Looking back

November 17, 2011 -

John Heald

Watching James Charlton do a brilliant job here as cruise director on the Carnival Magic reminds me of when I was his age and delivering the Carnival Destiny. James, like so many of the new breed of cruise directors, has the energy of the Energizer Bunny on speed. But as I walk around the ship and watch him work, I am also reminded of how things have changed.
Gone are the days when I could make an amusing farting noise over the PA system or in the middle of boat drill remind the guests that they should not allow the stringed bollocks on their life jacket drag on the deck. Yes, I am ashamed I used to do this and much worse, slipping in British words like bollocks, bugger, sod and git into my daily announcements.

It was oh so simple back then. You would wake up, do an announcement promoting the gift shop, casino, tours and spa and then bugger off back to bed before a spot of lunch and some sort of show in the afternoon. Today, the cruise director has to announce art auctions, on board cruise bookings, shopping talks, photo, steakhouse, Cucina, Cherry on Top and, and, and. On embarkation day I was always off the ship as were all the CD’s. Once debarkation had finished I would be in Hooters in Bayside Miami staring at the ummmmm……..menu. Now we have to stay on board for the most part and advise guests that they can’t go to their cabins until 1 pm and for them not to forget to put their keys in the cabin slot in order for them to turn the lights on. But hold on, bugger, its November 2011 which means I can’t even call it a cabin anymore, it’s a stateroom, isn’t it?

I also look at the signs we have all over the ship today that we never had before. “No smoking.” ”Watch your step.” Mind your head.” “No jumping.” “Swim at your own risk.” “PPE equipment must be worn.” “Separate your garbage.” “United States Department of Public Health has determined that eating uncooked or partially cooked poultry, meat, eggs or seafood may present a health risk to the consumer, particularly those who may be more vulnerable and don’t want explosive diarrhea.”

It’s the same on land though. My car has a nagging woman that lives in the bowels of the dashboard that tells me: “You are breaking the speed limit.” Seriously, unless you are a rocket scientist and know how to disable this, you are buggered every time you drive over 70mph which in the UK is the maximum freeway speed limit.

How can it have come to this…… A piece of sodding silicone has an opinion on how I’m driving?

I am surprised that this computer doesn’t have a gizmo that says, “Stop……..the blog you are writing is crap. Press delete and start again, you fat bastard.”

There are rules at the airport where you are made to take your pants off before you are allowed on an airplane. And while the security chap is having a good rummage around in my underpants he misses the man with bits of fuse wire sticking out of his shoe?

Then there’s the problem of watching a film at home. In the past, when we had video, we could simply whizz through the adverts and the disclaimers in which the actors and director take no responsibility for what they are saying. Not anymore. Now, if you hit fast forward, it says the operation is not possible. You will watch the disclaimer and if you dare to show this film to more than just your wife, if you dare to invite a group of friends to watch it, an FBI SWAT team will burst through your doors and windows and shoot you in the face.

Yesterday, Calvyn, the entertainment host, sprained his ankle while watching a Richard Simmons exercise DVD. It wasn’t a bad sprain but an entire Brazilian rain forest has had to be chopped down to allow for the paper work that James, as his department head, had to fill out asking about what shoes he was wearing (heels), the condition of the floor, how many hours he had worked and if Jupiter was in line with Uranus at the time of the incident.

James will then have to return the rain forest to the security and medical department who then send it to the beards at HQ. This isn’t just Carnival, it isn’t just the cruise industry, it’s the world. Ten years ago there would have been no paperwork and Calvyn would have hobbled around a bit, still smiling, still doing his job, and still singing Bette Midler tunes.

Let’s crack on with some Q and A

Cruiser1936 asked:

Cruise mag. had article on tipping. Listed all current suggested tips by cruise line. The new thing, certain cruise lines had NO tipping in specialty dining. Carnival was not mentioned.

Will be on Carnival Liberty 12/10. What is line’s suggested policy covering this issue?

Congrats on your award.

Thank you and keep up the good work and interest in the cruising industry.

John says:
Hello Cruiser1936,

Thanks for the kind words on the award and I am sorry that I have taken so long to reply to your question, I am really behind with questions. The steakhouse has a charge of $30 which does include the gratuity to the servers. This is the same for The Chef’s Table and of course if you feel that you have received excellent service, there is space for you to add an extra tip. But just to clarify, gratuity is included in both. Have a wonderful time on the Carnival Liberty.

Best wishes.


Gary Hayman (LeVoyageur) asked:


I’m a long time cruiser with 27 (mostly Carnival) cruises under my belt (I’m sure you have a couple more) with three more Carnival cruises currently booked. I am an occasional cigar smoker (as I know you are) who looks forward to having a daily cigar while on a cruise. I really did appreciate your posting a listing of ‘cigar OK areas’ on the various Carnival fleet ships not so long ago. I just returned from a Carnival Victory cruise (9/4-10/11) and unfortunately would like to report that the Black and Red Seas Lounge was NOT a “full time” cigar friendly location. At times it was used for private functions and some other ‘non-smoking’ ship activities. No problem, I can understand that.

At other times (not all), when available for smoking, there were no ashtrays to be found in the designated Black and Red Seas Lounge — even behind the bar. [I had to go to the Lido deck to commandeer one — not wanting to leave ashes on the table or on the floor.]

Also, on Deck 10 starboard side, an area designated for outdoor smoking, including cigars, there was only one small ashtray receptacle screwed to the bulkhead — to be used by all smokers. [There was one other at a distance by the elevated band stage.]

SUGGESTIONS: [You may want to forward these to your ‘beards’ in Miami.]

1. [EASY TO DO] If there is a designated ‘cigar space’ on a ship that will be used for other purposes during the day and night AND cigar smoking will not be permitted in the room at that time, then early in the morning someone should post a simple notice at the door of the room identifying which hours cigar smoking will not be permitted for that day. This will better help the cigar smoker in making his/her plans for the day. [If you could do it for the entire week that would even be better.]

2. [EASY TO DO] Have the staff make sure that during times when cigar smoking is permitted in those special rooms, that abundant clean ash trays are available. This cuts down on possible carpet burns and fire risk.

3. [FAIRLY EASY TO DO] Install several more ‘butt buckets’ on Deck 10 starboard side for the convenience of all smokers, including cigar smokers. This can prevent large crowds of smokers huddling around one small metal receptacle in the permitted smoking area.

I hope to meet you on one of my future Carnival adventures — and enjoy a cigar together.

Gary Hayman (LeVoyageur)
Greenbelt, Maryland

John says:
Hello Gary Hayman (LeVoyageur)

Well, as you may know, I am a cigar smoker myself and let me say at the start that I miss the cigar bars terribly. You may also have seen that the subject of smoking has been passionately discussed on my Facebook page these past few days as well. Let me address your points and let’s start with the smoking lounge, the Black and Red Sea. When we announced the new smoking polices, the lounge on deck 5 aft was already blocked some months in advance by our groups department for group functions, etc. This is no longer the case and there is a clear and present memo to all ships that, come December 1, the smoking lounge will be used just for that, smoking only and include nightly entertainment and live music. This policy is now in effect and we have to it seems improve on the ashtray situation as what you described needs immediate change and I shall make sure this happens, I promise. I don’t like the buckets, they are an eye sore but we do I agree, need the larger, deeper cigar ash trays which we have here on the Carnival Magic on the Lanai and I will ask that these make their way to other ships as well. The bottom line for me is that we have made the smoking changes yet we must accommodate smokers and non-smokers alike. Thanks for the great feedback and for your loyalty and I hope that we will indeed have a great cigar together one day very, very soon.

Best wishes.


Georgie asked:
John John John!!!

I’ve sent you more than several messages and I do realize how busy you are. We recently returned from the Aug 14 – 26 Carnival Magic Med. cruise. We loved, loved, loved it and we miss you very much. Of course I had several little “negatives,, but way more “positives.” Here’s my repetitive question that I’ve asked you before but have not gotten a response yet. We want to book the new Carnival Breeze cruise I believe it leaves June 3, but we don’t want to book it until we find out who the CD is going to be. We’re hoping it will be you. Please let me know. If not the Breeze, what ship will you be assigned to next? Thanks and love “The Marino’s” from Boston.

John says:
Hello Georgie,

Again, my apologies for the long delay in answering this. I am indeed going to be the CD for the Carnival Breeze and I am hoping you will be there with me. There are some new and exciting features that we didn’t have on the Carnival Magic and so I hope you will be with me to see them. I am glad you had fun and if there is any feedback from your European cruise that you think I should know, please do tell me. Truly hope to see you soon.

Best wishes,


Amarnath asked:

We were on the cruise with you in Europe. Our cabin was the suite 7300 and beautiful but as someone originally from India, I need you to know that Indian food on the Magic is cheap slop made for unsuspecting tourists and your Indian chefs that make it should be ashamed.

John says:
Hello Amarnath,

I was very surprised by this comment as our Indian chefs take huge pride in what they do and never ever have I seen such a comment. Still, I don’t know much about Indian food except I love it and that too much gives me ring sting. I will pass on your comments and thanks for taking the time to write.

Best wishes.


Hilary Whitworth From Toronto, Canada asked:

I will be sailing on the Carnival Dream next week and on the Monday which is the 10th it is Canadian Thanksgiving Day. I called Carnival to ask about the celebrations for this event and was disgusted to find out that Carnival does nothing at all. I then asked if they celebrated the American Thanksgiving day and discovered there is a huge meal and lots of special events. Why does Carnival treat Canadians like this? We are as important a country as America and are respected the world over and most importantly Carnival takes our money which it appears isn’t as good as the money those from the United States give you. What do you have to say as I am very angry about this?

Johns says:
Hello Hilary Whitworth From Toronto, Canada,

I can indeed see how upset you are and I apologise that we don’t have a special meal for Canadian Thanksgiving as we do for the American celebration later this month. Our Canadian guests are very important to us but the ships do, though, carry more Americans and most sail from the States. Nevertheless, I will forward your comments to the beards in Miami and see what they say. By now you have returned from your cruise and I hope you had a wonderful time and I will see what we can do about this.

Best wishes.


Wendi Gregson asked:


My DH and I will be on the Christmas cruise on the Carnival lation. Will there be a priest on the boat for midnight mass?


John says:
Hello Wendi Gregson,

I’ll have to check on this but from what I understand, there won’t be a priest on this particular voyage, Wendi. We will ask amongst the guests if anyone is willing to help us with a service and conduct one for the guests and if so we will arrange the lounge and everything else as we have a full priest service kit on all the ships. I hope you have a wonderful time.

Best wishes to you both.


Samantha Easter asked:

Can you tell me what I need to do to make sure that my dining table is not a booth or a chair with no arms? I am a very large lady and don’t want to be having to be asked to be moved. Here is my cabin number on the Paradise, M23. I have sailed Norwegian line before and they deliver pizza to the cabin, does Carnival do this?

John says:
Hello Samantha Easter,

I have written to the maitre d on the ship and he will make arrangements for you to have a chair with no arms so that you will be totally comfortable. Carnival does not have delivery to the cabins but our pizza is open 24 hours a day and is delicious. Have a brilliant cruise.

Best wishes.


Amanda asked:

I went on the Carnival Freedom end of March to beginning of April 2011 with my husband and two year old son. One of our servers at dinner was named Marc. I did fill out a comment card, but wanted to make it known how wonderful he was. He paid attention to every detail of what my son would and wouldn’t eat. After the first time of me cutting his food, or setting aside the fruit he didn’t like on his fruit plate, Marc would bring it the nights after cut up for him or bring him extra fruit of the ones he liked. My son warmed up to Marc and my son looked forward to dinner every night just to see Marc. Please let Marc know he made our first but not last cruise a wonderful experience, and I cannot wait to go again.

John says:
Hello Amanda,

I certainly will and it sounds like Marc made a fantastic impact on you and your family and he will be thrilled to read this. He also helped you decide that you wanted to cruise again with us which I hope you do soon and if there is anything I can do for you, please let me know.

Best wishes.


Tom Dodson asked:

OK, new to reading your blog so today you had a person upset cause you didn’t send ‘precious’ a gift and a birthday cake and she had to stand in a line for 20 minutes (guess she felt entitled cause she is a ‘platinum’ whatever that is); another wanting you to send them something for free for another precious and another griping about worse trip ever and on and on and on. What’s wrong with these people? They’re on a vacation that many people would die for and they focus on some petty thing like no free stuff. We’re off on our 17th cruise (our 4th with CCL) in less than two weeks on the Carnival Freedom and while I’m sure not all things will go perfectly, just being on the open seas with my loved one is all I need. So thanks in advance for what I’m sure is going to be a great time and no, don’t need a thing from you.

John says:
Hello Tom Dodson,

I opened the door to allow people to ask for special requests some time ago and I encourage my readers to ask if they think there is something I can do to make their Carnival experience even better. However, you are right, a few do abuse this to a certain degree and do so by demanding and in my personal opinion doing something even worse and that’s completely ignoring the words please and thank you. Thank you, though, sir, for your kind words and your loyalty to Carnival and I hope that if you ever do need anything, you will let me know.

Best wishes.


Paulette Janus asked:

Just returned from the Carnival Fascination and we had a fab time. Only down side was the weather which was rainy and dull most of the time but we had fun and please as we did not get a comment card, can you tell Dani and Emanuella that they were the best waiters we have ever had in five cruises, they ROCK !

Thanks, John.

John says:
Hello Paulette Janus,

I am glad that despite the bad weather that you had so much fun and of course I will let Dani and Emanuella know just what stars they are. I hope we see you again soon and that your next cruise is one full of sunshine.

Best wishes.


And that’s all for today and in fact for a few days. I will explain what I mean soon but first, a recap. These last two months have been a bit of a whirlwind for me. It started two months ago when I sat on a virgin…………….sorry…………..I mean sat on a Virgin plane and flew to New York for the press conference for the Fun Ship 2.0 upgrades. In New York, I stayed at the Standard Hotel that had glowing blue lights around the crapper and ceiling to floor windows. This provided great views of the New York skyline for me and because there was no door on the shower it also provided great views for those living in the apartment building opposite of me washing my dangly bits. The press conference was a great success and the reviews on 2.0 have been exactly what we had hoped. I had received some ridicule from readers of another site before the details of Fun Ship 2.0 came out. The fortune tellers over there had predicted that it was just a fat man’s hype and that it would be a load of nothing. It wasn’t of course and suddenly those who had forecasted it would be a bunch of bollocks were silent……….an apology post was never expected.

I met George Lopez who was very funny and enthusiastic about his new role of Curator of Comedy but in my opinion the star of the show was Guy Fieri. It was obvious that his passion for cooking and his sheer determination to create the best burger in the world to serve on Carnival ships were the perfect fit for our product and you, our guests. Guy Fieri and Carnival go together like a horse and carriage, Laurel and Hardy and Paris and rudeness.

So once we had told you about the upgrades, it was time to leave New York and fly to Miami, this time on American Airlines and of course in coach. The flight was marred by man in front of me reclining his seat so that my nose was pressed against the back of his seat. Why is that that the moment some people get onto a plane they morph into total bastards? Scientists could measure on a tachymeter the time it takes from checking a suitcase to becoming a selfish sod. Actually, it starts before they get on the plane. I love it at check-in when, passengers ensure they leave it until the last second to get their documents…………..don’t worry, mate………there’s all the time in the world and it won’t annoy those waiting behind you at all. Oh, and once seated, please immediately fasten your seatbelt and sigh loudly when you have to unbuckle and stand to let other passengers in. Take just as long as you need over putting your bags in the overhead locker. Be sure to remove your shoes. No one minds the smell of cheese wafting up their nostrils.

Yep, my flight to Miami was awful and of course, as usual, the idiots including the seat reclining man in front of me, has to stand up and take his seatbelt off the second the plane lands even if the light is still switched on. Drives me bonkers, that one does.

So back in Miami I had meetings with the beards about what I would be doing in the following weeks and I blogged and updated my Facebook page from the Miami office and the Intercontinentalmarriotthyatt Hotel. I have stayed there so many times now that everyone knows me and knows that my Spanish is at the same level as Rick Perry’s memory. Bit it’s a nice hotel although it does have one truly annoying feature, the room’s remote control. All hotel TV remotes are quite honestly blood annoying. The one at the Intercontinentalmarriotthyatt Hotel is awful. The management doesn’t want their guests to steal them, so it supplies remotes from the 1980’s, then disables the buttons meaning that the TV gets stuck permanently on the hotel’s own “info channel,” a looped film in which a middle aged couple smile lovingly at each other across a table in the hotel accompanied by pornographic music You try and change channel but nothing works so you throw the sodding remote against the framed print of a dolphin and then when it shatters, you notice that the previous guest had stolen the batteries anyway.

My next port of call was Freeport, one of six flights I would take there; in fact I have been so many times to Freeport now that I have been granted an honorary degree in hair braiding from the University of the Grand Bahamas. I won’t mention American Pringle, I have moaned enough about that but sitting my flaccid arse in that seat and asking the seat belt to fit comfortably around my wait is the same as asking a French general to give a lecture on how to attack.

The flight was worth it though as Peter the Hair and Jay I Like Guys (Burgers), Mel and I got to see the before, during and after work that the 1,000 plus contractors and crew worked on and miraculously completed in just two weeks. Seriously, to knock down four bars and one grill area and replace them in that short a time is a bloody miracle. I don’t mind admitting that I was already preparing in my mind a blog apologising for the delays etc., etc., and was ready to receive another barrage of, “Told you so fat boy” mail from over there. But it was completed and so then came the best week of my two months of flying, sailing and hoteling and that was the cruise on the Carnival Liberty.

Seeing the guests, watching the guests and listening to the guests rave about the new Lido with the RedFrog Rum Bar and the BlueIguana Tequila Bar was brilliant. Seeing the pools open until late, finally, was a thrill and most of all, seeing Lido Deck become a destination and not something that Jose and his deck steward mates would close down at 6 pm was a personal highlight for me and I know as we make this so on other ships, it will be a highlight for you as well.

The EA SPORTS Bar has rejuvenated this space as has The Alchemy Bar rejuvenated the somewhat tired wine bar on deck 5 aft. Chef Sanjay’s spicy recipes for tacos and burritos at the BlueIguana Cantina thrilled guests and annoyed the Chief Plumber and of course there was the star of the Fun Ship 2.0 show………..Guy’s Burger Joint which lived up to all the hype and then some by producing simply the best burgers at sea and possibly on land as well and serving them to our guests………for bugger all extra charge.

In between all of this, I have had meetings and discussed shrimp and smoking, chair saving and CD schedules. I have spoken to 200 plus PVPs and 200 plus call center folks. I have met bloggers and welcomed over 20,000 on Facebook and passed 12 million views here on the blog. I have introduced one of the biggest bands in the world and ruined many a good pair of underpants while doing all of this. But it has been fun, brilliant fun and I continue to be so honoured to be Carnival Cruise Lines Brand Ambassador.

So what’s next? Well, on Sunday, I shall return to my friends at American Airlines who will fly me from Houston to Miami. On Monday I will meet Adrian Fischer who is the new vice president of entertainment and spend some time with him explaining the role of the cruise director who I still feel plays an important part to your cruise.

Then on Tuesday, I shall fly home to London and finally see my gorgeous wife and my precious daughter again where after hugging them and asking Heidi to wash the underpants I have been flying and crop-dusting in for the last 10 hours, I shall buy a dog, have surgery on my carpool tunnel thingy and watch Kye’s new favourite TV show. It’s called Peppa Pig. This is where a lazy, obese, bumbling male pig is invariably making a tit of himself. Heidi has told me Kye loves to shout, “Silly Daddy Pig!”…………….oh, joy.

So, as usual, at this time, I am going to ask you for a favour. I will Facebook on Friday and Saturday and Sunday (before and after my flight) but from Monday November 21 to Monday the 28th, I will ask your permission for a week away from the computer. Not Facebooking and blogging will mean a lot to the family and help this arm which needs a rest. I will then return to a patter as follows from November 29. Facebook updates and requests and questions as normal, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. No Facebook at the weekends. Blogs on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. I hope this is OK and on behalf of my arm and my girls, thanks so very much.

It has been a great two months and I have seen the new beards really put their mark on the cruise line you all love. The future is going to be even more exciting with some big news coming at the start of 2012 and of course the Carnival Breeze which I can tell you is going to be sensational.

I should say thanks to all those who have read the blog and have liked me and my underpants on Facebook. I should also say a huge thanks to my assistant Mel who will leave to be ACD on the Carnival Conquest and has done a wonderful job as my assistant and I thank her so much for all she has done. I gave her an appraisal and a score of 95 out of 100………..she lost 5 points because she refused to help me apply my hemorrhoid cream. My next assistant is Calvyn who I have no idea will be as good as Mel but at least I know for sure he will gladly do what Mel refused.

So that’s about it for today and my last blog until the 28th. It has been, as I said, a fantastic two months and I am already looking forward to my time back here as CD, Bloggers Cruise 5 and of course, a full European season on the Carnival Breeze.

In parting, I want to say this. I know things that I can’t tell you yet, things about the future of this company and the future of your favourite cruise line. Gerry and the new beards have given us Fun Ship 2.0 and will continue to provide you with new features and spaces. It is their plan, their promise to change the usual Carnival fun from the missionary position to something far more exciting. I have seen this on the Carnival Liberty and I see it here on the Carnival Magic and you will see it on the Carnival ship you sail on.

Yes, we will make mistakes and, yes, we will make a few decisions that will have some up in arms but the product keeps getting better and the price keeps providing you with the best value vacation in the world. The Carnival Cruise Lines of today and tomorrow will be designed to put a huge smile on your face from the moment you book. I hope to see you all smile very soon.

Thank you so much for allowing me a week off.


Your friend,


Comment Policy

Look, friends — there are a few things you should remember before you comment. The space below is for you to post your comments about the post I've just written above. Now, while I may not be able to reply to your comment below, I do sit in my underpants almost every morning and read everything that is here. So feel free to comment on the comments and then if someone wants to comment on the comment to the comment then go ahead as well. Please be courteous, unless the poster is French...........then you can say whatever you want.

52 Responses to Looking back

  1. Elizabeth Flagg says:


    Thank you for all that you do. Enjoy your time with your family – you certainly don’t need our permission to take time away from here!!

    I really appreciate everything that Carnival does for its customers. They really do listen! I have traveled on other cruise lines, but my last two cruises have been with Carnival and I think my future cruises will be as well.

    In case you need to hear it again (because I know sometimes you don’t hear or read it enough) – THANK YOU!!!!!!!


  2. Wanda D May says:

    John, Thanks for all you do. You and your family deserve to have some quality time for just the three of you. I know your loyal fans will miss you, however we understand. I keep you and your family in my prayers everyday.

  3. The Cruzin2some says:

    Dear John, Heidi and Kye,
    Enjoy your precious time together!
    The Cruzin2some

  4. Rita presnell says:

    Great blog and we will miss you terribly but there is no one who deserves a rest better than you. I wish you safe travels and lots of fun time with the girls. I’ll say a prayer for your surgery. I wish there was something I could do for you,, just like you do for all of us!!

  5. Brenda Barberee says:

    Smoking article you may want to share with the beards. Thanks & have a great vacation.
    Smoking Rates, State By State

  6. Host Mach from Cruise Critic says:

    John, please respond.

    Hello, my friend!

    First, I wanted to thank you profusely for allowing us to join you on the Carnival Magic in Galveston. What a wonderful weekend we had! Sadly, we said goodbye to our much beloved Carnival Conquest the day before the Carnival Magic arrived.

    Despite missing the Conquest terribly I have to say the Carnival Magic is stunning!!! We were taken aback when we set foot in the Lobby! How beautiful!!! Everyone on the ship was fantastic… a smile on every face… a laugh always ready and the consistent high level of attention to guests flooded the ship. Every area we visited, every venue we grabbed a bite to eat at or acquired something to quench our thirst was wonderful. The Southern Lights dining room was gorgeous, the service perfect and the food as good as ever. Ken Byrne was, as usual, brilliant. There were a number of folks at our table for dinner who had not heard of Ken or his talent and they were awed by his voice.

    We won’t be joining the Carnival Magic again until Blogger’s Cruise 5 but I can tell you that I am spreading the word about what a phenomenal vessel it is to anyone who will listen. The folks sailing with us (nearly 300 now!!!) are all anxious to get on board and see what we were so honored to see.

    Thanks again, my friend. The experience was amazing!!!


    Host Mach

  7. Rosanna says:

    Have a wonderful vacation and rest up that carpool thingy. Enjoy your new emily addition as they do bring much joy…. That is after they destroy everything in the house. I know that I will miss reading your blog and Facebook but will patiently wait for your return. And I’ll be that much closer to my Destiny 1/1/12.

    Enjoy John.

    Thank you for all you do.

  8. Cruiser Dave says:

    Re: Hilary Whitworth, untypical Canadian. On behalf of The Rest of Canada, please accept my apologies for the attitude expressed by the lady in question. She was disgusted? So was I, after reading her post. It is parochial to think that passengers of every nationality should expect their home-grown holidays to be celebrated in the dining rooms of Carnival ships. In Canada alone we have a number of unique holidays, including Family Day, Victoria Day, Canada Day, Civic Holiday, Labour Day, and yes, an early Thanksgiving. Now multiply those by the number of nations represented on each cruise and you would have a hundred or more “holidays” to celebrate. It is ludicrous for each passenger to expect to be accommodated in such a way. Accept that Carnival is an American-based enterprise, and as a Canadian you may politely toast one another at your table and give thanks. Just don’t expect the other 95% on board to toast you as well.

    • Ron Moyer says:

      Thank you so much for your posting. I was disgusted also by Hillarys’ posting. But after reading your rebuttal, I see you were very good about telling her how it is. Thank you.

    • Paisley says:

      Agreed… and well said! I am Canadian and while I understand where she is coming from it is ridiculous to think that it is offensive that they didn’t make a huge deal out of Canadian thanksgiving…on an American Cruise Line!

      Hilary, why don’t you try making some new friends and giving thanks at the table and showing them what real Canadians are like…

  9. Susan A says:

    ENJOY your time off. You deserve it!

  10. Char says:

    Thank you John for making me laugh and look forward to my cruise in less than 30 days. Take care of yourself and enjoy your time with the family. I look forward to your next blog. In the meantime I’m counting the days. (I think I’m on Mel’s side here)

  11. richstowe says:

    Re Canadian Thanksgiving – Truth is Canadians enjoy our Thanksgiving but it pales in comparison to the joy Americans experience with this holiday. Having lived in the USA, I was amazed at how powerful this extended weekend was. Friends and family flying and driving in from everywhere. Truely alot of Norman Rockwell moments. Really gave me more then one lump in my throat.

    In sum, though we Canadians enjoy this holiday, it clearly is a much bigger deal in the US. As such it makes sense that Carnival celebrates the American version.

    Have a great thanksgiving all.

  12. Amanda burden says:

    Enjoy the time with your family! It’s thanksgiving here in the states anyway… Good luck with the surgery and try not to let Peppa Pig drive you too crazy. My boys watch it every bloody day, you get used to it.

  13. Janet says:

    John, have a wonderful trip home and enjoy every second of being with your girls. Your true loyal fans will miss you but understand you need some alone time with your family. As for the rest well……..maybe by the time you return they will have learned to say Please and Thank you! Safe travels and we’ll be here when you get back.

  14. Laura says:

    Well,John…take care of yourself…and I don’t just speak for me, I speak for the 12 MILLION followers…we will wait for you! Come back healthy! Kisses to the girls, and the new puppy you will be loving real soon.

  15. Kandy & Doreen says:

    Good Luck with your CarPool Tunnel thingy!
    We will miss you on FaceBook, but will somehow manage… 🙁
    We are Loving the Magic!
    By the way… We Love Calvyn too!!
    “GingerFrog” says HI!!!

    -Kandy & Doreen

  16. Kandy & Doreen says:

    Good Luck with your CarPool Tunnel Thingy, and enjoy your time with your girls!
    We will miss you on FaceBook but I guess we will manage … somehow… 🙁
    We are Loving the Magic
    By the way, we Love Calvyn too!!!

    ~GingerFrog says HI!~

    -Kandy & Doreen

  17. Jeanette says:

    Make sure you give the Crackberry to Kye so she can hide it so well that you don’t find it after a week, and the computer is to be closed and a time locked placed on it to not open for one week, or maybe two…

    Have fun with the new puppy and follow doctors orders after the carpool tunnel is fixed….

  18. Ricky says:

    Howdy from Texas Just wanted to say you will be missed. But enjoy your family time. We will survive until you get back. Your blog and Facebook are the highlight of my day.

  19. Jess says:

    I love how you ask US permission for a week off. You don’t need our permission John, you deserve it. Take a week, relax with your family, and rest your arm. We will still be here when you return.

  20. Carter Northcutt says:

    I just watched a movie, one I have seen before, called, “Juggernaut”. Perhaps you have seen it. A psycho placed a few bombs on a British cruise ship. The passengers were finally told what was going on and of course they were all upset, scared and in other various emotional states. While several of the guests were in the showroom the Cruise Director did his best to entertain and get the guests involved to take their minds off of being blown up. Nothing worked. So he goes to the bar and orders a double bourbon in one glass. At the bar is the Captain’s girlfriend (I think) and he talks with her. He asked her to dance and they do. Well the guests finally get up and dance too. After that his job got easier…for a while. Thought I would mention this movie to you in case you never saw it.
    As I told you in a previous post, my son and I are looking forward to our cruise on 1 APR 12 on the Legend. I know he is excited about it because he constantly mentions how close it is getting.

  21. Henrietta Lala (Granny Lala) says:

    Your new posting schedule is excellent and long overdue. A profession like yours needs fences to protect you from running amuck and hurting yourself. I have become very fond of you through your postings, and wish you the very best with your family and health. God bless, Granny Lala

  22. Steve Worden says:

    Hey John …Submariner dude here. Funny how our minds and sense of humor tend be so much alike. But you seem to be able to put things in words that only the British are able to do. But I try.

    My reason for writing today is because of you comments on signs that say you can’t do this and you can’t do that. Reminds me of a song of some years ago that goes something like “signs signs everywhere signs,– do this, don’t do that — ”

    Yesterday I posted the following on my face book wall.. So it’s one up for me .. goes I beat you to the punch by about 18 hours ..

    “Legislation against Smoking (cigs) in certain areas. Is that a good thing or bad. I understand and respect that smoking is not allowed in areas privately owned, be it a business or a personally owned property. However it is getting a bit carried away. Why? Because if it becomes law, in some places already have, you can’t smoke in public areas or a number of feet from a privately owned area, while standing in a public area, then what is next. How about … Not Driving Cars that emit exhaust anywhere due to health hazards; or no planting any plants that might emit pollen into other peoples breathing space due to allergies or people with illness that can be transmitted through the air must be quarantined, or no obnoxious aftershave, colognes or perfumes allowed because they nauseate people, or no body odor allowed anywhere or no antiperspirant that emits anything that smells, or how about we really do it …. NO SUNSHINE ALLOWED BECAUSE IT EMITS CANCER CAUSING RAYS! I wonder if the Governments, Local, State and Federal might have more important matters to CLEAN UP. Like the noise pollution caused by Republican Debates.”

    Thanks John for you blog … I just lit a BAC (Big Ass Cigar) and will smoke it thinking of my next not yet planned cruise. At least until the smell awakens my wife and I have to put it out.


    • Linda (Mom of DJ) says:

      I just love these “straw arguments” about car exhaust and perfume.

      Those who make these statements not bright enough to realize that cars are a necessity for our economy to thrive.
      Cigars and cigarettes are not.

      And while perfume may make someone nauseous, just like farts, they do not contain 3,000 toxins (especially those that are carcinogens).

      It is obvious you have never witnessed a child (or adult) with Asthma grasp for a breath of air just because someone with a cigar walked to close to them. (this was outdoors)

      And since, in the US, asthma cases have increased by more than 60 percent since the early 1980s with asthma-related deaths doubling to 5,000 a year…..limiting exposure (especially to children) is a responsibility that Carnival can not ignore.

      It is also obvious that you have never had the pleasure of being told you may need to be admitted to the hospital for ulcerated bronchioles.

      I had this pleasure in 2003, after 5 days on the Holiday, when karaoke was filled with smokers every night.

      The smokers on that cruise had no idea they had harmed me. But since they have no problem harming themselves and their families, I doubt harming a total stranger would have concerned them.

      Yes, you are oblivious to these issues. Because if you had a clue, you would not make such ridiculous comments and comparisons. What a shame that you think harming a child is something to joke about.

      Common sense dictates that only those who are addicted should be inconvenienced by that addiction.

      And if that means walking a few more steps to a designated smoking area, it is a small price to pay to protect a child.

      Btw, if anything needs to be restricted, it is the hot air of the Democratic Party that is clearly causing Global Warming.

      • Steve Worden says:

        One thing that is obvious is that you obviously have no idea about me. I had asthma as a child, I had a brother in law who died of cystic fibrosis. Basically everything you say that I obviously don’t know, I have experienced.

        Then one thing I seem Oblivious to is the continuation of those exercising their free rights yet to have these rights and moral views regulated by law.

        It is apparent you have a point. It is apparent you have a valid concern. It is not obvious as to why you blame others for your apparent suffering.

        Honestly .. Whose Responsibility is it to make sure no one suffers from anything? Whose responsibility is it to help those in need? And whose responsibility is to insure your and my freedom allowed to remain free will in this world.

        Answer …. All of us. Problem .. You can’t please all the people all the time. And unless some higher power descends upon the earth and cures all evil, it ain’t going to happen.

        I have always said .. IF you can’t stand the heat in the kitchen (meaning the trying times we all have), check the thermostat and see if you can change it. If you can’t change it and can’t live with it, get out of the Kitchen. IF you can’t do either .. deal with it.

        I respect your comments, I empathize with you, but the bottom line is … nothing is obvious.


  23. CDR Scotty says:

    Canadian Thanksgiving was this past 10 October — is this an old complaint or is the poster date-challenged

  24. Fun Dad says:

    Hi John; On the Nov 17 blog you stated that the gratuity was included for both the Steak house and the chiefs table.What percent of the meal is the gratuity? Most people, I believe give 15 to 20 percent.

  25. Betty Baldok says:

    John, as far as I see it you DESERVE a week off with your girls.. Give hugs and kisses to them from me.. Take care of your arm, as your arm is the MOST important thing you need to do your AWESOME job for holding the microphone, typing your blog and facebook, and shaking hands with excited guests. Have a safe flight home.. REST DANG IT!!!

  26. Justyna McBurney says:

    Have a great time making memories with your girls this week. Had the “carpool tunnel” thingy done to both my hands a few years back – best decision ever. If it hasn’t already been offered you might want to ask about hand therapy exercises and hot wax treatments – helped immensley with the recovery as well as felt wonderful. PLEASE try to get some well deserved rest. Your “schedule” looks good – we all like to take the w/e off. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU – oh – nearly forgot – love German Shepherds – wonderful dogs – grew up with a couple myself

    Looking forward to your return.

  27. Bob Elliott says:

    John, I hate to throw clod water on your enthusiasm but I was not thrilled with James. My wife and I were on Magic’s last European cruise. Honestly, I booked that cruise way back when you first announced it and when you were to be the CD through the repositioning.

    Don’t get me wrong, I don’t blame you for bailing out. Also, the cruise was great. BUT … we were far from impressed with the replacement CD. Granted, he does put on an act of being enthusiastic. He does seem to try to relate to the passengers. But he certainly is no John Heald. Quite frankly, we felt that several of the other entertainment staff appeared to be more genuine and related better to the passengers, that thye would have been better CDs (at least from the entertainment perspective).

    • Bill Heck says:

      Of course everyone is welcome to their opinion.

      While on Carnival Magic for the last 12 day Med Cruise, and the Transatlantic, I found James C. to be an excellent CD. He was enthusiastic, spoke clearly and distinctly and had good manners. He did a good job introducing the shows, and then coming on stage afterward to close the shows.

      The entertainment staff overall did a great job keeping us busy, and you have to give the boss some props for keeping the whole thing working.

      Well done James.

  28. Jakesia says:

    I had to actually come to the blog, forgot I was reading from my email, but soon realized it when I tried to post a comment. 🙂 Anyhow, you’ll be missed; you deserve the time off to spend with your girls. Make sure you get some rest, but find time to make the wife and daughter happy. As always, I enjoy reading your blog and Facebook posts. Take care! J

  29. Mumsykat says:

    John, have a wonderful, relaxing time off and be sure to rest your arm. You’ll be returning just about the time the DH and I are boarding the Liberty for OUR time off. Good luck with the new puppy, my family always had German Shepherds when I was growing up and they are spectacular pets!

    Happy Thanksgiving!

  30. Bill Allison says:

    Hi, John. My wife (Allison Allison) and I took our first cruise on the Carnival Dream in February, 2010. The CD was non other than John Heald! We had a great time and thoroughly enjoyed the whole cruise. We are in the process of booking our next outing on the Carnival Freedom for February, 2012 as this will be my 60th birthday. I can only hope that we get a CD s entertaining as you were. Keep up the great work, and remember, the best thing to come out of England was the road to Scotland!!! Cheers, mate.

  31. teresa says:

    I am so glad you are cutting back on blogging and face book. I have had carpel tunnel surgery and you will be SO happy you had it done. Everytime I read your wonderful bogs I think about your arm. Enjoy your family and the dog. Will see you on March 4th Blogger’s 5 cruise.
    Best Wishes

  32. You are without a doubt that hardest working Brand Ambassador/CD for a Cruise Line in the world. So many of our clients and even us Travel Agents have appreciated all the hard work in updating us on the progress of the Carnival Magic as she heads to Galveston. Also keeping us informed about the Carnival 2.0 updrades have been in-valuable. I personally think you need a raise then at least a 2 week vacation. I am looking forward to cruising on the Magic this time next year. Before that though I will be putting just about every cruise client I can convince to try the Carnival Magic. Thanks again John for everything you do! Take a well deserved rest, enjoy this time with your daughter and wife. Rock On!

  33. Jodi says:

    Hi John, I am glad you are finally giving your arm the rest it needs and will have the surgery you desperately need. Good luck with all of that and ENJOY your family. We shall miss you, but now we have something to look forward to. Take care.
    Your Friend Jodi:)

  34. I think you deserve a long rest to be with your family and new dog. Christmas is a beautiful time where you can truly enjoy what God has really given us. You have worked very hard for Carnival and it’s time to just sit back and be a husband and father. When time comes for you to get back to work Mary Lou and I will preparing to go on our 6th cruise in February to Panama. We’ll we waiting in excitement for our excursion in Panama. Thanks again for assisting us with the tickets John. Once again enjoy the break with your family. You deserve it.

    Paul F. Pietraangelo

  35. Karen says:

    Good Evening John,
    I see in your post that you are aboard the Magic but another person is the actual cruise director. I had the pleasure of sailing with you on the Freedom (where a guest playfully attacked you during a skit). I was hoping you would be on the Magic’s Christmas voyage. Will you still be aboard?

  36. Sharon Dunbar says:

    Have a great time with the girls. Will say a prayer for your surgery.

  37. I’ve never heard of second or third hand sunlight causing health issues for others. Besides, if they outlawed the sun, they would outlaw life on Earth.

    Tobacco could be done away with tomorrow and the planet would be better for it.

  38. Larry Meador says:

    Enjoy your time off and good luck on your carpal tunnel surgery. Your blog & facebook pages are an integral reason that my wife & I are looking forward to our 11th Carnival. Cruise this coming March. Maybe one day we will get to actually meet you on a cruise.

    Your friend from Texas,

    Larry Meador

  39. Sue March says:

    Have a wonderful time with your girls…there’s no place like home! We hope to meet you on board the Magic on my husband’s birthday – the December 11 sailing. We’re excited to introduce cruising to two family members. We love it and hope they will too!

  40. Steve Worden says:

    Saw some post about Thanksgiving. Interesting!

    First, I spent last Thanksgiving on the Carnival Pride in Nassau. Took an excursion to the Wyndham Resort. It came with a free buffet meal voucher.

    They had thanksgiving dinner there. Turkey and stuff cooked the way they do in Nassau. (For those of you who may not realize this Nassau is foreign country). It was tasty, different, and great.

    Bottom line people … Everyday is Thanksgiving Day. And it IS NOT THANKS GETTING DAY.

    And regardless of how you define it – a day for reflection, a day for eating, a day for football, a paid holiday, or perhaps a day to GIVE…. regardless of month, day,year or nationality … Just Give Thanks Every Day. Make every day your thanksgiving.

    And leave the Turkey … for the Turkeys.


  41. Linda (Mom of DJ) says:

    Hilary Whitworth:

    At last count, there were 196 countries in the world.

    Hopefully this number will help you realize what a ridiculous statement you made.

    If not, perhaps the “hint” that until a Corporation the size of Carnival becomes a Canadian corporation with 90% of their ships sailing from Canada….. you are out of luck.

  42. Linda (Mom of DJ) says:


    Enjoy your time off. Get yourself put back together with the Carpool Surgery thingy and return rested, refreshed and renewed.

    Mel gets a 150% rating from us. She is precious and the Conquest is lucky to get her.

    She is a genuine jewel.

    Thank you for making DJ feel so special (yes, it is totally appropriate to use that word) on the Magic. He had a great time.

    He loved clapping for all his ships as he completed the fleet!! (until the Breeze…and then he gets to do it again in November 2012)

    We enjoyed getting to know James(CD) better. On our precious cruises (when he was ACD), he was always busy “behind the scenes” making sure everything flowed smoothly.

    As CD, he was so visible and GENUINE. You could tell that his every comment was from the heart.

    IF I could give some insight to Adrian Fischer regarding what this Carnival Milestone Family wants to see in a Cruise Director and Entertainment staff….it would be:

    We want to see Entertainment and Interaction.

    Instead of having boys walking around spinning on their heads with their pants around their knees, perhaps those berths could go to Administrative Assistants that could handle the paperwork, so that Cruise Directors and ACDs can be more like Julie McCoy again.

    The Cruise Director should have 2 Administrative Assistants that handle all the paperwork, scheduling and reports.

    (in addition to the Entertainment Staff currently on the ships)

    Hugs to Heidi…Kisses to Kye

    See you when you get back….

    Linda (Mom of your friend DJ)

  43. Bob@Sea says:

    “Yep, my flight to Miami was awful and of course, as usual, the idiots including the seat reclining man in front of me, has to stand up and take his seatbelt off the second the plane lands even if the light is still switched on. Drives me bonkers, that one does.”

    Makes me laugh. Many years ago was on an airplane that landed at MCO, we pull up almost to the gate and stopped. Half the plane stood up and suddenly they put the plane in reverse and people go tumbling!

    My wife watched the whole thing from the terminal (it was back in the day). We had come to the wrong gate.

    Ever since that incident I steadfastly watch for the light to come off.

  44. Linda Evans says:

    John, we got off the cruise on the Magic 11/27/11. WYWT It was a brilliant cruise. All of the staff was very friendly with a few exceptions. Kudos goes to our cabin stewards Rusalani and Ivana they were very attentive to making us comfortable. Our cabin was 7270 and it was perfect with lots of room for all our medical equipment. My husband loved the shower and said he wanted to make our home shower this easy for him to get in and get out of. All of the crew spoke to us from white suit officers down to the cleaning crew. The one exception was Ken head suit in the dining room Southern lights. He never came down to our table of 15 folks to say hi. There are 3 levels of dining and Ken never left his main floor. Made us feel like step children since we were assigned the lower level instead of the middle level. Our waiter was Sarwan who treated us like royalty. The last night the ship ran out of ice tea so he saved tea for our early seating since he knew we were big tea drinkers… The food in Southern Lights dining was excellent. The food on Lido was horrible. It was cold and greasy no matter when you got there. We ate once in the Prime Steak house and it is world class dining. The overall ship was kept clean. The bad food on Lido made 7 of our 15 sick with vomiting and diarrhea. I suspect it was Lido food as this was the common denominator of food borne illness for our entire group. The talk at the elevators was how many guests on the ship had these symptoms… The food poisoning lasted 24 to 48 hours. This really needs to be improved. The shows varied in their rating from average to great. Our favorite was the last night show and Calvyn brought the house down. James the cruise director needs to be an assistant director and Calvin should be head CD. James came across as just a dry announcer pushing the sales of all the products the gift shops and spas had. However, Calvyn kept us rolling with every thing he did. We were disappointed that you, with your wonderful humor could not be on our cruise. However your mini-me ACD Calvyn made up for your absence. I hope he gets a ship soon. He is going to be a great CD. Thanks Carnival for a great product at an affordable price.

  45. Gary says:

    Do you know the straight scoop and give the latest on the thruster problems on Magic?

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