CONNECTING…………………WITH JACINTA

August 11, 2015 -

John Heald

You will have seen that Carnival is rolling out our new Internet programs thick and fast across the fleet. This will be followed by the popular Hub app that is now on Carnival Breeze, next on Carnival Sunshine and by year’s end, on even more ships. These are more ways to connect with people in the cabin next to you or family who are hundreds or more miles away. “Hooray” many of you will say but I would expect there to be some “boos,” as well.

The airline industry is already stepping up its game as I discovered on my flights recently. These days many flight attendants I have met on planes seem to be more like security guards with nice hair rather than the, “Is there anything I can get for you, sir?” attendants of old. This, of course, comes from the world we live in and we have to listen to what flight attendants say in much the same way we ask our guests to listen to our staff on our ships. But things are changing there too. In the past, one of the sure ways to upset Lisa or Dave, the flight attendants, was to use your cell phone while on the plane and anyone found with their phone not in the mysterious “airplane mode,” would be thrown to the floor, beaten over the head with the in-flight magazine and tied to their seat until landing when they would be arrested before being driven to a secret CIA base in Cleveland and accused of being a terrorist. Well, it seems that the idea of your phone being a safety hazard is bollocks because on my flight to Miami last week on American Airlines, they did allow passengers to make use their personal cell phones during this trans-Atlantic flight.  I have heard that they are testing this on select flights, as well, so we’ll see what the future holds.

Now, some of you may be excited by this and will be one of those who, directly after takeoff grab their Eyephone and scream, “Hello Mum, I can see the Brooklyn Bridge. Gee, it looks so small from up here!” Surely, there are very few who will be jumping for joy about this news. I would rather be trapped in an elevator with 10 Frenchmen and a dead skunk before I would wish to be trapped in a metal tube next to someone called SeeBurd screaming down his phone, “I’m on the plane! The food here sucks, the service from Dave and Lisa, our flight attendants, is rude and I will be writing a review about this on FlyingCritic.com.”

Personally, I hate this idea and flying does have one respite and that’s I am out of contact with the beards and ship life for a few hours and I sodding love that. Cellular phones rule our lives. The streets where you live and the mall where you shop are now populated by zombies who shuffle along staring at their handsets. Being on a plane and while at sea were, for the most part, the only places left where you were unreachable, where, just for a while, you could relax, watch a movie, stare at the flight attendant’s bottom and do so knowing you were completely disconnected from the world. And, of course, using your cell phone in flight means it’s not just the speaking loudly which will be annoying but remember people can now call you so that means throughout an eight-hour trans-Atlantic flight, we will be disturbed by various ring tones from that eye phone ring most of the world has to the theme from James Bond.

Yep, flying already is s**t from those bastards who recline their seats immediately after takeoff to those whose arse smells so badly it probably has a tooth growing up there. And now we are close to providing the same service in the cruise industry and many will rejoice. But please, don’t become a cruise zombie. Don’t be shuffling up and down Promenade deck wuzzupping with your friends to tell them, “Had a kiss on the lips, wow – LOL.” Don’t be spending dinner face down in your Eyephone and forgetting to spend the meal talking about the fun you have had and the fun still to come. By the way……whatever happened to the humble postcard? I kind of miss it, don’t you?

Time for today’s Q and A, off we go.

Larry Worrall asks:
Stop stop stop force feeding everyone this drivel on how well you are doing on your diet. Whatever you say Mr. Heald, how can you force a depressed person to eat salad? Should responsible waiters refuse to serve passengers more food if they look morbidly overweight like you once were and maybe who knows again saying: “Chocolate melting cake? No, you’ve had enough?” That would set up some pretty awkward main dining room scenes. Think about what you write before you write it!!!!!

John says:
Hello Larry Worrall

I am sorry if my reports about my continuing fight to lose weight upset you. It is my diet and nobody else’s and I would never try to impress on anyone that they need to drop the weight or how they should do so. I have been on the receiving end of that for many years, so it would be massively hypocritical if I did the same. I hope this explanation and my apology will be accepted

Best wishes.

John

Randel Raison asks:
John, we go on so many cruises each year that we have become quite friendly with many of the officers and staff.  When the staff moves to a different ship, it can be a sad event. But, we use www.cruiseTT.com, which is a handy way to find out what other ships will be in a particular port on a particular day. We have found this to be very useful, and have passed it along to staff, as well, and they love it. Maybe the Facebook readers would appreciate knowing about this handy website. Best regards.

Randel

John says:
Hello Randel Raison

I am sure many others will find this useful too and indeed one person who does is me as I had no idea about this site so a huge thank you for sharing it. I hope we see you on many more cruises to come. Best wishes.

John

Beverly Smith-Hansen asks:
I can only cruise in the summer so, as an educator, my choices are limited and the prices high. What really is unfair is how Carnival does not provide an adults-only ship so that teachers do not have to spend their vacation time surrounded by noisy brats just as we do the rest of the year. An adults only ship would be jumped on by teachers across the world. Teachers should get discounts too just like you give soldiers.

John says:
Hello Beverly Smith – Hansen

I have said many times here how much I respect teachers and I know, from my Dad being a teacher the challenges they face each day and indeed when it comes to holiday time. However, I am afraid the chances of us ever having an “adults-only” ship are not good as we are proudly a family cruise line. I do hope we see you soon for what I assure you will be a brilliant time and thank you for all the work you do. Best wishes.

John

Sharon Obrien asks:
John: Just off a quick five-day getaway on Carnival Triumph…my 19th cruise, 18 of which are Carnival (the other was HAL to Alaska)! Also booked on the Carnival Dream in August with my granddaughter, 11 days in October on the Dream and 15 in January 16 to Hawaii! LOVE Carnival!! Great things first… Christie at the Future Cruise desk was FAB! Chalanta and team in dining were FAB! Oscar and team in housekeeping were FAB! Just another great cruise with Carnival! Concerns – this was the “maiden” voyage for my mom’a new scooter. We specifically bought it for the January cruise to Hawaii and this was a test cruise to confirm its usefulness; you see, mom is now 83 and having so many mobility issues, we were afraid that she was going to have to stop cruising! Long story short, the ONLY issues we had were the ramp angles getting on and off the ship-it has a very low profile and bottoms out! Let me also say that there were at least four more of these on board with us as it is a popular brand/style. Mom cannot get up and walk over the ramp which also creates problems. So, my thoughts… Could Carnival staff have access to a secondary style ramp to replace the primary one when they are loading/unloading scooter bound guests? Something that has a longer ramp with less height on the profile? Just a thought! We also sailed the Carnival Freedom repositioning cruise to Galveston and there were a substantial number of scooters on board as we had about 800+ diamonds and platinums! Carnival needs to really look at keeping these older folks happy for obvious reasons!!

John says:
Hello Sharon OBrien

I want to thank you for this post, not only the terrific words of praise but for the excellent feedback on the ramp. This is something I am sure we can look into and improve on and I shall copy this to all the right people. Sometimes these things need to be shown to us from your perspective, otherwise, we assume everything is as it should be, so a huge thank you once again. Please do let me know if there is anything else I can do for you and I hope we will see you soon

Best wishes

John

Danette Geltz asks:
I have booked a cruise for next year. At what point does Carnival issue the initial FTTF offer? I would think there has to be some trigger. Thank you very much.

John says:
Hello Danette Geltz

Thank you for booking with us and please do keep checking on Faster to the Fun. The average time we have this available on carnival.com is 90 days before the cruise but often it will appear before that. Please let me know if you have any other questions and have a brilliant cruise. Best wishes.

John

Rhonda Stine asks:
Does Carnival have any of the bed wedges available for passengers? It’s a triangle pillow that elevates the head and neck area. I was diagnosed with breast cancer last year and am still in
the midst of a reconstruction process, so it is very difficult for me to sleep without a bed wedge. I thought I’d look ridiculous carrying my personal one through the embarkation process. My husband has booked three cruises with Carnival for this summer! Yay! So…I’d thought I’d ask. I love your blogs and the information that you provide. Keep us laughing!

John says:
Hello Rhonda Stone

I am so sorry to read about what you are going through. I am afraid we don’t have these available on board so I would suggest you do bring your own. Meanwhile if there is anything at all I can do to make you more comfortable, please do let me know here or via my facebook.com/johnheald page. I wish you health and happiness and many more fun cruises with us. Best wishes.

John

Paul Belardinelli asks:
You keep using the words “Mr. and Mrs. – mom and dad.” This is America, you may be living in the Stone Age but AMERICA IS NOT.

John says:
Hello Paul Belardinelli

I do often forget to keep what I write gender neutral and do so for no other reason that old habits die hard and sometimes I simply forget. So for the times I have and the times in the future when I might again, I apologise. Best wishes.

John

Thomas Foote asks:
I have recently booked a cruise on April 2016 on the Carnival Splendor. My cruise is going to a new port Amber Cove. Can you send me some information on the best beaches to go to.
Does the Carnival Splendor have Guy’s Burgers?

John says:
Hello Thomas Foote.

Let me say firstly that the Carnival Splendor does not have a Guy’s Burger Joint nor are there immediate plans to install one in the near future. The good news is that the first call to Amber Cove will be taken by the Carnival Victory in October and I will have a full report about that here so please do watch for that. It is going to be a fabulous port of call and I wish you a wonderful time there.  Best wishes.

John

Pam asks:
John we need more activities on board on sail days. I want Carnival to do a piece on ship life. Let us get a glimpse of what life is like working on a cruise ship pictures, Q&A, fun facts, etc. ….. We went on another cruise line several years ago and they did this. Captain came and spoke and told about what he does. Really enjoyed it. Can’t Carnival add to its list of things? Love the Game of Love and Hairy Chest Contest. Need more things like that.

John says:
Hello Pam

I am glad you have written because we are starting to do more of these kind of things on our ships. In fact, on our Carnival Journeys cruises, there will be behind the scenes get-togethers with the captain, chief engineer and cruise director, as well as people like the laundry manager and food operations personnel and the chef. We will see how these go and how popular they are and maybe we can introduce to other ships too. Thanks for the input, hope we see you soon for more fun. Best wishes.

John

Rachel asks:
Hi John! I just wanted to comment on the changes for Gold VIFP cruisers. We will hit gold on our next cruise this August, and I have to say I was really looking forward to finally getting an invite to the party. Of course, I understand the changes due to logistics, but it’s still a disappointment since I was excited to finally be “in the club,” so to speak. There are so many perks for Platinum cruisers, and it seems not very many for gold now. It won’t stop me sailing, but it just seems kind of silly for there to be all these “tiers” of VIFP when really there’s no difference until you’re Platinum. My other comment is regarding the bottled water. I’m so very glad that Carnival is reducing the price to buy it on board. I hate lugging bottles of water with me, and I’m not really fond of the tap water on the ship, so this is a perfect solution for me. Now if you could just lower the price for the canned sodas we can purchase online ahead of our cruise that would be excellent! Until then, I’ll be buying my 12-pack of diet coke for $2.99 and lugging it through security with me. Thanks for all you do, and for keeping me entertained during my breaks at work!

John says:
Hello Rachel

Thank you for your loyalty and I know the changes we made to our program did not sit well with some of our Gold members. I do hope though that you will enjoy the complimentary drink we give you for the last night of the cruise. I understand all your points and I will send them to those who need to see what you have to say. I do hope you reach Platinum status soon and I remain here at your service. Best wishes.

John

Andrea Gregson asks:
I was in line at the Lido buffet on the last sea day of my cruise last week, and this miserable old hen was claiming that Carnival refuses to do anything about balcony smoking. In fact, it was so bad that they were giving her a free cruise as compensation.

John says:
Hello Andrea Gregson

As you know smoking is strictly forbidden on the balconies and, if guests are caught, there is a fine for them to pay and the possibility that they will be disembarked. As for us giving a free cruise to someone who had someone smoking on the balcony next to them, I would say that this was utter nonsense. Hope that helps and please do ask me if you have any more questions. Best wishes.

John

That’s all for today.  I will be back here soon to answer all your questions and back on Facebook.com/johnheald to do the same.

Well, it’s Tuesday and I will, by the time you have read this, spent the day filming with many of the top Carnival beards and you will have a chance to see all those videos soon here on the blog.

I have also spent the last day getting my new personal assistant, Jacinta, trained, ready to take on her new role. My previous PA, Emma, decided to leave the job and look after her family at home and I will miss her a lot. And so, it was time to hire a new one.

For those who do not know, Jacinta comes from the bar department as did I. I really wanted to give someone else a chance to progress, just as I was given that chance and so at the recommendations of the managers she has worked with and because of the vast amount of amazing comments she received from our guests I decided, rather nervously, if I am honest, to hire her. And, so far, she has been terrific.

So, I thought you would like to meet her and listen to her story in her own words as she answers my questions.

Here then is Jacinta.

DSC_0450

Jacinta, welcome aboard.

Please can you tell us something about yourself? Where are you from and how did your journey with Carnival start?  Hello, everyone. My name is Jacinta and my family is from Romania. I started with Carnival in 2012 as a bar waitress. Leaving my family was the most difficult thing I had to do. Working on the ship has meant I can support and look after them

What was your favourite bar to work in and why? I love the piano bar. It is so much fun, because the guests have fun there and the singing and the atmosphere. I was not just a bar waitress there I was helping entertain and I was also being entertained by the piano bar players, as well as the guests who have such a good time there.

If a guest said “recommend me a cocktail” what would you suggest to them? My favorite was a “Show Stopper Martini.” It is champagne with strawberry puree and Absolute vodka citron. It is amazing, all of our guests should try one!

Did you ever receive any unusual requests from guests? The one drink that people always asked me for that we did not have was sugar free diet ginger ale. I was also asked if I live on the ship. I once had some guests shout at me because they were not allowed to come into the crew only party.

What has been your favourite ship so far and why?  That’s easy, Carnival Sunshine. The managers and crew were so like family. There were difficult times when the ship came from dry dock but the people were all amazing. I love the piano bar and the guests – yes, my favorite ship

So, what are you looking forward to about your new position? I was very nervous when my bar manager asked me if I would be interested in working with you. Everyone knows Mr. John, all the crew call him that and everyone loves Mr. John. I am looking forward to working hard, learning new things and helping him with all I can do. I am very happy for this chance.

What is your favourite movie? The Notebook (John says “Oh, FFS”)

Who has had the most influence on your life so far? My mother – she has such love for her family. I have the best mum in the world.

Do you know what Preparation H is? No. What is it?

I think Jacinta is going to be wonderful and look out for her own Instagram page for you to follow soon. Time for me now to get on with her training…….starting with educating her on the soothing aspects of Preparation H and how it should be applied.

I just want to go back to the phones on a plane subject if I may because having sat here in my underpants, I suddenly thought…….hold on, will passengers be allowed to use their cellular telephones while the plane is taxiing?  So why were the flight attendants telling us to “turn your phones off now” the whole time? Surely, this is madness. We all definitely understood that if we switch on our phones while we’re on a plane taking off in Miami, even when it is trundling along the ground at 5 mph, it will immediately veer onto I-95 ……without using its turning signals.

Now, it appears we may be allowed to use our phones, after all, which means pilots may one day be in the cockpit talking to their family or looking at latvianpilotsnaked.com. Think about it.  To make sure the plane does not crash or explode, passengers are told to place their hammers and bows and arrows and toothpaste in the hold. And before they are even allowed into the departure hall, they must pass through a machine that allows security personnel to have a look at their dangly bits and their lady gardens. So I reckon these days, using your phone on a plane is no more dangerous than hosting the pillow fighting contest on the flashback day during our Carnival Journeys cruise…… but, apparently, according to the safety vest and hard hat-wearing beards……I am not allowed to do that either.

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.