There are many things I regret that I have said and done in my life — actions that if I could, I would go back in time and change. Telling Heidi, while she was giving birth to Kye, that having a baby was no more painful than the time I ate a massive order of pork skin (“crackling,” as we call it in the UK) and was constipated for days and then describing the effort I had made to finally get the pork crackling out, was both stupid and painful as the fingernail marks in my hand proved. However, some people do things in their life that are just as dumb and more so yet feel absolutely no remorse. Remember the woman who was angry at me (and others) for appreciating the beauty at an attractive lady?

 Well, today, I discovered that my apology and a few apples were not enough to quench her thirst to because she wrote an email to her travel agent who sent it to the Carnival salesperson, who sent it her boss who sent it to the VP of sales who sent it to the VP of operations who sent it to and so on and so forth. I saw the email today and the anger she feels towards me is extraordinary. It is as if I killed her cat and she wants me gone, out of Carnival and I am sure if she had her way she would have my dangly bits removed and have them made into a bedside lampstand. Obviously, I explained to the 247 different beards that were copied on the email what had happened and as many of them read my blog, they were already aware. But I still feel upset and probably unprofessional not for her, but for me. I feel like I should go on The View and tell my side of the story.

 So if I could go back in time I would go back to that elegant night and when that gorgeous Amazonian lady glided past me and, instead of looking at her, I would have kept my head facing forward and thus not angering this lady who is probably, as we speak, in Miami hanging me in effigy in the lobby of Carnival HQ.

 Time for today’s Q and A………………away we go

 Sam Underwood asks:

 I have to say what a waste of space the Indian place is. Texans do not eat Indian food, so dump it and put something else there like BBQ food. Never saw anyone use it on our cruise. Texans also like more breakfast choices, country music plus more creamy desserts, all of which was sadly lacking on our cruise. Seems like Carnival needs to learn more about their customers if they are going to be doing good business in Texas.

 John says:

 Hello Sam Underwood

I do understand that Indian food is not as popular as, say, burgers or steaks or pasta. Many of our chefs are from India and they have a passion about sharing Indian cooking with our guests. I would like to suggest that next time you cruise you try the butter chicken masala and the tandoori chicken and, of course, some freshly made naan. It is very popular with many of our guests, though. I think that we have a good grip on what our guests want and certainly the success of our relationship with Galveston has resulted in the Carnival Freedom heading there which means Texans, and the many others who sail from Galveston on our ships, will have three ships, to choose from. I hope we see you again very soon and please, try the Indian food just once — you will not be disappointed. Best wishes.

John

Randy Jackson asks:

 John, we got off of the Carnival Liberty May 3 after doing the eastern Caribbean seven-day.  We had a blast but also a few things that ticked us off. The last say day during dinner a few of our party went to smoke and the entire Lido was closed Lido and the other decks. Considering this was the last sea day I find it very rude to close the decks for cleaning during peak time.  I have NEVER seen this in all my years cruising.  This should have been done in the very early hours yet this was at like 7 pm also my friends who were staying in balcony rooms the windows in the balconies were dirty upon embarkation and stayed that way the entire cruise.  They were not cleaned even once. Unacceptable to pay that kind of money and the windows stayed dirty. The people in two of the rooms have been on numerous cruises and this was a first.  Is Carnival cheapening its standards to cut corners? Rosalie Jackson and Mary Azevedo (both past cruisers and a newbie) were also was disappointed in the cleanliness. David Norton April 6 – May 3 Carnival Liberty and I was in 6233 outraged at these things on this particular cruise.

 John says:

 Hello Randy Jackson

I am very glad to read that you had such a great time. Just want to mention the balconies. I checked with the ship and they are cleaned at least week including the week you were on board but I also wanted to mention this — a few years ago, we could clean and wash in every port of call and many will remember leaving the ship in port to see an army of people washing, painting and scrubbing. Now these days it is all so different with the vast majority of ports not allowing any cleaning or washing at all while docked. This means that we have very few chances to clean and can only do so at sea. A letter is sent to the cabin and guests are told. But again, respectfully, the balconies are cleaned once or twice a week without fail and while at sea. But it’s a constant challenge because they do get dirty again in the salt air and sea spray, so please also bear that in mind and it certainly is not in any way Carnival “cheapening its standards to cut corners.” I just wanted to reassure you of that. I agree tough totally with your first point that we should leave the washing of the deck until much, much later and I will address this now with the hotel director and apologise for the trouble this caused. I hope you will let me know if you have a follow up questions and if I can help you with anything. Best wishes.

John

 Batia asks:

 Hello John: I’m going on Carnival Liberty cruise on July 6 with a family of 11 people with young children wanted to ask if the ship has a washing machine and dryer? If not, what washing solution do you offer for children? Thank you for your reply

Thank Batia

 John says:

 Hello Batia

Yes indeed. There are several guest launderettes that offer washers and dryers for a fee plus a full service laundry which offers wash and fold service with one full bag costing only $15. I hope this helps and please let me know if you have any other questions. Have a brilliant cruise. Best wishes.

John

 David Goris asks:

 Hey John just two quick questions: I have been sailing with Carnival for 10 years now and can never seem to get a table against the window to watch the sunset while eating dinner at the sit-down restaurant. Every time I book a cruise through Carnival I asked to be sat near a window and am told I must wait and see the maitre d’ once I am on board the boat. Then when I arrive on the day of embarkation the maitre d tells me there are no available tables because the dining room is full. Who is making the designations for the tables? Why is it I can never seem to get priority or ask for a special request prior to leaving for the cruise? Secondly is there a way to allow platinum guests back on board from a port of call through the crew member entrance… I think that would be a nice perk to reward cruisers that have made it to platinum status, to be able to bypass the sometimes very long line of reboarding passengers the ship from a port of call. I see a crew member only line is usually already in place, why not just add crew member and platinum guests? Heck, even add those diamond members!

 John says:

 Hello David Goris

Before I forget let me thank you for your loyalty and I hope we see you on many more cruises. Table assignments are based on many factors and most of our window tables are bigger tables for large family groups. However, should you wish to be seated at a table by the window please drop me a note on Facebook at (facebook.com/johnheald) and I should be able to help you from there

I am afraid we can’t allow platinum and diamond guests through the crew gangway. They are usually in what we call the marshalling area and that is full of moving equipment that would make it a dangerous place to have guests pass through. Let’s see what happens in the months ahead as we approach the two-year anniversary of our loyalty program. Thanks again and please let me know if you have any other questions. Best wishes.

John

 Lance Stuart asks:

 Hey Mr. Wisconsin Skinny – what’s the story about Guy’s Burger Joint not open at dinner time???!!!!!!!!!! Come on, Carnival, it is what your customers want so come on Mr. Fugly get this done would ya? Carnival Liberty cruise on June 7 in cabin 2388 and our 10th anniversary plus it’s our platinum cruise. Yea baby — help us with something, mate!!! ROFLMAO

 John says:

Hello Lance Stuart

Guy’s burgers certainly continue to grow in popularity and that’s because they are great. The chefs are cooking around 1,200 each day and from 11 am – 6 pm. It is because of this, and the careful manning of hours for the crew, that we close after 6 pm but don’t forget the pizza, stateroom service and other Lido choices for dinner. I want to thank you for your loyalty and I am sure this cruise will be the best yet and many congratulations on your anniversary. Have a great time. Best wishes.

John

 Kenneth Huffman asks:

 John: My wife and I will be on the Carnival Conquest this Dec 7 for our 18th cruise, and would like to know who the CD will be?

Thanks, 

Ken

 John Says:

 Hello Kenneth Huffman

I am afraid that we won’t have the cruise director schedule posted until the end of July or start of August. This year, unlike any other, it is a very fluid schedule because of the addition of the new position of entertainment director who will oversee all the behind-the-scenes work. I will have the schedule posted here on the blog as soon as it is ready and if there is anything else I can do for you, please let me know. Best wishes.

John

 Debbie Hamnett asks:

 Just finished my fifth Carnival cruise with two more booked but thinking of canceling unless you change the life jacket drill. It lasted 40 minutes on Carnival Breeze because they did it in Spanish and English and then counted all of us. Standing out in the heat was a terrible experience for me and I saw at least 30 other passengers passing out and collapsing. Why does Carnival not do two separate ones in English and then, if they have to do one in Spanish, let us go inside. That is what happens on Royal anyway. So why doesn’t Carnival do it?

 John says:

 Hello Debbie Hamnett

Thank you for writing and, obviously safety remains the top priority and we take your safety very seriously. The counting of guests at the muster station needs to be done because that is what would happen in a real emergency. We really can’t do separate drills because in an emergency everyone would be together so we need, by law, to inform everyone how to save their lives in an emergency before the ship departs. I know that it can get hot during the spring and summer so I hope that you will try and forget that and concentrate on the fun you had during the cruise. Thanks for your understanding. Best wishes.

John

 Jennifer Norcross asks:

 This is a thank you to you, John, for arranging the veterans meeting for my husband Arnie Norcross on his cruise last week. He appreciated this so much and met up with other Vietnam veterans and they swapped stories. He is keeping in touch with one he met and they are becoming good friends. Thank you also for the gift and the note you sent and special thanks must go to our hard working and always grinning Chi, our cabin steward, who was fantastic. Keep the faith, John, and thank you for all you do for us

 John says:

 Hello Jennifer Norcross

Thanks so much for this because I know how important it was to him from your previous post. I hope we will see you all cruise again and, if I can help with anything else, please let me know.

Best wishes to you both.

John

 Wendy Boroski asks:

 Good morning, John. We will be joining you on the May 27 cruise to Alaska and I just wanted to say thank you for your quirky sense of humor. It really sets a great tone for my day. Look forward to finally meeting you. Please don’t scare all the whales away before we get there!!

 John says:

 Hello Wendy Boroski

I will be seeing you here in a week’s time and I think that this may be one of your best cruises ever. I will certainly try and make that so. Please leave me a note at the guest services desk when you board the ship with your cabin number. Have a brilliant time. Best wishes.

John

 Andrew Mullins asks:

 Why did Carnival cut back and buy cheap imitation of Red Bull? The Rock Star you sell on your boats is awful and nobody drinks it. I am very active in the gym and in life, even when I cruise so my 10 Red Bulls a day have to be replaced with vitamin waters because Rock Star is so sickly and disgusting. Suggest that you check into what the write ups in Men’s Health Magazine say about Rock Star in comparison to Red Bull!!!!

 John says:

 Hello Andrew Mullins

I must admit I am not familiar with Red Bull or indeed another word you used in your post …………”gym.” Seriously, I have never drunk these energy drinks but I realise they are very popular. It seems the Rock Star drinks are too because we sell a lot each week across the fleet. I think I am right in saying that they are owned by Coke which, of course, we have an exclusive contract. Hopefully, one week away from Red Bull will be manageable for you and that you will still have loads of fun on board. Please let me know if you have any other questions. Best wishes.

John

 And with that, we end today’s Q and A.

 Right, it’s a new cruise today so let’s see who is sailing with us, shall we?

 Total Guests                                       2,106

 United States                                      1,897

UK                                                      40

Canadian                                             26

French Canadian                                 6

Mexico                                                20

Australia                                             14

Germany                                             8

Israel                                                   7

Most represented state                       Texas – 255 guests

 Diamond Guests                                 8

Platinum Guests                                 144

Back to Back Guests                          6

 

And this cruise we start our regular itinerary which, until September 10, will be like this:

 

Tuesday                                  Seattle                                     Depart 4 pm

Wednesday                             At Sea                                     Elegant night

Thursday                                 Cruise Tracy Arm Fjord

Friday                                     Skagway                                 7am – 9 pm

Saturday                                  Juneau                                     7am – 6 pm

Sunday                                    Sea Day                                   Elegant night 2

Monday                                   Victoria, BC                           3 pm- 11pm

  So three days in port with some evening time in Juneau and Victoria which unlike the past two cruises, will not be a challenge to call at. So, looks like a great itinerary and I shall attempt to share the journey with you.

 Notice there that I used the word “attempt” because based on the satellite service we had last cruise that may not be possible. Now last Wednesday, we now are using a new satellite which the fleet uses for Internet and email, telephone calls off the ship, ATM machines and credit card authorisation. And last cruise, when we switch to the new satellite, all was good for a few hours, it was actually much quicker than our previous satellite. But then……………….it was crap.

 Now the technical beards who are on board have been trying to explain what happened and why it is has not worked for so long and I know they are trying their best but, for the guests it is frustrating as so many depend on email to stay in touch with family, etc. I made an apology announcement most days but, by yesterday, guests were fed up with me doing so, I think, and just wanted it back on line to print boarding passes and make travel arrangements.

 Today in Seattle we are supposed to receive some kind of spare part that will stop the signal from dropping so much. As I sit here in my underpants writing to you I have no idea if it came or not but hopefully it has. If not……………well, I might as well send you all updates by carrier pigeon. It is very frustrating indeed for everyone, me included.

 And, of course, it is terrible for the crew who absolutely rely on the satellite to communicate with family and friends through the discounted Internet and telephone service Carnival provides them and to be out of touch for so long is a challenge for sure. My goodness how things have changed. Go back 10 years communication was so different. On homeport days, huge bags of mail would be sent to the ship and hundreds of parcels and letters would be distributed amongst the crew. These days it’s one bag or less of mail as most now communicate via the internet……and when that’s not working, it is very much missed by everyone on the ship.

 I often talk about some of the guests I meet here on the blog and usually that’s because they are complaining about something or have done something worthy of me sharing with all of you. Occasionally, though, I meet a guest who you know immediately you will never forget. I met someone like this on our past cruise, on the last day at sea actually.

 It was after the Q & A when I had been asked dozens of questions including why people who wanted to be seated together were not, how many hours the crew work and what happens if a crew member gets pregnant? It was a jolly affair and yet, at its conclusion, I stood by the stage taking photos…….why people would want a photo with me continues to confuse me….but it was lovely and I was having a nice chat with assorted guests.

 But then it wasn’t lovely anymore because I spent the next five minutes with multiple fingers wagging in my face. I won’t go into details about what the wagging fingers were about except to say this was not the first comment or person I had dealt with from a church group we had on board. They loved the food, they appreciated the service, they did not appreciate the shows or the bars and casinos and…….well, you get the picture.

 Anyway, I got quite the tongue lashing and, once it had finished and the four ladies had left the lounge I started to walk away when I heard a voice calling my name. It was a lady I had seen at all the shows and she was memorable, I have to be honest because she was in a wheelchair. This young lady, and I say “young” because she was probably only in her 30s, had, I am guessing, a serious spinal injury because she could not move much of her lower body. We spent the next few minutes talking and she was describing the thrill of seeing whales in Juneau and how her waiter had been so much fun and how she loved Ticket To Ride and the comedians. She was so full of life and energy and happiness.

 She asked if I could take a photo with her. I stood by her side sort of crouching down so we were at the same height and, after the lady she was with took the photo, she said something to me, one of those things that you never forget. I do not remember her name I am embarrassed to say, but I will always remember what she said to me and after the finger wagging a few moments earlier, it was a massively poignant moment when she said, “The hardest thing about being in my wheelchair is I can’t get a proper hug.” I was a bit gob smacked by this, so I reached in and tried to give her the biggest hug I could and she laughed with glee.

 You know, I often concentrate too much here and on Facebook about the comments made by guests who may not like what we do or have an interesting and sometimes outrageous suggestions. But it would do me good to remember that there are thousands of guests each week who simply have the time of their lives on our ships and sometimes those guests leave you with everlasting memories.

 “The hardest thing about being in my wheelchair is I can’t get a proper hug.”

 I had never thought of that……had you?

 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.