Fun Times!

November 10, 2017 -

John Heald

Hello everyone. Here I am, back again, this time writing to you from the Carnival Freedom and her Journeys cruise to Panama, Costa Rica and Cleveland, Ohio………..bugger, I mean Cartagena, Colombia.

Now one of the things that this 14-day cruise has proven is that both the young and the not so young among our guests love the Fun Hub App of which I will speak more about soon but first let me climb in the DeLorean and take you back to when I was first a Cruise Director on board the cruise ship TSS Carnivale in 1779.

I am so old that I am one of the only people left working at Carnival who remembers the days of sitting in our cabins … in our underpants … typing the day’s activities out on bits of paper and gluing them to an empty piece of legal size paper thus creating the daily program of events and meal times that we called … The Carnival Capers.

We would then hand them to the Purser Bellman, a position that no longer exists. He was always from Korea and always called Mr. Kim and he would print them up on a machine that made more noise than a 747 at full thrust.

Then along came the computer and all of us CD’s were immersed in a world that would change cruise ship positions forever and indeed would change the look of Carnival Capers forever as well. And let’s face it. Over the years they became cluttered and it was indeed time for a change. So, the Capers were retired and the computer-generated Fun Times were born.

Now, ever since I was a young, skinny, dark haired cruise director, I’ve hated doing the bloody Carnival Capers/Fun Times. In fact, I’d rather be sitting on an aisle seat on an airplane for 9 hours next to a person with a bladder the size of a thimble and breath straight from Satan’s armpit ……..that’s how much I used to hate doing the Fun Times.

And any hotel director who has worked with me will tell you that my spalling is awful, as will Jennifer, the brilliant VP who reads this blog.

And now we have an extraordinary electronic version of the Fun Times called the Carnival HUB app which does amazing things.

What does the Carnival HUB App do?

The following features are available at the touch of your fingertips, for your entire cruise while on board your Carnival ship.

What’s Happening: A day-by-day schedule of hundreds of onboard events, available for the full cruise as soon as you embark! Includes a “favorites” feature that also allows guests to see which events their sailing companions will attend.

Food & Drinks: A comprehensive list of delicious dining options and dining-related events, enticing refreshment venues and beverage-related events. Purchase from the app our CHEERS! and Bottomless Bubbles beverage programs once on board.

Deck Plans: Searchable deck plans with key areas highlighted, providing a comprehensive layout of the ship’s various onboard offerings.

Account Balance: Real-time information on guests’ current Sail & Sign shipboard account balance.

Pixels Photos: On the Carnival Vista, Carnival Breeze, Carnival Elation, Carnival Conquest and soon Carnival Horizon you will be able to view your photos on the app and order digital or print copies.

Onboard Chat Access: The opportunity to chat with family and friends on board all cruise long from the comfort of your deck chair (this feature is limited to ages 13 years and older; for safety reasons, parents and guardians must give consent within the app for guests 12 years and younger to activate onboard chat).

Dinner Menus: You can now see what’s for dinner and choose your favourite dishes before you graze … I mean before you go to dinner.

And the kale eating blended green shake drinking beards are working on new features for this superb app which I am told can be downloaded from Eye Tunes and Uncle Google Play.

So there you go. The future is here and we have come a long way these past 30 years with most things that have been around that long moved aside for more exciting and modern changes … oh FFS, hold on. I have been here for 30 years … hope you enjoyed my last blog then.

Goodbye.

#carnivalfamily

October 9, 2017 -

John Heald

Hello everyone. Did you miss me? Hands up if you did and press delete if you didn’t. It has been a very busy few weeks for me, the beards at Carnival and the crew on the ships. We have had hurricanes and itinerary changes and cancellations and it has given many of us here at the world’s favourite (spelt correctly) cruise line, grey hair and hemorrhoids…………although some if us already had those.

In all seriousness though it has been a challenging few weeks for us but of course the challenges we faced as a company and the challenges some of you faced with cruise itinerary changes are nothing compared to the challenges faced in Houston, Florida, Mexico and the Caribbean.

I have been talking to lots of you on Facebook and you have been telling me of your flooded houses and damaged properties and I hope that it will not be too long before you are back on your feet again and those feet are soon walking up the gangway of one of our Fun Ships.

One lady with a flooded house is on a cruise so to speak………have a read of this wonderful note from Brenda and I bet you that there will be a massive smile on your face after you do.

 

Dear John, as I read the many miracles you appear to be able to grant, may I request one? See, we flooded in Harvey & good friends loaned us their RV to use as we rebuilt. I am working hard & pretending I am actually on a cruise. (Except for no buffet, casino, umbrella drinks, room service or ocean view, it seems to be working.) I need you please to explain to my husband that I prefer my Coffee in a lovely Carafe & not in a plastic cup AND I need my Towel Animal daily. It’s ruining my whole Fantasy.  Thank you!

#carnivalfamily

 

What a brilliantly positive attitude she has and I will make sure when she is able to cruise again that we do something special for her.

After those two bastard hurricanes ripped through the Caribbean our thoughts have of course been with St. Thomas, Saint Maarten, Grand Turk and most recently Puerto Rico. We’ve all been sharing positive thoughts along with hopes that they will be back on their feet again and we can all return there on our cruise vacations. In fact, Carnival recently announced that we will be returning to Grand Turk in less than a month from now and our homeport operation in San Juan with Carnival Fascination will be resuming this weekend. How brilliant is that!

And I would like to talk about the rest of the Caribbean and that the ports that we cruise to are open and that these slices of paradise are welcoming guests each and every day. The Caribbean is still everyone’s favourite cruise destination. The two just go together.

Now there may be some who have never been and have no idea what to expect. Every port Carnival sails to have their own identity but all bright-coloured buildings milk-powder beaches dazzling blue seas and streets where you can walk and shop and eat to the sounds of reggae or musica Latina.

As the cold weather starts to arrive, it’s only natural to dream of warmer climes so I wanted to show you a sampling of ports in the Caribbean which we are sailing to. They include:

Aruba

Bonaire

Curacao

Amber Cove

Ocho Rios, Jamaica

Montego Bay, Jamaica

Cozumel, Mexico

Grand Cayman

Nassau, Bahamas

Freeport Bahamas

Half Moon Cay, Bahamas

Princess Cays, Bahamas

La Romana, Dominican Republic

St. Kitts, WI

Costa Maya, Mexico

Mahogany Bay, Isla Roatan

Key West, Florida

Barbados

Belize

St. Lucia

Cleveland, Ohio

 

As I mentioned earlier, one of the great attractions of the Caribbean is its diversity, but for the uninitiated, that can turn into a drawback.

Too many islands, too many hotels, too many options — it’s just baffling

Ummm, actually, no it’s not

Take a cruise to the Caribbean. Take it with Carnival Cruise Line or any of our Carnival Corporation family of ships.

Yep, take a cruise and see two, three or more islands without having to pack and fly between each one …… simple really.

The Caribbean has gone through a tough time but the blue seas and the blue skies and the sun and Nemo and his mates and Mayan ruins and stingrays and waterfalls and having your hair braided are there as they were before Irma and Maria.

The fact is that our lives are short and I can’t see why vast numbers of people waste a twelfth of them by spending January beating themselves with twigs. I therefore recommend you to try to make every day a fun day. To laugh as much as is possible and by taking a Caribbean cruise.

So then, it has been a challenging and at times heartbreaking few weeks.

However, it has also been extraordinary to read how thousands of you on my Facebook page wrote such wonderful words of support and wonderful words of hope to the people of St.Maarten and Grand Turk and San Juan and St Thomas as well as Florida and Texas. And thousands of you all finished those words of support and words of hope with a hash tag

It simply said #carnivalfamily………because that’s what you all are.

Cheers.

 

John’s 30th Anniversary With Carnival Video

August 9, 2017 -

John Heald

 

 

Hello everyone. Here I am back again — this time to chat with you about two very special holidays which are great times to take your family on a Carnival cruise.

The first is Thanksgiving. Now I should start by mentioning that I am British and we don’t celebrate Thanksgiving in the UK. However, I have so much to be thankful for and appreciate the tradition of Thanksgiving which is a holiday intended for us to give thanks for our family, friends and blessings.  Spending this special time on board a ship is a wonderful way to explore the Caribbean sunshine, relax, have fun and let the staff serve and entertain you while being surrounded by family and loved ones and appreciating all that we have. (more…)

I Once Wanted to be a Goth

July 6, 2017 -

John Heald

There was a time when I gave serious thought about becoming a Goth. Yep, there, I said it out loud. This 52-year-old chubby Brand Ambassador gave serious consideration to the dark side.

I remember it well. I was walking through London with my mate Alan when I was around 18 years old. It was late and back then I used to have a drink or two (the legal drinking age in the UK is 18) and I seem to remember that Alan and I were both somewhat tipsy. Floating gloomily towards us were a couple — he in full-length leather coat and chalk-white make-up and she resplendent in dyed black hair, purple velvet bodice, net skirt and thigh-high boots. Alan made some comment about them and I remember making the sign of a cross with my fingers. (more…)

Behind the Crew Only Door

June 12, 2017 -

John Heald

Here I am once again bringing you a look behind the crew only door on this blog. A lot of people ask me what it is like to work on board a ship and, after almost 30 years of doing so, I wanted to share some of my experiences.

In a future post I will tell stories of my years as the best looking and most hilarious Cruise Dir ———- OK, my years as the ugliest Cruise Director and one the guests found as funny as a stubbed toe. (more…)

Hello everyone.  I’m back again and today I want to talk about some of the destinations we sail to and obviously that means talking about the Caribbean where most of our ships sail year-round.

A friend of mine returned recently from a land based vacation in the Cayman Islands. “So how was it?” I asked, expecting to hear about the food, the hotel, the beach etc. But no. Instead he told me he’d seen something called Jay Z……..which I think is a tropical bird? Seriously, though, the Caribbean is so beautiful even the stars spend their vacations there. (more…)

Welcome back to the next installment of my blog — written by your chubby, grey-haired brand ambassador. For those who have been surfing the interweb and drooling over our ships on Carnival.com — and have finally decided to come and join the millions of people who have already experienced the Carnival Fizz – the fun is about to begin.

But hold on, panic may be setting in — so much so that you are reading this in a dark room while listening to the soundtrack of lonely whales. The reason for the panic . . . . (more…)

Changes to VIFP loyalty program

May 8, 2015 -

John Heald

Re-posting here for those without Facebook

(May 6, 2015 12:30AM) So here I am in Hawaii, it’s 6:30pm or 12:30am Miami time. I will try and stay up for a while but feel totally drained after two very very long flights. I will be back tomorrow with news and conversation but I wanted to share the news now of a change to our VIFP party.

As a part of our new VIFP loyalty program we have decided to make some changes to the party which let’s face it has become very challenging to service properly.

Now these challenges have come about for great reasons and that is the rapid increase of the number of Gold Card holders. Many of you have seen and indeed many of you have commented on how busy the party has been and in many cases we have had to hold two parties to accommodate the large numbers of invited guests. These numbers can, on some ships pass the 1500 mark which again makes the high standards of service you expect and the standard of service that we strive to provide quite challenging.

The party also loses that intimate feel that a party that is designed to celebrate your loyalty should have and so with these reasons in mind we will 5/15 departures change to inviting only Diamond and Platinum guests to the VIFP party.

Hold on…………..before Gold card holders start to burn effigies of me in my underpants let me tell you this.

To say thank you for your loyalty we will provide each Gold card holder with a drink coupon to the value of $9 which will be usable on the last sea day of the cruise from any bar on the ship on voyages of 5 days or more. This is along with the complimentary bottle of water we already provide. Hopefully you will appreciate and enjoy this amenity and meanwhile let me thank you for your loyalty and I hope soon you will be holding your bright and shiny platinum card and be on your way to diamond.

Now for my platinum and diamond friends, the VIFP party is being revamped ready for this change. Most of the time the count will allow us to hold the party in smaller lounges to the main theater and you can look forward to a more intimate party, details coming soon. The diamond guests will continue to receive their special event with the Captain and there are no other current changes to the VIFP program.

Thank you all for your time and your loyalty, long may that continue

Cheers
John

 

Thanks Gerry

November 3, 2014 -

John Heald

I will be very sad to see our President and CEO Gerry Cahill retire at the end of this month. Now some may be thinking that it’s the sort of thing that an employee with a Facebook and blog read by many thousands of people has to say in public………… but I genuinely mean it.

During his time in the big chair, Gerry had some challenges for sure, including a leviathan of a recession to maneuver through and, of course, the incidents on the Carnival Splendor and Carnival Triumph.

Through it all Gerry was there. I remember how I personally saw him carry guests’ suitcases from deck 7 to the gangway on deck 0 when the Carnival Splendor arrived into San Diego –something he repeated on the Carnival Triumph. The anguish and care he showed every single minute anything challenging happened was absolute and anyone who says different truly does not know the man at all. (more…)

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.