (out of 1,321 cabins) that it was too hot
Carnival Fantasy 2 complaints (out of 1,027 cabins) that it was too hot
Carnival Legend 1 complaint (out of 1,062 cabin) that it was too hot.

So as you can see, Brad, there is not a “huge rise in complaints” as you suggested. However, I will say this. Air conditioning and in-cabin temperature is something that we will always get some comments on as expectations are different for each guest. I do encourage you to tell your stateroom steward if you think it’s not cold enough or if it’s too cold and they will contact the right people but, please, do remember the guideline temperature I mentioned above.

What a few days it has been though weather wise with Tropical Storm Isaac causing several changes across the fleet and the closure of homeports (which have since reopened) as well. As always during these challenging times, I say thanks to our operations people who work so hard to find new ports and with so many ships sailing the Caribbean this is indeed not an easy task. I must also say a huge thanks to the guests whether they are on the ship for an extra day because the homeport is closed or losing a day of their cruise for the same reason, most of the guests truly appreciate all Carnival does to keep them safe and to give them the best cruise vacation ever even during hurricane season. Even today, there were a few more changes with Carnival Paradise and Carnival Destiny bypassing Grand Cayman and spending the day at sea instead.

OK, that’s about it for now and I will ease back into the blogs once onboard and return it three a week. We are nearing 15 million page views and indeed once we hit that number I will tell you about a very exciting contest to celebrate this landmark.

The most exciting news here in the UK is that Dallas is making a return next week on Channel 5 and that is simply brilliant. I loved Dallas and can’t wait to see it again. But hold on……we do in fact have our own version of Dallas already, it’s a soap opera called The Royal Family. Think about it. There’s Miss Ellie, in the shape of the Queen. Quiet, respected and always in charge. Then you’ve got Prince Charles as JR, plotting to be the King and Prince Harry as Bobby who hopefully will step out of the shower this morning knowing the newspapers printing photos of him naked holding the crown jewels in his right hand was in fact………….just a dream.

Honestly, so many of my fellow countrymen seem to be so upset about what Harry has done. Me, well, I think it’s bloody marvelous. He is a prince. Thank goodness that the younger generation of the Royal family seem to have a sense of fun, as well as duty. Prince Harry stood for HM The Queen at the Olympic Closing Ceremony and was a model of good behaviour (he even had the grace not to look bored to death which is more than his grandmother can often manage – though one can’t blame HER for that). He is young, male, and wealthy and a soldier, do we really expect him to spend his downtime stamp collecting or talking to plants like his father?

The only pool party I went to was when my mate Alan and I were 18 and went to a two-star hotel in Spain. Unlike Harry’s pool party in Vegas, which was full of beautiful people and where the pool was a mixture of water and Dom Perignon with the mega rich blowing thousands in champagne-spraying wars, our pool party was me, Alan and a bunch of ugly drunk people standing in a pool which consisted of 50 percent chlorine and 50 percent urine. My only complaint is Prince Harry had only one naked woman and not half a dozen? Captain Wales, you must do better. And please may I have a ticket next time?

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.