MORE ABOUT MINNIE

April 16, 2013 -

John Heald

There are things on this 15 day trans-Atlantic cruise that are not popular. The night club, for instance, which despite playing only a mix of 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s music and some country, have by midnight, been as empty as a book entitled Great French War Victories. Then there are things that have been a massive hit such as the matinee movies. These have been shown in either the Firebird Lounge which is where we have the Punchliner Comedy Club or the main theatre which here on the Carnival Legend, is called the Follies Lounge. Yep – Argo, Life of Pi, Lawless, Bridesmaids, Parental Guidance, and Taken 2, etc., have been very, very popular indeed.

 A few weeks ago I had written on Facebook about my doubts on showing some of these movies, however, all cruise lines, we get our movies from distributors that will cut any bad language and rumpy pumpy. They don’t cut the violence but the slightest sign of a breast, and the editor gets his scissors out.  This brings me back to when I was 14 or 15 I would try and sneak into a movie with an R-rating with my mate Alan. We’d say, “Yes, of course we are 18” in our deepest voices and, for the most part, it worked and we would be in the Odeon Cinema Southend on Sea watching Kentucky Fried Movie, Piranha, Carrie and Saturday Night Fever. If I remember correctly Saturday Night Fever had a rumpy pumpy scene in the back of a car. That scene was something Alan and I talked about for weeks but these days kids would find it as risqué as an episode of Judge Judy. Today, kids access Latvian rumpy pumpy on the internet before they are old enough to get a drivers’ license. It makes big screen rumpy pumpy rather boring doesn’t it?

 

I have a lot to thank cinema rumpy pumpy for because when I was first dating Heidi, the internet had yet to be created and so new and exciting ways to ummmm……….well, you know ……… came from the movies. Some worked and some did not. Like the time I copied the scene from Fatal Attraction when Michael Douglas and Glenn Close have fun amongst a kitchen sink full of dirty plates. I tried that with Heidi and it was a disaster. It wasn’t that she minded but it didn’t go down well with the chef and the rest of the galley staff on the Carnival Sensation.

 

Time for today’s questions………………off we go.

 

Donald Capozza asks:
Mr. Heald —
On our first couple of cruises, we enjoyed the music of the steel drum bands. My wife and I would go up on deck, grab an umbrella drink and a lounge chair while the ship pulled away from whatever exotic port we were at and be totally relaxed looking at the sunset and listening to the sounds of the steel drum music. It really made us feel totally submerged in the Caribbean experience. However, on our past several cruises, it’s been some type of hip-hop
rap tunes which make you want to go back to your cabin where you can watch the sail away in peace. Currently, I watch the ships depart out of Fort Lauderdale on the web cams and some of the other cruise ships, including those owned by Carnival are still playing the steel drum music during the departure deck festivities. We realize we may be in the minority on this issue, but would certainly love to have that steel drum music returned to the Carnival fleet. Thanks for the
opportunity to sound off, and, of course — happy cruising.

 
John says:
Hello Donald Capozza,
Thanks so much for writing and I know that for some the steel drums are missed. They do get old after a while and we need to have a band that can play a variety of music, not just on the Lido deck but around the ship in other lounges and bars. Now I agree, we do need to look at our live music offerings on Lido and we are doing that I assure you so, hopefully, we will be able to bring Caribbean live duos and bands back but ones that can entertain outside of the steel drum. I will keep you informed on this and thanks again for taking the time to write.
Best wishes.
John

George asks:
Good day Mr. John! I am a huge Carnival fan and we are going on the Carnival Magic the last weekend of June for a graduation trip for my daughter. We have about 20 people coming with us and they would like to know if the ‘cheers bar program’ will be available for that trip.
Thanks in advance!
George

 
John says:
Hello George,
Yes, indeed, the Cheers program is in on the ship so you and your friends can enjoy this. I wish you the most fantastic cruise.
Best wishes to all.
John

Jennifer Salgado asks:
I am so friggin’ ticked off with you and Carnival. I was on the Carnival Sensation when we missed the stop at Freeport because the captain was not going to go to the port because he said it was too windy. B******** because we saw other boats there, so why didn’t we go? We were given no refund and you guys made big bucks in the casino and on drinks, of course, so all the passengers new that this is why you did not dock the boat. Me and my three girlfriends will not cruise Carnival again unless you come up with something to persuade us to part with our money again.

 
John says:
Hello Jennifer Salgado,
I am so very sorry that you are so upset by the decision by the ship’s command to skip the call at Freeport. I assure and I promise you that we did not cancel the port to make money as you suggested. In fact, we have to refund hundreds of shore excursions and various other expenses, as well. The decision was made by the captain and I am sure the port of Freeport as well who felt that to attempt to dock the ship would have been unsafe for the ship and all those on board. I do hope that despite this disappointment that you all had fun and enjoyed the cruise and that we see you again.
Best wishes.
John

 
Lori Justman asks:
On September 16 my three sisters will be sailing with me on the Carnival Victory to celebrate my 50th birthday. It will also be the first cruise I will take with platinum status, so excited for this milestone! We have a cabana reserved for HMC but, as you know, you must choose the
actual cabana on board. Here is my dilemma, my youngest sister has certain health issues and needs to be fairly near a restroom. Because of that, I plan on using my platinum status to be on board early to select an appropriate cabana. Will I be able to then re-enter the waiting area so we can all get our photo taken together for embarkation? Haven’t been able to find anything on this so I appreciate what you can find out for me.
Thank you

 
John says:
Hello Lori Justman says,
Yes, indeed, you can. Once you return from the shore excursion desk, you can go off the ship as far as the photo area and wait for your family there. You will need to punch your card out at security as normal but that’s it. I hope things work out with the cabana and if there is anything I can do for you, please let me know. Have a brilliant cruise.
Best wishes.
John

Louis Baldwin asks:
I have been on a few cruises where Todd Whitmer was the cruise director. Is Todd still with Carnival or is he on leave?

 
John says:
Hello Louis Baldwin,
No, I am afraid Todd retired last year and is soon to be married, in fact. We all miss him very much both as a person and, indeed, as the brilliant CD he was.
Best wishes.
John

Marilynn S Walters asks:
Just finished reading your blog for 3/13/13. Just like one of your bloggers and many more that feel the same….Carnival have ONE SMOKE FREE CRUISE and see how quickly you fill all the cabins. You cannot please everyone as you stated but try and please ONE SHIP FULL OF CARNIVAL CRUISERS and let us enjoy without smoke….Surely, Carnival has enough ships and money to try this venture at least one time on one ship. You can’t imagine how much non-smokers hate the smell of smoke in our hair, clothes and that is just walking thru it and having to sit where the wind is blowing our way and can’t escape.

 
John says:
Hello Marilynn S Walters,
Thanks, first of all, for taking the time to read my blog and I thank you for writing. I guess the reason no major cruise line has a completely non-smoking ship is that we all believe it would be difficult to fill. Indeed, we found this when our Carnival Paradise was non-smoking. While many non-smokers loved this, we lost bookings with group business and family groups because if one person in the family or group smoked, they would not book the ship. I am not saying it will never happen but, for now, we will continue to do our best to provide a few smoking areas that do not impact nonsmokers too much. Thanks again for taking the time to write and hope we see you on board soon.
Best wishes.
John

Trish Carroll asks:
I am going to be cruising on the Carnival Pride soon and am interested in becoming a nurse on the boat. I am a nurse already working in the ER in a large hospital in Baltimore and I have eight years experience of this. I want to speak to the nurses on the ship before I commit to working on the boat and can you make an appointment for me to meet them then. I will be on the cruise with booking number ****** and can you message me back to confirm an appointment for me so I can talk to them?

John says:
Hello Trish Carroll,
I will be happy to set something up for you. I see you are sailing with us in August this year so I wonder if you can contact me again here on the blog one month before you sail or a week before if you can via my www.facebook.com/johnheald page. This way, I won’t forget and also the nurses on board may have changed as well. You can also find out more information about the job of a nurse at sea at www.cclcareers.com. I wish you a wonderful cruise and maybe we will see you as a nurse on board one day soon.
Best wishes.
John

David Malowski asks:
It has been mentioned on the “other” website that Carnival ships have stopped serving ice in the cabins. Is this true!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

John says:
Hello David Malowski,
Well, yes and no is the answer here. We have stopped putting ice automatically in the staterooms because many guests did not use it and the ice simply melted wasting a lot of water and made a mess sometimes. So if a guest wishes to have ice each day, they should simply request this from their stateroom steward and he or she will make sure that an ice bucket is placed in their cabin. Please let me know if you have any more questions.
Best wishes.
John

Jason Moretz asks:
Hey John,
We just went on the Carnival Breeze in February and took advantage of the Cheers program, which was great! I was wondering is the Cheers program applicable on Half Moon Cay. I wasn’t sure since you can use your Sail & Sign card there. We are cruising again in July and are planning ahead!
Thanks,
Jason

John says:
Hello Jason,
I am glad you enjoyed the Cheers program and yes indeed guests can use it while on the beautiful island of Half Moon Cay. I hope you enjoy your next cruise just as much and please let me know if I can help in any way.
Best wishes.
John

 

That’s all for today and my thanks to you all for your questions and comments.

 

I came on the Carnival Legend determined to make sure I change some of what I do and add new activities for this trans-Atlantic crossing and, so far, I think it has been a big success. Yes, there are the Minnies of this world (more on her later) but this cruise, so far the guests are enjoying the crossing very much. It helps that the weather has so far been good to us. It is certainly chilly outside which is to be expected but the sun has made lots of appearances. The seas have been mostly calm, they are a little choppy today but compared to many crossings I have done, the weather has been very good indeed:

 

Some of the things I have added this voyage are:

–          Glee Choir

–          Golf Chipping Into the Pool – Floating holes

–          Matinee Movies

–          Cigars Under the Stars with live jazz and with Marcus Anthony our Motown singer

–          Scrabble, Chess, Backgammon Tournaments

–          Open Mic Comedy Night

–          A new game show I host where guests watch a crew member do something and then they have to do it themselves including: Towel Folding, Pizza Tossing, Food Carving and Knot Tying

 

Calvyn and I also have a new Liars Club and I have some new audience participation which I will be trying tonight, actually which, I think, may be very funny.

 

Admittedly, I am doing new jokes and audience participation not just for myself, I don’t want to go straight into auto pilot and just do what I have always done. And while I have been able to change a lot, there have been some challenges with some of the new activities. You see, the problem is that while we weren’t looking, a coup has taken over places like schools, government, television, the police, the armed forces and of course…cruise ships. Yes, it’s not the head teacher or the general or the captain who’s in charge any more… nope, it’s the man or woman standing in a corner of Lido Deck with a clipboard, wearing sensible shoes and a high visibility jacket.

 

So when I mentioned to someone in the office that I would like to have guests try to toss a pizza or carve a melon into the shape of a gentleman’s sausage the lights went up, the shutters came down and with klaxons blaring, we surfaced, special forces stormed my cabin and I am now writing this blog from a Gulag……..in my underpants. I had tried to explain to the clipboard brigade that this would be fine and that we already allowed pumpkin carving at Halloween and dare I say that it would be fun, as well. I had to pause for a few moments while the man with the high visibility jacket grabbed a dictionary and looked up the word “fun.”

 

We, as a company, have come a long way and because of that, we remain the best cruise line in the world, even if I do say so myself. I miss very little of the old days when the only food on Lido was a hamburger served on a paper plate but, if I am honest, I do miss the days before direct phone lines to the office where if you wanted to try something new that you truly thought would work……you did it……it was better to ask for forgiveness than permission.

 

These days, to schedule an activity you have to complete all sorts of forms to make sure that you’re complying with all our rules and such, no matter how trivial. The trouble is that by the time you’ve done this, you have forgotten what your idea was in the first place. And I guess it’s not their fault. I just don’t understand how in the 1990s we did pillow fighting and the belly flop contest and the male nightgown but today ………….we can’t.  Anyway, I have approval to do all the new activities from the beards so that’s good news.

 

I was thinking about how these rules should also apply to other areas of the work place because the actions of others give me heartburn and headaches and puts my blood pressure up and I bet it does yours too. So along with the usual rules, lets add these, shall we, to the place where you work:

 

Anyone who cooks stinky food in the office microwave, who slurps their coffee and makes “Aaah!” sounds when they swallow. And to the Carnival officials, please give a warning to anyone who sends e-mails when they are only three sodding feet away.

 

Anyway, the new activities and some good old classics have meant that we have happy guests and this so far…….hope I am not tempting fate………….has been one of the best trans-Atlantic cruises I can remember.

 

There has been some sad news though. In Bermuda we had a guest rent a motorbike and, unfortunately, he was seriously injured in an accident and he remains in hospital in Bermuda. His wife is with him and all of us hope he will make a speedy and full recovery.

 

There have been some minor complaints but top of the list has been Minnie. There are I am sure skeptics who live together on another website that may think Minnie is a work of fiction and I don’t blame them as it is hard to believe that one lady can cause such havoc. But she is real and she continues to let us know what we are doing wrong. Here are the latest two comments from her:

 

From: LEGEND GUEST SERVICES MANAGERSent: Saturday, April 13, 2013 9:46 PMTo: LEGEND FOOD OPERATIONS MANAGER; LEGEND CHEFCc: LEGEND HOTEL DIRECTOR; LEGEND INTERNET CAFE MANAGER; LEGEND CRUISE DIRECTOR;

Subject: MISS ——————NOT ENOUGH VEGETARIAN OPTIONS AT DINNER

 

Hello everyone. Here is the follow up to our conversation earlier.

Miss____ called the GSD from her stateroom and was saying that compared to Royal Caribbean and Princess Cruises there were no vegetarian options at dinner. Miss _____ was very upset and said that she only had fruit for dinner last night as there was nothing else. Miss_____also says that her internet minutes have been deleted and that she never used the computer yesterday at all and she has lost 100 minutes. John and I are talking to her first thing tomorrow so please add your follow up to icare.

 

 

It is an endless bombardment. Honestly, Minnie would wear down the toughest Navy Seal into a dribbling mess. Some may be saying that we gave in too easily and we should just ignore her but we can’t, we really can’t and we really shouldn’t either. Did she use the minutes or did they just disappear? Of course, they didn’t, and unless they were vaporised when we went through the Bermuda Triangle. She used them and certainly that’s what the records show. And we showed her the records, she refuted them over and over and over again until I turned French, waved a white flag and surrendered and we put 100 new minutes on her internet account. Was it the wrong thing to do? Yep, absolutely but you weren’t there. It was either do that or lose my job for being the first ever cruise director to strangle a guest with an oversized bow.

 

And then she went on to the food. Now I don’t believe for a moment that we have less vegetarian options than other cruise lines. Lunch is full of Minnies and as for dinner, well I have been posting the menu we serve to guests here on the Carnival Legend each night and there are lots of vegetarian choices from a main course to an everyday menu as well. Then there is the Indian vegetarian meal which is superb and if you are vegetarian then you can always ask the waiter for a pasta dish or similar.

 

Anyway, the chef will make sure that he is on standby at dinner to look after her as best he can. The waiter is working hard to look after them and the stateroom steward has too. I am sure that Minnie hasn’t finished yet and now it’s my turn to meet her and I have requested to do so later today because I want to ask her why……..she and her friend have removed all their gratuities?

 

Oh by the way Minnie (and any other would be Minnie’s) can I just point out the following

The louder you shout the less I want to help you and the more chance I switch off and think of more pleasant things like a sock full of runny yak poo. I really want to listen and to help you with your complaint Minnie about not enough vegetarian food but what I don’t want to hear is a detailed description of everything you ate on a cruise you took on a Holland America ship in 1988.

 

While the chef has a wide variety of items in his galley, he doesn’t have the time to wait until your bottom is seated at your table for two and for you to ask him to prepare a wild mushroom truffle in puff pastry drizzled with peacock scrotum. Order off the sodding menu please or an order simple vegetarian pasta dish. He does have the small task of cooking for 2,000 other people.

 

Let’s move away from Minnie and finish with a wonderful story with an ending that is happy but that could have had a far more serious finish to it.

 

Last Friday a lovely lady called Sammie was eating dinner in the Truffles Dining Room here on Carnival Legend. She was enjoying her main course when a piece of meat got lodged in her throat and she began to choke. She could not breathe and was turning blue. Her table mates and her husband all tried to help and they all started shouting for help. As they did, a waiter calmly walked to the table, picked her up and performed the Heimlich maneuver and with one squeeze out shot the offending piece of meat……………..and she could breathe again

 

The waiter then picked up the used dishes he had collected from another table and calmly walked back to the galley. There was no fuss, no looking for applause or thanks, he just simply went back to work. Our dining room staff all goes through training in the Heimlich maneuver and many in CPR, as well. And our medical staff would have been alerted and been there very quickly. But as we know, choking is extremely dangerous and so thanks to this waiter, Sammie was saved from something that could have been life threatening.

 

Sammie is a bit bruised, but has been checked out by our medical team and had nothing but kind words to say about the person who helped her.

 Rescuer

And here is Sammie with the waiter in question. His name is Sladan Stevanovic and he has worked for Carnival since 2009 and he I think it’s safe to say that, to Sammie……..he is a hero.

 

 

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.