October 28, 2013 -

John Heald

 I took my daughter Kye to school for the first time last week. She is only four. The process, though, has started. It was both heartbreaking and sort of exciting to walk Kye up the path to a place where I would leave her behind from 9 am – 3 pm…..but, ultimately, forever as she starts to make her way in the world under the guidance of Miss Newman, Mr. Barton and, indeed, guidance other than that of my wife Heidi and I.But is it all worth it – all this education stuff? The school she goes to is an excellent one with a brilliant reputation and, from what I have seen, great teachers. But school will teach her mostly not what to do, but what not to do. It will teach her things she may never use and burden her with expectations she may not be able to fulfill. And if it was a waste of sodding time when I was at school, it must be even more these days.


I knew from the age of 12 that all the French I was taking was a waste of time because, even at that age, I knew that I would never need to speak it in everyday life and I was right. I remember how to say that my friend Alan has a small thingy and that his bottom smells of cheese but that’s it, everything else I was force fed in French class I have forgotten and French was a waste of time to learn.  I pretty soon grasped that math, physics and chemistry were too and I was right again because at no time has a guest ever come up to me and asked me for the chemical symbol for nitric acid or what the square root of 47 is…….and a fruit basket to the first smart arse to post the answers in the comments section.


Math was pointless. Biology pointless. Chemistry pointless. French, pointless and massively annoying trying to remember if a chair leg was feminine, masculine or a bit of both. Those were my school days and now for Kye…… it is much worse. What use is any learning at all in an Internet world? What use are books and classrooms and paper and pencils and indeed what is the point of having a memory at all when you have Uncle Google on hand 24 hours a day?


And it does end not at school because what’s the point of me spending thousands of dollars for Kye to go to college? Classes can be done online and the most brilliant lecturers can be yours for a fee and a click of the mouse and that fee is bugger all compared with what it will cost at college. Plus there is the comfort that my daughter doing her classes at home means she isn’t drinking tequila shots out of the quarterback’s jockstrap.


Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Mark Facebookberg all dropped out of college and I worry today that education stifles you, takes away your originality. The most visibly rich and successful people it seems are the least educated: actors, pop stars and sports stars. I watch young soccer players and basketball giants in their 20s and some are no more educated than Kye is now at four.


It’s not just in sport, film, music and technology that education is pointless. It’s everywhere. Take cruise directing for example. If you look at the very best, the cruise directors who in the industry are the most original, the most personable, you will probably find a bunch of ladies and gentlemen who don’t have a college degree between them, just lots of television watching.


Butch Begovich is, of course, the fabulous exception as he got a master’s degree in business and manscaping from the prestigious University of Nevada-Las Vegas’ hospitality school and bravo to him for doing so. And if there is no point going to college, why go to bloody school? Bollocks to it — just do everything you can to get on American Idol and accept that anything you need to know in later life, you’ll be able to find by staring into your Eyephone. 


I will never forget one teacher I had at Shoeburyness Comprehensive where I went to school each day to learn French, get beaten with a wet towel in the changing rooms by a bastard called Shane Ibrahim and to stare at Sally Poole’s breasts during math class. The teacher’s name was Mr. Hounsell and one day during his English class he asked us, “What is school for?”


“It’s to educate us, sir,” one clever clogs at the front said.


“Wrong,” snapped Mr. Hounsell.


“It’s to help us get jobs, sir,” said someone called Jeffery who I am sure is now a fashion designer or hairdresser.


“No, it isn’t,” said Mr Hounsell. “It is to keep you off the street, mostly for your own safety but mostly because if you were allowed to run free crime would rise and society would have even more problems.”


Now I was pretty outspoken at school in the sense that as I had been blessed with a non-sporty body and a face like a bag of smashed oysters, I quickly discovered that comedy would put me further down the bullies list of targets and hoped that Sally Poole and her breasts would notice that I existed. So I raised my hand and said to Mr. Hounsell in reply to his “Keeping you off the streets reference” and replied ……..“So school is like a prison, sir?”


“Yes, Heald, it is a prison,” he growled.


And he wasn’t wrong. That’s really why we’re sending Kye to school, so that while she is there Heidi can go shopping and do what home makers do and do so safe in the knowledge that Kye isn’t playing in the road or being bundled into the back of a van.


Education is though important, of course it is……..ignore my ranting. I am thankful that the pilot of the Virgin plane that flew me to Miami did indeed spend time studying math and not day dreaming of super gluing his head between Sally Poole’s breasts as I did. I am glad that education allows the brilliant people who work at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital save the lives of many and I’m glad that people with an education and a beard will continue to keep Carnival the most affordable and fun cruise line in the world.


Anyway, I have, as usual, digressed … I arrived at Kye’s school. The sun was shining, the play area outside had a flower garden and a scarecrow that the kids had built and, in the entrance to the classroom, there was a little peg three feet off the ground with “Kye” written above it, and 20 plus four year olds, running around, drawing, painting, laughing and falling over. I looked down at my beautiful daughter. Kye looked at me and I picked her up in my arms and she gave me a kiss. I put her down, she walked two paces, and turned, waved at me then she ran into the middle of them and was submerged in the group of her new friends. And I walked away with my hand that had been holding my daughter’s now empty and it must have been a very cold day because my eyes suddenly filled with water.


Time for some questions to be answered, here we go.


Kathryn Chesnut asks:

I am helping with two different cruises — one on Carnival Liberty January 18, 2014, and Carnival Breeze January 26, 2014, and will be hosting two private functions. I have info from group event planning but I have a question that maybe you can answer. If you have the Cheers program, would they just have to pay a fee for the party and not alcohol? Thanks.



John says:

 Hello Kathryn,

Thanks for writing and the answer is that the Cheers program is not included in any private party function. This means that those who have the Cheers program will still need to be in the head count for the parties. Please let me know if there is anything I can do for you otherwise.

Best wishes.



James Glisson asks:

My wife and I just returned from a seven-day (three- and four-day cruises back to back) on the Carnival Sensation to the Bahamas. I’m sending this to see if you could forward our compliments and gratitude to the hotel director. Our room steward Maria and her assistant Komang gave us the best service we have ever had on any of our past Carnival cruises.  We believe they far exceeded their duties and need to be recognized for their efforts. 


James and Wendy Glisson


John says:

Hello James and Wendy Glisson,

This is certainly the right place to get this done and it will be a pleasure to pass on your very kind words. I thank you so much for taking the time to write and I do hope we shall see you soon. Best wishes.



Gillian Lean asks:

I have written twice to you about arranging a scattering of ashes for me and the lack of response from you shows that you do not care and I am beside myself with frustration and, if I had taken the insurance, I would cancel this cruise. All I want is for this to be taken care of for the cruise on the Carnival Dream November 16 but I guess I am wasting my time with you.


John says:

Hello Gillian Lean,

I want to start by sending you my sincere sympathies at the loss of your family member. I also apologise that it has taken me so long to answer you and I won’t bother with excuses as to why as that, in this case, doesn’t matter. What does matter is that I will be glad to help, so please do not worry. I will contact the ship and let them know that on the cruise of November 16 that you will require this service. They will arrange the paperwork and then ship’s staff members will assist you when the time comes to scattering the ashes. The captain will also send you a letter with his sympathies and also include the time and latitude and longitude of the ship’s position when the ashes were scattered. So please don’t worry, all will be arranged for you and, again, my apologies sincerely for the delay in my responding. If there is anything else I can do, please let me know. Best wishes.



Cheryl Letner asks:

Hi John!!  Well back in March I messaged you about my desire to work for Carnival!  Well, it took a while, but wonderful Isabel Espinosa, who you put me in touch with, contacted me about six weeks ago that there was a virtual position open – I was so impressed that she remembered me!!  I was set up for an interview and went down to Miami (I’m from Sarasota – on the Gulf Coast) – still recovering from darn pneumonia -and it was an awesome day and a great interview! (Oh my goodness, when I drove through the gate to park and saw the funnel and Carnival topiary, I heard a choir singing!! Ahhhhhhhh!! Lol!!). I did have a second interview and I am anxiously waiting to hear if I got the position! I feel deep in my heart I will soon be a member of the team!!  My husband and I were supposed to go on a mission trip with church to El Salvador in October, but I stepped out of it because the training for the job is the same week – my husband is still going! I know God will send me on other missions! I wanted to thank you for getting this ball rolling for me!! I can’t tell you how excited I am! I understand they will make offers this week and I will be chained to my phone all week! 


 I just wanted to share this!! Thank you and blessings to you and your family!



John says:

Hello Cheryl Letner,

I can see how excited you are and I hope by now you have received good news and that you are indeed part of the Carnival family. I hope to see you soon and good luck in all that you do. Best wishes.



Helen Cowie asks:

What’s the story with the lack of gluten free items on the Lido deck? No breads for us?????? I saw that you wrote that you wanted to see more sugar free desserts but how about a bit of respect for us that suffer from gluten intolerance? I know you have said publicly that you have type 2 diabetes but that was your laziness allowing yourself to get obese that caused that, it’s a life choice by you. Carnival puts out lots of sugar-free stuff and you talk about that all the time but us celiac sufferers get shafted by Carnival. So how about you put some of your weight (ha ha) behind getting us some more gluten free choices? Sailing next on Carnival Splendor in December and am platinum VIP.


John says:

Hello Helen Cowie,

Yep, laziness and many late night BLTs got me taking those sodding Metformin pills and I am working hard to reduce the weight and, thanks to people like you, I will work even harder! You will be glad to know that we have recently added more gluten-free items to Lido and I thought I would share a couple with you and my thanks to Chef Peter for sending me this information. You will now see the following served on Lido and by request from your dining room waiter.




 I hope this pleases you and all of the above will be available on your next cruise. Thanks so much for your loyalty and have a brilliant time. Best wishes.



Erick and Gwen Smith  asks:

We just had the Carnival Triumph cruise from Galveston to Progresso and Cozumel, getting back last Saturday.  Room 6383 is great unless you are trying to get some sleep before midnight as the musical group below on Deck 5 was playing, very nerve racking when trying to get ready for the next morning’s excursions. Never had this before.  We are newbies to cruising (we are gold and completed cruise five (31 days sailed).  We are going out last part of October 2013 from Galveston on the Magic.  Wife has bad knees and can only walk short distances without the need of a wheelchair, so we are limited on what shore excursions can be done.  I have already scuba-dived most locations on previous shore excursions. Jen, cruise director from Carnival Triumph, recommended I use this media. As we keep going toward our ultimate goal of being “Diamond Members,” my concern is keeping good shore excursions with limited walking for my wife.  Fifty five days from today we depart once again. We loved the Salsa and Salsa in Cozumel and the Progresso Mexican Buffet and Rodeo, especially since they have free alcohol (a must for us). What do you recommend for us for three days of shore excursions on the Magic for the end of October 2013 leaving from Galveston? We are at our wits end trying to decide.  A concern is that the more we cruise, the less we find to do on shore? We never want to stay on the ship when docked, we want to have fun on shore. Should we start looking at non-Carnival shore excursions with the hopes that we make it back in time to depart on the ship (flat tire, engine trouble, typhoon, making us miss the ship)?  Help John, maybe you can get us an email address for Carnival Magic’s cruise director and we can talk with him about his recommendations?   Oh, by the way, the New Orleans Mardi Gras show was the best show so far on our cruises!  We love the Faster-to-the-Fun unless we book a suite also.  And as an interesting factoid, we enjoyed turning in a $25 casino chip, the best game to play is finding a chip someone left in their safe, can’t find better odds in the casino that that.


John says:

 Hello Erick and Gwen Smith,

I am so sorry that you could hear the music from your cabin and I will make sure the ship is aware of this, which I am sure they are but just to make sure I will pass it along. I totally understand about your excursions. Seeing these wonderful ports of call is important, of course, so let’s see what we can do for you. I have written to the shore excursion manager on the Carnival Magic and asked them to give you a call and chat with you about what excursion will be best for you and which tours you will both be comfortable in doing. This personal touch should set your mind at ease, I think so, again, please don’t worry. I wish you a wonderful time and if there is anything I can do for you, please let me know won’t you. Best wishes.



Jonathan Caulker asks:

What is the duty-free allowance coming back from our cruise on Carnival Fascination for cigarettes?


John says:

Hello Jonathan Caulker,

You will be allowed 1 carton of cigarettes per adult (21 and over) when you return through United States Customs and Border Protection at the end of your cruise. Please let me know if you have any other questions and have a brilliant time. Best wishes.



Tina Moreno asks:

Hi John, I just wanted to message you to thank you for an absolutely amazing holiday on the Carnival Legend.  We just got home from the last Baltic cruise.  We were so happy to finally get to meet you and be able to chat with you.  Thanks so much for the goodies you sent to us.

We wanted to give a shout out to everyone on the Legend who helped make this cruise one of the best we have taken.


John says:

Hello Tina Moreno,

That’s great news, indeed, and I will pass on your thanks to all on board. I do hope we shall see you again very soon and thanks for taking the time to write. Best wishes.



David Lantman asks:

A request for a table for four and not to be put with other passengers. This cruise we will be celebrating my 30th birthday and my wife’s is just after the cruise. We are with cruise virgins Adam and Launa Meyler and we do not want them to have to sit with other passengers and have their cruise ruined as happened to us on the Carnival Paradise this past May. Can you help us, John? Can you get this done and it is soooooooo important to this being a good cruise for us four. Our booking numbers are linked to ******for our cruise on Magic November 3. It would be nice if you could send us some goodies to make up for last time.


John says:

Hello David Lantman,

I am glad I saw this post in time as I see you are sailing next week. I have therefore written to the maître d’ and I know he will do his very best to help you with this request. I wish you all a great time together and enjoy all the fun on this wonderful ship. Best wishes.



And that’s all for today………..although I did want to share this e mail with you which was sent to Carnival’s guest service people here in Miami and they sent it to me.


Sara Potton

Hello John. I had to write to you because we have just returned from the most wonderful cruise with you from Dover. There were many highlights for us and the people who looked after us from your crew were so lovely and friendly. John, one thing though stands out to us and that is the amazing kind act of generosity you did for our beloved papa James Larsen. You may remember that you were talking about the Normandy Beach landings excursion on the stage when you asked if there were any World War II Veterans there. My papa raised his hand and one other passenger did too. You spoke to them and thanked them for their service and then offered them free tickets to take the tour to Normandy and Omaha Beach. John, this was so wonderful. We had already booked that excursion but the fact that you refunded his ticket to allow him to go for free blew us all away. My pop was a tank commander in the 741st Tank Battalion and for him to return to Omaha Beach and have his three children and seven grand kids there with him was emotional to say the least. I never did get a chance to thank you, John, as the excursion was on the last day of the cruise so I hope this gets to you. It was a wonderful cruise and one we will never forget. My pop is 90 next week, John, and I am so proud of all he has achieved both in serving his country and raising me and my two sisters and the fact that you acknowledged him is something that he and all of us will never forget.

Sara Potton and family


I have written back to Sara and thanked her for this humbling e-mail and again thanked her father for his extraordinary service. I had not planned to do that, it was a spur of the moment thing in offering two WW II veterans these free passes. I had no idea that one of them, James Larsen had in fact landed on the beach during the D-Day landings. The other gentleman I invited to go declined due to mobility issues he had so instead we paid for him to do the panoramic tour of Paris instead. Yep, it was a spur of the moment thing and one that I am so very glad that I did.


It’s good to be back with you on the blog and I will be back on Facebook as well today. It’s going to be a busy month with the Carnival Sunshine’s naming and lots of meetings regarding Bloggers Cruise 7 and, of course, we should have news on the new dining room menus as well.


So here I am back in Miami having flown not on British Airways but on Virgin. The flight was mostly uneventful except for the man next to me. He slept through the entire flight, complete with the pillow, the blanket and the eye mask. The only problem was that every few minutes he would smack his lips together as though he was dreaming about eating a chocolate melting cake. He must have taken a sleep inducing drug because how anyone can sleep bolt upright for nine hours with leg room a little person would complain about, is beyond me.


I hate flying, you all know that, of course, and I hate flying economy because as Helen Cowie so graciously reminded me in today’s Q&A I am fat and fat people like me hate economy. But it’s not just the lack of space and the awful food but the proximity to strangers. The huge amounts of pace in the business and the first class cabin mean interaction isn’t required. In economy though, the next nine hours of your life are at the mercy of a lottery in which you’re travelling companion could make you long for a parachute as it was with the lip smacking man in a coma next to me.


But here I am, safe and sound, encased in the Hyattcontinentalmarriot Hotel here in beautiful Miami. You know, over the years, I have stayed in many hotels, not as many as prostitutes or fly-on acts but enough to have an opinion of them.


And so here I sit, in my hotel writing to you and my spine had checked out and buggered off home thanks to nine hours of bolt upright sitting on flight VS005.  The hotel is the one I usually stay at and it’s nice and the people know me here but the old problems have not gone away.


The pillows are like postage stamps and hard to find. Let me explain what I mean by that. Before you can crawl between the sheets to watch some Latvians having rumpy pumpy (a snippet at $15.99, by the way), you have to locate the pillows underneath a pile of unnecessary cushions. I don’t want a decorated bed straight from some chick flick movie; I want a comfortable bed, please. The end.

The bathroom is clean but, as usual, smells like it has been used to test chemical weapons oh and as I write to you at now 6:38 am the hotel staff seem to be holding what sounds like the vacuum cleaner Grand Prix in the corridor. And the drivers are obviously awarded extra points each time they crashed, noisily, into any door………….the bastards. There are tea and coffee-making facilities. Except I never use them. It’s a coffee pot that the previous occupant has probably pissed in and several sachets full of stuff that is supposedly coffee and tastes like the inside of LeBron James’ jockstrap.


And then there is the toilet, which, as I have mentioned before was built by a sadistic mad person and built only for the little person from Game of Thrones because it’s only a few inches off the ground. This means that I have to slide down the bathroom door onto the floor and crawl across that floor to be able to get on the toilet. And getting up again requires me rolling off the toilet and pulling myself up via the towel rail and the bath/shower. Oh and the spiteful bastard that designed the toilet made sure that fat people like me could enjoy the sight of themselves suffering all this indignity because there is a full length mirror on the inside of the bathroom door and as I sat there last night removing Virgin Atlantic’s Chicken Kiev, I looked in the mirror and for a split second I thought that there was a shar pei dog taking a crap on my toilet.


Oh, and one thing that applies to my hotel and our ships……… anyone really bothered whether the end of the toilet roll is folded into a triangle or not?


All I ever want to do after a nine-hour flight is have a shower. But this is rarely possible because all the controls in the shower cubicle were put in place by someone who’s totally bonkers. There are buttons and dials that you have to press and pull rather than the simple ones we have in our showers on board all the ships that work.


Torture isn’t allowed under the Geneva Convention but it is still practiced here in my hotel. You either get a drizzle of cold water going over the partition and on to the fake marbled bathroom floor or, if you nudge the faucet by a just half an inch, a torrent of scalding water hot enough to take the skin off an elephant’s testicles blasts you in the face.


And I am afraid there is one area in which the hotel industry and cruise industry do compare and there are not many of those for sure. But there is one and it’s that sign that anyone in the service industry hangs in their bathrooms that state how non-environmentally friendly it is to wash the towels. I do my best to be environmentally friendly but after drying myself after a nine-hour flight and leaving that towel laying on the bathroom floor is defiantly going to be an environmental hazard.


And then it’s time to finally turn the lights out and go to sleep. You reach for the bedside switch to turn off those lights. Click! The light by the sodding door comes on. You try again. Click! The light on the other side of the bed goes on.


So I roll my obese flaccid arse (nice visual there especially for Mrs. Cowie) across the bed to try one of the switches on the other side. Click! Bugger all happens. Leaving one of the bedside lights on, I tried the switch by the door. Click! The room is plunged into blackness. On the way back to bed, I tripped over my suitcase. Oh FFS, put a simple sodding master switch by the bed.

Even when I did manage to turn the lights off, there is still light that shines into the room. That’s because when I pulled the curtains together, a gap opens up along the sides. I pulled the sides back and a gap opens up in the bloody middle. The basic requirement of curtains that fit the window seems to be rocket science to the people who run this hotel.


But there is one thing that drives me insane and it’s a subject I answer questions about all the time here and on my Facebook page, yep……….Wi Fi. Oh joy. We are in the process of starting to update our internet services across the fleet which the beards tell me will result in a quicker more affordable service for all of you. But we still have to go through a satellite that is miles above the clouds somewhere over New Jersey and that means it’s not going to be free, more affordable yes, free….nope.


That is sort of understandable isn’t it but compare what we offer to the hotel where I am staying. It’s nothing flash or fancy and not one of those boutique hotels that offer mood lighting around the crapper, it’s just a straight forward everyday business hotel. If there’s one thing we all hate in hotels, it’s pricey Wi-Fi. They charge $15 a day plus tax to use it in the room but hold on……. it’s free in the lobby. Why? Can anyone tell me why it’s free in the lobby for any sod that just walks in off the street but for the poor bastards who actually pay to stay in the hotel there is a $15 a day charge in the rooms?


Anyway, I guess that as Carnival is paying, then I should go for the free option so I will head on down to the lobby now to work on today’s Q and A. I am sure Gerry and the beards will appreciate me saving them some money…….although I am not sure the other guests in the lobby will like it as much considering all I am wearing……… is my underpants.



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.

73 Responses to EDUCATING HOTELS

  1. Lisa McCarry says:


  2. John says:

    The formula for nitric acid is HNO3 and 6.8556546004 is the Square root of 47. LOL

  3. Teresa Cooper says:

    HNO3 and 6.8556546004
    John you know we would GOOGLE it! LOL

  4. Alexander Armor says:

    HNO3 = Nitric acid and square root of 47 is 6.8556546004 lol

  5. mom says:


  6. Patricia says:

    I love reading your blog

    Nitric Acid H NO 3

  7. Patricia says:

    Just in case it had to be both and not one or the other!

    sqrt(47) = 6.8556546

  8. Snoozeman says:

    Nitric Acid: H NO 3

    Just happen to be leaving on the Sunshine on November 1st!

  9. robert raab says:


  10. Shelley D'Anjou says:

    Hi John, Couldn’t resist being a smart ass: The square root of 47 is not a rational number. We know that 6 x 6 = 36 and 7 x 7 = 49, so the answer is between them. If we use a handheld or online calculator, we’ll get 6.85565 for an approximate answer. And that plus or minus 6.85565 because the square root of a positive number always has the two answers. lol See you on the BC7

  11. David Grampp says:

    For Gillian lean – Don’t worry, let me share my experience spreading my Mom’s ashes this last May.

    Dear John,
    I just returned from a wonderful cruise on the Carnival Sensation’s May 2nd sailing. You may recall that I and 14 of our other family members were on this cruise to spread my Mom’s ashes at sea. It started with an outstanding quick check in ashore with immediate priority boarding. I went to the Guest Services desk as soon as we arrived to check if I needed to do anything for the ceremony. I was greeted at the Platinum desk by a lovely young woman named Olga who immediately started checking into it. Our conversation was overheard by the most wonderful Guest Services Associate, a Ms. Ines Uzar. She heard my name and came over and told me that everything had been arranged. She told me when the ceremony would be and where we had to meet.
    The last day of our cruise was a sea day and that is when we spread my Mom’s ashes. We all met at the guest services desk and a young officer named , Zorin (I hope I got his name right because I lost my list with everyone’s name on it). He introduced us to the ship’s environmental officer and a security officer. The three of them escorted us to the aft mooring station on deck four for the ceremony. They were a great help, my father is in a wheel chair and can only walk very short distances. He needed help getting down stairs and over the knee knocker at the water tight door to reach the mooring station. They took him a different way so he could use elevators for most of the way with only a little walking to get through the water tight doors. We never could have had our Dad with us if they did not go out of their way to get him there. We cannot thank them enough for help. The spreading of my Mom’s ashes went very well and she is now on her way to Ireland by the gulf stream.

  12. Joan Morley says:

    Welcome back John. Such a sweet, vulnerable post. Thank you for sharing the tenderness.

  13. Karen says:

    John I am shocked by your comments about education. Unless you knew how to read and write, etc before you went to school the fact that you can do so now is because a teacher cared enough to teach you. John, I teach 60 Kindergarten students and I care for each one deeply. I do not believe that education is a waste of their time. Quite the opposite. In the small town I live in , it is education that will save them from a life on the streets. It is very sad that a public personality such as yourself would speak so poorly of education. I hope that your precious daughter grows up to be a teacher and that you have to eat your own words.

    • KathyM says:


      I think you took John to seriouslly. John has stated in the past that an education is the most important part of ones life. I have been reading John’s blog since 2008 and I know when he means something and when he doesn’t. If John did not think Kye’s education was important, I don’t think he would be paying for a private school.


    • vivienne says:

      Oh please!!John’s father is a school teacher.

    • Marsha Breen says:

      Karen – Geez….do you not understand humor?

  14. Chris Jacobs says:


  15. Sandi Jones says:

    John, I have a very nice picture of Sara’s father that we took at the cemetery on the Normandy excursion. We didn’t get his name but he was the only WWII vet identified on the tour. If she would like a copy, I can email it to you or to her.

    We loved the Baltic cruise. You were, as usual, irreverent and side-splittingly funny. Too bad you won’t be on the Dream in December when we cruise for the 20th time on Carnival and the 4th time on the Dream. We met you on the Dream’s original transatlantic in 2009.

  16. Robert Gruber says:

    Nitric Acid is HNO3

    Square Root of 47 = 6.85565 (+ a fraction)
    We are sailing on the Carnival Freedom Nov 16, ’13, Room 1428.

    Thanks for the Fruitbasket John

  17. What’s even weirder is that the cheaper hotels, like the two we use when traveling to/from Miami for cruises, don’t charge for wi-fi at all. And it’s frequently stellar wi-fi, too.

    I’m sure someone’s already answered, but:

    Nitric acid: HNO3
    Square root of 47: +/- 6.855 (can be either positive OR negative)

    –Someone should ask you what the formula is for nitric acid on every cruise hereafter…just so you can answer brightly “Why, it’s HNO3! Everyone knows THAT!” 🙂

  18. David Grampp says:

    Nitric acid (HNO3), square root of 47 is 6.8556546

  19. Willieboxing says:

    Square root of 47 is 6.8556546004. I’ll be on the Imagination in December…we finally earned Platinum on this cruise. I’ll send you my cabin number for my basket. 😉

    It was great cruising with you on the Legend TA crossing. I loved Prince Christian Sound and Qaqortoq was amazing. Thank you.

  20. samantha flynn says:

    HNO3 6.8556546004

  21. Belinda says:

    The square root of 47 is 6.8556546004 and the chemical symbol for nitric acid is HNO3…I’ll be on the Victory on 11/21 to collect my fruit basket!!

  22. Bob says:

    Well at least you don’t have to keep a sodding credit card in a slot by the door to keep the lights on!

  23. Charles Bass says:


    Would be nice to get a fruit basket as we leave Nov 9 on Carnival Breeze! (thanks to Uncle Google)

  24. Michael Clark says:

    Nitric Acid is NHO3 and the square root of 47 is about 6.856

  25. Shelly says:

    Very nice blog today. By the way, the chemical symbol for nitric acic is HNO3 and the square root of 47 is 6.8556546004, lol. I enjoy reading your blog and facebook page very much.

  26. Jeff Paintner says:

    My wife and I recently enjoyed the wonderful TransAtlantic Cruise from Dover to New York on the Legend. Unbelievable memories were made. Most memorable was the surprise sailing thru the Greenland Fjord – and how lucky we were to be able to spend a wonderful day in Qaqortoq. The entertainment you arranged for each night was wonderful – we made sure not to miss a show during the 15 night cruise.

    Please do what you can to recognize a very special young lady in the My Time Dining. Her name is Victoria (she is from Hungary). She made every dining experience very special for us. Her smile, charm and friendliness, and professionalism deserves the appropriate recognition.

  27. Michelle says:

    I could not resist being a “smart arse!” My husband calls me a smartass all the time! 🙂

    HNO3 is the chemical symbol for nitric acid.

    Square root of 47 is 6.8556546.

    Love your blog!

  28. Jeff Gough says:

    Another great blog John! I would like my fruit basket on the Valor on the January 12 sailing because the chemical symbol for nitric acid is HNO3 and the square root of 47 is 6.8556546004.

  29. Pam Winn says:

    “and for a split second I thought that there was a shar pei dog taking a crap on my toilet.”

    hahahahaha…good one.

  30. Teresa Cooper says:

    Helen Cowie (Miss Platinum VIP):

    I know John wants us to be courteous in our comments but I am so tired of people who think it is ok to be rude to John while at the same time asking him for something! All you had to do was ask him nicely. You were rude and insulting and I won’t say what I really want to say. Grrr!

  31. JTC says:

    To Helen Cowie, YOU DO KNOW IF YOU HAVE A DIETARY ISSUE YOU NEED TO NOTIFY CARNIVAL SPECIAL SERVICES SO THEY CAN MAKE FOOD YOU CAN EAT. Blaming John H for you lack of preperation is no excuse to attack him. I AM ATTACKING YOU FOR BEING SO LAZY IN LETTING CARNIVAL KNOW YOU HAVE A SPECIAL FOOD NEED. Just Shut your Mouth and talk to the right people. God for Bid you are the Helen Cowie with a PHD in Health and Medical Science because if you are then you need to give that PHD back. A PHD means you are EDUCATED enough to know what to do.

    • Jose says:


      I could not have said it better. Remember though, it is the new American way to blame someone else for your errors. That way you develop an entitlement mentality as many on this website and John’s face book have developed. Give me this, give me that, Just like the Obama society we live in.

  32. Linda (Mom of DJ) says:


    We just finished a 10 day road trip to see Josh graduate and I can tell you…it reminded us how much we love cruising!!

    To add to the wonders of flying, airlines are shrinking the seats to 17 1/2 inches to add an additional seat per row.

    It was just on the news this weekend….

    Oh joy!

    Linda (Mom of your friend DJ)

  33. Brandon Parker says:


  34. Welcome back John after a nice break with your family. Yes it was tough letting your beautiful daughter go to the new world of education but alas, she’ll be taken care of by great people that understand the difficulties of the the young people of today. So don’t worry my friend. Once she was in the group, she quickly forgot you.
    MaryLou and I are really getting excited for our cruise on the Carnival Breeze, Feb. 1st, 2014. It’s a shame that we won’t be able to see you like we did last year on the Bloggers Cruise but that’s life.
    See you soon my friend.

    Paul F. PIetrangelo

  35. Mary-Ellen says:

    John…Can I be a smart arse…nitric Acid is HNO 3..just had to be done…welcome back…we missed you 🙂

  36. CanuckKaren says:

    Ms Helen Cowie… Your comments to Mr. Heald were so personal, so rude, so painful, and so unprovoked that they took my breath away. You have the mean spirit to insult and demean someone you don’t even know, and then ask for help with YOUR dietary requirements? I am both horrified and saddened that you thought you had the right to say those things. You may have been on a lot of cruises, but you are proof that being VIP Platinum doesn’t mean you have class. 🙁

    • Marsha Breen says:

      Karen – couldn’t have said it better. I think Ms. Cowie needs a giant “B” tattooed on her forehead.

  37. Mary-Ellen says:

    Oh and just incase I had to post both..
    Square root of 47 is 6.85565460040104 🙂

  38. Bill Rose says:

    Square Root of 47 = 6.8556546004

    Nitric Acid – HNO3

    Right from Dr. Google, however I do know how to do the square root long hand and was close on the chemical sign, remembering Nitrous Oxide instead. Better education fifty years ago, but not as good a memory, as five year’s ago.

    See you on BC7 in February.


  39. Jimmy Boone says:

    Hey John…You just reminded me why I prefer an interior cabin….I can sleep all night and as late as I want, and never worry about daylight waking me up…in fact I always throw a towell under the door to keep the light out..

  40. Jimmy Boone says:

    Oh, the square root of 47 is 6.855654600
    I look forward to the Fruit Basket on Fantasy Nov 2, 2013 in Cabin E-41!!

  41. Robin says:

    Gillian Lean, I’m sorry for your loss, but you are a very rude person. You could have called Carnival yourself, or your travel agent, to make the arrangements, when you didn’t hear from John. Good grief.

    And Helen Cowie, you’re nasty as well as rude. You may be “platinum VIP” in your cruise history (not that that makes you more important than anyone else on the ship), but your attitude stinks.

    What a contrast to the gracious letter from Sara Potton about the treatment her heroic father received on their recent cruise. Well done, John!

  42. Fern says:

    John, I enjoyed your blog post today :).
    I know you don’t post on the blog as much as you used to :(, but I like it :)!

    Your experience with Kye going to school was wonderful! I think she’ll be fine since she has you and your wonderful wife to take care of her :).

    We’re looking at sailing the Carnival Legend next year from LA to Sydney. Is there any chance you’ll be the CD?

    Good thought’s,


  43. Ryan says:

    John, we just got off the Magic and James cruise director was brilliant! I just wanted to say that in the general knowledge quiz in the red frog pub the team that always won the beer was one with a kid in it, because they had just learnt what the square root of a sausage was, and all my wife and I could do was guess, well done to the kids! P.s. I am only 33 but can’t remember any French or what the square root is??

  44. Renee says:

    nitric acid is H NO 3 – and the square root of 47 is 6.8556546 – my next cruise is May 5th on the Truimph – thanks for the fruit basket – haha. Thanks for all the laughs and welcome back. Of course, this is the first time I’ve needed them too.

  45. Michael Barrett says:

    Good evening..well…it is evening here anyway! 🙂 I really want to share my major pet peeve with your blog readers. Well in truth it is only some of them. I understand that people get frustrated, we all get frustrated from time to time and I know that being polite is one of the first things to go “out the window” when someone is frustrated or angry. But I have to tell you I am so very tired of reading these comments from guests claiming how rude someone was to them, and they haven’t the common courtesy to raise above that and preface their complaint with a proper personal salutation or even socially acceptable jibe. These folks that launch right into their complaint and manage to insult you along the way are seriously in need of manners. I am sorry for possibly insulting your PAX, and I am aware that this will probably never see the light of day, but I know I am not alone when I say that these folks are inexcusably rude. I would apologize on their behalf, but that just enables their bad behavior! If you can listen to all of this and actually let it roll off your back, you are a prince among men!

  46. Daniel West says:

    Helen Cowie, it would seem that an intolerance of gluten isn’t the only thing you suffer from. You have a horrible case of inexcusably bad manners! For someone writing in to John asking for help you’re dead out of line to attack him on any level. Perhaps if you ever write to him again about something you could include an apology for your appalling behaviour!

  47. KathyM says:

    Helen Coie, for one thing, people who are not overweight can get diabetes as well, my mother did and she only weighed 110 lbs, so to blame John getting Diabetes from being overweight is just being a rude AND UNEDUCATED PERSON and since you claim to BE A PLATINUM CARD HOLDER, THEN YOU OF ALL PEOPLE WOULD KNOW TO CALL AHEAD AND MAKE ARRANGEMENTS FOR SPECIAL FOOD NEEDS. I FEEL YOU ARE THE ONE THAT IS LAZY, NOT JOHN.

  48. Thomas Dawson says:

    Aloha John,
    We just watched Guy’s Vacation, GREAT. Suggest to the power that be to continue and do another Carnival Cruise. As a platinum cruiser I believe this was a great advertising opportunity for Carnival, keep up the outstanding job you and Carnival do.
    Tom Dawson

  49. Christine Lewis says:

    Thats the square root of 47! 🙂
    Welcome back from your hometime.. We missed YOU!!

  50. Christine Lewis says:

    oops forgot to answer this part.. Nitric acid…. HNO3 🙂

    square root of 47… 6.8556546004

    Ok Yes I googled it..;) Welcome back!

  51. AL DiSessa says:

    Nitric Acid is NI and the square root of 47 is 6.8557. And, I’m not a smart arse … Because you spelled it wrong!
    Have a great day.
    Al & Helena
    V36 … By the way.

  52. Carol Moore says:

    I sent a e-mail on the bad that happened on our cruise. I don’t think I put the good. They had a Military Event for Vets that was wonderful. The young man I can’t remember his name did a wonderful job of leading it. It was a very good turn out. Blessed us a lot. Our Cabin Steward Bennie (sp.?) from India I believe was wonderful. Waiters Jessie & group were wonderful. We had early dinning. One of the waiter sang on top of a table. One night sang our song which we loved. The host lady I mean real lady was just as excited for us. Food wasn’t as good. There were gays but they weren’t in our face. Segeant Cay Snorkling in Belize wonderful & helpful. Monkey excursions in Roatan wonderful Teddy our guide was great and very informative. Motown SINGER Marcus Anthony was great. Loved dancing with my husband. 90 % of our cruise was good. But that 10% was awful and very sad especially knowing it’s suppose to be a family cruise. Thank you for your time.

  53. Walter Wade says:

    John I so love your updates. My Sister, her husband and I are once again on the Dream this coming weekend leaving on 2 November. I have been a Platinum member for a bit and can you imagine I still don’t have a ship on a stick. I am in Cabin ll241 (the are on the ship but don’t ask me their cabin number!)and wondered what my chances are of coaxing one out of the clinched fists of the beards! Also we are looking for our December 2014 trip and was wondering if you could please ask the future cruise rep contact me so we can chat as a group. We love the future cruse chat! I am so excited!!

  54. tess says:

    I’m not sure why i’m continually surprised, but this Helen Cowie person was SO RUDE!!! Kuddos to you for such a nice response.

  55. Ralph says:

    David Lantman,
    For the sake of other passengers …I hope you get your table for four. With your attitude..I’m sure you ruined the cruise for your tablemates on your last cruise.
    I’m also betting that if John gives you “goodies”….they won’t be up to your standards. Pathetic!

  56. steves542 says:

    Instead of a symbol for Nitric Oxide how about a sign “Hey watch out. This contains Nitric Oxide”

    The square root of 47…who cares.

    I do care about Pi as long as it has ice cream

  57. Niki Agnew says:

    Dear John,
    So happy your are back! I love your blog.
    Here’s a tip for the hotel curtains, travel with a couple of clothespins. They don’t take up much room and they pin the curtains together perfectly so the light won’t get you! Sleep well 🙂

  58. Eileene Plummer says:

    John, another stellar blog – thank you! The gluten-free info will make a good friend of mine very happy. Thank God she’s not rude & petty like the woman who wrote about it.

    I do wish rude, petty people wouldn’t announce that they are Platinum or Diamond… makes the nice ones look bad!

  59. Laura says:

    wonderful blog as usual!
    I was going to answer the question also, but there were many ahead of me who answered.
    I am a Pre-K teacher with 18 students. Yes, I understand your sorrow at leaving her at school as you walk empty handed back to the car. They are learning what not to do as well as what to do…responsibility is what I teach my kids. Good luck on learning how to let go and let her grow!
    To Erick and Gwen Smith…I have gone to the KaoKao Chocolate Factory in Cozumel. The cost is inexpensive and they will do a private tour to accommodate you and your group. It is a walk to the taxies, but everything there you can sit and do very little walking! I hate to walk long distances. They chocolate factory will call a cab for you to take you either back to the ship or to another destination. The owners are great.
    John, lastly…congrats on the weight loss! You rock and so does Carnival…can’t wait for my March 31st cruise on the Victory!!!

  60. Martha says:

    Not sure how your dining companions can ruin your cruise. If it isn’t a good fit ask to have a change, if they cannot accommodate you then I would eat at Lido. NO ONE can ruin your cruise for you. There is always a solution. We did Chef’s table and one of the guest passed out at the table. I still had a good time and it wasn’t ruined for me. The old saying if you can’t change a situation, change how you react to it.

    • Larry Adler says:

      “NO ONE can ruin your cruise for you”

      Well said!!

      While I’m sure there are some circumstances that can, I wholeheartedly agree with this for about 99.99% of whatever happens on a cruise. A cruise it what YOU make of it.

  61. John,

    What you did for the WWII vet was fantastic. Thank you for recognizing what a sacrifice that generation made. I know you can’t always do that, but the few bucks spent go a long way to tell us who and Carnival are.

    Your Friend,
    Bob (AKA KokomoMan) Dennard
    Searching for Kokomo

  62. jgeraci says:

    Hi there & welcome back. It’s nice to be able to read your blogs once again, since I don’t Facebook. My GDs won’t let me. They say it’s the work of the Devil. I do however read the facebook comments you post at the side of the blog. We were on the Legend during 3 Sept. cruises & enjoyed watching people try to crack the Vault. Since I spent a lot of time in the casino, they provided me with lots of entertainment. Didn’t see anyone win, but their dogged determination was quite fun to watch. So I’d like to thank everyone who tried the Vault between Sept. 1st & Oct 10th for keeping me entertained. Maybe I’ll try it next cruise.

  63. Elizabeth says:

    It must have been a terrible few weeks for you. You sound so unJohn like. A child starting school is a new lifestyle, I’ve been there. But your comments about education really hit. My parents and my inlaws, my husband and I, my daughter have all been college teachers. And yes, mine was Math and daughter’s is French. I should hate to think that we have all wasted our lives.

  64. tonia says:

    Concerning the gluten free products;many thanks as both my husband and I have severe reactions to gluten and we too have found it frustrating to eat out in most restaurant venues so I’m not sure why all the animosity toward Carnival but we will go on record as expressing our appreciation to Carnival for anything they can do for us. We appreciate all the variety of food choices, most of which we can eat with no problems, and yet it will be good to add that little extra bread looking choice. My husband has lots of fun scooping things out of their little shells on the dessert side…he can strip a cheesecake from it’s base in 20 seconds flat, but the cakes are just not doable and never can be…..that’s our problem and yet we don’t feel like we have suffered for lack of things we can eat that Carnival supplies in abundance; so shame on anyone who would launch such a personal attack against you because of their own personality problems. We love you John and will continue to do so.

  65. Elizabeth says:

    To whoever removed my comment earlier today. It was not ugly. Why was it not good enough?

  66. Bonnie Neuwirth says:

    I am SO sick and tired of people being rude, hateful and superior! Helen Cowie….you ought to be ashamed of yourself, but you obviously don’t have any sense of compassion or manners!

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