August 31, 2012 -
There are some who would say that they resent being told what to do in the world we live in today. Don’t smoke, don’t eat too much salt, no right turn, keep your dog on a leash, correct change only, hold the handrail, watch your step, mind your head, don’t throw bulky objects into the toilet…… it is absolutely true that you can spend an entire day feeling scolded. Get off a plane and the flight attendant’s voice is nagging over the loudspeakers: “Remember to take all personal belongings with you.” My car bollocks me with a nagging, irritating alarm that dings loudly if I don’t fasten my seatbelt the second that I have switched on the engine. I have mentioned before about things that beep and how that beep is yet another way to tell me what to do……..and the worst of all is that bloody dishwasher. When it’s finished washing the mugs and plates, it makes a beeping noise. And if I don’t empty it immediately, it beeps again. And then again. How stupid is that?
Last night, I feel asleep in my chair. I had a long day Facebooking and three conference calls with the beards about the naming ceremony for the Carnival Breeze and a very exciting event in late October and my arm ached some so I knew to avoid a bollocking from Heidi and Doctor Ramitin that I should stop. So I nodded off in front of the television, when I heard the electronic summons and, because I knew it would go on until the end of time, I hauled my flaccid arse out of my chair, waddled into the kitchen, opened the door and discovered, as jets of superheated steam gushed my your face, that the beeping was not, in fact, coming from the dishwasher at all.
So I stood there with a melted face and realised that it was the washing machine that was beeping so my face now looked like the Elephant Man’s. I mean……..do we really need to know all these things? How did my parents manage with nothing beeping at them?
And that brings me to my job as a cruise director. I remember how in the old days I used to tell guests that drinking the water in Cozumel was “very silly”……and that if you did, it would give you a “real run for your money.” But help was at hand. The bar department could sell bottles of water to save us from being able to poo through a straw. Like infants on a school trip, people immediately formed a lengthy queue for 40 minutes to buy water……..the idea of finding bottled water ashore obviously too complex. We no longer do this of course but we still make announcements for other things that probably get on our guests nerves, it certainly got on this lady’s nerves:
Clara Hemmings asked:
Just off the Carnival Triumph where my relaxing days on deck in the sun were constantly interrupted by announcements from the cruise director and the captain. If were not told about shopping specials or stupid art sales, the captain told us to dry off properly from the pools and Jacuzzis and each day would treat us like we were kids. This is not good enough and need to be addressed.
Hello Clara Hemmings,
Unlike the silliness of my dishwasher comment the announcements we make on board are part of Carnival’s ongoing initiative to provide the safest environment possible for our guests and crew. Safety isn’t just about what to do in an emergency but involves life on board and that includes things like avoiding decks getting slippery as this could cause guests to slip, fall and injure themselves. I know that these safety messages are made by the captains and are part of their noon announcements but please understand that they are vital to our safety efforts. I do hope you had fun despite this and that we will see you again soon.
I often make fun of the high visibility jacket wearing safety beards who run the world we live in today but obviously safety is so very important these days and we must always keep safety first and foremost on board.
Time for more Q&A………………here we go.
We’ve cruised with you seven times and have booked our eighth and possibly ninth soon. We really enjoy cruising with Carnival and have been honoured to have you as cruise director on two cruises and hopefully again on the Carnival Legend next summer. My questions are why does Carnival not have any ships depart/return from Halifax Nova Scotia down the eastern coast or a Montreal, Quebec itinerary out to the east coast. Just wondering?
Good grief, seven times with me, you poor thing. Seriously, I am honoured that you have done this and there is a good chance that we will be together again on the Carnival Legend as well next year. We love cruising to Halifax and Saint John yet as a home port but I haven’t heard any plans of using these destinations as embarkation ports I’m afraid. I hope we return to Quebec one day as I went there also on Carnival Legend and it was a wonderful port indeed. Unfortunately, all of our ships are too large to navigate under the bridge which I think is called Victoria Bridge. Anyway, I hope we do see each other again next year and if there is anything I can do for you, please let me know.
Wes Lewis asked:
I have sailed on Carnival 11 times, have always been surprised at the lack of respect you give the single cruiser. I am not talking about the crazy high dollar amount we are forced to pay but how we are treated on board the ship. Take my last cruise on the Carnival Imagination where the moron of a maitre d’ sat me, a single man in my 50’s with two decrepit married couples who had been married 40 years and more and with another single male cruiser! I complained and was moved to another table on the second night of the cruise but no single people were at that table either. I expect to be seated with singles my age including ladies and it seems this basic requirement has fallen on deaf ears. I hope you will make sure something is done before my Christmas cruise on the Carnival Destiny!!
Hello Wes Lewis,
I am sorry indeed that you did not get the table you wished for and I certainly understand the expense involved for the single cruiser. A lot of factors go into seating people together and the maître ds have to juggle so many things around when seating 2,000 or more people. For the most part, they get it right but occasionally we do have guests who may not appreciate the people they are seated with. May I suggest that you contact me before you cruise so that I can make sure to request the management on board the Carnival Destiny to seat you with single cruises if indeed there are some on the ship that week? Thanks for your loyalty and please let me know if there is anything I can do for you.
Gary F. Havins asked:
Sorry to be bothering you as I am sure you are a very busy man, but I would like to ask if possible if you could please tell me the name of both the cruise director and also the piano player who shall be playing at the piano bar for the sailing date of September 1, 2012 for the Carnival Dream. Thanks ever so much. Oh, is there a way as to possibly ask for the cruise director to possible come to our private cocktail party that we are having on 9/2/12 in the piano bar from 1-3 pm? A lot of newbies to Carnival, with approximately 60 folks.
Hello Gary F Havins,
It’s no bother, that’s what I am here for and I am happy to tell you that your CD will be Steven Knisley and the piano entertainer will be Michael…..sorry, I don’t have his last name at the moment but I hear he is excellent. I am glad I caught this in time and have asked Steve to stop by if his schedule allows. I wish you a wonderful time.
Just wanted to let you know that I was fortunate enough to take two cruises in June with Carnival. My husband and two sons and I sailed on the Magic June 3-10. We booked a Spa Cabin on Deck 11 and LOVED it. The whole ship was beautiful and we really enjoyed taking advantage of the perks included in the spa cabin. My kids (8 and 11) had a wonderful time at Camp Carnival and the vacation was one of the best we ever had as a family! I also went on a four-day “Ladies Only” cruise on the Carnival Triumph June 28 to celebrate my 40th birthday. Everyone in the crew was so friendly and our cabin steward Ni was absolutely terrific. I have to say that I also really enjoyed Tex, the cruise director. He mentioned that it was his last cruise on the Triumph but I hope he will still be with Carnival as he was my favorite out of the four cruises I have taken so far! Thanks for all you do to keep us up to date with information and laughs! I really enjoy your blog.
It is always such a joy to read reviews like this one and I am so thrilled that you had such a wonderful time. The crew continues to make a difference and I will make sure all the crew mentioned will see your words of praise. I hope we see you again very soon for cruise number five with Carnival and if there is anything I can do for you please let me know.
Natesh Chanderpaul asked:
I would like to complain about the Indian restaurant you featured on the Carnival Magic. It was not authentic and obviously the chefs have never been to India or cooked Indian cuisine before. I own a very successful Indian restaurant in New York City and if we served this food to our customers we would not have won the awards we have won. I demanded to speak to the head chef but was refused an audience with him which was very unprofessional.
Hello Natesh Shukla,
This comment truly surprised me as I have never seen or heard anything but positive comments about our Indian tandoors. The chef is indeed from India and the cooks who work with him at the tandoor are also from India and are among the hundreds if not thousands of Indian employees in the food and beverage department. They use traditional ingredients and everything is cooked fresh. I am very surprised then that you found the food to be inadequate but, of course, I will make sure the head chef sees this comment. I do hope you had a great cruise and thanks for taking the time to write.
David T Granger asked:
I make no apologies when I state that my DW and I dislike children. We have no brats of our own and so spending our vacation time away from hoards of screaming children is important. We are considering booking the Carnival Destiny trans-Atlantic to Italy but wont book unless you can assure me our 16 days will not be spent with masses of unruly children.
Hello David T Granger,
There are many times in the calendar year when quite honestly based on what you have said in your post that a Carnival cruise will not be for you. This is because we are a proud family cruise line and carry more families than any other cruise line. However, I doubt very much that there will be many children on this cruise because, traditionally, there aren’t a lot of children on trans- Atlantic voyages. There will be some, not as many during the peak family times, but some and, unfortunately, I can’t say how many as I don’t have 2013 booking details yet. So I think it’s safe to say you can go ahead and book this exciting cruise on the Carnival Destiny which I have no doubts you will enjoy.
Best wishes to you both.
Catherine Endacott asked:
My husband and I will be celebrating 20 years of marriage when we cruise on the Carnival Dream 9/22 and we want to be guaranteed a spot in the newlywed and not so newlywed game. We have seen this on our last cruise and think with our personalities we should be chosen and I wondered how I can get this done!!
Hello Catherine Endacott,
I have sent your request to the cruise director and asked that he consider you. There are no guarantees to this, I am afraid, and it is the CD’s decision, of course, but he now has your details. I hope you get to play the game and, more importantly, I hope you both have a wonderful anniversary cruise.
Sammi H asked:
I have a question for you about salary. I know you cannot discuss who earns what but I am curious to know if I can find out how much your IT staff is paid. I am 19 years of age and when I finish college I am considering coming to work on a Carnival ship in IT. Is there any way you can give me a ball park figure?
Hello Sammi H,
You are correct, of course, that I cannot discuss salaries or even give you a ballpark figure. I can tell you that our IT or IS (information systems) officers are uniformed crew and have a very responsible and very important job on board. May I ask that when you are ready that you check out www.cclcareers.com where you will find a lot of information and how to apply. I wish you much success.
Dean Bogart asked:
Please excuse the length of this longer than usual post. I truly enjoy reading your blog and thank you for taking time to do all you do. I must take exception to the recent comments that there was lack of entertainment and nothing to do on the Carnival Spirit 15-day cruise to Hawaii due to inclement weather. It is true that barf bags were hanging on the elevators eight of the 10 sea days; but as Stu said, we WERE in the Pacific Ocean! Surely prospective passengers should be aware of the differences between ocean sailings versus Caribbean sailings. Some complained there were too many sea days — didn’t they check out the itinerary before boarding? It was a challenging cruise for staff as well as passengers. My wife spent the first day ill in our cabin, as did MANY other passengers. There were only about 50 people in the La Playa Grille for lunch that day. Crew members suffered along with passengers, but continued to do their best to serve our needs. Let it be known that we had an AWESOME cruise! The weather wasn’t the best; the jumper was unanticipated as was the return to Honolulu Harbor to transfer an ill guest, but a person’s attitude makes all the difference. My wife and I were constantly faced with choosing what activity to join next. Yolanda, Rene, and Gede in the dining room were wonderful. Being served by them was a nightly highlight. Samidi, our stateroom steward, gave us a private towel folding lesson so that we could surprise our grandson back home. Yes, shows were modified or cancelled as needed for the safety of the entertainment staff. There was NO passenger line dancing on stage with the orchestra pit in the down position! The unscheduled performance by the Elvis impersonator was very enjoyable. The recent poster stated that “Carnival let us down.” I’m sorry they didn’t have as good a time as we did. Again, it’s all a matter of perspective. Carnival did not let US down. That is why, after this seventh Carnival cruise, there will be many more. Finally, can you tell me what ship Zusanna is currently on board. She was our server on the Carnival Inspiration in December 2004, and I saw her mentioned not long ago on your blog as being on the Carnival Victory, but my correspondence was returned marked “not on board.” She made such an impression on our grandson (it was his third birthday) that she is all he remembers of that time. He wants to thank her for the extras she did for him. Also, what ship is Yolanda K. serving on now? Again, thank you for sharing your expertise.
Hello Dean Bogart,
I want to say a big thank you to you for writing this post and it’s one I have sent to the ship. I know it was a rough cruise, weather wise, but I have heard far more positive comments about the voyage than negative ones. It was wonderful to read how the crew looked after you despite probably feeling seasick themselves and I salute them for doing so. Yolanda K is (if it’s the right Yolanda K), according to my records, on the Carnival Legend at this time and she along with all the crew you mentioned will, as I said, be thrilled to read the praise you have bestowed on them. Thanks so much once again and if there is anything I can do for you, please let me know.
Cathy Avery asked:
Is it true you may be sailing on the Legend October 31, 2013? If so, that would be great. Also, when in 2013 will Carnival Legend get the Fun Ship 2.0 upgrades? We’re hoping before we sail.
Hello Cathy Avery,
Yes, indeed, I will be there and although she won’t have any 2.0 upgrades, I promise the ship will be in top form and the ports will be simply wonderful. I will see you there and if you have any questions, please let me know.
John Parkenaur asked:
I sent this question three times now!!!!! I will be sailing with Carnival again this time on the Carnival Breeze on October 13 2012 with my wife and two young children aged 8 and 11. I know you have wandering magicians but they never visited our table on our last cruise on the Liberty. Can you make sure they do this time as I was very upset that my children were ignored last time.
Hello John Parkenaur,
Our table magicians truly try to visit each table and it’s not always possible, of course, with so many tables split over two dining rooms. However, I will talk personally to the table artists on Carnival Breeze and ask them to stop by and amaze you. My apologies that it has taken me so long to reply to your question and wish you all a wonderful cruise.
Helena Felicjan asked:
My parents are UNITED STATES CITIZENS but their English is not good. They will be coming on a cruise for the first time to celebrate their 40th wedding anniversary joined by me and my husband. Because they speak no English, can Carnival get them Polish speaking waiters? This would really make their cruise better.
Hello Helena Felicjan,
I see you will be sailing on the Carnival Miracle in just a couple of weeks’ time. I have asked the maître d to assign you a Polish speaking waiter if one is available and he will certainly I am sure do his best for you. I wish you all a brilliant time.
That’s all for today and thanks so much for all your comments and questions. Recently I have been posting bios for some of the cruise directors and we have another one today. Most people here will not have met him yet as he is our newest addition to the gaggle of CD’s Carnival proudly employs. We pinched him from P&O Australia and we are excited to have him as part of our team. So please meet…………..Willie Lee
I’ve been involved in entertainment for more than 20 years, started being a party DJ at 16 (and still to this day have an unhealthy obsession with music). At 18, I went to work for a British institution called Butlins as one of their famous redcoats where I found the perfect job –
running around all day, having fun and entertaining over 10,000 people per week.
Over the years at Butlins, I also presented children’s TV for the BBC on my days off. As the years went on, I got the opportunity to be the person who wrote the production shows and perform my own comedy routines and shows. After a while, my job changed every few years and by 2001, I was the big boss of all the entertainment for the resort looking after the casts, musicians and everything to do with entertainment including a fun fair and children’s nursery. In 2008, I took my first proper holiday and got the travel bug and by January 2009 had quit my job to travel the world. Within a few weeks, I was on a cruise ship called Ocean Village as entertainment and retail director which I did for a year.
After that, more travelling to Malaysia, Australia, New Zealand and China I got a call from P&O Australia to be cruise director on the ship that used to be Ocean Village which I jumped at the chance and got to see some old friends. After working on three of the ships in Australia, an opportunity arose to join Carnival, which again I jumped at the chance and here I am. I’m looking forward to my time with Carnival with such varied destinations and interesting ports of call and especially sailing with American and Canadian passengers. (I just hope they can understand my accent).
Thanks, Willie. I can see how fun you are already and that’s why you are a perfect fit with us at Carnival and I wish you much success as I am sure do the readers as well.
OK, time to talk about horses and, in particular, the horses on Half Moon Cay. Horse-riding on the incomparable beaches that this island paradise provides is one of the highlights for many guests who visit and riding a horse through the tanzanite water and across a golden beach is on many of your bucket lists I am sure. I was asked recently about the horses that are kept there and how they are looked after so I asked a good mate of mine to tell us something about them. Here, then, is Matthew Sams who is the vice president of Caribbean relations for Holland America Line and in charge of Half Moon Cay………………Matt, over to you.
“John. Our horses come from a company in Ocala, Florida, that specializes in horse placement throughout the world and this company specializes in sourcing the breed of the horse that can handle the conditions encountered on the island, and the tour that we offer. After a large group of horses fitting our criteria, our team leader from the island personally inspects all of the horses, then narrows them down to a very small group of candidates. The supervisor for this tour has over 40 years of experience with this type of tour and is considered an expert in his field. The horses are then transported to Miami, where they are quarantined and tested.
These tests are conducted by a licensed veterinarian, and are overseen by the USDA. The test results are shared with the Ministry of Agriculture in the Bahamas. Both the USDA and Bahamian government have to give their approval before the horses are sent to the island. The USDA supervises the loading of the horses for transit to HMC. A Bahamian Dept of Agriculture inspects the horses after their arrival to the island. We have a vet on call 24/7 and also have an equine dentist check the teeth of the horses twice per year. We have a second vet that administers necessary medications. Our island staff is made up of seven highly experienced professionals who are trained on first aid and day to day maintenance of the horses. We shoe the horses every two months. Twice a year, a professional Ferrier comes to the island from Bermuda to shape the horses hoofs and shoe them. All of these professionals provide a report after each visit. The horses are rotated through a series of six feeding pastures. Fresh hay and feed is sent to the island at least once per month. Some of our horses are more than 25 years old. The horses are rotated for tour duties throughout the day based on the heat, as well as their age and ability. This excursion is the highest rated tour we have on the island by our guests.”
Thanks, Matthew. I am sure many found that fascinating and will be glad to know that the horses are so well looked after and are ready to continue to give our guests who choose the horse-riding excursion the most extraordinary experience. Thanks to you and thanks to all the staff who look after what for many is their favourite port of call. Let’s remind ourselves how beautiful Half Moon Cay truly is and we can do so now through the lens of Mr. Radu.
I have never been fond of horses and yet so many people are, it seems. Take Heidi’s friend Emma, who disproved the theory that when you fall off a horse, you should get straight back on again. Because having done that she promptly fell off and broke her wrist while turning one of her legs into something the size and shape of Fun Ship Freddy’s head. Four months later she is still wearing more bandages than an Egyptian mummy.
You know, we have been talking about safety today but there is something on this subject that always makes me scratch my head. It’s funny, isn’t it? At home, you make sure your kids wear cycling helmets when they go for a bike ride, you make sure you wear your seat belt in the car and always make sure in whatever you are doing that you and your family are safe and secure.
Yet, for some people, as soon as they go on vacation, they seem quite happy to do pretty much anything they want. Ask Uncle Google about “moped accidents” and he will tell you that there have been many serious injuries……and worse. I’m kidding of course but it seems like riding a moped is be more dangerous than swimming in shark-infested waters with a Guy Fieri burger tied around your gentleman’s sausage.
Over the years. I have been on board when many terrible accidents on Caribbean islands have occurred involving rental cars. At home, you have your car serviced regularly and allow someone with a beard to make sure it’s safe. You like to know that the brakes work. So how come on vacation you are quite happy to rent something from a company called Las Cheapo Rent A Jeep who makes you sign all sorts of forms you can neither read nor understand before you race away from the ship heading for adventure? Or you rent an amusing scooter that you ride much too quickly in shorts and a pair of sodding flip-flops. Most people understand the dangers of drunk driving and would never ever do it at home. So why then do so many Jeep and moped accidents happen after the driver has consumed 17 shots of tequila at Carlos and Charlies?
What is it then, I wonder, that makes us become so very different as soon as the ship docks?
Why do we take leave of our senses? Some may say that on vacation and on a Carnival cruise, we become thrill seeking, fun loving, spirited people. And then when we go home to everyday life. There is nothing wrong with being thrill seeking, fun loving, spirited people……just make sure you chose carefully what you do ashore……so that you get to do the coming home bit.