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Old May 12th, 2011, 01:17 AM
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Default I've changed my mind

Like many of you, I have said, that a CD did not make or break a cruise, but, I have changed my mind. Most of them have sailed in and out of my mind, without a thought, and I think I can remember one name, and, not really for the best reasons.

I found out, if a CD is really good, accessible, has a self depricating, sense of humor, can really be funny, and, interact with the audience, you have to be sailing with Carnival's John Heald.

If you should be sailing with him soon, and, get a chance to interact with him, ask him about Mary, on the innaugural cruise of the Magic. Let's just say, she knocked him down, he lost his shoe,and his suspenders,and could barely talk, he was laughing so hard... In this skit, he also had a Japanese gentleman, who all week, dressed in western wear, from his cowboy hat to his boots. John pulled him out of the audience to play the hero. His line had the word, shot in it, drop the vowel,and insert another,and you will know why John, and, the audience were howling again. It was very funny.

Through the week, I saw him with Heidi, and, his adorable baby Kai, and, saw what doting Dad he is. She has trhe skin of an English angel, and, is so not afraid of anyone coming up to her, or her Daddy to chat.

His ability to connect with his audience is why he had 1000's of followers on Facebook,and people so enjoy his blogs, and now, I am a fan of one CD, John Heald. I hope you get to enjoy him as well.
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Old May 12th, 2011, 08:02 AM
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I have to disagree only because I don't cruise with the CD in mind. I cruise with ports of call in mind. If we happen to catch on-board entertainment and he / she has to do their thing beforehand, so-be-it but never once have I not enjoyed a vacation because the CD had a dry sense of humor because honestly, CD's are merely comedians who provide information about your ship, cruise and ports of call and after a cruise or two you tend to block them out, like the crying baby on the airplane.

When I checked this morning John's FB page only had 12,738 likes. For a public figure that's not a whole lot. I don't know his history and I'm not bashing him either but a cruise director has access to how many people? Let's just say 3k a week from cruising, (12k a month or in 7 months 84k people) x's how many years in the business? A very low following.

I'm sure many more people have more to say about their waiter than their CD, I can't remember any of my waiters or CD's names. Not to say that they're job isn't important but I build no relationships or form no opinions about them, the same way I build no relationships or form no opinions about the gas station attendant. If he moves from Chevron to Mobile, do you think I'm switching to Mobile? Probably not, if he tells me a couple funny jokes while pumping my gas will I tell my friends about him, probably. Will my friends go out of their way to get gas from this particular station because of the attendant, maybe if they're going that way but not just because he's there.

I'm not sure how a CD can do a bad job. Just my opinion, no need for backlash.
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Old May 12th, 2011, 08:10 AM
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I TOLD YOU SO,,,,I TOLD YOU SO! I've ALWAYS enjoyed talking/interacting with the Cruise Director, and enjoyed all the skits, conversation, and sometimes outrageous things that happen to a really good cruise director. Yes, if you cruise only for the ports, I suppose the cruise director won't make a hill of beans difference to you, but I rarely even leave the ship anymore, so the cruise director, his/her staff, and all the entertainment and activities aboard mean a lot to me. Give me a GREAT cruise director, and I'll show you a HAPPY crew, and even HAPPIER passengers.

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Old May 12th, 2011, 10:25 AM
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Trip.... John Heald is indeed one of the best CDs in the business. He has really became the "public face" of Carnival since he was made Brand Ambassador.

Not to spoil it for people, but John's show, with Mary, Dick Wooden, the non english speaking Asian, etc. have been a staple of John's since I first cruised with him in 1995 (and probably before).

John will tell you that what makes it different each time is the different people "playing the characters".

First sailing with him was a back to back. The first week we saw it we were rolling in the aisles, on the next segment we were kind of disappointed initally that it was the same "schtick". But each week the "character" of the different passengers somehow makes it funny all over again.
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Old May 12th, 2011, 12:08 PM
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Kuki, having never seen Johns show before, I was amazed at the level of interaction, with passengers. Something I have not witnessed with other more conservative cd's.

Seeing the same show on a back to back, surely would take some of the bloom off the rose, and I agree with you, you never know when you pull someone up on the stage what will come out of their mouth and will they freeze or go over the top. The trifecta of people that he pulled, actually waking a woman up from a nap in the audience, was just a perfect comedic storm this cruise...

There is shtick, and it has a different flavor, maybe not for everyone, but with John, if you once said, let's skip a show, you might think differently. I saw the difference,and am glad I did.

Back to 95...oh my
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Old May 12th, 2011, 01:41 PM
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I would not necessarily book a cruise because of who the CD is but they can make a cruise better. I have never checked to see who a CD is prior to a couple weeks before the cruise. Now if I found that John was the CD of a cruise we were taking or thinking of taking as long as the price for whatever the itienary was what we wanted then I would book. I would love to see him in action.

I have found 2 CD's on Carnival that we have liked. One is Jorge, sadly he is leaving, he is a very good comic in his own right, was better than the hired comics. Then there was Gary, he was not as good a comic but very personable. They both would be seen around the ship at different times.

We did not particulary like Jen Baxter, she was trying to hard. But it did not impact our cruise in any real way. Also it seemed like you only saw her at show time.

EMG, as to how many followers John has on FB, I find that over 12,000 is pretty good. You have to think of the thousands that cruise that not all are on FB or cruise with Carnival.
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Old May 12th, 2011, 02:19 PM
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Trip,

He was my very first cruise director and that is how I feel in love with cruising. Heidi and John were so easy to go up to in the ports and strike up a conversation with and you saw him everywhere on the ship. Not just one day the whole cruise. There were so many things to do on board that it has but most of my other cruises to shame. I hope he will be on the Breeze when I am. It would really be great to have him again. I have been on 2 Blogger's cruises and thoroughly enjoyed them. I hope you had a fantastic time aboard the Magic.
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Old May 12th, 2011, 05:00 PM
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Trip,
John says..."John Heald thanks to you all for posting this. It truly made my night."

We have been fortunate to sail with John a few times. We don't always agree with what he says or does but we do think he tries very hard to please the pax.

I think he does spread himself abit thin with all the requests for reservations and tables for 2 in MDR. Between FB, his blog and his real life responsibilities on the ship, he just can't please everyone.

Carnival itself is not for everyone. Sometimes not pleasing some folks has more to do with the whole ship being Carnival as much as it has to do with the CD.

John praises the CD ar RCI that many consider the best. John agrees he is very very good.

Perhaps one day we can find out what ship this RCI CD is on and book it to see for ourselves.
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Old May 12th, 2011, 05:17 PM
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Phil & Liz, thanks for letting me know....When I read some of the requests people make on the blog, and the tone of their requests, it boggles my mind. He is tireless that's for sure!
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Old May 12th, 2011, 05:40 PM
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One more thing...for you Trip and others on the sailings over there....
From FB...

".....ok, one last thing before I sign off and its for future Carnival Magic guests. If we do not go to Dubrovnik on certain voyages it means we do not leave the European Union. This means that all the cruise lines have to charge VAT which for the most part is refundable to non EU citizens..........US, Canada, Australia etc. This is the letter explaining what will happen.

Since your cruise departs from Spain (a member of the European Union) and calls only on countries within the European Union (EU), we are required by law to charge a Value Added Tax (VAT). To make things easier, we’ve highlighted some VAT related information that will apply while you are sailing with us.

A VAT of 18% is added to products purchased onboard (i.e. bottles of alcohol, watches, jewelry, and logo wear, etc.).

Food and drink purchases at bars and restaurants ashore will be subject to an 8% VAT.

Guests who are Non-EU citizens (like U.S. citizens and other countries) can reclaim a portion of the VAT paid on purchases where an 18% VAT has been assessed.

VAT refunds can only be claimed if the items are physically accompanying you upon your exit from the last EU port of call (including airport). All items must be unused and/or unopened.

In order to claim your refund, purchases must total an accumulated amount of €90.16 EUR or approximately $130 USD per licensed vendor onboard. For this purpose, the licensed vendors are: Gift Shops, Spa, and Carnival (Carnival consists of Photo Gallery, Cherry on Top, RedFrog Pub, Cucina Del Capitano and SportSquare merchandise).

Receipts from licensed vendors as mentioned above cannot be combined to attain the €90.16 EUR requirement.

Multiple receipts that amount to €90.16 EUR from one single vendor can be consolidated into a single VAT refund voucher toward the end of the cruise.

VAT receipts and merchandise for which you are claiming a VAT refund must be presented to Customs officials at your departure from the EU (including airport). Reclaims for the qualified portion of the VAT must be made within 90 days of purchase."
end quote.
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Old May 12th, 2011, 07:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trip View Post
Kuki, having never seen Johns show before, I was amazed at the level of interaction, with passengers. Something I have not witnessed with other more conservative cd's.

Seeing the same show on a back to back, surely would take some of the bloom off the rose, and I agree with you, you never know when you pull someone up on the stage what will come out of their mouth and will they freeze or go over the top. The trifecta of people that he pulled, actually waking a woman up from a nap in the audience, was just a perfect comedic storm this cruise...

There is shtick, and it has a different flavor, maybe not for everyone, but with John, if you once said, let's skip a show, you might think differently. I saw the difference,and am glad I did.

Back to 95...oh my
Trip.. was Al Ernst performing on the ship? He's one of the best comedians I've seen anywhere.
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Old May 12th, 2011, 07:56 PM
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Kuki, yes he was, it was on a night that the shows were switched for early and late,and we missed him. My girlfriend did go to see a comedian/juggler,
David Deeble,and she left midshow.

Jason Byrne, the illusionist puts on a great show, with the dancers and singers..a different spin, which we enjoyed.
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Old May 12th, 2011, 09:34 PM
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I have to say that John is the first CD I have sailed with that I actually remembered and wanted to sail with again! He makes everything more fun!

And in response to EMG and the number of Likes he has on his Facebook page......he only recently started using FB. For the short time he's been a member, he has gained followers very quickly.
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Old May 12th, 2011, 09:35 PM
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Ahhhhh...burst the bubble on John.
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Old May 14th, 2011, 09:05 PM
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I don't pick a cruise because of a CD, but I did pick the last Blogger's Cruise because of John Heald!!!! He is amazing!

I will be going on the Magic on the November 27th sailing and John will be the CD. I am tickled to have him as a CD and not a host of a group. John's fan club seemed to get a lot more of his time. He is very popular, so hopefully this next cruise I can get a few minutes of his time!!!! I hope Heidi and Kye will be with him on te Transatlantic and I hope they stay until he goes home on Dec 11th.

So no, a CD doesn't make the cruise, but if it is John Heald, it sure does!!!!
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Old May 16th, 2011, 12:02 PM
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Quote:
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EMG, as to how many followers John has on FB, I find that over 12,000 is pretty good. You have to think of the thousands that cruise that not all are on FB or cruise with Carnival.
Being in the web business, I'd have to disagree. FB has over 155 million US subscribers alone; that's half the population. When factor in the number of people he's exposed to on a weekly basis, the numbers are pitiful. I've cruised 8x's on Carnival and didn't know who he was until I put up a post about writing a complaint letter.

Maybe it's my demographic but CD's just are not a factor in deciding which cruise I take or how much I enjoy my cruise.
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Old May 16th, 2011, 12:10 PM
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And in response to EMG and the number of Likes he has on his Facebook page......he only recently started using FB. For the short time he's been a member, he has gained followers very quickly.
Whatever makes you feel better.
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Old May 16th, 2011, 12:23 PM
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It isn't a big deal that CDs are not important to you. In truth they are not that important to me either - I have found.

I used to work in the entertainment department of cruise ships - and I was always close to the CD. From my perspective the whole cruise revolved around them.

Then when I started taking cruises as a regular passenger I was a little surprised to find that as I talked to other guests mosty of them were not aware of the CD much at all - but they all wanted to talk about their waiter.

Waiters and room stewards are really the front line of guest relations - then there is the shore excursions department.

The CD is only a factor for people who enjoy "the shipboard" experience as a big part of the cruise. I am more of a port, travel-oriented cruiser myself. I understand people enjoying certain cruise directors, I mean I worked in a shipboard world that completely revolved around the cruise director - but now I also understand people who don't really notice as well.

I worked with one particular cruise director who is well-known for being the opposite of John Heald. His name is Rick Spath and he now works for Crystal. When Disney launched they wanted Rick as their first and only cruise director - because he specializes in letting the other entertainers shine, and he plays the supporting "straight man" role.

He is a true professional and a very nice guy - he worked for Holland America for many years before he moved on to Disney and then Crystal. Not all CDs are John Heald or want to be.

And by the way - John Heald is one of the most humble people you will ever meet - although his sense of humor belies that notion. he would be the first to say he is amazed anyone would want to "friend him" on Facebook. He is also, obviously a true professional in a completely different league of people.

But I am talking about looking past the stage personae and looking at the real people. A CD is actually a lot more than just a comedian. Look at what JH had to do during the Splendor crisis.
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Old May 17th, 2011, 10:36 PM
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The CD is not important to me as a personality but more so as an effective manager of their staff. Thus, to me the measure of a good CD revolves around the competency of the assistant CDs, the activity schedule, and the overall crispness of everything. I will say that John Heald is a rare person, in that he not only is an excellent manager but also a fun guy and that is indeed a gift. His skill set was never better than during the Splendor fire and aftermath.
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