BRUCE, STELLA AND RYAN

October 10, 2012 -

John Heald

I don’t get up to the Sports Deck here on Carnival Breeze much, mostly because I simply don’t have time and because it has the word “sports” in the title. However, I did get up there yesterday to check out the new foosball and pool tables we have had installed and to look at some work that the Fincantieri workers were doing while we were in Venice yesterday.

While I was there, I watched a group of teens playing basketball. They must have been part of the “home school group” we have on this voyage and their fathers had decided to play basketball with them. Have you ever seen middle-aged men play basketball with their teenage sons or daughters? It’s like watching Richard Simmons trying to roundhouse Chuck Norris or the Washington Generals who always got their arses kicked by The Harlem Globetrotters. Not only is it exquisitely painful, it also makes me deeply grateful that we have an excellent medical team on the ship. Our doctors and nurses are under enough strain as it is without having to tend to the self-inflicted injuries of middle-aged guests attempting to keep up with a younger, fitter generation. Anyway, as I did my SportSquare inspection, I spoke to the dads who by their huge gasps of breaths were happy I had stopped the game to chat. I asked them why they were not ashore in Venice and both fathers said that they had been given the choice of staying on board with the kids………or going shopping in Venice with their wives.

It was obvious that these chaps and I had much in common. We would rather have Tabasco sauce pumped into the crack of our bottoms than go shopping. We would both prefer to French kiss a rabid camel than walk around the alley ways of Venice looking for a mask with some tired old feathers sticking out of it. We would rather spend the day on the ship listening to some short arsed psychic try to contact Michael Jackson than go shopping……..yep…….they hate it and so do I and so do most reading this blog, too.

Shopping kills men by the hundreds and I, John Heald, lead the fight against being dragged through the diamond, handbag and shoe stores of this world. I slay the dragon that is shopping and I slay those “modern men” who say that men should go shopping and I do this with fireballs from my eyes and bolts of lightning from my arse. I am John Heald. And I see a whole army of my friends and bloggers here in defiance of tyranny. You have come to fight as free men, and free men you are. What would you do without freedom? Will you fight?

Aye…..fight and you may be in the doghouse with the wife. Run and you’ll live — at least a while. And dying in your beds many years from now, would you be willing to trade all the days from this day to that for one chance, just one chance to come back here and tell our wives that we refuse to go shopping……..ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh ….. they may take our lives………..but they’ll never take our freedom!!! Bollocks to shopping…………..all those men who agree…………please post “bollocks to shopping.”

OK, time to take off my kilt, put my underpants back on and start today’s Q and A……off we trot.

Wandering Dog asked:

I thought I had seen everything but now it seems that your Healdites are trying to raise money to buy you a Hubolot watch you so shamelessly begged for. They are worshipping a LOSER?? AYFKM? What are you – a rock star? Maybe if they do get you one you will have to give this _______ guy a ———onstage at the Meet and Greet. What a joke.

John asked:
Hello Wandering Dog,

You know, say what you like when you like if you like, but take responsibility for whatever views you have by posting them under your own name, instead of cowering behind a pseudonym and a computer screen. Oh and it’s Hublot………not Hubolot.

Best wishes.

John

Al Verni asked:
Hi John,

Do you think it would be a good idea to have a layout of the dining room with table numbers posted so we can check where and what kind of table we were assigned? It would save a lot of time on embarkation day not having to wait for the maitre d’.

John says:
Hello Al Verni,

Dining room reservations are extremely complicated for the maitre d’s to do and I think posting something would be really good and would help them. Maybe I can add this to the blog and on Facebook and also add to the interactive TVs on board, so yes, indeed, Al, it is a great idea. Let me pass this on to the beards and see what they think. Thanks so much and I will keep you informed.

Best wishes.

John

Chuck Kiger asked:
Hey John,

Hope you are doing alright after your surgery. I had a thought today, based on programs with other companies that I do business with and after realizing how much I have promoted Carnival to many of my family and friends. Has there ever been a thought to offering or adding a referral incentive/program to the VIFP program? Example: If a past guest refers a new customer then both the new customer and the past guest receive an incentive (on board credit or discount for the new guest and same for the past guest or maybe even extra points in the VIFP program?). The new guest can provide the past guests VIFP number to the carnival.com folks. Several companies do this that I know of……..one very similar program is what DirecTV does……a current customer receives $100 credit over a year as does the new customer if they stay subscribed for at least three months. Both receive the credit in $10 increments per month. When the new customer signs up……..they state that they were referred and simply provide the existing customer’s account number. I think this would be a great incentive and perk for past guests and what a good marketing tool to attract new customers. If you provide a discount or onboard credit to the past guest, you can have it expire in one to two years as an incentive for them to return also. It might be hard to do if the new customer books through an agent……..but this would also help in the push to offer the best deals through Carnival.com if that is the only way to utilize the program. What do you think? Worth running it past the Beards?

Thanks,

Chuck Kiger

John says:
Hello Chuck Kiger,

Thanks for the interesting idea. As you mentioned, some companies do have the referral schemes and I will mention this to the beards and see if we can look at it as the New Year approaches. Until then, may I thank you for telling others about Carnival and if there is anything I can do for you, please let me know.

Best wishes.

John

Robert Jones asked:

I wasn’t sure what subject this should be filed under because it is, I believe, an odd question. This past February, my family and I took a five-day cruise out of New Orleans just for a short winter break. It wasn’t the nicest ship in the fleet, nor the most amazing trip one could imagine, but it was inexpensive and very relaxing. What the ship lacked in Fun Ship 2.0, the crew made up in utter amazingness. This is where my question comes in. My entire family fell in love with our wait staff. They were the two most incredible people I have met on a cruise ship. Is it possible
to book another cruise and request the same wait staff?

John says:
Hello Robert Jones,

What a wonderful post and I am so glad you decided to write. The crew is fantastic and I am thrilled that you enjoyed your wait staff so much and while I should mention that they move from ship to ship at the end of or even during a contract, you can tell me who you are looking for and I will let you know their current ship. They obviously made a wonderful impression on you which is so great to know. Please let me know if I can help further.

Best wishes.

John

Denise Brown asked:
Hi John,

My husband and I are considering the Carnival Miracle out of NYC or the Carnival Pride out of Baltimore in October/November 2012. Entertainment is a critical subject for us, that is, live music as opposed to a DJ. I saw Gotham Lounge on the Carnival Miracle has a live jazz trio. What specifics can you tell us about ALL live entertainment on these 2 ships during Oct./Nov. 2012?!!!!

John says:
Hello Denise Brown,

I hope this reply isn’t too late as I see you are looking to cruise soon. The ship has great shows, variety acts and four different comedians so show wise you will be thrilled. You also mentioned live music so here is what guests are experiencing this cruise on the Carnival Miracle …………..this is a sea day.

ISLAND GROOVES WITH EYE TO EYE
11:00am – 1:00pm Lido Stage, 9 Mid
2:00pm – 5:00pm Lido Stage, 9 Mid

SONGS FROM THE HEART WITH TAYLOR
1:30pm – 2:30pm Fountainhead Cafe’, 2 Fwd
3:00pm – 4:00pm (Tea Time) Bacchus, 3 Aft
5:15pm – 6:15pm Gotham Lounge, 3 Aft
7:30pm – 8:30pm Gotham Lounge, 3 Aft

GUITAR GROOVES WITH STAN
5:15pm – 6:15pm Atrium Lobby, 2 Mid
7:30pm – 8:30pm Atrium Lobby, 2 Mid
9:30pm – 11:30pm Atrium Lobby, 2 Mid

BET ON A GOOD TIME WITH TONY RAY
7:30pm – 8:30pm & 9:30pm – 12:30am Casino, 2 Fwd

LIVE ONSTAGE WITH MUSIC UNLIMITED
8:30pm – 12:30pm Frankie & Johnnie’s, 2 Fwd

PIANO BAR SING-ALONG WITH PETER
9:30pm – Late Sam’s Piano Bar, 3 Fwd

DANCE HITS & MIXES WITH DJ JESSEN
10:00pm – 10:45pm (Oldies) Night Club, 2 Aft
10:45pm – 11:30pm (70’s, 80’s & 90’s) Night Club, 2 Aft
11:30pm – Late (Hits & Mixes) Night Club, 2 Aft

As you can see, they have live music on deck with a Caribbean duo and amongst all that great entertainment, they have the brilliant party band Music Unlimited. Please let me know if you have any questions and I do hope you book that cruise.

Best wishes.

John

Kathi Duval asked:
Hey John,

Do you remember my family on our 50th anniversary cruise in 2009?? It was our 50-year anniversary (Ralph & Kathi) and we took our family (all 23 of us) on a cruise. Well, you sent us a picture of the ship (Freedom) and a bottle of champagne. The picture said, “Happy anniversary Kathi & David,” our kids still ask us who David is!!!

John says:
Hello Kathi Duval,

Oops. Yes, indeed, I remember that well and still to this day, I have no idea where I got David from. I hope you are all well and please send my best to all the family including of course David. Hope to see you soon.

Best wishes.

John

Rachel Klein asked:
John,

This concerns our 7/22 cruise on Carnival Conquest. I should start by saying that I had asked for the door gifts for our meet and greet and, yes, the staff came with two bottles of bubbly and two ships on sticks but then they left in fact they could not wait to get out of there. Neither the cruise director nor the captain showed themselves and all of the 40 Cruise Critic members said how slighted they felt by their no show based on what happens on other cruise lines. I felt that as brand ambassador, you should know this because nobody seemed to care. The cruise was good and the cabin steward, Alina, was probably the best we have had on our many cruises.

John says:
Hello Rachel Klein,

I am glad you got the gifts I organised and I am sorry that the cruise director and, indeed, the captain were unable to attend your meeting as obviously they were busy in their every day jobs running the vessel and entertaining the guests. I do hope you all enjoyed meeting each other and had fun doing so. Thanks so much for taking the time to mention Alina and I will make sure she sees your words of praise. I hope we see you again very soon.

Best wishes.

John


George Ostrowski asked:

John,

I am a Carnival junkie with 18 in the past five years. I would not ask anything for myself; however, we just booked my Veterans of Foreign Wars Historian who served in WWII. He just turned 86 years old and will celebrate on the Carnival Miracle 10/13/2012. It’s his first Carnival cruise. Can you do something special for someone who helped defeat the Axis Empire many years ago? Walter Moeller 36TDH8, room 1196.

John says:
Hello George Ostrowski,

I am so happy that I saw this in time and, yes, of course, I will. I will make sure he is mentioned and we will send him something to say thanks for his wonderful service.

Best wishes and have a brilliant time.

John

Sally Anne asked:
Please can you tell me how I can get a table for two for our honeymoon cruise which is on the Carnival Dream in April 2013? Thank you, John.

John says:
Hello Sally Anne,

Please would you send me a request here one month before you sail or one week before you sail on my Facebook page facebook.com/johnheald. Please include the ship and your cabin number and I promise to do all I can for you. Have a wonderful cruise and I wish you a brilliant life together.

Best wishes.

John

Isabel Jiminez asked:

Does the extra $5 charge in the steakhouse include tips to the wait staff or is it only for the improved meal and dining experience? I think $35 is too much but I also need to know if this includes the tip because it will be a deciding factor if I book David’s for my cruise or not. Is gratuity included, yes or no?!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

John says:
Hello Isabel Jiminez,

The price per person in the steakhouse is indeed $35 and does include the gratuity. However, as always if you feel the service was special, then there is a space on the bill to add an extra tip, if deserved. You will enjoy the meal and the food and, indeed, the service. Please let me know if you have any other questions.

Best wishes.

John

Joan Knowles asked:
Hi John,

We will be sailing on Carnival Spirit out of Sydney on Dec 16, our first Christmas cruise so very excited. Here in Australia, we are mainly massive cricket fans and my husband and son-in-law have Boxing Day all planned. They want to spend the day in the Sportsman’s Bar watching the Boxing Day cricket test match. Can you tell me if these cricket matches will be on the big screen aboard? My men folk are going to be devastated if not.

John says:
Hello Joan Knowles,

I am a huge cricket fan myself and I am well aware of how important this game is. And while the ship does not have a big screen we will show the game in the sports bar and on the stateroom televisions. Have a brilliant time.

Best wishes.

John

That’s all for today and thank you again for all your questions and comments.

As you may know, we are adding a few more highly talented beards to the entertainment department and under the brilliant leadership of Adrian, our VP, and the senior beards he reports to, we are going to have a lot of new faces there soon.

We are recruiting the following:

  • ENTERTAINMENT SUPERVISOR, LIGHTING
  • YOUTH PROGRAM COORDINATOR
  • MANAGER, MUSIC DIRECTION
  • MANAGER, COMEDY DIRECTION
  • MANAGER, CASTING AND BOOKING
  • PROJECT MANAGER, SHOWS
  • DIRECTOR, ENTERTAINMENT PRODUCTION
  • DIRECTOR, ENTERTAINMENT OPERATIONS

So, lots of new people will soon be sitting behind desks and in cubicles and together they will lead us forward and bring us new shows, more live music and more brilliant and fun events and I will make sure that each of these new beards sees your opinions and views. One thing the new beards will have to get used to is meetings because there are constant meetings in our Miami office. Now I know things are on a completely different scale in the world of cubicles and water coolers but bugger me…….do we really need so many meetings? Seriously, though, these are very exciting times and as we hire each of the people to fill these vacancies, I will introduce them to you so you can all see who is driving us to even better entertainment and fun.

One role that has been filled as of today is the manager of cruise directors and programming and I am very happy to say it has been given to one of our own, Mr. Ryan Fitzgerald.

Ryan joined Carnival in September of 2002 as a musician aboard the Jubilee. By 2007 he had worked his way to cruise director, a position he held for the next four years. In July 2011 he came shoreside to assist with many facets of Fun Ship 2.0, including serving as project manager for Hasbro, The Game Show. Ryan has a bachelor of arts & sciences from Middle Tennessee State University.

I am very proud of Ryan. He has come very far very quickly and having a total understanding of what the cruise directors do, I am sure he will do a brilliant job. This also means that he is in charge of updating our cruise director schedule as I know many of you are wanting to see who will be on your cruise and I hope to have that information sooner now rather than later.

Well, as you know, I will be leaving the Carnival Breeze on Oct. 16, head home for a couple of days and then fly to Miami for meetings, make a video for the Carnival Breeze’s naming ceremony (more on that soon) and then fly to New Orleans to work with kids and animals ………. oh, joy.

So often here on this blog thingy I spend time telling you about the difficult guests I have met, the psychics and people who want their clothes laundered because it rained and the lady yesterday who threw, yes, threw a steak, at the server in the steakhouse because she said it wasn’t cooked how she had ordered it. Yep, it would be easy to talk about these few who hog my headlines and forget about the wonderful, charming, funny, gracious and simply happy to be here guests that I meet each and every day. And so I want to finish today with a love story…..a love story from 1942.

Yep, 1942, that’s when a 15-year-old called Bruce met a 14-year-old called Stella. They met one night in London as they huddled in the old tube (metro) station to escape the bombs that the Luftwaffe were raining down on them. This story was told to me by both Stella and Bruce during my Marriage Show. Stella shared with us the story of how as the bombs fell, she met Bruce who was sitting with his family on the platform floor and how as the explosions ripped their homes apart, Bruce kept her smiling with his jokes and silly faces. They both lost their homes and they both lost loved ones during the Blitz but they found each other and here they are, on the Carnival Breeze, both in their eighties and both celebrating 68 years of marriage. Here, then, are Bruce and Stella.

 

During my Marriage Show, I asked Bruce if Stella was the only girlfriend he ever had. The answer from this 88-year-old man was priceless. “Yes, he said, or at least I think so, it was very dark down there in the underground bomb shelter so I am not sure.” Bruce and Stella…… together for 68 years and still laughing, still having fun and still cruising…………we should be so lucky.

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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