INDEPENDENT TOURS AND INDEPENDENCE DAY

June 28, 2013 -

John Heald

From: LEGEND GUEST SERVICESSent: Wednesday, June 26, 2013 10:54 PM
To: LEGEND CRUISE DIRECTORCc: LEGEND ASSISTANT CRUISE DIRECTOR; LEGEND GUEST SERVICES SUPERVISOR; LEGEND GUEST SERVICES MANAGER; LEGEND GUEST SERVICES
Subject: Comment about Karaoke

Good evening John, I spoke with two guests this evening about karaoke. They are saying that the _____ group of guests is taking over and that others don’t have the chance to sing. Can you look into this please?

 

Kind regards,

 

Guest Services Associate, Carnival Legend
Carnival Cruise Lines


So hello everyone from St. Petersburg, Russia, and more on our arrival here late in the blog. Yep, this guest is right to mention this as I am afraid we did have one group of guests from Canada who are lovely people and…….they love, love, love karaoke. This is a delicate one because we have no specific karaoke host here on the Carnival Legend so we rotate this through the entertainment staff. I really want though to go back to a dedicated karaoke host and will be talking to the beards about this soon. Anyway, this group does love karaoke and one signs up 54 more do……..and that not a number I just pulled out of my jacksie (urbandictionary.com) because all 54 sign up. Anyway, something had to be done as I am sure this was stopping other guests from having a chance to sing. And so Calvyn and I headed to karaoke to see what we could do.

I have written here or on Facebook recently that karaoke remains one of our most popular activities but I personally am not a fan. Every day our guests come on stage and do horrible things to Beeoncay, Abba, Garth Brooks, and Cher. I cannot go into the Karaoke lounges on the ship because people see me and try to get me to sing and honestly, I would rather watch H82SEAUGO play Sorry Sliders from HASBRO the Game Show naked…..than sing a karaoke song.

People think I don’t like karaoke because I don’t like music. On the contrary, I don’t like karaoke because I’m a music lover. Granted, there are some people who are genuinely talented but being subjected to a chap who has been enjoying the company of Mr. Johnny Walker all night singing some drunken version of New York, New York is not my idea of a good night out.

I’ve concluded that karaoke singers collude with each other, ignoring how horrible their mates sound because they fear with good reason that they sound as bad. Me, I know it sounds horrible when I sing, I know that dogs will be howling back in Galveston. I make people vomit when I sing………………so I don’t.

Yes, occasionally you get some great singers and yet ask the guests and they will tell you that for some rather bizarre reason that they enjoy listening to the bad singers as much as the good ones…

I walked into the Satchmo’s Lounge and the moment I walked in, I was spotted and this group all surged towards me……..it was like a zombie movie. And so I spent the next 20 minutes having my photo taken and listening to Shania Twain’s Feel Like A Woman sung by a male guest and ……….well……….there are no words to describe it…….really……….no words.

After the photo-taking marathon I spoke with Taylor who was running karaoke and sure enough the group had 20 plus signed up to sing. We do karaoke on a first come first to perform basis so this group were not really doing anything wrong — it’s just that they all signed up together. So we decided to move a few of the guests not from the group and mix them in and see how that worked.  I was worried that the group would be upset but thankfully they were OK. And after 10 minutes I left and did so to a….ahem….unique…..version of Elton John’s Rocket Man ……….. brilliant.

Time for today’s Q and A…………….here we go.

Trevor Groomfield asks:

Can we bring a fan on the ship with us? I cannot sleep without a rapid movement of air and so I need permission to bring a bedside fan with me. Is this allowed?

John says:

Hello Trevor Groomfield,

Yes, indeed it is. Please make sure the electrical cord is in good repair but that aside you may bring a fan with you. Please let me know if there is anything else I can do for you. Best wishes and have a wonderful cruise.

John

Christa Koehler asks:

My son and I will be cruising on back to back cruises on the Carnival Glory in August 2013.  I have received conflicting information from Carnival regarding whether we will be able to remain on the ship between cruises. I have multiple sclerosis and require a wheel chair for embarkation and debarkation.  We are going to be switching cabins between cruises and if at all possible I would appreciate not having the added stress of debarkation after the first cruise.  The second cruise will be my 10th with Carnival and I plan on cruising with Carnival for many years to come.  Thank you.

Christa

John says: 

Hello Christina Koehler,

I am sorry that you have been given conflicting information so let me make sure I explain this simply for you. Once all the guests have disembarked the back to back guests will be taken ashore by our guest services team and they will help you if you need wheelchair assistance. All you have to do is go ashore for a quick U.S. Immigration check, have a photo taken for your new Sail & Sign card and that’s it, you can come straight back on board. You can then stay on board for the rest of the time until the ship sails. We will also assist you with moving cabins. You should pack your suitcases and then leave everything on a hanger you wish and the state room stewards will do the moving for you. I hope this helps and I thank you for your loyalty and wish you a brilliant time.  Best wishes

John

 Denise Gould asks:

John, I was wondering if it is possible to pay someone else’s gratuities from my onboard credit account.

John says: 

Hello Denise Gould,

Yes it is, you can arrange this at check in or on board via the guest services desk and they will transfer the charges to your card. Please let me know if you have any other questions. Best wishes.

John

Warren McCabe asks:

I am surprised that as brand ambassador you advocate the poison that is smoking. You stated that you are starting a cigars night on the boat and as a platinum guest I find this repulsive. As a company representative you should not be associating yourself with this putrid habit. Smoking filth still co-habit with non-clean living smokers and that is bad enough without Carnival’s spokesperson advertising a cigar night. If you want to die young that’s your look out but the rest of us do not and you should consider your position which after comments like you made is now unattainable.

John says:

Hello Warren McCabe,

I want to start by apologising for upsetting you so much and then I want to thank you for your loyalty which I hope will continue for a long time to come. I do indeed smoke cigars as do many of our guests and I think it’s nice that one night we give them a special place to enjoy their pastime. Smoking areas have been reduced over the last few years and the cigar bars have been taken away as well. That’s why one night I think we are right to offer cigars in the fresh air and in a place that does not disturb nonsmokers. I hope this explains my decision to do this and if you have a follow up to this please let me know. Best wishes.

John

Tom Grandage asks:

Can you organize something special for my daughter Tamara? This will be her graduation cruise before she goes to Dartmouth College which you may know is considered the best university in the United States. Tamara is the apple of our eye so can the captain of the boat maybe acknowledge her by inviting her and the rest of my family to the captain’s table. This and anything else you can think of to acknowledge my daughters fantastic achievements would be acceptable. We are in two cabins which are 6277 and 6285 and the ship is Carnival Dream and on 7/6/13.

John says: 

Hello Tom Grandage,

Many congratulations to your daughter and I am sure you must be so very proud of her. I am afraid we no longer have a regular captain’s table and as and when we do we have pre-arranged VIP guests who are invited there. I will though be asking Jaime, who is your cruise director, to give Tamara a special mention in one of the morning shows plus ask her to send her a little something to wish her many congratulations. Have a brilliant cruise and enjoy this special time together. Best wishes.

John

Susan asks:

Hi John,

I’ll be purchasing the Cheers beverage program on my upcoming cruise, and I wanted to confirm whether or not it’s valid for drinks on Half Moon Cay.  I seem to be getting some conflicting information on this.  Thanks!

John says:

Hello Susan,

I am afraid due to operational reasons we no longer have the Cheers program included during our calls at Half Moon Cay. Please let me know if you have any other questions and I wish you a wonderful cruise. Best wishes.

 John

Monica Christie asks:

Just got off the Carnival Dream on Sat 5/18/13…On Friday which was a sea day, around 13:30 fighter jets flew by the Carnival Dream.  No announcement was made after etc…  Was told by some it was jets from Cuba, some say it was from US.  Basically it scared me.  This was our second cruise.  Just wondering if this is a normal thing.

John says:

Hello Monica Christie,

I checked with the ship on this as I had not heard about it. They confirmed that the jets were from the U.S. Navy. I can imagine that this may have been a bit scary but I have seen this happen before on a few occasions during my time at sea. It was nothing to worry about though. I hope you had a fun cruise. Best wishes.

Ed Bell asks:

Hello John, Not sure if you read these because I have never gotten a reply from earlier problems I ask about, but I’ll try again. This weekend was checking into booking a cruise. In researching I checked suggested tipping rate. In doing so the thought crossed my mind that since I cruise solo and already are paying double I could cancel the tips. But as I understand how the tipping is the crew’s main wage I wouldn’t do that. However it gave me an idea. Why not have the tips included in solo fares. I don’t mean add them on to the fares I mean part of the fare. It means the cruise line would be getting 185% to 190% fare the remaining would be tips. Would make solo cruisers more comfortable about the rate and probably spend more on board.  I know I watch my spending more when going solo. Actually have been on cruises where my only sign and sail charge was the tips. But when sailing with nieces and nephews three to five in a cabin with a good rate, Sign & Sail was close to $1,000. Don’t understand why Carnival doesn’t have solo staterooms. You could have two single staterooms in same area as one standard stateroom. A 90 square foot single stateroom would be as large as some standard rooms on other lines. And there could be some connecting rooms for families if they didn’t sell by a certain time. Just a couple of thoughts. Thanks for your time.

John says:

Hello Ed Bell,

Thanks for getting in contact with me and my apologies for the delay in posting a reply. I totally understand the challenges and extra costs that cruising solo with us bring and that’s why I have to thank you for sailing with us and I promise that your excellent suggestion will be passed to the right people. I know we don’t have any single rooms on any of our ships so we do need to try and find other areas where we can help. So I will send this to our vice president of sales and let’s see what she has to say. Thanks so much and if there is anything I can do for you please let me know. Best wishes.

John

Robyn Ragno asks:

Hi John,

My family and I just booked my very first Carnival cruise and only my second cruise ever!! We are sailing on the Carnival Conquest Oct. 27-Nov. 3. As if the cruise wasn’t exciting enough, we will be on board for Halloween! Any tips or suggestions?  Thank You!

Robyn

John says:

Hello Robyn Ragno,

Cruising at Halloween is always loads of fun. Each ship is decorated accordingly and we encourage guests to bring a costume to wear at dinner and enjoy the big party afterwards. So, get ready for a brilliant time and I have a feeling that this will be the first cruise of many you will take. If there is anything you need to know please contact me here or on my Facebook page at facebook.com/johnheald. Best wishes.

John
 

That’s your lot for today.

Well we were just talking about Halloween there so while we are talking about special celebrations let’s see what most of the ships will be doing for July 4th.

 

American Flag

 

The Stars and Stripes will be placed in the Atrium for the day of July 4th.

 

Trivia Fun

 

Trivia contests to be hosted on the 4th of July or throughout the cruise.

 

Presidential, U.S., State, and 4th of July Trivia contests.

 

Fourth of July Lido Party

 

The Fourth of July celebration is to be held fleetwide with the exception of the Spirit and any ship in Europe (2013- Legend/Sunshine).  Ships that have embarkation on the 4th of July will adjust the regular “Welcome Aboard Deck Party” into the “Welcome Aboard 4th of July Celebration Deck Party.” All other ships will schedule the 4th of July celebration for the evening of the 4th.

 

Music

 

Live music and DJs on Lido deck

 

Guest Giveaways

 

Mini-U.S. flags to be handed out before/during deck party. (LE & SH to receive 50-100 flags for small lounge celebration)

 

Red and blue beads will be handed out during the deck party.

 

Patriotic clappers will be handed out during the deck party.

 

Stars & stripes folding fans will be handed out during the deck party.

 

Patriotic tattoos will be handed out during the deck party.

 

Decorations

 

Pennant banners will be placed across/around Lido deck

 

Festive bunting will be placed across/around Lido deck

 

Props

 

Streamer cannons will be used during the deck party celebration.

 

4th of July Activities

 

Hot dog and/or ice cream eating contest

 

A patriotic line dance will be taught for the party that night.

 

 “Dive-In” Movies

 

Along with live concerts the movie “National Treasure” will be shown on the ships that have the Lido deck big screen and on the cabin TVs on those ships that do not have them.

 

Mixology

 

A special edition of Mixology will be held all competing drinks are red, white and blue or a combination of.

 

Deck Games

 

Inflatable star toss

 

Giant inflatable shootball

 

Inflatable ball dartz

 

Now I thought you might like to see where each ship is on the big day. Here is the list with apologies for not adding the word “Carnival” in front of each ship.

 

 

 BREEZE “FUN DAY” AT SEA
CONQUEST GRAND CAYMAN, CAYMAN ISLANDS
DREAM “FUN DAY” AT SEA
ECSTASY LITTLE STIRUP CAY, BAHAMAS
ELATION* NEW ORLEANS, LA
FANTASY NASSAU, BAHAMAS
FASCINATION* JACKSONVILLE, FL
FREEDOM ARUBA
GLORY* BOSTON, MA
IMAGINATION “FUN DAY” AT SEA
INSPIRATION “FUN DAY” AT SEA
LEGEND “FUN DAY” AT SEA
LIBERTY GRAND CAYMAN, CAYMAN ISLANDS
MAGIC BELIZE
MIRACLE CRUISE TRACY ARM FJORD
PARADISE* TAMPA, FL
PRIDE HALF MOON CAY, BAHAMAS
SENSATION* PORT CANAVERAL (ORLANDO), FL
SPIRIT “FUN DAY” AT SEA
SPLENDOR* NEW YORK, NY
SUNSHINE MESSINA, SICILY, ITALY
TRIUMPH COZUMEL, MEXICO
VALOR ST. LUCIA, WI
VICTORY* MIAMI, FL

 

There will be a special $3 off on the All American Bucket of Beer all day on the 4th of July and a special Stars and Stripes Frozen Cocktail that is made with Strawberry Daiquiri, Pina Colada and a Float of Blue Curacao.

Yep, it looks like a brilliant time. We won’t be doing all of the above on the Carnival Legend, Carnival Spirit and Carnival Sunshine as we have many different nationalities but we will do some of the above, though. The only thing left for me to do is to wish all my American friends a Happy Fourth Of July and I hope you have a great family day celebrating beating us Brits.

So we are in St. Petersburg and overall everything has gone well. Yes, there were some independent guests not on a Carnival tour who did not like the fact that we gave priority disembarking to the guests who had paid for a Carnival excursion and were on the Grand Tour. It was only a handful of guests who were upset and we all apologised to them but told them quite honestly that we had an agreement with the Russian authorities that we would do this and, apart from one group of 20 who verbally abused anyone wearing a Carnival name tag, most waited patiently for the general clearance announcement which came 45 minutes after the ship arrived.

The scheduled time of arrival was 8 am but the captain agreed to get the ship alongside by 7 am and by 7:45pm we had all 700 on the Grand Tour ashore and mostly through Immigration.

I do want to send out a warning to anyone who has booked an independent tour. Please make sure you have what’s called “an Official Invitation” from your tour operator because without this the Russian Immigration officials will not let you through. This happened a few times yesterday and, as I was on the pier directing traffic through to immigration, I saw a few very upset guests including a group of five from the UK whose receipt printed from the internet was not good enough to get them through immigration and there was nothing at all I could do for them.

Look, docking in St. Petersburg is a challenge but the staff here did a brilliant job and I this morning as I stood on the pier again I spoke to many who said day 1 had been extraordinary and although they were tired……..they were excited to see what day two had in store. There was a huge heat wave here in St. Petersburg with 87 degrees the high. It was a challenging day for the guests on tours with the heat and air conditioning not a Russian strong point but the guests had a brilliant time.

Let’s have a look at some superb photos of St/Petersburg as taken by Mr. Radu.

p5

p4

p3

p2

p1

Normally my blood pressure is excellent which considering I am a fat bastard my average of 125/82 is surprisingly good. However, I think if I were to take it now it would be significantly higher. That’s because I had one of those moments and I am sure many of you have had a moment like this today at work or in everyday life. Let me explain.

 

 This morning at 8:15am I went to get off the ship to check on the lines at Russian Immigration and to make sure the men and women with frying pan hats on had not been on the vodka last night and had actually bothered to show up to work. So, I headed down from my cabin on deck 8 forward to the gangway on deck A midship. Once at the gangway, I engaged in the usual good-natured banter with one of our security crew members. I’ve known him for some time and worked recently with him on the Carnival Breeze. I asked how he was. We chatted momentarily about cricket and how his beloved India had beaten my pathetic England in the final of a recent competition. I then realised I had left my ship ID in the cabin and I explained this saying that I was just going onto the pier and would be back in 10 minutes…. he said he couldn’t let me off the ship. “Security policy,” he said.

 

 I felt it straight away imagining what he might look like without a head. But he had been told by his chief security (and understandably so as I realized once I came to my senses) that even fat British CD’s and brand ambassadors who had worked for Carnival for 26 years should not be allowed of the ship, even just to walk on the pier and check if the guests were ok at immigration …………without an ID. Security is a difficult job these days and he was just doing his best working on the instructions he had been given. Just like those who work at the airports.

 

 Recently I flew from London to Houston and back and had to pass through those the body scanner things that could detect a tic tac that had been taped under a man’s dangly bits.

 

So sensitive are these machines that the airport security staff will send you back to take off another item of sodding clothing until you standing in the scanner dressed only in your underpants. And then once out of the scanner you are groped and felt in places only your wife and possibly a Latvian prostitute have touched before…

 

 But it is the way of the world and safety first etc., etc. But is it really necessary to do this to a four year old kid? Surely the fact that they are four should be enough. How many times during my travels have I seen crying kids who don’t understand why a large man with an iron on patch is waving a Harry Potter style magic wand over them?

 

 Anyway, I as I headed back to my cabin to get my ID and I realized that I may have shown my disgust at the security chap at the gangway who was just doing his job. They have a thankless task and my abruptness with him was uncalled for. So when I returned and presented my ID I also handed him my last bag of Sugar Free Wurthers Original and apologised if I had been curt or even rude. I then walked onto the pier and checked on the Russian Immigration officials whose “Welcome to Russia” was about as warm as a Siberian winter.

 

 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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