JUST TUST TRYING TO BE A GOOD FELLA

May 20, 2013 -

John Heald

Want to see how a creamy pastry got me in trouble? Then read on.

 

From: LEGEND GUEST SERVICES
Sent: Saturday, May 18, 2013 2:44 PM
To: LEGEND CRUISE DIRECTOR
Cc: LEGEND GUEST SERVICES SUPERVISOR; LEGEND GUEST SERVICES MANAGER; LEGEND GUEST SERVICES
Subject: **** – comments made by CD

 

Hi John,

Mr. _______ asked that you contact him, John. He was at your travel talk this morning, John, and was unhappy to hear a joke you made about the Mafia in Italy. Guest is of American/Italian family and would like you to speak with him. Thank you and kind regards.

Guest Services Associate, Carnival Legend
Carnival Cruise Lines

 

Joke?………….I didn’t tell a joke about the Mafia. Anyone who has cruised with me in Europe will know what I say here because I was just talking about Messina, Sicily, and how in Taormina there is a famous pastry shop that states that they invented the famous Italian pastry the “cannoli.” I then mentioned my favourite line from a movie is from the Godfather, “Leave the gun, bring the cannolis.” OK, I said that line in a crude Marlon Brando impression. I then said that on the tour, The Footsteps of the Godfather, that you could visit many of the areas made famous by the most famous Mafia movie of all time. And this guest is upset at this – oh FFS ………….or……as they say in Sicilian……….“stugots.”

 

Anyway, I called the guest who is a member of an Italian-American organisation that is fighting to stop the movie and TV industry portraying Italian Americans as ………….well………..the “M” word. Most importantly to me was the fact that this guest has done 14 cruises with Carnival so I explained and apologised that I meant no offence but was simply describing the cannoli in the best way I thought I could. I think he accepted my apology which is great and I will be sending him a cannoli later in the cruise after we leave Messina.

 

These days you never know who you are going to upset. You could give me any subject matter: Creamy Italian pastries, cigars, mattresses, helping people, what’s the best hemorrhoid cream and I bet that after half an hour, I would hear from someone who was prepared to be angry about it. The problem is simple. If I say, on this page or my Facebook page, that I believe it is every cow’s divine right to end up on my dinner plate surrounded by crispy roast potatoes, then someone in an attic with a website will jump on my case and say what a bastard I am for saying this and that I should be fired and water boarded, tied to a Carnival Comfort Bed mattress and have my flaccid buttocks beaten with NCL beach towel by H82SEAUPETE.

 

Unfortunately, in the current climate it is no longer possible to express an opinion or make light of the world we live in because you are bound to upset a pressure group that then runs around waving its arms in the air and calling for you to be fired.  This week alone I have been bollocked for lying about the fact that we have changed our mattress provider and that all the beds are uncomfortable. We haven’t and they are not. And I was sent a charming comment that was posted to my blog by a lovely lady who called me a “douche bag” …….had to ask Uncle Google what that was………….and who referred to the many people who wished my daughter a happy 4th birthday as “a** lickers.” I can only wonder what I did to make her so mad at me and indeed ……mad at you.

 

When I started this blog and indeed my Facebook page that now has 36,000 like thingies, my only worry then was that an old girlfriend would post something stating that I had the love- making skills of a Benedictine monk. But I have seen these past few years that Facebook and the blog can be a public arena in which friends, family and colleagues can spread gossip and tell the world that you like to dress in stockings and suspenders and that on your stag night the romantic interlude you had with a stripper called Lucinda was, in fact, a romantic interlude with a stripper called Jim……..and your friends have the photos to prove it. So no more mention of the Mafia at my travel talk and no more stereotyping of Italian- Americans for which again I apologised to the guest sincerely and which I think he accepted. I just hope he forgives me as I don’t want to wake up with a horse’s head in my bed……. do I?  

 

OK, I am going to make you an offer you can’t refuse and that’s some Q and A……forgetaboutit

 

Janice Dean asks:

Hello John,

My family will be aboard the Carnival Dream on 6-29-13. We are looking forward to our cruise. My bucket list has included a Behind The Fun Tour. Unfortunately, we will not be able to board early and I am concerned the tour will be booked by the time I get there. Is there any way to book prior to the cruise? Thank you.

Janice Dean

 

John says:

Hello Janice Dean,

I am sure you are looking forward to your cruise and indeed that Behind the Fun tour. Unfortunately, we are unable to sell this online or here on my blog and it is only available once on board. However, most of the time, the tour does not sell out until the end of the first sea day after the CD advertises it so if you go to the shore excursion desk on Deck 3 on embarkation day or night, I am pretty confident that you will be able to purchase tickets for this. I wish you all a great time and please let me know if there is anything else I can do for you.

Best wishes.

John

 

Naddav R. asks:

Hello John,

I was on the Carnival Dream last summer and had the time of my life, and I was wondering, do all ships have a pasta bar? I am booked for the Carnival Sensation for the second time and I just want to know. Have a good one.

Naddav

 

John says:

Hello Naddav R,

The pasta bars are a feature only on the Carnival Dream and indeed now on Carnival Magic, Carnival Breeze and Carnival Sunshine where they have the pasta bars for lunch and then the Cucina del Capitano restaurant at night. Carnival Sensation does not have one, I am afraid, but I am sure you will enjoy the food and all the fun. If there is anything I can do for you, please let me know.

Best wishes and have a brilliant cruise.

John

 

Chloe Menzies asks:

We are just off the Conquest where we had a Cruise Critic meet and greet for 55 people. You sent two bottles of champagne and two ships on sticks to us but not wanting to sound ungrateful, some of us thought that compared to the meet and greet we have had on other lines, that this was much less than we are used to. There were no nibbles or door prizes for every Cruise Critic member and then the big complaint was that the captain or cruise director never stopped by and met us all. Just saying that Carnival doesn’t take care of us like other lines and I wanted you to know the feeling of the roll call. The positives were Adriana who looked after our cabin and the dynamic duo of Joel and Svetlana at table 247. We didn’t care for the new style shows much and also found the new recipe of the chocolate melting cake to be not close to the old one and wonder if this is another Carnival cutback. Overall, a good cruise that was soured by the lack of attention at our meet and greet so hope this can be changed for the next time

 

John says:

Hello Chloe Menzies,

I hope you all had a wonderful time and enjoyed meeting the people you had been writing with on Cruise Critic. I am also glad you received the two bottles of champagne and two trophies that I sent for you to raffle off. While we appreciate you all booking a cruise with us, we don’t offer anything like food or prizes for everyone who comes. Each week I help organise lounges for Cruise Critic groups to meet and do provide the four gifts I mentioned but we don’t offer anything else, I am afraid. The CD will, if his schedule allows, stop by but on a busy sea day that is sometimes not possible and the same goes for the captain. The chocolate melting cake recipe has not changed since its inception so I am not quite sure what you mean and if it was not cooked to your liking, please know you can always address this with your waiters or the maître d’ and I am sure they will get you a different one. So, I hope you had fun and I hope we see you all again and if you need me to help you reserve a lounge please let me know.

Best wishes.

John

 

Martin Haff asks,

My wife and I will be on the July 4 four-day cruise on the Carnival Sensation. For personal reasons, we do not want any cabin cleaning done. We have our own towels and do not want the cabin cleaner to come to our room. I would like this request to be dealt with before the cruise so that we don’t have the embarrassment of having to tell the cabin cleaner ourselves. Can you please make sure this is something that is done for us?

 

John says:

Martin Haff,

Yes, of course, I will make sure this information is sent to the ship and that they are aware you do not wish the cabin steward to service the cabin at all. He or she may stop by as required by our own rules to make sure all is OK but no service will be given unless there is something you need. Have a great cruise.

Best wishes.

John

 

Mary Vines asks:

I just wanted to let you know that my husband and I just returned from our fourth cruise (third with Carnival) on Carnival Conquest. We celebrated our five-year anniversary in Jamaica, Grand

Cayman, and Cozumel. We had a great time, as usual. We loved Gary as our cruise director. He was also our cruise director on the Carnival Elation last year. The comedians were great, especially Azheem and Scotty K. The food was great as always. My husband eats quite a bit and he loves being able to eat so much on the cruises. We did the canopy excursion in Montego Bay and I cannot say enough good things about it. The zip-line was great and the men working it were very entertaining!! The food was great (could’ve eaten more chicken, YUM) the bobsled was fun and the view on the lift was AMAZING. I have the best pictures. Possibly the most beautiful place I have been. The only thing I didn’t like was having to use the other port in Grand Cayman. (They explained it was due to weather.) It was very difficult to get a taxi from there. (We eventually did and enjoyed the Seven Mile Beach). However, we had a great time and I just don’t see how people can complain about cruising. I believe it is the best vacation you can take for the money and value. Hope to go again next year. I am thinking Hawaii.

 

John says:

Hello Mary Vines,

What a wonderful review and I am so glad that you have written this wonderful advertisement for the Carnival Conquest and indeed for the beautiful island of Jamaica. I will make sure that the ship’s senior management gets to see these kind words of praise and I know they will enjoy reading this as I did. A cruise to Hawaii sounds like a great idea and if there is anything I can do to help with this or indeed anything at all please let me know.

Best wishes to you both.

John

 

Sue Mulliner asks:

Hello John,

We were on the Carnival Valor last week (April 7 – 14), and wanted to give you our positive feedback. Our first cruise was on the Carnival Triumph over a decade ago, then two on Norwegian. Your Time Dining convinced us to try Carnival again and we were so glad we did. A really excellent experience and with much better food and entertainment than Norwegian. A special note of high praise for the table magician in the Lincoln dining room, (Zolt?). We loved him. Thanks!

Sue & Phil Mulliner

 

John says:

Hello Sue Mulliner,

Thanks so much and what a joy to read you had such fun on the Carnival Valor. I have sent your kind words to the right people and I know they will be thrilled and proud. I will also see that Lincoln gets to see your very kind words. We will continue to work hard to make the cruise experience even better and so I hope we will see you again very soon.

Best wishes.

John

 

Carl Shaddock asks:

$10 cork fee, what a pile of bull ****. Another way to make money and fleece the passengers. I laughed when the waiter told me he wanted $10 for him to open the bottle I had come on the ship with. How can you charge this when other cruise lines do not?!!! How to lose passengers – charge them $10 to open a bottle of wine I bought ashore for $12, that’s how.

 

John says:

Hello Carl Shaddock,

I am so sorry to see you so upset by this and I am glad you have given me a chance to explain. I think I am correct in saying that like many restaurants on land, cruise lines have a corkage fee for the staff to open the wine during dinner. Obviously, we hope that our guests will look at our extensive wine selection and buy something to complement their meal. If not, and they do decide to bring a bottle purchased ashore into the dining room, then we do charge the $10 for the waiter to pour the wine and to provide a service. Please do not be upset about this as it is a standard practice in the hospitality industry and I hope now as you look back you will remember lots of fun times and that we will therefore see you again soon.

Best wishes.

John

 

Ed Foss asks:

Recovering from a bad Disney cruise, I’ve booked the May 30 sailing of the Carnival Ecstasy.  I can’t figure out if this ship has a poolside video screen (Fun vision).  Also we considered changing our reservation to the May 27 sailing on the Carnival Fascination because it was scheduled to receive some of the Fun Ship 2.0 upgrades.  Did it actually happen?  Does the Carnival Ecstasy or Carnival Sensation have any of the 2.0 upgrades?  Thanks!

 

John says:

Hello Ed Foss,

I am sorry to hear that you did not have a good cruise with Disney and I hope you are ready to have fun with us on board the Carnival Ecstasy. None of the Fantasy-class ships have the 2.0 upgrades although they did receive the previous upgrades that we called Evolutions of Fun with Serenity, a huge water park, a redesigned pool and more. I am sure you will have the best of times and between now and then if there is anything I can do for you, please let me know.

Best wishes.

John

 

Edith Wiseman asks:

Will Carnival ever offer its Platinum members like me free Internet? I think it’s just not fair that we should have to pay the same price as everyone else. Princess has free internet for its VIPs and so does Royal so why not Carnival? On May 22, 2013 my husband and I will be on our 12th cruise on the Carnival Victory and I trust that you will receive this message in plenty of time to have the free internet ion place and I am sure I speak for the other VIPs as well. We cruised with you on the trans-Atlantic when you came on the Carnival Magic in Freeport when there was a long line to complain to you in Freeport because of failings to the engines.

 

John says:

Hello Edith Wiseman,

I do indeed remember joining the Carnival Magic in Freeport and that long line of people who wanted to say hello and some who wanted to tell me about their cruise, it was great to meet so many people. I am afraid at the moment we have no plans to introduce the free Internet you mentioned and I will though make sure that I send your comments to the people who are looking at the VIFP program and where we go with it from here. I hope you have a wonderful cruise and enjoy all the perks that do come with the loyalty you have shown us.

Best wishes to you both.

John

 

Bob & Chris LaFata asks:

Hi John,

Will the Carnival Legend still have the big band and big production show in November? Or will it be the Playlist eight-person shows? Thanks for all you do.

Chris & Bob

 

John says:

Hello Bob & Chris LaFata,

The Carnival Legend has a cast of 15 and a 10-piece big band who will perform the Jazz Hot and Big Easy shows ready for you in November. Have a brilliant cruise and please let me know if there is anything I can do for you.

Best wishes to you both.

John

 

That’s all for today and thanks for all the comments and questions. OK, let’s talk about music for a change because we haven’t spoken about that for at least an hour. Over the past few months I have read a lot of comments from you expressing your wishes for more live music on Lido deck and the return of the steel drum bands of which I will talk more later. Now, I should also mention that I also see comments like this one, as well.

 

Nathan Aldrick asks:

John – there are many young people who cruise your boats who enjoy the atmosphere the DJs bring to the Lido on the sea days. We don’t want steel drum bands or boring music and there should be consideration to us, as well. Keep the DJs, please. The girl DJ on the Splendor was awesome!!

 

John says:

Hello Nathan Aldrick,

Yep, I agree. We do have lots of young people who enjoy the DJs and older people too and I think most do an excellent job in the music they play on Lido and the atmosphere they create there. I will pass on your kind words to the DJ on the Carnival Splendor and thanks so much for taking the time to write.

Best wishes.

John

 

So, different opinions on this and it’s our job to appease as many of you as we can. Let me say now though that I am pushing for more live music on the deck. Personally, I would like to see a four-piece band on deck offering a cross section of Caribbean and popular music in addition to the great DJs who bring their own superb atmosphere to sunny days at sea. But let me make my own position clear, I love live music. For me, there is nothing better and I am putting my weight (insert fat joke here) behind the return of more live music on Lido Deck.

 

Although I think the DJs on board do a superb job at catering to all of our guests’ musical tastes, I really liked the steel bands. These were nice. They played nice steely drum music like, “I Shot the Sherriff” and other island music but after a while…….every piece of music sounded the same and became…….well, slightly annoying. So then we went to four-piece reggae bands. These were much better and played a whole variety of Caribbean music including all the favourites that people expect to hear and, unlike the steel drum bands, they could be used in other inside areas of the ships at night.

So, “Why not just hire a new band then,” I hear you say? Well, it’s not that easy. This is a subject that last time I tried to explain I was ridiculed here and on cruisemoaners.com for basically making this up. Well, I am not and it often makes me laugh out loud when people refuse to believe that people who actually work on board the ships may know just a tiny bit more than someone who, just because they have made 40,000 posts, believes they know everything.

 

It’s a matter of mathematics. You see, each department has a certain number of beds allocated to them and there are a finite number of crew cabins available. Yes, it would be easy to just hire more musicians but where do they sleep? What we have to do and what was already done on the Carnival Sunshine was to look at what we have, make some changes and adjust without going over the allotted cabins for the entertainment department. And from what I have heard from the Carnival Sunshine the beards have done a brilliant job with this and that the live music selection there is superb.  The beards have heard your comments here and on my Facebook page and I (with the exception of the return of four chaps banging empty garbage cans with sticks) want to see more island/fun music on Lido Deck and I would love to see it played live so………..let’s see what happens and, meanwhile I will ask that all our superb DJs include as much island music as they can.

 

I am, now and then being bollocked by on Facebook, the blog and I am sure on other websites that I care not to read for all sorts of things. I’m portrayed by a few as a, racist, bigoted company spin doctor who works for the devil incarnate — or Carnival Cruise Lines as they are sometimes called. Here is one such comment.

 

David H Clark

I know your blog is marshaled by your “brilliant” beards who refuse to allow through any comment that does not fit Carnival’s own bigoted view. The censorship of written comments here is so bad that I have stopped reading it. As the brand ambassador can you honestly say Heald that you are proud to represent a company that has had incidents that have made news headlines for weeks on end with the Triumph fire and the Dream’s engine failure? When you go to bed at night you must have nightmares about who you work for. Can you really stand behind the people who are running Carnival into the ground?!!!!!!!!!!  Brilliant!

 

Let me say this, Mr. Clark and that is I think I have proven over the years I have been writing in this blog that I post the good and the bad as shown again in today’s Q and A.

 

You know, I used to take comments like this to heart but not anymore. I have, I guess, worked out that it makes no difference. My wife and daughter still love me. People still read my blog and Facebook page and guests still laugh at my silly jokes on stage and at night when I go to sleep I feel I have done my best to be a good cruise director and a caring brand ambassador and unless I am constipated………I sleep very well indeed. And that brings me to this article that I also posted on my Facebook page last week and for those who missed it, here it is again.

 

http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/opinion/os-ed-carnival-cruise-051613-20130515,0,2306261.story

 

I really enjoyed and really appreciated that article and I know that Gerry and the beards enjoyed reading it as well. All of us who work for Carnival should remember that many hundreds of thousands of people continue to support and to truly love the Carnival product and still trust us to give them the most brilliant, safe, affordable fun vacation in the world.

 

So David H Clark, in answer to your question…………yes, I do stand 100 percent behind the people I work with. When I am asked, I am still filled with pride when I tell someone I am Carnival Cruise Lines senior cruise director and brand ambassador. And I still get a shiver of excitement every time I hear laughter at something I have said from on stage or see that 40,000 people read a single post on Facebook about a young man called Will and the amazing generosity and care showed to him by my Carnival colleagues.

 

It seems to me that these days Carnival’s success is rarely praised, but failure is always criticized …………………… and we will all continue to work hard to change that.

 

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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