WEINERS AND BARBIES

July 31, 2013 -

John Heald

My daughter Kye no longer loves that purple bastard dinosaur or the bag of sausages sometimes known as Peppa Pig. Nope, they are gone and forgotten because my daughter Kye, aged four …….. now loves Barbie. She watches the movies with sickly titles like Barbie and the Red Shoes, Barbie in a Mermaid Tale, Barbie Does Dallas and Barbie Divorces Ken. And she has the Barbie Dream House and the Barbie Cruise Ship and lots of Barbie clothes for her Barbie dolls while Ken lives in a cardboard box in the shed. It reminds me of when my sister played with her Barbies and what I would do to them when she wasn’t looking.  I chopped their hair off and gave them a bath in the toilet. I pierced their ears with a huge safety pin. I painted their nipples blue and one had the same number of legs as Paul McCartney’s ex-girlfriend. I hate Barbie just as much as I hated Barney. Yesterday, I called home to wish Kye goodnight and tell her I love as I always do and she insisted on singing a song called “She’s the Queen of the Waves” which, of course, is from a Barbie movie.

 

I have sat with Kye and watched those stage-managed children with the sickly Hollywood smiles tell me how much they love that Megasorearse Barney. I have watched my daughter laugh out loud at Peppa Pig which was no doubt written by a woman with a true hatred of men. Each five-minute program includes a message about kindness and love, and that Dada pig is a hopeless buffoon destined for the sausage factory. Yep, I have endured these torturous programs for the love of my daughter but no sodding way am I ever going to sit through an hour of a sickly pink Barbie movie. Modern man will probably say that I am supposed to embrace Barbie. Bollocks. I am not one of those touchy feely, metrosexual, organic tofu-eating, sandal-wearing, Red Bull- drinking dads.

 

If Kye wants to watch a movie about a farting dog or some classic Tom and Jerry cartoon then I will be there watching with her. But Barbie and her hollow boobs can bugger off.

 

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

 

Shay Turner asks:

John,

Thank you for all that you do.  Do you know when the schedule is going to come out for the Carnival Sunshine May 2014?  We are wanting to go for our anniversary in May but the schedule is not out yet.  I took my husband on his first cruise this year and he loved it.  He also enjoyed the fact that I planned and paid for the cruise.  All he had to do was get ready to have a good time.  Thanks in advance.

Shay

 

John says:

Hello Shay Turner,

With apologies for the delay in answering your question I am sure you have seen that we now have released the dates for Carnival Sunshine in 2014 and her sailings from New Orleans and Port Canaveral. I hope that we will see you both there. She is a great ship with so much to do. If there is anything I can do for you, please let me know. Best wishes to you both…..and it’s his turn to pay.

John

 

Jeremy Christiansen asks:

Hello John and thank you for this “brilliant” blog! I have never cruised with Carnival. I may one day, we shall see but for now I am a committed cruiser with Princess and have completed 28 voyages with them. I love the Pacific Princess and it was your review here that got me started on your blog

 

http://johnhealdsblog.com/2008/06/25/pacific-princessa-day-onboard-a-5-star-country-inn/

 

John, I am no spring chicken, my friend, but at 71, I have learnt to embrace social sites like this and my question is based on this. Do you have any influence at PCL because I think they are really missing out not having someone from on the ships write a blog about their experiences? I am sure this blog of yours sells cruises and I would hope PCL can jump on this band wagon because I am sure I am not the only Princess fan who would like this. Thank you, John, and maybe I will sail with you one day, who knows?

Sincerely,

Jeremy Christiansen

 

John says:

Hello Jeremy Christiansen,

I, too, am a huge fan of Princess Cruises and my time spent on the Pacific Princess was most enjoyable as were my cruises on the Emerald Princess and Ruby Princess. Thanks so much for the kind words and, actually, I do know someone at Princess and I will indeed mention this to them. I do hope you continue to enjoy your cruises with PCL but I also hope one day we will sail together and, until then, I again thank you for your very kind words. Best wishes.

John

 

Susan Agger asks:

John, as a platinum VIP, I must tell you how much I despise the Faster to the Fun program. Why should people be allowed to get on the ship at the same time as me when they have spent $50 and I have spent thousands over my 12 cruises? I am just off the Carnival Breeze and the Faster to the Fun passengers were in the same line as me and the other VIPs. There should be a clear distinction of 20 minutes at least between when we get on the ship and when they do. To me, this shows Carnival has no regard or respect for people like me who have been loyal. Totally blown away that Carnival would do this to its loyal customers!!!

 

John says:

Hello Susan Agger,

I am sorry that this has caused you some frustration. I can tell you that the VIFPs are supposed to board before FTTF guests, although not 20 minutes as you suggested. If this did not happen and the FTTF guests were in the same line as you well I sincerely apologise and I will address this, of course. I do hope you enjoyed the added benefit of having your cabin ready on boarding and your luggage delivered first and that, most importantly, you had a great cruise. Your loyalty has been and always will be very important and I hope we see you soon. Best wishes.

John

 

Michael & Julie Surzyn asks:

John,

My wife and I are both Diamond members. We have both been on several Carnival cruises as Diamond members, and I have to tell you that we are less than thrilled about the program.

There are many “inconsistencies” between different ships as to how the program is administered.  One example is debarkation – sometimes there is a separate diamond area for early debarkation; sometimes there is not. I offer specific recommendations that in my opinion would provide Diamond members a more “special” experience that would not be a large effort or expense for Carnival:

 

1) Provide a “Diamond Only” line or the ability to “skip the line” for “any time” dining.

 

2) Consistently provide a separate area for Diamond Members on all ships for early debarkation and actually enforce it.

 

3) Provide a “happy hour” each night for Diamond Members only!

 

4)  Restore the free slot/blackjack tournament for Diamond Members only.

 

5)  Specials on the Carnival Web Site for Diamond Members for future cruise bookings.

 

More expensive “perks,” but “perks” that would provide satisfaction to loyal Diamond Members:

 

1) Lounge area on the ship so Diamond Members could enjoy a free drink or two each evening of their cruise.

 

2) One free steakhouse meal for each Diamond Member “each” cruise and not only once in a lifetime.

 

After experiencing the “Diamond” level now for several cruises, I sincerely feel that the benefits provided are few, and my wife and I do not feel any more welcome/special than a Platinum member.  Many times we are mixed together with Platinum at debarkation which really

makes one feel angry after so many cruises. Another example is in writing this note to you — there is not a “subject” for “Diamond,” but there is for “Platinum!!”

Thank you for your consideration,

Mike and Julie Surzyn

 

John says:

Hello Mike and Julie Surzyn,

Let me start by saying a huge thank you for your loyalty and as Diamond Members you are very special to us here at Carnival, that much is for certain. I will pass on your suggestions to the right people including the VP in charge of the Diamond program. I know that later this year we will be reviewing all the loyalty programs so this will be important for all to see. So this will now be sent on and I thank you again for taking the time to write. I hope we see you both very soon.

Best wishes.

John

 

Carol Kaczerowski asks:

Hello John,

Yeah….I recently booked a cruise to Alaska next year and can’t wait to finally have the pleasure of meeting you. We cruised the Panama Canal in March and another cruise on the Carnival Splendor a few weeks ago. We were on a cruise last June and were hoping that Percy Crews II would have been on board for one of our recent cruises. We fell in love with his comedy. He got his start in our hometown. I am booked for the Carnival Glory 9/21/13, Carnival Splendor 12/2/13 and 12/11/13 and the Carnival Miracle on 7/29/14.  I know it may be too early, but is there any chance Percy Crews II will be scheduled on any or ALL of these cruise dates? Do you have any pull…..???  🙂  Would also like to find out who the piano bar entertainer will be on the Carnival Splendor in December? We loved sailing with Mr. Radu on our Panama Canal transit and hope he will be on board again for one of the sailings we are cruising. Would like to give a shout out to the great job Marcelo did on the Carnival Splendor. We had lots of FUN!  Cheers!

Carol

 

John says:

Hello Carol Kaczerowski,

Thanks for the great post. I know Percy has lots of fans, myself included, he truly is very funny. I do not have September’s schedule yet and I really have no influence over which of the 100-plus comedians we use and which ships they go to but I will certainly send your request on to the person who does and let them see your request. Mr. Radu is here with me now and I will see what his schedule is later this year and let you know. Thanks for all the kind words and I am so glad you continue to have fun with us and long may that continue. Best wishes.

John

 

Vicki Gilson asks:

This may seem a small thing to you but it is important to me. My husband and I are just back from our Carnival Elation cruise and I have a big complaint. It stared of as a small complaint but because the morons on the ship did nothing, it is now a big one because I am posting this here and on cruisecritic.com. I ordered room service every night before bed for my late night ham and cheese sandwich snack. The first time the boy brought it, the pickle was on top of the sandwich. and the juice runs on to the bread and makes it soggy – UGH!!!!!! I told him not to do it and was polite when I told him. The next night, same thing, bread had pickle juice on it. I went to the front desk and told them and the girl who was not American but I think Russian or somewhere laughed when I told her. What kind of service is that to get I ask you?! She said she would do it but she did nothing because, the next night the same thing over again. Is this good service? No, is the answer and if Carnival cannot get this right, how will they get more customers.

Vicki Gilson

 

John says:

Hello Vicki Gilson,

I am so sorry to see how upset you are about this and, as you do not like pickle juice, I can see why this would indeed have been so frustrating. I do have to ask something though. I see you told the room service waiter that you didn’t want the pickle on the bread but did you actually ask the lady who answered the room service call? She is the one who takes the orders and I am pretty positive that she would have given instructions to leave the pickle on the side of the plate. Please do let them know this next time and, again, my apologies. I will make sure that the ship’s senior management absolutely sees this. I do hope you had a wonderful cruise and that we will see you again soon. Best wishes.

John

 

Andrew Langton asks:

Bottled water in the cabins should be free, Heald, like it is on NCL. Just sayin’. On the Carnival Victory in October so we can see how much power you have to get this done.

 

John says:

Hello Andrew Langton,

I am surprised to read that another cruise line supplies free bottled water. We do not have any plans to do this but I would kindly remind you that complimentary drinking water is of course available whenever you’d like. Please let me know if you have any other questions and have a brilliant time on the Carnival Victory. Best wishes.

John

 

Pauline and Frank Marusso asks:

We want to put cash down for our cruise and don’t use credit cards. What is the minimum amount we have to do!!

 

John says:

Hello Pauline and Frank Marusso,

Here are the amounts for you;

Cruise Cash is available in denominations of $25, $50, $75, and $100 and can be used on any expenses your Sail & Sign account and includes staff gratuities and taxes. Cruise Cash Bar is available in amounts of $25, $50, $75, and $100 and can be used on all bar purchases (alcoholic and non-alcoholic). This includes but is not limited to: cocktails, soda, juice, water, wine/champagne/bottles of liquor purchased in the dining room or through room service, any purchase within the coffee shop, souvenir cups or glasses sold at the bars. Beverages sold within the gift shops are not covered by this credit. Please let me know if you have any other questions. Best wishes.

John
LR asks:

I’ll considering going on a weekend “Cruise to Nowhere” Oct 18 out of Norfolk and want to know what the shows will be. I’ve called Carnival several times – but no one can tell me. I was referred to you. Thank you in advance for the information.

 

John says:

Hello LR,

You will have two different comedians performing (don’t have the names yet) five or six comedy shows plus performances of two of the three big shows Divas, Latin Nights or The Brits. I hope you have a brilliant time. Best wishes.

John

 

Molly Bennett asks:

Hello, John really love your work. I will be cruising with Carnival for the third time and I am so excited. There will be 14 of us including my brother, Charlie, who has severe disabilities and will need a big space for his electric wheelchair which is quite big. Can I ask then that you help us with a table reservation with a table that has room? I know we cannot have us all at the same time (right, John?) but anything you can do would be wonderful. Here are our booking details for the four families. Thank you John – you rock!

 

John says:

Hello Molly Bennett,

It will be a pleasure to help you. I see you are sailing on the Carnival Splendor and I have asked the maître d to assist you with two tables next to each other and one with a space for Charlie so he will be comfortable. Thanks so much for the very kind words and I wish you all a brilliant time together. Best wishes.

John

 

Brian asks:

Hi John,

I’m not a Facebooker, so I’m sending this directly to you. Just to clear the extremely muddy waters… ….I’m the original poster of the “Forced Corkage Fee??” QUESTION that was posted on Cruise Critic yesterday and that has been referenced in your FB page. I really don’t know how this became so heated. The full story is…….. my wife’s coworker just returned from a Carnival cruise out of POM and she was telling us of her experience. She mentioned that she saw people’s wine being taken away from them at embarkation and being told it would be brought to them in the MDR. I was sure she was misinterpreting what she saw/heard. It didn’t make any sense to me but my wife became nervous as we are booked for our first cruise in four weeks on Carnival and we plan on bringing two bottles of wine, per the Carnival policy. I decided to ask the question on the CC Carnival board as I was sure the folks there would know the truth and I would be able to calm my wife’s concerns. The first several replies were what I expected……..people saying they had recently returned from a Carnival cruise and the rules had not changed. Then someone came on and accused me of being a “plant” from Carnival and someone else implied I was a rumor monger and everything went downhill from there. I made it quite clear that it was a question I was asking and not an assertion. Now it seems the same thing is happening on your FB page. I’m sorry you’ve been dragged into this but since you were, I figured you deserved to hear the account from me. I just asked a question…really.

Kind regards,

Brian

 

John says:

Hello Brian,

I am so sorry you have been mistreated online and that really is a shame. Please don’t feel bad, you asked a legitimate question and I am here exactly for that, to answer questions. The corkage fee and policy has not changed and remains the same and please know that at any time you have a question I will be here to help answer it. Thanks so much and, again, I am sorry that someone took this as a chance to ridicule you. Best wishes.

John

 

Charlene Szwec asks:

Are there any of the Carnival ships going to be sailing through the Panama Canal in the near future? My dream cruise is to go through the Panama Canal and I won’t sail on any ships other than Carnival. My husband and I have been on 12 Carnival cruises and had a wonderful time on each one. Please respond and thank you for being yourself.  We’ve had the pleasure of you being our CD on two cruise occasions and you’re a great CD. I look forward to hearing back from you with an answer. Thank you very much.

Charlene

 

John says:

Hello Charlene,

I hope you saw the recent news that two ships, Carnival Legend and Carnival Imagination, will each embark on a Panama cruise through to LA in 2013 and 2014, respectively. They look like  fantastic voyages and one I think you will both enjoy. Thanks for the very kind words and if there is anything at all I can do please let me know and I hope to see you soon. Best wishes.

John

 

Ralph Jordan asks:

John,

We just booked our 10th cruise on Carnival and we are under the old VIFP system which says “close to advancing to Platinum in our old program? Complete a total of 10 or more lifetime cruises by Dec. 31, 2013, and you’ll automatically advance to Platinum in the VIFP Club.” Will we receive the Platinum benefits on our 10th cruise or will we have to wait until the 11th cruise?

 

John says:

Hello Ralph Jordan,

Thanks so much for your loyalty and you will become Platinum on the 10th cruise as long as it sails by 12/31/13. You would receive your Platinum card and benefits at the start of that voyage. Please let me know if you have any other questions. Best wishes.

John

 

And that’s all for today.  Thanks to everyone for their comments and questions.

 

Good morning. The time on my computer clock tells me I am totally and utterly bonkers. That’s because it says 6:20am and here I sit, in my underpants, writing today’s blog. But if I don’t you won’t get a blog today as I have a busy sea day ahead of me including the live 9am morning show, a travel talk for Estonia and Amsterdam, a game show and two shows tonight. So, what’s going on………..let’s start with two tales on luggage. Here is the first.

From:LEGEND GUEST SERVICES SUPERVISOR
TUESDAY, July 30, 2013 2:53 PM
To:
LEGEND CRUISE DIRECTOR
LEGEND GUEST SERVICES MANAGER
Subject:Cabin______- Lost Luggage Request

Hello John

I was asked by Mr. _____ if you would help with a request. They have lost luggage and while Mr. _______ is OK, his wife has difficulty in sizes. We only have XXL T shirts here for lost luggage and she needs bigger. The shop on board has nothing in her size so he is asking if you can help and maybe mention to the guests. They also have a Panasonic camera and the charger is in the suitcase and they are sad because they can’t get their camera working now and, again, John can you ask a guest for this?

Thanks and Regards
Guest Services Supervisor
Carnival Legend

This lovely couple is one of nine cabins that have no luggage and that the airlines have sent to destinations unknown. As usual our guest services desk will work hard to retrieve it. I will, of course, make an announcement and see what we can do and this brings to light once again the need for bigger sizes in the shops on board. I will also mention their plight at the travel talk today as that will be full with 1,000 plus people in attendance. I have already found a charger for them as one of the entertainment staff has the same camera so we will pass that to them and work on some bigger sizes.

 

We have 2,400 guests on the ship this cruise and we have approx 5,500 pieces of luggage. I am always bewildered by how much stuff some of our guests bring on a 12-day cruise. People, I think, go shopping before their cruise based on the thought that once on board, you will become a different person and will, say for example, start going to the gym every morning so you need loads of workout clothes. And please, ladies, don’t think you need a different outfit every night at dinner and a pair of shoes to go with every outfit and you need all of this because the H82SEAUGO who you share a dinner table with will have the same dress on as you. He might but honestly, nobody will care.

 

But I am not one to talk because whenever my wife and I go anywhere together she is in charge of packing and Kye and I have no say in the argument. Now, I love my wife, I love her more than a private yacht full of naked Latvian’s shouting, “We want a fat British cruise director to do naughty things to us with a peacock feather.” But I know that as I lift the suitcases off the bed I will discover that she has slightly over packed and the suitcase will weigh the same as a pregnant yak. 

 

This is a very interesting cruise because for the first time this European season we have more British guests then we do Americans. I love having my fellow countrymen on the ship and they are for the very most part having the most brilliant of times and are easy to spot. Firstly find a red-faced man who looks like he has stuck his head in a microwave and yep, he’s a sunburn British man who probably also has white legs and will be wearing sandals and black knee high socks. Then, find someone looking up the word “tipping” in a dictionary…….. he’s British.

 

So many British people are now sailing with Carnival and the comments so far this cruise from the many British guests I have spoken to prove yet again that Brits love our product. There is one concern we have here on the Carnival Legend and it was the same on the Carnival Breeze last year and that is us Brits love our food piping, nuclear, inferno hot. I am not saying other nationalities like their food cold but certainly we have found from the feedback from our British guests that they want steam pouring off their prime rib and broccoli. With so many people on board, keeping food hot can be a challenge and I can tell you that a team of beards is working and implementing new ways for all the ships to get your food to you as hot as possible. There are challenges as I said as it’s a long way from the galley to the table but we are really working hard on this and I think you will have already seen a difference and certainly you will in the near future.

 

One thing is for certain and that is that Americans love the British. We are polite, sun burnt, non-tipping, non-complaining tourists and nobody loves us more than the Americans. Now I know the following does not apply to any of my friends reading this blog but there are some people who still think of us in a fairly stereotypical way. We all wear bowler hats to work ……… that’s if we can get to work with all that fog……it rains every day (that may be true) and that at 3 pm every day the entire nation stops to have a cup of tea and eat cucumber sandwiches with the crusts cut off. Even if you are with a beautiful lady she will, at 3 pm, you’ll have to take a break……………because it’s tea time.

 

Talking of rumpy pumpy, what’s up (pardon the expression) with this Anthony Weiner chap who while running for government or something took a photo of his gentleman’s sausage and tweeted it to 45,000 people? “Oops” comes to mind but let’s face it……it is an accident waiting to happen. I have seen that many people cannot be parted from their cell phones, Eyephones and robot android C3PO Galaxy thingies even while on the sodding toilet so I am sure many have them close by and will stop to use them in the heat of love making.

 

I am sure given enough time (which there never is) that during rumpy pumpy with me, my wife would enjoy updating her Facebook status. The Eyephone is taking over the world and before long us men will be meaningless because there will be an App that replaces us in all areas, including the bedroom. Perhaps one day there will be an app that allows two eye phones to have the rumpy pumpy, and so free up the time of their owners to enjoy other pursuits like booking a cruise. After all, phones can already vibrate, so it is just a matter of accessories…….. Oh my, what am I saying? Anyway, it looks like one of the people who received the photo of Mr. Weiner’s …..ummmmm…..thingy is going to take legal proceedings against him however, there is some doubt that the evidence will stand up in court.

 

Still, it’s not all bad news for Mr. Weiner………Calvyn has the infamous photo as his screensaver.

 

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.