STEAK STORIES MIXED WITH SOME SUNSHINE

November 9, 2012 -

John Heald

So far, touch wood, things are going well here on Carnival Breeze. Today we are in Malaga, Spain and the weather is a bit cloudy and there have been a passing shower or two but overall the cruise is going well. However, as I have said before here on the blog, trans-Atlantic cruises tend to include a few guests who by tradition will be a bit grumpy and who will find things wrong because for them, finding things that are wrong is their favourite activity on board. It is important to note that they are the minority and 98 percent of the guests will have a brilliant time. I should add the price of a 16-day cruise is brilliant value for money, with wonderful food, entertainment and activities all included in the price. Anyway, let me give you an example of what I mean about being grumpy, have a read of this.

 From: BREEZE STEAKHOUSE

Sent: Thursday, November 08, 2012 11:40 AM
To: BREEZE CHEF; BREEZE FOOD OPERATIONS MANAGER
Cc: BREEZE CRUISE DIRECTOR; BREEZE GUEST SERVICES; BREEZE GUEST SERVICES SUPERVISOR; BREEZE GUEST SERVICES MANAGER; BREEZE HOTEL DIRECTOR
Subject: Mrs. __________ Unhappy with meal

Good Day,

Last night Mrs. _______ of stateroom _________ came for dinner with her husband and another couple. They all ordered the fillet mignon and Mrs._______ordered hers medium rare. The chef prepared the steak and when it was served Mrs. _______send it back saying it was not cooked medium rare but medium. We cooked her a new steak and presented her with that. After 10 minutes Mrs ______ called the waitress over and said her steak was still not cooked correctly and was noted that over half the steak had been eaten. Mrs. _______ refused the offer of another fillet mignon or other cut of meat. When the table was presented with the check to sign Mrs. _______refused to pay for her meal and also her husband’s and she stated their meal had been ruined. Please also note that Mrs. _______had three more bookings at the steakhouse this cruise.

Thank you for your time.

Kind regards,

Steakhouse Manager, Carnival Breeze

We are following up with this today and while we will comp her meal (despite her eating the appetiser, soup and dessert and most of her medium rare cow) but we are insisting she pay for her husband’s meal, as he ate all of it and, if she refuses, we will kindly suggest she doesn’t eat in the steakhouse again. This comment is very rare…….pardon the pun………and 53 guests ate their last night and only one returned their steak. If it’s not cooked properly, tell us and we will make sure you get what you ordered but to eat most of it and then refuse to pay for her meal and her husband’s ……..well, personally, I think that is ridiculous. He ate everything, appetiser, soup, salad, cowboy steak and the cheesecake for dessert but this lady will not pay. Oh FFS!

As we are talking about steak I have to say that I hate any redness in my meat and while Heidi is happy to have her steak waved in front of a candle for a few minutes and call it cooked I have to have mine burnt.

I know there are foodists out there who will tell me that this takes away the taste but they can …….. with respect………bugger off. I do not want my plate to look like a one of those horror movies complete with spurting fountains of blood. Yep, eating should not be a blood sport. Some therefore may say that I should consider becoming a vegan? Short of shaving Calvyn’s bottom, I can think of nothing I’d like less. Eating a plate of food that contains no animal product of any kind makes me ummmm…… a yak.

I respect vegetarianists ……..really I do……but eating only vegetables is like deciding to talk using only consonants. You need vowels or in this case…. steak. Of course, there are certain weeds I like very much, cauliflower and peas particularly. But these are an accompaniment to food, useful only for filling up the plate and absorbing the sauce. The idea of eating only a cauliflower, without even so much as a cheese sauce, is unfathomable. There are wider implications, too. Let us imagine that the world decided today to abandon its appetite for sausages, prime rib and roast lamb. The fields would be full of millions of cows, sheep and pigs and unless we introduce a yearly case of mad cow and foot and mouth – or reintroduce wolves and lions to the fields of Texas – then surely, just as in Planet of the Apes, the bovine creatures of the planet would eventually take over the world and rule us all.

It’s interesting reading complaints about our steakhouse because it wasn’t too long ago when there was no steakhouse, no Cucina del Capitano, no sushi, no Mongolian Wok, no Tandoor and no warm chocolate melting cake. Yep, we have come a long way when it comes to food and as I sit here in my underpants, the beards are working on new and exciting changes to our dining room menus and on other food choices around the ship and I look forward to telling you about them.

Time for today’s Q and A – off we go.

David Yermalenak asked: 

John, Not sure if you remember me but we met on the Carnival Freedom when we went to Istanbul and Greece. I sang the Sinatra song in the Carnival Legends show and the audience gave me a standing up ovation. I just got off the Carnival Magic and during the auditions I sung again and this time I was not chosen from the auditions because the man who was hosting the contest cheated and didn’t listen to what the audience wanted and instead he chose an old man to sing who sounded nothing like Sinatra and could not even hold the tune of the song properly. I was disgusted and so was the hundreds of passengers who came up to me and said that I should have been chosen to sing the Sinatra song because I was the best they had heard. This ruined my cruise and I am considering not coming back to Carnival Cruise Lines so wanted you know.

John says:
Hello David Yermalenak,

I am so sorry to read this note from you and I am sure that when you look back at the fun you had on your past cruises that you will realise that despite not getting into the Carnival Legends show that you had a great time. The voting is supposed to be done by the guests and having spoken briefly to the CD James on the Carnival Magic last night he confirmed that the auditions are indeed based on audience response. I hope you do sail again and I hope you will have another chance to be part of our Carnival Legends show.

Best wishes

John

C. Zuinig asked:
Dear John:

I wanted to get your opinion on this before my next cruise. After looking over the tipping policy I have decided to remove my tips and tip in cash. So that I don’t shortchange anyone, I am making use of the information regarding how tips are distributed. The $3.70 per day stateroom services is no problem. I see may cabin steward and his assistant and will be able to tip them directly. The $5.80 for dining room services is also not a problem as I will tip my waiter and his assistant directly. The $2 per day alternative services: distributed to kitchen, entertainment, guest services and other hotel staff members may be a little more tricky. But, I have devised a plan.

As this is a seven-night cruise, I will be bringing along $14 in quarters to hand out in increments equal to $2 per day.

When I go to the Lido buffet I plan to seek out the following people that I figure have taken care of my dining:

There is always someone behind the breakfast line taking care of the bacon and pancakes, etc. I will give that person a quarter every morning when I get my biscuits and bacon.

Beverages: I figure 25 cents each time I go to breakfast or lunch and get a drink from the dispensers. I always see someone taking care of that so I will give them a quarter at breakfast and a quarter at lunch.

Omelette station: This one is a little more tricky. This person is actually cooking my food at breakfast. I will give that person two quarters since I think they work harder than the person that just restocks the breads.

Desserts: I only see the person cutting up the cakes and I will give that person two quarters each day at lunch and ask that they give the other quarter to the pastry chef.

Waiters: I always see a waiter clearing plates and restocking the rolled up silverware. I will give that person 25 cents as well as they do a good job keeping the tables clean. (But if they take my plate before I’m done, no quarter for them. I may have to bring some dimes so they’ll know when they haven’t done a good job.)

I am now up to $1.75 and the additional quarter to total $2, I will give to the person behind the sushi bar as I do enjoy the sushi every afternoon before dinner. I figure this is all fair and this way the $2 per day actually gets distributed to the proper people.

As far as guest services go, I have never had occasion to talk to them. If I do, I will bring some extra quarters with me just in case.

Please let me know what you think of my plan.

Sincerely,

C. Zuinig

John says:
Hello C.Zuinig

Please give my regards to your other screen names. Best wishes.

John

Bill Byrne asked:

I have been away from Carnival for a while and am coming back for the final trip on Carnival Destiny in February.  This is my first TA and while I am looking forward to it, I have heard comments that there won’t be a full crew, or that there isn’t much entertainment.   Can you tell us first time TA customers, what it’s like and what we have to look forward to? Thanks

Bill

John says:
Hello Bill Byrne,

I have no idea where you read that but I promise it is not true. We have so many shows and activities so that the sea days are packed with things to do. There are different shows, activities, music, dancing, arts and crafts lessons, seminars, games, movies, card tournaments, cooking demonstrations and lots, lots more. So welcome back and if there is anything I can do for you please let me know.

Best wishes.

John

Melissa asked:
Hi John!

I’m booked on the Carnival Breeze Dec. 16-22 for a winter break getaway/birthday celebration and I’m already counting down the days! I have two questions for you about the sailing though: I noticed that on the CD schedule it shows both Butch and yourself on the Carnival Breeze in December. Who will be (as of now) the CD on that sailing? My other question is, will Ken be the maitre’d? If so, which dining room will he be in? I have such great memories of dining/showtime on the Carnival Freedom where he was the maitre’d and would love to have him again.

Thanks!

John says:

Hello Melissa,

My apologies for the late reply to your post as I can see your cruise on this beautiful ship will soon be here. The CD will be the wonderful Butch Begovich and I know you will truly enjoy him. The maître d will be Ken and he will be hosting in his own unique style in the Blush (aft) dining room. Please let me k now if there is anything I can do for you and I will be here or on Facebook to help you.

Best wishes.

John

Jane asked:

I have two future cruise certificates that I will not be able to use before they expire. Can I get my money back? If so, how?

John says:
Hello Jane

Yes indeed you can. Please call Carnival’s guest service line and they will answer any questions you may have. Please let me know if you need anything else.

Best wishes.

John

Paul Matranga asked:

How cheap of your cruise line not to offer bar snacks!!!!!!!!!!!!! I was on the Carnival Paradise last week and asked the bartender at the pathetic sports bar you guys have there for a bowl of peanuts or pistachios and was told by the very rude bartender that I had to go to the shop on the ship and buy some. Carnival must be the only cruise lines not to have bar snacks. I will be bringing my family and one other family on the Carnival Destiny in January and there had better be bar snacks available then!!!!!!!!

John says:
Hello Paul Matranga,

We don’t have nuts or snacks at the bars, Paul, and we won’t have on the Carnival Destiny either. I can see you are very upset about this and that’s a shame as I am sure you had a fun time and hope you won’t let this one little thing get you all worked up. You may think the reason we don’t serve snacks is because we don’t want the expense but that’s not true. You see the major reason we don’t serve snacks is a public health one what with various guests dipping their hands into the bowls etc we decided not to take a chance of germs being spread. Plus, what with complimentary 24-hour pizza and room service and all the other food choices through the day we do feel that bar snacks are not needed. Now, the new EA Sports Bars on the ships that have had the 2.0 upgrades have snacks like wings and hot dogs served during sporting events so I hope you get to sail on one of those very soon. Have a great cruise on the Carnival Destiny and if you have any other questions please let me know. Best wishes.

John

Ed asked:

I enjoy playing the bean bag toss contest on the Carnival Miracle. If I brought my own bags could I check out the boards using my sail/sign card and play on deck? I’m cruising 10/13/12 on the Miracle out of NYC.

John says:
Hello Ed,

It is surprising just how popular these games are and on all our ships we now have the boards out each day so yes indeed, bring your own bags and play away and have fun. If we can help in anyway please let me know. Have fun.

Best wishes.

John


Michael Dearing asked:

John, will try to make this brief. I am the father of three children, twins aged 11 and a younger daughter who is eight. The children’s mother and I are divorced and she originally was awarded custody. After being divorced a couple years I met the woman of my dreams Lynn and after a shaky start have been “joined at the hip” since. About three years ago my ex-wife informed me that she was moving 2,500 miles away and taking the kids with her. Subsequently in initiated legal actions and the court decided to award me custody. Being as we live in South Carolina, a very conservative state, Lynn had to make a really tough choice, marry me and become step mother to three rather traumatized children, or run like hell. If the roles were reversed I’m not sure what choice I would have made. Anyways we had planned a cruise for December of last year but had to postpone because we felt it wouldn’t be appropriate to leave the kids for a week with relatives at that time. We subsequently changed the booking to the Liberty this Dec 1 sailing. Lynn has been an amazing stepmom while the kids’ real mother has continued to live thousands of miles away and not be part of their daily lives. All three kids are now excelling in school and are happy vibrant kids. There is no way on God’s green Earth I could have managed to do this by myself. Without Lynn taking an this monumental task and going way beyond what anyone could reasonably expect from her, my kids would be nowhere close to where they are today. Was wondering if there was some way we could have her recognized by the staff on the Liberty. This will in fact be our much delayed honeymoon and I really want to let her know how much I love her and how grateful I am everyday that she choose to spend her life with me! Our booking # is ****** in cabin 1039. Thanks for anything you can do to help….

Michael

John says:
Hello Michael Dearing,

Thanks so much for taking the time to write and it seems like you have all been through a lot of emotional times and are in need of this cruise. I have sent a note to the ship and asked them to send Lynn a little something on my behalf and I hope together you will have a brilliant time. Maybe you could also look at a night at the steakhouse, just the two of you while the kids are at the various clubs for kids and teens having fun. This maybe a great chance to tell her how much she means to you. I hope you all have a brilliant time and wish you all happiness in the future.

Best wishes.

John

Jo Westerfeld asked:

I will be on the Carnival Dream on booking number ****** with my husband and son. I need to make sure that the cabin boy does NOT MAKE THE TOWEL ANIMALS as they frighten my son who has autism. I called the help desk at Carnival but they won’t seem to get the seriousness of this request and said I should write to you. Make sure then that there are NO TOWEL ANIMALS on our bed in cabin 1397!!

John says:
Hello Jo Westerfeld,

Of course, please do not worry as I have sent a message to the ship’s housekeeping manager and I know he will make sure that this is taken care of and we don’t have any towel animals in your cabin for your December 8 cruise. If there is anything else I can do for you please let me know

Best wishes to you all.

John

That’s all for today.

I have many wonderful memories of the Carnival Destiny despite the fact that being the CD for her inaugural season gave me my grey hair. There are so many stories from those early weeks of the ship’s life back in 1996 including our passage into Boston. The ship was the largest cruise vessel in the world at the time, the first cruise ship at 100,000 tons and there was much excitement. I was on the bridge as we sailed up the river to our docking area. Suddenly, the Boston pilot ordered Captain Gallo to bring the ship to a sudden stop, he, of course, complied and we all wondered what the problem was? Well, the problem was that our course took us up river and past Boston Airport. The pilot was concerned that the ship was so tall that the planes on a landing approach may ummmmm………clip our smokestack. Good idea to stop then we all agreed. So, as the pilot contacted the air traffic control and after confirming that it was safe for us to continue.

This was just one of the many adventures we had on Carnival Destiny some of which I am sure I must have written about here on the blog. Yep, from our arrival into our docking space in New York Harbor which was heralded by the NYPD pulling a body out of the Hudson right next to the ship to the inaugural celebration and Regis Philbin throwing a microphone at me, there was never a dull moment. Those of us who were on the Carnival Destiny since her arrival in 1996 are looking forward then to her rebirth, her rejuvenation and her renaming as she becomes the Carnival Sunshine and in case you missed the news yesterday here is the latest on what will be a very exciting ship indeed.

So President Obama is back in the chair again for another four years and please at this point don’t get worried and all hot and bothered thinking I am about to make political statements here on a blog that usually talks about underpants, toilets, hemorrhoids, undercooked steaks and H82SEAUGO’s love of me and all things Carnival because I am not. I am going to simply say that it was interesting seeing a few guests at the election center we set up were wearing Obama shirts. I say this only because out of the 50 or so that I saw there was none were wearing Romney shirts. Now I have my own views on who I wanted to win and those views are based on my view of the world and that, of course, is my business which I won’t inflict upon you.

I did though that the night of the election listen to one guest who I know well and who is, in fact, a Diamond member and a regular contributor to my blog and my Facebook page tell me that he didn’t trust Mitt Romney because “He was a Mormon.” While I’m sure Mitt is a nice guy and I really wanted to engage this guest in healthy political debate but really I couldn’t because ummmmmm………..honestly…………I didn’t have a clue about Mormons or Mormonism.

The reality is that that this lack of information that can lead to opinions – fair or unfair — being formed. We hear small pieces of conversations and or a bit from the news and tend to just go with it. For example, I have no idea what Scientology is all about either. Do you need to be able to fly a F16 Fighter Jet and have a mate called Goose and believe that humans were transported to Earth millions of years ago from a distant planet or Uranus perhaps? Ignorance makes us afraid and that’s why I always hope that when you read a bad review on cruisessuck.com that you look for the good ones as well because there will be good ones, many good ones written by people who have had a brilliant time, just as you will. I am sure Romney would have made a great President. I am also sure Mormons are great people and have lots to offer and I especially like them because they don’t knock on my door at 8 am to tell me Jesus wants me for a sunbeam.

We started with a comment about the steakhouse and I wanted to finish with one today, as well, actually it’s a comment from me. On Wednesday night during my walk around the ship I pooped (spelt correctly) into the steakhouse to see how it was going. I was waved over to a table by two of my blog readers who are sailing and as we chatted my attention was drawn to the table next to them and to a very well dressed family. They were an all American family of Mum, Dad and two children, one aged around 15 or 16 and the other at the very most was five and in front of him sat a plate of one of our most popular appetisers, tuna tartar. Now I think he probably wasn’t enjoying it judging by his face which as he spooned in a bit of tuna made a face like a cat’s bottom.

I would never judge how parents raise their kids just as I would hope that nobody would judge the way Heidi and I raise our daughter but in this case I have to say something here. I personally would never take my five-year-old to a restaurant like the steakhouse if other options like Camp Carnival were available and if I did I would probably ask if there was a kids menu. OK, we don’t have a kids menu at the steakhouse but it seems that even if there was this kid would not have been given that option “No, no, five-year-old Justin will have the tuna tartar followed by the Chilean Sea Bass drizzled in fennel laying in a bed of truffle oil. He’s got a very advanced palate for his age you know.”

As I smiled and said my good evening to this family I couldn’t help but look at this kid and think that deep down…….what he really wanted was a plate of chicken nuggets and fries. One last thing ……….the lady with the half-eaten steak who refused to pay for her and her husband’s meal has again refused to do so and she was therefore politely informed that we would not be serving her again in the steakhouse and surprise, surprise…….she has removed her gratuities for the wait staff and her stateroom steward. At this point I could attempt some attempt at humour at her expense but you know what, in this case, I will simply say that I think that this is sad …… very sad indeed.

Goodnight.

Your friend,

Johnc

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.