Harry Potter And The Curse Of The Virgin Ribs

March 17, 2010 -

John Heald

Having 1,000 kids onboard I felt it necessary to add some child friendly activities involving myself. So, after a lot of thinking I decided to borrow an idea from TV. In America I think you call it “Are You Smarter than a Fifth Grader.” In the UK it’s called “Are You Smarter than a Nine Year Old.”

I had to change the game and title though because they are copy thingied of course which is why we can’t play Deal Or No Deal, Who Wants to be Millionaire, etc? It’s also the reason we can’t use the word Jacuzzi. If we did use these titles we would be sued. So I decided to alter the activity somewhat and call it “Is the Cruise Director Smarter than a Camp Carnival Kid?” …………… brilliant, eh?

I hosted this in the aft lounge and had a full house of kids and Mums and Dads and overall it went really well. But the answer to the question “Is the Cruise Director Smarter than a Camp Carnival Kid?”………..is……….smarter my arse. Of course I am not as clever as the 9 and 10-year-olds I interviewed.  Nine and 10 year old kids can do their times tables and know what a Lady Ga Ga is and they understand the rules of HALO and other Playstationxbox games. One 10 year old called Max told me and the audience that he could pee over his own head……………that’s right………he told all 400 of us that he could pee over his head………..and he offered to show us.

He could also recite the Founding Fathers speech thingy……….in the voice of a robot …………. and he did. I am not as clever as a Camp Carnival Kid because 9 and 10-year-olds are a different species; they have a whole other life plan and reason for living.

I wonder what Kye will be like when she is ten? She has already changed me. I carry her photo around with me wherever I go. Both a hard copy and one on my Raspberry. I show it to everyone and I am sure it gets on some people’s nerves. I do so for two reasons though ………..because I love her………and because it acts as “My Healthy Sperm” trophy.

Anyway, it was a fun activity though and one I think I will keep doing. And since it finished I have spent time in my cabin……………..practicing how to pee over my head ………………… Putu my cabin steward hates me.

And the housekeeping staff on lido isn’t too happy either.

From: DREAM HOUSEKEEPING
Sent: Tuesday, March 16, 2010 4:33 PM

Subject: Main Pool Closed – accident

Good evening All,

Please be informed that Main Pool is closed due to an adult feces accident.

Regards
Sasa Jovanovic
Asst. Hskp Mgr.

Time for today’s questions………off we go.

SallyOwl Asked:
JOHN PLEASE REPLY

John, we’re so pleased that you now have Heidi and Kye with you, and hope that your time with them is wonderful. This is one time that I’m grateful that you won’t read/reply to this for weeks, as otherwise it would definitely be the wrong time to ask for your attention!
Now that I’m recovering from my knee replacement, we can plan for our hoped-for three back-to-back cruises on the Carnival Spirit in September/October (Seattle-Alaska-Vancouver-Hawaii-Hawaii-Ensenada). We’ll fly from Australia to Seattle, but cannot seem to find transport information from Ensenada to San Diego. Is there any way that you can help direct me to somewhere/someone where I can get this information? I did read one route that included taxi/bus/walk for 10 minutes/bus/another bus … with luggage for 3 months and a walking problem, this seems really off-putting! All suggestions will be gratefully received!

John Says:
Hello SallyOwl

I hope your knee replacement is making life easier for you. My Mother had that and I know it takes time to get back to normal so please take it easy. We truly appreciate you coming all the way from Australia to cruise with us again and that’s why I have been extra thorough in my answer to your question. Let’s see what we can tell you.

The following embarkation procedures are for guests sailing on the Carnival Spirit from San Diego, California to Honolulu, Hawaii.

Passenger Service Act / Jones Act

Please be advised that you will be boarding the ship in Mexico instead of San Diego. This is a result of the Jones Act; an act of Congress dating back to the 19th Century. The act, called the “Passenger Service Act”, but commonly referred to as the Jones Act was intended to protect American flag vessels from foreign competition. It states that a foreign flag vessel, such as the Carnival Spirit cannot transport passengers between two U.S ports. Therefore, in order for you to disembark in Hawaii, regardless of your nationality, you are required to embark in a foreign port, such as Mexico.

Cruise Registration
Cruise Registration for all guests will be processed at the San Diego Cruise Terminal at 1140 North Harbor Drive. You will be transferred by motor coach to Ensenada, Mexico with an approximate travel time of 2 hours including a brief inspection at the border. Please have our travel documents in your possession along with any medications that you may need before you arrive in Ensenada.

Note: Transfers to Ensenada, Mexico will not begin until approximately 5:00pm.
We encourage guests with early flight arrivals to take advantage of their afternoon in San Diego as if it were a port of call. Complimentary shuttles will be available from the cruise terminal to Seaport Village, a local attraction located along the San Diego Harbor.

Guests residing in the San Diego area: If you are a resident of the San Diego area, we strongly recommend that you do not arrive at the San Diego Cruise Terminal prior to 3:00pm for your own comfort and convenience.

Transportation Arrangements for Fly-Aweigh and Cruise-Only Guests
Complimentary motor coach transportation will be provided on day of embarkation from the San Diego or Los Angeles International Airport during specific hours. For Cruise-Only Guest: Transfer arrangements will be scheduled based on the flight details (arrival and departure information) which the guest provides via FunPass.

Guests arriving at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX): Motor coach transportation will depart from the lower level between Terminals 1 and 2. Service begins at approximately 10:00am and ends no later than 1:00pm.

Guests arriving at San Diego International Airport (SAN): Carnival Representatives will be located in the baggage claim area and will direct you to your motor coach. Service begins at approximately 11:00am and ends no later than 3:00pm.

So, as you can see there is good news and bad news there but at least you know what you have to do and that Carnival will be there to help you throughout. Please let me know if you have any follow up questions.

Best wishes  and………g’dday
John

Scott & Sally Asked:
John…Please Reply

We have recently learned that you will be the C.D. of the new Carnival Magic in Europe. We would like to sail the May 22 voyage (12 day) for our 20th anniversary (June 1). Would you help us pick a suite? For this occasion, price is unimportant; we are more interested in the best location/view. We have sailed the Carnival Fantasy and the Fantasy Conquest recently, with good results, we think we are ready for a longer voyage…and it certainly would be nice to sail with you as C.D.

John Says:
Hello Scott and Sally

It would be such an honour to welcome you aboard our new Carnival Magic and show you the wonders of Europe.  You asked about seeing the Med in grand style in a suite and here then are my suggestions. Since the Carnival Magic is a Dream class vessel you can take a look at the Carnival Dream deck plan on www.carnival.com/dream and select a cabin that you’d like best.  If price is not a concern then the best options would be the Penthouse Suites on the Empress deck (deck 7).  You will find the regular suites on that deck and they are also lovely.

I hope you find this information useful and of course starting late this year I will make my first visit to the ship and as I did for your Carnival Dream put some video and photos etc here on the blog thingy.

Best wishes to you both and hope to see you next year.
John

Dorothy Asked:
John, Please reply.

I got one of those email from Carnival about not locking our suitcase before we left on our cruise the first of February. I went ahead and put a lock on my son footlocker which held his medical supplies. I don’t need any of the items to get contaminated. I was wondering should I put something on the locker saying what is inside. I take his feeding pump on as a carry on, do not need for it to get damage, or lost. It has always been my problem to worry about losing all his medical supplies or it being delayed, it would sure put us in a bind if this happened. I have cruised 6 times with Carnival and never had any problems, but you never know what might happen. Thanks for the laugh, it made my day.

Glad your girls are with you. Don’t forget to tell Stewart about keeping the curtains closed.

John Says:
Hello Dorothy

I am glad you enjoy the blog and that it brings you a smile or two. I don’t see the need to put a note with the medication. If security needs to inspect it you will receive a message once onboard. However, as many, many guests bring medication with them on their cruise this won’t be a concern I promise. If you have any doubts you could always carry it in your hand luggage. Please let me know if you have a follow up question to this.

Best wishes
John

TIM Asked:
John, Please Reply.

Is the Carnival Miracle scheduled for the jumbo TV screen or the serenity area anytime soon? We love the ship and will be on it in May.

John Says:
Hello Tim

While the Fantasy class of ships have been through complete rejuvenation the Spirit class ships which the Carnival Miracle is one of course have no plans for any additions at this time. When I was on the Carnival Legend last year though we did look at places where maybe we could add a Seaside Theatre Big Screen and I sent in my recommendations. As yet though I have not heard anything about this actually happening. The Spirit class remain a firm favourite and their build quality is certainly helping them stand the test of time.

Thanks for asking the question.

Best wishes
John

Marjorie Asked:
Hi John,

I’ve enjoyed your blog especially since this will be the first time that we’ll cruise with Carnival when we board the Dream on Feb. 27. I’m overjoyed to hear about the hot weather in St Thomas.We have 26″ of snow on the ground with more on the way. To say we’re sick of snow is an understatement. My 20 year old daughter wants to know what fun activities are there on board for her age group ( translation- chances to ditch mom and dad.) Thanks in advance for your answers.BTW, your family is adorable.
Marjorie

John Says:
Hello Marjorie

So how was your cruise? I am so sorry that my reply to you is so late and obviously there is little point in me answering your question. Instead I will say that I hope you let me know how you and your family enjoyed your Carnival Dream experience and thank you so much for those so very kind words for Kye and Heidi.

My best wishes to you all
John

MrPete Asked:
John….Please respond.

What kind of lobster is served in the Steakhouse? Is it different if it’s served as an entree or part of the surf and turf?

Specifically, is it cold water/warm water, Maine or otherwise, depending on the dish?

Thanks!

John Says:
Hello MrPete

The Chef tells me we serve cold water Maine lobster for all the dishes at the Steakhouse. I have never had it because I can’t say “no” to the Porterhouse.

Best wishes
John

Barbara Meeks Asked:

John: I hope this is the right way to reach you, as the site does not make it clear to me. My husband and I are celebrating our 30th anniversary this year with our first cruise on the Carnival Pride in April. I have had so much fun planning the cruise; I know I’m going to love cruising! My DH last “cruised” aboard a gray ship with the U. S. Navy, and would love for us to take the behind-the-scenes tour that includes the bridge, galley, showroom, etc. The problem is that I cannot find any information about this tour on the Carnival web site. From chatters I found that it cost $95 per person. Could you give me information about how to sign up for it and when? Thank you for all you do and for this wonderful blog thingy. –Barbara

John Says:
Hello Barbara

It will certainly be a different kind of sailing experience for your “DH”……that’s Darling Husband right……..not Dead Hamster?  Anyway, it is great to see how excited you are and yes indeed we do have the brilliant “Behind the Fun” tour available when you sail on the Carnival Pride. Here are the details;

Behind the Fun tours can be booked through the ships’ shore excursion desk and I suggest you do this immediately as you arrive onboard as it always sells out.  The cost is $95 per person and capacity is limited to 16 guests per tour. Some of the areas you will see include the bridge, the engine control room, ship’s stores, laundry, backstage and other “crew only ‘ areas. You will meet the Captain and Chief Engineer as well as other department heads. There are a few rules………here they are.

  • Tours are conducted on the last sea day of each cruise.
  • Guests are not permitted to have cameras, cell phones or video recording equipment on the tour.
  • Guests must be 13 or older to participate; anyone under 18 must be accompanied by an adult.

The tour is approximately 3-1/2 hours for cruises 6 days and longer and approximately 2 hours for 3/4/5 day cruises.

We have received nothing but positive comments about this excursion and I am sure that you and your husband will find it to be a fantastic look behind the scenes. Your Hamster won’t enjoy it so much though.

Have fun and please let me know if you have any other questions

Best wishes
John

Kathy from Texas Asked:
Hi John, please reply,

I am ecstatic to say that we have just booked our 10th and finally platinum cruise on the Carnival Triumph for April 10.

I have a question for you. One of my favorite things to do on a cruise is to sit in the hot tub and enjoy a refreshing and relaxing adult beverage. Carnival sadly does not allow this, however, even though the “something of the seas” and your sister line Princess will happily serve you there. Can you tell me why they have this policy? It seems like it would be beneficial to Carnival to change it as well. Anything you can do to get them to re-consider?

Thanks for your help. I love your blog thingy.

John Says:
Hello Kathy from Texas

Congratulations on booking your Platinum cruise. The benefits are brilliant and I hope you enjoy them all to the full. I can’t speak for the other cruise lines because I don’t know if they do or do not. We don’t simply because of two reasons. First of all a broken glass in a Jacuzzi……..bugger can’t say that…….whirlpool…….means that we have to close it, clean it and refill it which is of course a huge inconvenience to you and your fellow guests. I also asked one of our medical staff and they told me that the combination of heat and alcohol can cause some people to lose consciousness and possibly drown. Those are the reasons as best as I know them so I hope that gives you a clear picture as to why we won’t serve alcohol there.

Have a brilliant time on the Carnival Triumph and enjoy being a Platinum VIP

Best wishes
John

ERNIE Asked:
John, (please reply)

When we were on the Carnival Dream with you on the Bloggers Cruise, we noticed that the port side was the smoking side. On all of the other Carnival ships we have been on (11) the Starboard side was the smoking side. We nonsmokers sat down on the Str’bd side and noticed the ashtrays and wondered if different class of ships would have the smoking side switched? We didn’t have a problem with it as we moved to the other side to read and people watch.

John Says:
Hello Ernie

I hope you had fun on the Bloggers Cruise and it is another reminder that I should be thinking about the next one. Smoking is pretty much the same on each class of ship however each class of ship is as you said very different. And so I have collated all the smoking regulations for each ship and placed them onto one file which one of the 343 Stephanies will now place here.

http://johnhealdsblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/03/onboard-smoking.pdf

I hope this helps and if you or anyone else has a further question on this always sensitive subject please let me know.

Best wishes and hope to see you again soon.
John

Peg Forgotch Asked:
Dear John,

I have a question, and figured you’d be the one who might know.

As you might have heard, Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida is soon to have the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. I am on the Carnival Pride 10/3/10 and one of our stops is Port Canaveral. I am a travel agent and I called Carnival today, to see if there are any plans for Carnival to offer shore excursions from Port Canaveral to Universal Studios. The reservation agent said none were offered and knew of no plans to do so in the future. I can honestly see this as being something in big demand. I know, as I am looking now for my 8yr old son, he wants to go there in the worst way and thought it would be a good excursion from Port Canaveral. Upon doing some research, I found NCL is offering shore excursions to Universal, but not Carnival. Can you put a good word in for this kind of excursion? I am sure it will be super popular, once Harry Potter opens!

Thanks for your help! I heard a rumour that you are the CD for the Pride in October and am hoping the rumours are true. You were the CD on the Glory for our honeymoon trip and now we are on the Pride for our 5th anniversary! Hope to see you soon!

Peg, John and Jackson Forgotch

John Says:
Hello Peg, John and Jackson Forgotch

This is a good question and so I asked Jaime our blog friend and current happy Cruise Director of the Carnival Pride. Here is her reply:

Hi John,

I actually just took the tour from the Pride to Universal 2 weeks ago.  I saw all of the construction men out there preparing the Harry Potter ride and it looks like it is going to be AWESOME!  We offer the transportation and tickets to Universal as a shore excursion from the ship right now, and I just confirmed with the Shore Excursion manager and he assured me it would still be available in October.  I am sure you and your son will have an incredible time there.  Make sure you check out the Hulk ride, it spins around sooo many times, but it is a ton of fun.

Stay Happy
Jaime

Thanks Jaime. So there you go, we do indeed have Universal Tours and it appears our reservation agent gave you wrong information for which I apologize. You can book online at carnival.com or once onboard.

I will talk more about Harry later in the blog as you have inspired me.

Have a great cruise and please let me know if you need anything else.

Best wishes to all
John

Shelly Hansen Asked:
Dear John (Please reply) –

I am new to your blog thingy, but I have to say I LOVE it. I look forward to each new update.

I have two questions for you, and I apologize if you’ve answered these recently. My family will be sailing on the Carnival Miracle on March 28th. It will be the fourth cruise for my husband and I, and the second cruise for my daughter (all on Carnival – we are loyal to the end!). We, of course, are very excited.

My first question is regarding Nick and Norah’s steakhouse. We are considering having dinner there one evening and wondered if our daughter (age 9) would be welcome. Are there any age restrictions?

My second question is regarding the formal nights – can you tell me when they occur on an eight night cruise? This will help us with our steakhouse plans.

Thank you so much for your help!

Best wishes to you and your beautiful family.
Shelly

John Says:
Hello Shelly Hansen

Thank you for bringing the family on the Carnival Miracle, I know you will have a fun time. Your daughter will enjoy the Steakhouse for sure because she will be with Mum and Dad and in a great setting. My only concern though is that the meal does take 2 hours or so and there is not a children’s menu. Of course you have the splendid option of leaving her at Camp Carnival and letting have fun with her new friends.  The elegant nights are on March 29th and April 3rd.

Have a fantastic cruise.

Best wishes to all the family
John

Lillian Kloid
John please reply:

My nephew has worked for your cruise line for 9 years as a sound tech. He told me to write with our problem.

We have been on several of your cruises in the past and loved them. We are trying to get a group together for the 7 night cruise to the western Carib. July 31, 2010. We would like to take of daughter, son in law and our 1st granddaughter (she will be 20 months old). My daughter and son in law have not been on any kind of vacation since they got married 5years ago. Our problem is that the cruise line wants to charge us close to $700 for the baby!!! We feel that this is a very large price to pay considering that she will be bringing her own food, can’t go to the shows, can’t use the kids facilities or day care! So what is that they are charging for???!!! We really all want to go on this cruise but feel it’s not a fair deal. I hope that you can help us with this problem. We don’t want to think of Carnival as a rip off since my nephew will be sailing on the ship the Pride that is leaving from the port in our home town (Baltimore) and we would love to sail on that ship also in the near future. Thank you for your help

John Says:
Hello Lillian

This is a very good point and I am grateful that you have given me the chance to answer it for you. While we do usually offer discounted rates for the 3rd or 4th guests in a cabin we do not offer infant rates.  The rates are the same for the sole reason that they are occupying space, in both the cabin and in the life boat.  The US Coast Guard regulates ships by their passenger count, that count is the same regardless of a person’s age. I hope you all get to sail and I am sure you must be very proud of your son.

Best wishes
John

That’s all for today. I see that since we have had the great front page advert on carnival.com that our daily readership has grown a lot. May I therefore take this chance to welcome you all and if you would like to post a comment that needs my reply please mark it “John please reply.” As the regular bloggers will already know I am a long way behind so please have a dollop of patience and I promise I will eventually get to your request. Once again, welcome you all to our blog thingy.

During the last few days I have been posting random photos taken with my Fuji thingy camera. And let’s face it I have the photographic skills of Stevie Wonder. I wanted to take some photos of the Lido deck here on your Carnival Dream during our stop in St. Thomas. I did…………and they were rubbish. And so I called Hector our photo manager and asked him to take some……………and they are just a little bit better.

Now what’s interesting here is that these photos were taken at 11:35am and as you can see there are very few people onboard. What is even more interesting is that we have CNN Headline News playing which we should not be. I am not a fan of the news being played past 9 am and I doubt the kids on the lido deck were interested in the drug addiction problems in Vancouver which if you look closely is what the headline says on the screen. Anyway, I have changed that now and we won’t be playing the news past 9 am on the Seaside Theatre.

Carnival Cruise Lines and Carnival Corporation are amazing supporters of many charities and good causes but are never ones to blow their own trumpets. So I will do it for them. Have a read about these incredibly lucky kids whose future just got a whole brighter thanks to Carnival……..here is our mate Vance to tell us more.

Carnival Cruise Lines Presents High School Students with Four-Year College Scholarships During Halftime of HEAT Game

Speaking of kids, as I mentioned at the start of the blog thingy we have 1,000 plus kids onboard. This means that as the cruise director I have to be very careful about what I say and whereas I may do the odd innuendo that may be considered a bit PG 17ish I have stayed away from them ………..mostly………..and tried to be a family cruise director.

And so far it has worked but in this job you never know when something you say or do is going to upset one of the 4,400 guests………….as you will see now.

Guest: Mr. ————–Ref: 846008158A

Cabin: ___ Booking#: ______ Added-Changed: 03/15/10 – 03/15/10

C – UPSET AT CRUISE DIRECTOR’S RACIST REMARKS
Guest came to the GSD to state that he was very angry because the Cruise Director had made a racist remark at his show. Guest asked to speak to John and the Captain. GSA called the CD who spoke to the guest

You cannot imagine how horrified I was to read this. Racist remark……..me? Well, I was shocked and dismayed and as I prepared myself to call the guests cabin to talk to him I racked my brain to try and think of anything I could have said. And so I called the guest and I was even more surprised when I discovered what it was that had made this man so angry at me. Actually, it’s something I posted yesterday on the blog…………a letter ……… from a little girl………….about her parents. In case you missed it ………..here it is.



Did you spot it?

Nope?

Well, it was the use of the word “slave” which she used to describe how her parents had looked after her and I had read this letter out on my live Morning Show ………and hadn’t even given it another thought.

And obviously I can see how sensitive that subject is and I apologized over and over again. I explained that it was a written by a child and that it was done so with no malice at all. Well after 20 minutes I think he understood and had accepted my apology. I actually am very angry at myself for not reading this letter ahead of time and for not seeing that word and passing over it……..I am an idiot!

It just shows you how in this job one word can change someone’s opinion of you so quickly.

On a much happier note the guests this week are superb and the family atmosphere that comes from having so many families onboard is terrific. It’s St. Maarten today and the sunshine has followed us from St. Thomas to here. Once again we are docked next to the Monster of the Seas on one side and the beautiful Emerald Princess on the other. Somewhere immersed in the Monster’s shadow is the little AIDA ship……..no sun for them on their open decks today and the naked German’s won’t be happy.

I am always cautious about sharing sad stories with you here on the blog thingy but they are part of the ship’s life and the life I lead. I met two wonderful people this week ………. Troy …………and his daughter Tessa.

Here is their story.

After reading that letter out on my Morning Show I felt compelled to meet Troy and Tessa and what beautiful people they are. Their story is even more dreadfully sad because Troy lost his wife Grace at the age of just 31 to cancer. Losing his 18 year old daughter in an automobile accident so soon after his wife’s death would have destroyed many a man but not Troy who told me that every minute of his life is spent giving Tessa the best life possible. He spoke of how Tegan would have loved this cruise just like she did on the Carnival Conquest…………and as he spoke tears fell from his eyes.

I felt so helpless and all I could do was listen. I sent his daughter Tessa a big Teddy Bear from the gift shop which hopefully will make her smile. As for her Dad…………well all I can send him is my hopes that he and Tessa will be blessed with health and long lives and the hope that this cruise has rejuvenated them ready to face the days ahead.

OK, back to my old mate Harry Potter who I spoke about during the Q and A session. Early blog readers will remember the big fuss back when the blog started about us not having the new Harry Potter book in the library on the Carnival Freedom when she was first delivered. I can’t remember which of the books it was…………maybe Harry Potter and The Curse of the Smelly French Person …….or something like that.

I remember saying that I didn’t see what the angry letters were all about, it’s just a book isn’t it? And the response to that was as though I had made light of the Bible or the Koran. I saw the first three movies because we had them as part of the Seaside Theatre inventory and besides……..Heidi made me. They are all the same.

The kid with the glasses will be nervous all the time, and the kid with the red hair will keep falling over. There’ll be some reason why they’re worried about being expelled, but they won’t be. Then there’ll be some sort of witch or wizard who is controlled by a British actor with a beard which they triumph over, but in a bittersweet way, and still neither of them will have the bollocks to stick their tongue down the back of Hermione’s throat like most lads of that age.

I am sure though that Potter World will be a huge massive money making success. However, it’s another missed opportunity for the UK who should have built something like this years ago…………..but well done ‘Can Do’ America.

Finally I got off the ship yesterday in St. Thomas and went for lunch at a restaurant close by the ship……..I can’t tell you the name of it because last time I reviewed a restaurant that my mate Big Ed and the lovely Pat went to in New Orleans……the owner threatened to cut my thingy off and serve it in a Po Boy sandwich.

I didn’t want to get off the ship but they were doing some work in my cabin. They are running new cables on deck 5 and so they had to take down the ceiling panels in our cabins and so off I went with Stewart the Hotel Director. I can tell you that if you see a restaurant close in the Havenside pier area with the word “Tavern” on the sign avoid it like you would avoid seeing me naked.

I ordered the spare rib the combo platter with boiled sweet corn that tasted like they had been dipped in my toilet and coleslaw that had the texture of that stuff you put between tiles to make them stick and as the ribs themselves…….they tasted like they had been marinated in a sauce that they’re now turning into tractor fuel and as for the meat….. well I wouldn’t be surprised if there are a few three legged dogs hobbling around St. Thomas tonight.

The waiter came over and asked “Everything all right?” I smiled and being English I said “yes” knowing already that there was a huge chance of me hurling a few hours later. What I really wanted to say was how bad the food was and as I sit here writing to you now I still can’t believe how bad it was.

I knew it when it arrived on my plate but I still ate it and I can’t believe I did.  It’s like seeing photographs of your old girlfriend from when you were 18, and you have a look and you think just like I did with those ribs….. “Oh, my God…… how could I have ever put that in my mouth?”

Goodnight
Your friend
John

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26 Responses to Harry Potter And The Curse Of The Virgin Ribs

  1. John: don’t worry about the passenger that was offended by a little girl who used the word, “slave”. Some of my ancestors were slaves as well but I use the word many times and will continue to do so, People need to get over the past and look toward the future. As always, I think you are doing a splendid job with all concerned :-)

  2. Tom-n-Cheryl says:

    (John – Please Reply)

    Thanks for your kindness on our 2/27 Dream sailing after learning of the death of Cheryl’s mother. Additionally getting off the ship early allowed us to make the 400 mile ride to the funeral with 10 minutes to spare… whew!

    After reading your blog today (3/17) I noticed that you, apparently, only enjoy the Porterhouse while dining in the Steakhouse. I have also had my favorites in the past. After easily 2-3 dozen trips to Carnival Supper Clubs (Steakhouses) I have a NEW favorite. On the Dream (and perhaps now other ships?) they offer something which is not on the menu. It is a Prime Boneless Ribeye with a 5 seasoning dry rub. I enjoyed it on 2 of the 3 nights we ate there this time – and it requires NO sauces on the side. AMAZING (and perfect at Medium-Rare)!

    If it’s not offered on other ships, then my apologies for not suggesting it to you sooner, as I realize you will be off the Dream prior to getting this letter!

    Tell Heidi we said HELLO! I felt a bit sorry for her when we dined that last night next to you in Chef’s Art – as she patiently waited at your table while you made “the rounds” at some of the other tables. Then I realized she knew upfront that it comes with the territory… yes John – that’s the price of fame!

    Again, Thanks for a splendid cruise!

    Tom

  3. The Cruzin2some says:

    Dear John,
    Look on the brightside at least they didn’t have any super duper hot sauce to put on the ribs. Then again not being able to taste anything could have been a plus!

    Thanks for sharing the story about the Dad and his youngest daughter. The story is sad but also inspirational as he has been dealt a really bad hand but instead of folding he has simply made the best of the time he has with the daughter he has. It is all any of us can do.

    The photos of the Lido deck make me wish I were there for sure. I can almost smell the saltwater and the suntan oil. AHHHHHHHH to be on a FUNSHIP!

    I hope the ribs don’t make too much noise at the show tonight.
    The Cruzin2some
    James & Nancy Enslow

  4. Linda (Mom of DJ) says:

    John:

    Oh please….I am so sick of the political correctness in the world today. The word slave is a word. It is not a slang with any demeaning undertones. In fact, not only is it a word….apparently it is practiced in Africa today.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slavery_in_modern_Africa

    You did not owe him an apology…..he owed you one for being an idiot. From my experiences, complainers like this moron are usually the biggest racists around.

    On the “tavern” subject….. you are not the first to have an “experience” there. Several bloggers (who have dined there many times) had a not so good experience when we were there on the Dream’s Blogger’s Cruise.

    However, David and I took Carolyn and Don there for a combo anniversary/Carolyn birthday lunch and it was fine.

    Our hearts go out to Troy and his daughter. There are no words…..

    Linda (Mom of your friend DJ)

  5. Dave Myerly says:

    John,
    You need to do something to allow us bloggers to easliy be able to read the letters you are showing.
    The way they come up now it is a best faint and light blue on white and becasue of the various writing styles I find I can barely read any of them. At one time one of your stephanies did them to show in a different background color and contrasting ink color that made them easier to read.
    Happy St. Patties day buddy……
    Dave

  6. April Z says:

    I see no disrespect in the mention of “slave” in that little girls letter. It is a real shame that the world has to be that PC. The girl didn’t mean slave in regards to African-Americans… the only one at fault here is the person who found the racism in it. It is his mind alone that the racism existed in this particular situation.

  7. Peg Dunbar says:

    I have to apologize for being AWOL for so long. The weather in south Texas has FINALLY gotten warm and stayed that way. It is Spring Break here and is very lively.

    Anyway, I wanted to comment on your dinner that you did not like. Why on earth would you say it was “fine” when you hated it. I worked in food service for over 25 years and while we did not like getting complaints it sure made us realize that we had to change things and make it better. If you had just said something when you first started eating they would have brought you something different. You and all of us pay good money when we go out to eat and we deserve a good meal for that money. If we are given an inferior meal we have to say something or NOTHING will be done. They will continue serving the same crap if nobody says anything. Please in the future John, say something when you are not satisfied with your meal. I not only say something when something is wrong but I always say something when it is right. Food Service employees work very hard and they deserve praise too. The praise is hardly ever given, only the bad comments. OK, off my soap box.

    Over 1000 kids, you are a saint to want to make them happy. To the kid that can pee over his head, oh my.

    Keep smiling John you truly are one of the good guys.

    My best to Heidi and Kye.

  8. Eva Bartolo says:

    Hi John

    I did find my email blog to you on the Jan 31 archive but it was never replied to (bad boy!!) Not that there was much that I needed but I gave you a rundown of our trip on the Carnival Valor and also I wanted to bring your attention to the exceptional service we received in the dinning room and maybe you could put in a good word for the wait staff to their boss!!! (details are all there on that email).

    Anyway as I mentioned to you in that email as soon as the European timetable came out, Harold and I booked our cruise for May 22, 2011 and boy are we looking forward to it. Today however I realised that between May 2010 and May 2011 we do not have any vacations booked…. tsk tsk. so I passed by our travel agent and was looking at some cruises . One is a b2b on the Carnival Miracle Southern Caribbean in October or the Carnival Freedom. As I’m thinking all this I’m asking myself also that if there is a Bloggers cruise maybe we can take that cruise instead. Do you have any idea when you are doing the Bloggers cruise this year (if at all?) If you are you are not, which ship are you on (CD duties) around Oct/November?? If we are going to take a cruise we might as well get the most bang for our buck and see if we can have you as our CD. That would make our vacation complete.

    Would it be possible for you to let me know what your schedule is around Oct/Nov 2010 as soon as you can I’d appreciate it so that I can book another cruise for us. Thanks John and looking forward to hearing from you soon.

    Eva

  9. Violet says:

    John Please Reply-
    I just started reading your blog thingy this past January when my husband and I got off of the Carnival Dream. I love it! I’ve cought on to most of your nicknames and jokes but the only thing I can not figure out is, what is the 343 stephanies??
    Also, you know I read that little girls letter in your previous blog and I read it again today, I don’t understand how anyone could take that as a racist comment. It was just a grateful child expressing her love for her parents. You know what I think, I think the one person that took offense to it was only upset because his spoiled brat kids didn’t write him a lovely letter like that! :)

    ~Violet
    Syracuse, NY

  10. kiciaski says:

    John,

    Great story about Troy and Tessa and hope they are having a wonderful time on this cruise even though it’s not quite the same as it could have been.

    Please don’t apologize about the wording in the letter. First of all you didn’t write it and secondly, slave is still a word that is used in different contexts and doesn’t necessarily refer to people. Some people need to get a life and quit complaining about everything. There are a lot of bad things happening in the world and that doesn’t mean words referring to them have to be deleted.

    Hope the weather on the ship is getting better. I’m beginning to wonder if Florida will ever get warm.

    Have a great day!

    Linda & George

  11. wil-da-beast says:

    John please reply when you have the time…..Since the Carnival Magic is just being built, can you ask them to eliminate the piece of square glass with lights behind them that they stick on the mirror? Hope that isn’t rude comment and not sure which bearded guy to talk to about this. Wonder if other people dislike this or am I being too picky. You know I am not a complaining person, but I just don’t get the purpose of this (is it art work on the mirror?) Your comment would be appreciated. Thanks ever so much for your time. My best to you as always..The Beast

  12. Deborah says:

    Hi John,

    Hope you are well. I’m so sorry the guest called you a racist – You did not write the note, a child did and I highly doubt a child even knows the history of the word – so shame on that person for being so sensitive – Someone please give me a break with all this political correctness – what happened to common sense? A child wrote the note, you just read the note.

    I had to tell you some great news…I am now the proud owner of 100 shares of Carnival Stock!!! I will also make platinum status on my second leg of our b2b cruise in September on the Pride Sept 5 and Sept 12 – can’t wait to enjoy the benefits.

    Remember the day you hooked up with the Dream in Bermuda and Tim from our CC group gave you the wonder decals we designed for our group…well most of us will be sailing on the Magic Oct 16, 2011 – Some are staying on board to do the TA and some are just sailing that week – should be a great reunion!!

    Take care.

    All my best to you, Heidi and Kye,

    Deborah (Debs)

  13. Mary "Mrs. Shy" says:

    Hi Stephanie,

    Can you please advise John that he has given incorrect info to Sally Owl on the first Q and A today? She wants info for disembarkation from Ensenada to San Diego. John has given her the reverse info. I think it is important that she have the correct info as I have read somewhere that she will have to give a choice whether she wants to be bussed to San Diego or Los Angeles and if San Diego, is it the port or airport.

    I know that with all the reading John has to do, he is a little rushed and sometimes doesn’t get all the details. She is cruising Sept/Oct so that means she will disembark in Ensenada.

    Please let John know I am not being critical but just to help him get the right info out to the people who need it.

    All my best to you and John

    Mary

  14. Sally Owl says:

    John Please Reply!

    THANK YOU JOHN fo your detailed explanation about how to get to Ensenada from San Diego, and the Jones Act explanation … HOWEVER, my question asked how to get TO San Diego FROM Ensenada. Thanks to your detailed reverse explanation, we can guess that Carnival will provide coach transport from the ship, which is great news!

    We guess that you purposely gave us an ‘upside-down’ answer because you think all Aussies stand on their heads to counteract the gravity of the Southern Hemisphere! Is that right? However, they train us the other way too, just so w won’t look stupid in England or the US.

  15. bethflynn says:

    John, As I will be in St. Thomas in August, I appreciate the tip and I will avoid all ‘Taverns’ – just in case.

    The complaint about the ‘racist’ remark was total rubbish. I cant believe you took that seriously. Treating your parent ‘like a slave’ is not insulting to anyone but the parent. As a simile, it is quite spot on. As a mother of a 9 year old, I am in awe of the fact that little Natalie recognizes and appreciates that her mother works hard enough to warrant this comparison. Using the simile ‘like a slave’ is not insulting, just the opposite. It is a tribute to how wrong slavery will always be and why it was abolished. The wrongness is inherent in the comparison. There, I said my piece.

  16. Ken Stevenson says:

    John (Please reply),

    Checking out the folks who will be responsible for our next great fun cruise on Carnival Legend the 2nd of May, cabin #7254, we find that in addition to the blog of Brit Senior CD John Heald we’ll have Scotsman Wee Jimmy for on-board CD and Irishman Ken Byrne as Maitre ‘d. Who’ll be Captain, Sean Connery?! There aren’t any Carnival Captains from Wales are there? Will we be thrown into a dungeon in the Tower if we toast the Queen with Bahama Mama’s?! We’ve always been totally satisfied with the Legend and look forward to experiencing a new, to us, CD. We’ll miss Jen and certainly Yusuf. You’ve given very good reviews to Ken Byrne, it will be interesting to see what, if any, change he makes in the dining room and the Lido we’ve enjoyed so much on Legend. I still maintain that Joe Farcus should have named the galley “Merlin” after the legendary magician rather than the casino. The things the chefs accomplish are magical for a fact.

    We’ve appreciated more than you’ll ever know you’re help in our efforts to avoid the embarrassment and possible calamity of wobbling through the dining room and/or joining a table of other diners who, even after the pre-dinner cocktails, are somewhat steadier than yours truly. Assuming Ken Byrne is in your e-mail address book as was Yusuf we’d all be better off if my wife and I were assigned to a table for two near the entrance for our early seating. Table #131 has worked well in the past. And this way we can discreetly ‘ham and egg’ it, she eats the olives, I eat the onions and so forth – and I get all the butter! My wife is already looking forward to the Chilies Rellenos, one of her Legend favorites. My favorite? FOOD!! Eating is simply a physical pleasure. I do wish though that they’d add a roast beef sandwich to the Deli menu. It’s available from Room Service on a baguette but we rarely eat in the cabin or on the veranda. Maybe it runs in the family. I sent my niece a copy of the sample dinner menu (linked to the FAQ) and her response was, “Yummy!!! When do we sail?”. They live on Florida’s East coast so I was touting Legend’s sister ship Miracle out of Ft. Lauderdale. Not only do we enjoy everything about the Legend but we’ve cruised on Miracle before, too. Overheard an interesting conversation on one Miracle cruise. Sitting outside Horatio’s Restaurant which is completely bedecked in beautiful ship models large and small and cut-away displays of ships and representations of the Union Jack everywhere a passenger asked a crew member working nearby if the many busts on the walls wearing tri-cornered hats weren’t Napoleon. He must be one of the very few who are unaware of one of the greatest naval heroes in British history. The crew member just smiled and went on working. Interesting to consider if he didn’t understand the question or just maybe could have said plenty but was too polite.

    May it’s because the Romans ran all over Britain a few years ago but I gather that most Brits are much more comfortable with Latin than most Yanks. I’ll leave you with an old favorite, “Illigitimi non carborundum”. Cheers, John.

    Ken and Lorrene
    Platinum Cruisers

  17. Rachel the Librarian says:

    Hi John: (please respond)

    Sorry about bothering you with all my questions but I keep thinking of new ones to ask. This is a quick one though. I am looking into the post cruise transfer from the port and it says to book flights after 1pm…however, in the description it doesn’t state what time the buses actually start running. I asked my PVP but he couldn’t come up with the answer so I hope you can find out for me. I hate to think I get off the ship (Carnival Dream sailing May 15th) before 9am only to have to wait several hours for the buses to run. Thanks for all the help you have given me. I am so looking forward to my cruise.

    Rachel

  18. Jill says:

    Dear John, (Please reply)

    I am booked on the Carnival Dream to sail in just over a month now on what should be my Platinum cruise. Just booked today! However, my first Carnival cruise seems to have been lost. In what we think was 1986, I sailed aboard the Carnival Holiday with my grandparents (both now deceased) when we think I was 7. Unfortunately after talking to guest services it appears because I have no way of proving my butt was on that ship they are unable to add it to my past cruise records. I am sailing with a newbie friend, I am trying to addict her to cruising (especially with Carnival and not Stuck up of the Seas) is there any way of getting us VIP boarding? Thanks in advance!

    PS. Your girls are beautiful and lucky to have you!

  19. Laura from UT says:

    Dear John (please reply),

    First, I’m sorry that you are now going to have to edit each and every letter written to you (like you don’t already have enough to do!) before reading them aloud to make sure their aren’t any words that might “offend” somebody (curse words I can understand but slave? Really? I think most of us understood what the little girl meant by the context of her letter.)

    Second, though I am not a smoker, I just wanted to check out the list of all the Carnival ships and their smoking policies. The ship I will be sailing on in May, the Carnival Paradise, seems to have the least amount of areas in which people can smoke. Is this because the Carnival Paradise was once smoke free? Who sets the policy as to which areas allow smoking? I’m really just curious so don’t worry about being in a big hurry to answer this question.

    Laura

  20. Host Mach from Cruise Critic says:

    On occasions I feel sorry for myself for whatever reason I can make up at the moment but after reading the story of Troy and Tessa I know that I am a very blessed man, indeed.

    I’ll be thinking about and praying for Troy and Tessa for a long time to come.

    Ciao

    Host Mach

  21. Roger Tollerud says:

    John
    You were not to blame for the “slave” comment. It was an innocent comment from a young lady to let us know how hard her Mom worked for the family—the same as my Mom did for us and by the sound of it so did yours. Too many people are wandering around the globe looking for reasons to be offended—I don’t think he was worthy of your time!
    Regards
    Roger T

  22. Kaperino says:

    Troy and Tessa set the mark for approaching life with that extra faith and enjoy what it has to offer. for it is so fleeting.

    George and Linda were so right about the comment referring to the parents of a young child. In context she used the term to describe her Mom”s care for her and that she will keep her to herself as her property. I thought the young child”s letter was not offensive but endearing as she showed her heart and how much she loved her parents. No apology necessary, although you do so at every turn , sincerely even if someone”s own heart has been darkened as in this case by the offense taken for a word. You will change all hearts John. Thanks again for the lesson. Natalie, Troy, Tessa. And thank you Mr.” I am self centered and simple minded quick to judge and call you a racist” for enlightening me on how to handle your brokenness. Thru you I have learned a way to find some goodness and light in a tough situation.

    Take good care, John.

    Always,

    Kap (Kathie)

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