In the old days every crew member from the captain on down were paid in cash. Every two weeks we would go down to stand in line at the paymaster’s office and get our envelopes with our salaries in it. Usually my contained loads of $1 bills, I think the paymaster must have thought I had a lap dancing fetish — and if I find out who told him I will use a blow torch on their nipples.

These days things are different.  Crew members have two choices — they can have their salary paid directly into their bank account or have it placed on an internal debit card belonging to a very popular American bank. Most, including me, included take the debit card option. We have two cards: the primary card which can be used like a debit card in shops, ATMs and lap dancing clubs anywhere the “Maestro” sign is displayed and a secondary card held by another family member. Heidi has my main card (shocker) and transfers money from it to our English bank account. This turnaround day in Seattle, I asked Heidi to transfer some money from her main card onto my supplementary card so I could withdraw some cash to tip Ariel my cabin steward, buy a few cigars and some hemorrhoid cream. But bugger me, I could not find the card anywhere. I searched high and low and low and high and both Ariel and my personal assistant Dee and Calvyn helped me. We turned my cabin here on the Carnival Miracle inside out but couldn’t find the card anywhere. I had last used it some weeks ago to buy stuff the one time I had gotten off in Seattle so it was now somewhere either in Big Bubba’s clothing store hidden between two pairs of XXXXL trousers or someone from Nigeria was using it to buy some oil drilling equipment.

Obviously, I had to cancel it. This meant phoning a very happy bank phone system that asked me to say my 16-digit number. I read it out. But it didn’t understand. So I swapped my now English-American voice that 27-plus years on ships, has left me sounding like a cross between Davy Jones from the Monkees and Tony Soprano and used my best Hugh Grant voice and tried again. It still didn’t understand. And then the ship’s satellite phone decided to drop the signal and let out a huge “OH FFS.”  Eventually, after tapping 7,477 sodding numbers into the phone, I was transferred to a nice man who asked me my mother’s maiden name, my date of birth, my postal code (zip code), what I had for dinner on May 18 and how big my gentleman’s sausage is. Eventually he said he would cancel the card immediately…….along with all the others in my name.

“Excuse me,” I said. “What? No, you can’t do that.” Canceling all the cards would include cancelling the main card my wife uses for food shopping and for petrol (gas) and for important items like milk, Kye’s stuff, dog food for Breeze and essential items for Heidi herself like gossip magazines, throw cushions and scented sodding candles. The chap on the phone was very understanding and said he was very sorry but went on to say that if I cancelled my card, then my wife and my daughter and my dog would starve and there was nothing he could do about it as the computer only allowed him one option, cancel everything. He explained that someone could find the card and use it buy a 50 Shades of Grey starter kit or a washing machine. I decided to complain using the skills our guests had taught me these past years and a supervisor came to the phone……..and told me there was bugger all she could do either .

There was no social media page for me to write to and no fat blog with a Facebook page to write to. It does make me think that at Carnival we give you so many different ways to tell us what you enjoy (or what you didn’t) and many ways for you to ask for help and I know you all appreciate that along with our help desk and guest services people in Miami who truly do care that in Mischelle and myself you have a place to ask for help, vent your frustration and, of course, to tell us why you love sailing with us ……….and one of us will answer wearing only underpants.

Time for today’s Q and A, let’s crack on.

Jason Adams asks:
Good Evening John:  I just wanted to drop a line to thank you for the hours of entertainment you provide us on your blog and Facebook. I would like to commend you on how you handle some of the “people” you deal with and the things they complain about.  As I just sat and read the recent post about “Ship Life” you discussed the crew members that make our trip so unforgettable and the “people” they have to put up with (and I know the majority of your guest are not like some) and do so with a smile every time (without fail in my experience) to take care of US.  My family and I will be on Carnival Dream March 2015 and will be celebrating our 21st wedding anniversary and will be sure to show the staff that will be catering to our needs that we appreciate them. I hope to get to cruise with you one day as I would like to sit down and chew the fat with you. Have a GREAT day and I wish you fair winds on all your travels.

Respectfully,

Jason Adams
Retired Firefighter
Concord, NC

John says:
Hello Jason Adams

May I start this reply by thanking you for your service as a firefighter and I hope you have a long and happy retirement. I also want to thank you for your wonderful words and I am so glad that you enjoy my daily musings. Please let me know if there is anything I can do before you sail and I will be here for you. Thanks again and I hope to shake your hand one day soon. Best wishes.

John

Regina Grannan asks:
I agree with Kimberly Dittman and her comment that passengers be told at the start of the cruise what a platinum VIP card stands for. We got off the ship in Half Moon Cay and got taken to the front of the tender line as is our right but the looks of hatred we got from passengers who did not understand we were VIPs was quite scary. I second Kimberly’s suggestion and a blow up of a platinum card on the giant screen on Lido with some wording under it may help also, John Heald

John says:
Hello Regina Grannan

Thanks so much for writing and for your loyalty and long may that continue. I really don’t think that the looks the other guests gave you were that bad, maybe they just don’t understand. As I mentioned I think to Kimberly, I really don’t want to segregate the guests that way as my job is to make everyone feel like family and for everyone to have fun. If anyone asks you please proudly tell them you are a platinum card member and that should be enough for them to understand why you have tender boarding privileges. Please let me know if you have any other questions and I hope to see you soon. Best wishes.

John

Derrek Guidry asks:
John – I see you are struggling to lose weight and I get it, I have been in that position, I feel your pain. But help is just two weeks away. On 9/19, my brother and his wife and kids will join your cruise ship and he has been telling me about you and I am sending help with him. John, what does your body actually need to lose every excessive pound you have at the moment?

1) Lower appetite
2) Better metabolism
3) Ability to burn fat cells with the aim of transforming them into pure energy.

Our new formula will ensure all those points for you on condition that you take the product I am sending you a sample of regularly. Please once you get these free samples call me so we can discuss your future. Obesity kills. Stop it, John, before it stops you!

John says:
Hello Derek Guidry

Thank you so much for thinking of me, that is very kind. I will though graciously say no to your offer as I am working hard to lose the weight through simple diet and lots of gym time. I agree with you that I need to work harder and I will but without the use of any substances I am afraid. Please do let your brother know I look forward to welcoming him here for what I know will be a great cruise and I hope we see you here soon. Best wishes.

John

Eugene Goings asks:
John, what type of room do you stay in on the ships? (O/V, inside or what?).  Thank you.

John says:
Hello Eugene Goings

On this ship I am very lucky to have a balcony cabin with a small office as well as the bedroom and bathroom. Sprit-class ships like Carnival Miracle is the only class where cruise directors have this sort of arrangement and I enjoy it very much. Thanks for asking and please let me k now if you need anything. Best wishes.

John

Gary Sarmiento asks:
I cruised on Carnival Sensation and found the passengers to be much less travelled than my cruise on the Oasis of the Seas. There have been comments on Cruise Critic that Carnival is purposely downgrading its product to attract people who have never cruised before and certainly the type of passenger I saw shows that to be true. Is this really where Carnival wants to go attracting people LIKE THAT?

John says:
Hello Gary Sarmiento

I am not sure I totally understand what you’re saying Gary. Certainly, the affordability of a short cruise on Carnival Sensation will have attracted people who have never cruised before and that is absolutely one of our targets and I think I would say that every cruise line would say the same. But are we downgrading our product? No, absolutely not and in fact we are spending millions of dollars on upgrading many of our existing fleet. I am still not sure what you mean when you say “people like that” but hopefully this has helped answer your questions.  I hope you had fun on the cruise and that we see you again soon. Best wishes.

John

Dominic & Frances Cangelosi ask:
Hi John: If you were here, we would both hug you.  We sailed on the Carnival Dream June 22 celebrating our 50th anniversary and it was MAGNIFICENT.  Thanks for getting us reservations at The Chef’s Table.  Chef Allan was such a gracious host and the food and experience was wonderful.  Frances is platinum and I am gold heading to platinum.  Frances and two of her lady

friends have reservations on the Carnival Dream for the August 10 sailing. They used to go to the beach every year but lately it’s been cruising with Carnival out of New Orleans since we live in Baton Rouge.  That’s why Frances is platinum.  We totally agree with your comments about the Carnival employees. They are all the best in the world.  We’ve sailed on other cruise ships but Carnival is the best by far. Our waiter, Elder, was the best we’ve ever had. Keep up the good work and, thanks again for our wonderful Chef’s Table experience. We love your blog. We will be back on Carnival soon, if the Good Lord is willing.

John says:
Hello Dominic & Frances Cangelosi

Well, that was a joy to read and thank you so very much for posting it. I know Chef Allan very well and he is indeed a wonderful chef and a great host. Thank you also for mentioning the crew, they do work so hard and are so dedicated to giving our guests the best of times and it is an honour to be working with them. I hope we see you again very soon and if there is anything I can do for you please let me know. Best wishes.

John

Lynnette Howard asks:
Just off the Carnival Freedom where in the same area of the main dining hall I was with was a lady with her pet dog that was with her every meal. Our waiter said it was a service dog but I know for a fact that it was a pet because I have the same breed of dog and know exactly how the Löwchen breed behaves and he was no service dog!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Does Carnival check the proper paperwork – obviously not, I think? The issue is does Carnival check that a dog is trained to mitigate an ADA-covered disability. That’s how service dogs are defined. This is civil rights not entitlement legislation. My sources tell me that 90% of the service dogs that go on Carnival are PETS.  Seeing this woman with the same dog I have and because of how much I missed my dog ruined my cruise and I have doubts I will come back to Carnival

John says:
Hello Lynette Howard

Thank you for writing to me and I can see that you are frustrated by this and that saddens me. I hope that this really did not “ruin your cruise” and that as you look back you can think of all the fun you actually did have. I meet many guests during my time on board that rely on these amazing animals and I actually wrote about one in my blog a few months ago. They truly are life savers and all I can do is say that the paper work required to bring a service animal on board is looked and checked extremely carefully. I hope that you are able to sail with us again and I am here if you need anything. Best wishes.

John

Bettye Evans asks:
It has taken 60-plus years to get eight of us Lady Cousins together. I just can’t wait until Sept. 6 in New Orleans as we step aboard Carnival Elation. We are from Mississippi, Georgia, Tennessee and North Carolina. My last Carnival Cruise was on Carnival Valor. LOVED IT!!! Now for my comment!

THERE IS ONLY ONE WAY THAT I CAN SEE,

TO MAKE A LADY FEEL LIKE THE QUEEN SHE WANTS TO BE!

TAKE HER ON ACRUISE – NOT ANY WILL DO!

IT HAS TO BE CARNIVAL FOR THIS IS TRUE!

LET SOMEONE ELSE COOK MEALS THAT ARE GREAT!

THEY EVEN CLEAN, WHILE YOU PARTY AND DANCE VERY LATE.

LOUNGE ON THE DECK OR SWIM IN THE POOL,

WHATEVER YOU CHOOSE, CARNIVAL MAKES IT FEEL COOL!

GO ON ONE OF THEIR GREAT PORTS OF CALL OR STAY ON THE SHIP WHERE THERE IS FUN FOR ONE AND ALL.

THE SHOWS ARE ALL GREAT, AS EVERYONE WILL AGREE. THERE IS NO WAY

TO DESCRIBE THEM, YOU NEED TO COME AND SEE.

THE VACATION IS WONDERFUL FOR YOUNG, OLD OR TEENS. CARNIVAL MAKES ANYONE FEEL LIKE KINGS AND QUEENS.

I KNOW I AM THE BIGGEST FAN AS YOU CAN SEE, A CARNIVAL CRUISE

VACATION DID ALL THIS FOR ME!

John says:
Hello Bettye Evans

Wonderful! What a wonderful verse and I think it shows off just how excited you are to be sailing soon on Carnival Elation. Please would you be so kind as to remind me via my facebook.com/johnheald page two days before you sail and give me your cabin number. Thanks so much and I wish you all the best of times together and loads of fun. Best wishes to you all.

John

Kia Bowkett asks:
Will Carnival stop selling cigarettes in the ships now the new ban has come online? I hope so. If just some of the millions of smokers in America smoked e-cigarettes instead of tobacco, we could save up to 10 million deaths. Why would anyone argue with that?

John says:
Hello Kia Bowkett

Interesting statistic that and I am not sure where you got it from but it is fascinating to read. We are still looking at our rules regarding vaping and e-cigarettes and I will let you know if and when make any decisions. Thanks for taking the time to write and we will continue to sell cigarettes ion the on board shops. Best wishes.

John

Melissa Lohman asks:
Hi John: Just a quick question for you. I’m confused. My boyfriend and I are sailing on the Carnival Pride in May 2015 out of Baltimore. I was told it was going to be dry docked for them to do upgrades on the ship. Is this true?  If you could give me any info I would be most thankful. Thanks for your time.

Melissa

John says:
Hello Melissa Lohman

The ship will be in dry dock from October 19-November 9. This means when you sail she will have all her exciting Fun Ship 2.0 upgrades and that means the fun is going to be extreme. Have a great time and please let me know if you need anything. Best wishes.

John

Derek & Vanessa Childers ask:
What’s taking so long getting the cruise director postings out for the end of the year? Royal Caribbean and Norwegian have theirs on line already so again Carnival is playing catch up. We are trying to decide if to book on the Carnival Breeze or Carnival Glory and it will depend on who the cruise director is as we don’t want ______ again. Why so long, Heald??

Derek & Vanessa Childers

John says:
Hello Derek & Vanessa Childers

I am sorry that I have not posted the schedule past September yet but hopefully in the next few days I will do so. There are some last-minute changes due to illness, a family tragedy and the introduction of our new entertainment director position. But I will have it posted very soon. By the way, I had no idea other lines did post their CD schedule and thanks for letting me know they do. Also, as you can see I deleted the part about the CD. I can understand when someone does not like their entertainment style or ability as a cruise director but to base your opinion on what you said was not worthy of print I am afraid. The CD schedule is below and I hope you enjoy who you will have entertaining you.  Have a great cruise. Best wishes.

John

Venice asks:
Are there any plans to allow reservations to the MDR for Your Time Dining?  The ability to confirm when, where, at what table size, and with whom to dine can be useful at times.

John says:
Hello Venice

Not at the moment and honestly with the program getting more and more popular I do not see us doing this any time soon. Please do let me know if you have any other questions though. Best wishes.

John

And that’s all for today. Thanks everyone for your comments and questions.

OK, here finally is the cruise director and entertainment director schedule for the rest of 2014 and the start of 2015.

CD Schedule UPDATED 8-6-14

So there have been changes with lots of new names and the addition of the entertainment director position. We said goodbye to Risa Barnes and then Noonan, Butch and James Charlton are working on special projects in the Miami office. The position of ED has allowed for some new names to be given a chance and I am sure you will enjoy their work and that they continue to make your cruise even more fun. So, thanks to you for all the support you give the cruise directors and thanks to them for the fun they put into your cruise. I will finish this segment by saying as I always do when I post the schedule that I continue to believe fervently that a good cruise director truly can make such a difference to your cruise. I will feature some bios of the new cruise directors in the weeks ahead here on the blog and let’s start with the man who has been given the job of entertaining the guests of the Carnival Legend as she makes her way across the Pacific to the land down under that is Australia, Mr. Eli Sharplin

DT0A3894 (2)  DT0A3619

What’s your name and where are you from? Eli Sharplin from Auckland New Zealand

Tell us about your work experience and your journey with Carnival Cruise Lines so far?
I started with CCL in 2001 and have traveled to so many amazing places and met and worked with thousands of incredible people from all over the planet. I started as a social host and have covered as both a backstage manager and also a dancer. I was made an ACD on the Carnival Spirit and have had the honor of installing the SportSquare on Carnival Magic and Carnival Breeze as the company’s first sports director. I started as cruise director on Carnival Splendor out of NY in December of 2013. I am now on the Carnival Legend and looking forward to the journey ahead.

How do you feel you, as cruise director can influence the guest experience in a positive way? I have always prided myself in being the same person on stage as I am off of it. I have a pretty sharp sense of humor and enjoy sharing it with those who want to listen. I enjoy everything that life has to offer and am certainly a “jack of all trades.”  I get out of bed every morning with a smile on my face. I believe that laughter keeps you young and I love sharing that philosophy.

What’s your favorite part of your job?  Making people laugh.

What do you find the biggest challenge?  Getting enough sleep.

If there is one event, show or activity that you host that our guests must not miss, what is it?? Old McDonald had a farm – Eli Eli Oh

Please share with us your favorite story from your time on our ships?  There has been so many….. In 2013, the Carnival Spirit cruised in to Auckland New Zealand and I got to bring my family including my 94-year-old grandmother on board to see the ship. Every time I turn on my phone I see my screen saver, a photo of my Nan in her wheelchair at the helm, with her hands on the wheel. Priceless.

And now – about you: Well, I was born and raised in New Zealand. I grew up enjoying the outdoors and spend my time in NZ fishing, hunting, diving and making the most of one of the most beautiful countries in the world. I have always enjoyed doing many different things with my time and I will always say yes to experiencing something new. I studied architecture and design, along with food and nutrition, in college and had my own landscape company for 10 years. I also enjoyed tree surgery, music, theatre, film and television and taught dance for twelve years. For the last eight years I have had a business teaching visual arts in schools in NZ which is something I enjoy when I am home. I teach drawing classes on board ships and would like one day, to tour and teach some schools in the USA. I started studying osteopathy and massage several years ago and I also enjoy fixing houses in my spare time. Like I said, I enjoy it all.

Favorite Movie?  Saving Private Ryan

Favorite bar or lounge on one of our ships? Punchliner Comedy Club

How do you relax?  Sleep… and if I have time, a movie. During which I tend to fall asleep.

And if you could meet any famous person in the world, who would it be? Richard Branson.
I would have loved to have spent some time with the late Sir Edmond Hillary.

Thanks mate. I know Eli well and he will be a huge asset to the long voyage to Australia. I am very proud of him and wish him all the best…………..if you sail with him please demand he puts on the “crocodile hunter shorts.”

And here is that incredible trans-Pacific cruise Eli and the Carnival Legend guests will be experiencing together

Aug 30, 2014 (Sat)        Long Beach                                      9 AM               8 PM
Aug 31, 2014 (Sun)       At Sea
Sep 01, 2014 (Mon)       At Sea
Sep 02, 2014 (Tue)        Puerto Vallarta, Mexico                   8 AM               8 PM
Sep 03, 2014 (Wed)       At Sea
Sep 04, 2014 (Thu)          At Sea
Sep 05, 2014 (Fri)            At Sea
Sep 06, 2014 (Sat)         At Sea
Sep 07, 2014 (Sun)        At Sea
Sep 08, 2014 (Mon)       At Sea
Sep 09, 2014 (Tue)        At Sea
Sep 10, 2014 (Wed)       Papeete (Tahiti), Polynesia      8 AM               6 PM
Sep 11, 2014 (Thu)        Moorea, Polynesia                8 AM               5 PM
Sep 12, 2014 (Fri)            Bora Bora, Polynesia         7 AM               4 PM
Sep 13, 2014 (Sat)         At Sea
Sep 14, 2014 (Sun)        At Sea
Sep 16, 2014 (Tue)        Cross the International Date Line
Sep 17, 2014 (Wed)       Suva, Fiji Islands               8 AM               4 PM
Sep 18, 2014 (Thu)        At Sea
Sep 19, 2014 (Fri)         Noumea, New Caledonia       9 AM               5 PM
Sep 20, 2014 (Sat)         At Sea
Sep 21, 2014 (Sun)          At Sea
Sep 22, 2014 (Mon)        Sydney, Australia             6:30 AM

What a fantastic voyage.

OK, let’s talk about me. As you can see there has been a change to my schedule and I will now fly home on September 10. I know that I am letting a heck of a lot of people down here and for that I sincerely and honestly apologise. I have not seen Heidi, Kye or my Mum for six months and words are impossible to find to describe how much I miss them. On September 14 my Mum needs me. I cannot say why at the moment but I cannot and will not let her go through what has to happen without me by her side, I really do hope you understand. This has been a wonderful contract and I love Alaska but family has to come first because for the last few months……..it has not. Thanks to you all for your understanding

I will fly have three weeks at home then to Las Vegas (my first ever time there) on October 1 for a conference to speak about audience engagement and social media and then on October 3 fly to Miami. I will be there to shoot some video and to meet with the beards about Bloggers Cruise 8 on Carnival Breeze and then home again on October 17. I will have a brief break off social media but any requests you have will be honoured as always.

Thank you all for your support and friendship. Last week on Facebook I spoke about the “x” at the end of e mails from people you hardly know and how some men (my Italian officer friends mostly) like to kiss me. But there is an extension to that. Is it me or has every man under the age of 40 has decided that the handshake is no longer acceptable? Everywhere I look male guests now form their hands into a fist and touch knuckles with one another while saying “What is up my dog” or something like that.

But it’s not just the younger generation doing it, oh no. Each and every cruise I meet men who have been reading my blog and Facebook page who feel that shaking my hand is simply not enough. This is OK if you are expecting it because I can lean back but if it comes out of the blue and a guest suddenly seems me and grabs me in his arms I end up for a few moments experiencing the guest rubbing up against me……and that’s not what I signed up for 27 years ago.

But this cruise there was one far worse and yes Nathan, I am talking about you. This Facebook and blog reader from Texas saw me at the Captain’s Celebration, took me in his arms and kissed me on the cheek just because I sent him a bloody ship on a bloody stick and a bit of fruit. I saw him a few times during the cruise and each time I do I run away. Thank God I didn’t send him champagne as well; I am not sure what he would have done. So please, when we meet on a cruise gents can we just go back to the handshake. It’s simple, it says, “Hello friend, please to meet you” and, there’s no contact between each other’s dangly bits.

Goodnight.
Your friend,
John

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37 Responses to CRUISE DIRECTORS………….THE NEXT GENERATON

  1. wally smith says:

    The experts are now saying that is much safer to just bump fist. Less chance of transmitting disease.

  2. Lise McKay says:

    Me thinks you forgot to include the new CD schedule? LOL

  3. Scott Walters says:

    Always a good read. Sorry you have to attend to your mum. You are a top shelf guy and I enjoy your writing and sensibilities…

    Cheers

  4. Karen Louton says:

    Hi John, really do enjoy reading your blog. I had not realized that people could complain and expect to be compensated for so many different things….amazing. I have been on 10 cruises so far, 6 of them on Carnival. We do love cruising with you. It is great to have perks but I do not see that it is necessary to make a public announcement as some of these people seem to want. I have friends that are wealthy and you would never know it and then others have to have it acknowledged. I really enjoy the ones that do not put on airs myself. A lot more fun. Everyone starts at some point. Keep up the good work and keep everyone humble!

  5. Susan Parlo says:

    Will definitely tell Eli to wear his crocodile hunter shorts!! Can’t wait!! Just won’t be the same without you and Calvyn! John, hope your trip home, is wonderful. You never need to be sorry for putting family first! Mom raised a good son! Sure Kye will be thrilled to have her daddy home from the “war!” Lol

  6. cheryl key says:

    You are one of a kind john !!! Have a safe trip home enjoy your time with family but remember to come back to us ! We are your family too !!!

  7. Leonard Vavra says:

    Hello John. Just a comment or two. First we are Platinum cruisers and the recognition that we most appreciate when cruising with Carnival is when a crew member or staff member says to us welcome back. That in no way separates us from all the rest of the cruisers who hopefully will some day be Platinum like us. It just makes our day when that happens. Second comment to be passed along to the beards. Give us some recognition of our Platinum number of cruises on your sister lines Princess and Holland America. We are leaving on the Carnival Dream Sept. 14 2014 with some friends and can’t wait it always takes our breath away when we first walk into the atrium from the gangway. We will also be on the Triumph on Jan. 12th 2015 for my birthday. So as you can tell we are sold on Carnival. All for now Len and Geri Vavra

  8. Jackie says:

    John, Thank you for sharing information with us on Cruise Director Eli as my husband and I will be sailing on the Legend ( room 6323) coming up August 17th with him. We are very excited to be on our favorite ship for our 25th wedding anniversary. We were last on the Legend last September in Europe ( with you John) and truly it is our favorite ship. With that being said, you are also our favorite Cruise Director and as with all working folks, we all deserve time off to be with loved ones including a very hard working individual like yourself. Hope all works out well with your mum and you have a great time with your wife and daughter. Thank you again for everything you do for us. Sincerely, Jackie

  9. DD says:

    John, you seem to have a terrible time keeping up with your credit/debit cards.

    http://johnhealdsblog.com/2013/04/22/minnie-the-moocher-any-lawyers-reading-this-please-note-its-a-song/

    Time to invest in a new wallet!

  10. Jim Hopkins says:

    John,

    Instead of feeling like an explanation of what Platinum privileges include as some kind of segregation, you may want to realize that it can be explained to everyone as a marketing discussion. So many guests in the red, blue and even gold categories do not understand the perks coming up with a few more cruises. If on opening night you pointed out, “in case you are wondering what the different colored cards mean…” and then briefly describe each level.

    I’m a platinum, working on diamond, and when I see a new cruiser I go out of my way to help them understand what is going on around them.

    If more people understood the differences, you reduce the number of nasty looks, and increase the number of future cruisers looking for perks.

  11. roy mallett says:

    john need to know is there a charge to open a bottle of wine that i have brought on board,thanks john

  12. Marylou says:

    I just wanted to say Bettye Evans’ poem was right ON.. that is how MOST of us feel :) I’m gonna borrow it.

    Thanks John for how open-minded you are.. don’t know how you maintain.. I’d be nuts by now!

  13. Marylou says:

    John. You hit the nail right on the head (likely an American saying) when you stated a GREAT CD can really make a difference in one’s cruise experience.. so far I can say without a doubt that Karl with a “K” is my all time favorite CCL CD!!!! all but one of the rest that have been CDs on my numerous CCL cruises have been delightfully FUN and funny!!

  14. Teresa Cooper says:

    John, I’m glad you are finally going to get to be with your family. I know some people will be disappointed they will miss cruising with you and someone is almost sure to complain saying the “only reason” they cruised was to cruise with you and that now their whole cruise is “ruined”. They can bugger off.

    I don’t know if you remember me thanking you recently for making me laugh while my husband was in the hospital seriously ill, but I want to thank you again and let you know he is doing just fine now and is in the living room at this moment listening to classic rock and singing along…in his underpants.

  15. Doreen Bornfreund says:

    Four items to tackle:
    1. John, your blog and Facebook page are the best. I really appreciate your humour, comments, news and knowledge.
    2. Fist-bumping. This evolved after SARS, no more hugs & kisses so no germs shared. I’ve also seen elbow-bumping!
    3. BC8 on Carnival Breeze-awesome! When? 8 days, I hope? Always wanted to cruise with you, just missed you on Breeze, August 2012 in Europe.
    4. Any idea what ships you will be on this winter, other than BC8?
    Finally, best wishes for your Mum. May everything be good and she be with you for many more years, in good health and love. I love that you appreciate what (who) you have. I hope you continue to be blessed. Doreen

  16. Kathleen says:

    I was so disappointed to read that you will not be on the Miracle when we sail Sept 10th.
    Booked this cruise last year just to meet you. I do understand your need to go home for family. I lost my husband 22 months ago and my mother 3 weeks ago. Have a safe trip.

  17. Cynthia Ravenscraft says:

    John, I feel your pain with the credit card. My purse was stolen once and one of my credit cards was for a local gas station. My husband and I each had one and the customer service rep asked if I wanted both cancelled or just mine. I told them just mine. My husband rarely used his and about a year later he found himself short on cash so he took out his card to pay and it was listed as “stolen”. The clerk at the store was very rude to him and threatened to call the police until my husband could show him numerous forms of identification including his drivers license and his US Naval Reserve ID Card. My husband was humiliated though and contacted the company headquarters who bent over backwards to make amends. I sure hope you were able to resolve your card issue promptly.

    In a recent post on Facebook we all discussed being nicer to each other but I am with you on the post from Gary Sarmiento. What is he thinking. My husband and I have sailed on the Sensation twice in 2013 and on the second one we brought along my father-in-law, daughter and her boyfriend. I honestly would not be able to point out “those kinds of people” that Gary is referring to but I do take offense at his attitude. Not divulging his profession, status as a cruiser (you know that all too often…. I am a platinum member and deserve X Y Z…) It is hard to tell what his economic status is. However, we met a lovely couple on the second Sensation Voyage that were Diamond members and by the end of the year would have been on the Sensation for 75 plus days in a row. I personally can’t help but wonder….. If there was a problem with “those kind of people”, as Gary asks about, would these “Diamond” members keep getting on the same ship over and over? I know if I was worried about people of lesser class than myself I would not. Luckily for the rest of the guest it is not my place to worry about their status. Perhaps Gary should frequent a more expensive cruise line just because he apparently has money to burn not because of the great service he gets on Carnival.

  18. Rick Drake says:

    John:

    We cruised on the Legend in the Baltics last year, and missed you because it was the 12-days you were on vacation at home. Oh well.

    Then you had said that you would be on the Miracle for the entire 2014 Alaska season. Now I see on the new cruise schedule that you will be off September 10th, the date we board for our Alaska cruise. Oh well.

    Maybe someday we will meet.

    Rick & Cindy Drake

  19. Colleen Davis says:

    Hi John,
    Thank you for posting the bio on Eli – he sounds like a very fun loving guy. Since I will be on the Legend cruise to Australia, I thought this little bit of information was quite helpful.As far as Derek goes, anytime someone calls you by your last name makes me think it’s another troll posting to you again. There are a lot of weird people out there these days – but we have your back John. Take care sir.

  20. kirby says:

    What happened to Risa?

  21. Rosemary Robinson says:

    Very disappointed that you ,John,will be leaving the Miracle on September 10 , and shocked ,well sort of,i made a point of asking you if you were going to be on it and you were so sure , so i did booked with hesitation as always go to warmer climates ,but always wanted to recriuse with you ,but as your year went on in Alaska i notice a little less eagerness so i guess time for you to go home for a while and you have all these helpers to fill in , but a big disappointment i can say .i guess i will enjoy my balcony and hope i get a good group table in the dining room .

  22. Luis R says:

    People like Gary Sarmiento makes me think twice about booking a cruise on Royal Caribbean. I am looking forward for another Mediterranean cruise (I did one on Carnival magic) for 2015 but unfortunately Carnival is not going to Europe in 2015, so RC comes to the top of the list among avaialable choices. I never cruised RC before. Am I going to find snobs like this guy? No thanks.

  23. Bradley broadbeck says:

    John I just off off the Imagination this past Sunday. That crew was amazing. A whole bunch of them remembered me and one even commented on my weight loss. Amazing people you have there! I have one request. Promote Shea the commedy manager/ Karaoke host adap. He has a ton of energy and I think would be perfect in the cruise director role soon. If you haven’t met him. He is a treasure! Brad

  24. Jordan M says:

    Hi John!

    I am aboard the Carnival Conquest right this very minute. My infant son is napping and I just wanted to let you know how much I appreciate that this blog is free to read while onboard. My husband, 11 month old, and I have had such an amazing time. I was so bummed to see that Gary was getting off the Conquest the day we embarked, but let me tell you, the entertainment staff of the Conquest are all phoenomenal. Mike Pack, the CD, Roly, and JJ have been so full of energy and have filled the sea days with really great fun! To be honest, we took this cruise as a “redemption cruise” after the experience we had on our 3/30/14 sailing on the Magic. Some of the staff on that voyage made rude comments about us bringing our then 7-month old with us. The camp carnival staff had told us there were also no allotted times for us to play with our baby in Camp Carnival, when the CCL FAQ and message boards had said there were hour time-slots every so often.

    Let me tell you, the difference is night and day! We have had an amazing time, the ship is beautiful and well maintained, every staff member has greeted us and gave a smile or have stopped to talk/play with our child. We were even seated at a table for two by a window with a high chair waiting for our son every night on this trip. Our stateroom attendant, Jolly, is the first in my 6 carnival cruises to greet us by name. It has been such an amazing vacation, so could you pass along a thank you to the Conquest staff?

    I do have a question… Did the ships do away with singing at dinner? We have always loved watching the singing and dancing but there and not been any for early seating on this sailing. Perhaps our waiters are just efficient and have gotten us fed before they perform? Thank you!!!

  25. Aaron chadwell says:

    Been on 4 cruises now and this one out of puerto Rico is by far the worst I’ve ever done. Kids running up and down the halls at all hours of the night, the food has taken a down grade, and the puerto Ricans think that they own this boat. If I could get my money back for this cruise and go with a different boat/company I would. This morning it took 20 minutes to get two drinks in the dining room. RIDICULOUS. I hope this gets posted so people look past the tv ads and know do not go out of this port.

    • bobq says:

      You could have done exactly what you said you wished. Carnival has a money back guarantee. They will even fly you back to your home port. Stop whining.

  26. Dean Russell de Jesus says:

    Hello there. I was randomly browsing the internet when I saw your page. I noticed that you have mentioned Roberto de Jesus in one of your very old posts. Well he happens to be my father. :)

  27. Debra Wood says:

    I just found your blog and thanks for all the info. We will be cruising on the Dream in December 2014 for my 60th birthday. We discovered the Chefs table couple of cruises ago so never miss them. We generally go out of Galveston but decided to treat ourselves and go out of New Orleans this time. Any suggestions to what else to do on the Dream, we know the Magic real well, is the Dream basically the same? Thanks for any input you can give me. 119 days and counting!!!!

  28. Myrl Anderson says:

    Gary Sarmiento asks:
    I cruised on Carnival Sensation and found the passengers to be much less travelled than my cruise on the Oasis of the Seas. There have been comments on Cruise Critic that Carnival is purposely downgrading its product to attract people who have never cruised before and certainly the type of passenger I saw shows that to be true. Is this really where Carnival wants to go attracting people LIKE THAT?

    I find this comment to be arrogant, outrageous, and insulting. The Sensation is my favorite ship and I have 19 cruises on her. I have 30 cruises on Carnival and 10 cruises on other cruise lines. The passengers on the sensation are the same as passengers on other ships including the one he mentioned. The are diverse, intelligent and interesting. I am glad I never met Gary.

    John says:

  29. Cindy Bruce says:

    John, can you tell us a little bit about Pirate day on September 19th? Is it dress as a pirate for the deck party or an all day dress up affair? I will be on the Glory , traveling alone and I have already met many friends on the Carnival Glory 9-13 Facebook page I’m really looking forward to it!

  30. Carol Sue says:

    Dear John,
    I’m sure your followers are sending out prayers for your mum. You are a good son, husband and father and we can all appreciate the fact that you need to be home with your family. I would hope that you could be assigned to any of the ships sailing out of New Orleans so that you could enjoy my great city and its people. We are sailing Nov. 23 on the Dream. It will be my son-in-law’s first vacation ever ( I don’t think military service in Afghanistan counts as a vacation). We are looking forward to showing him how wonderful cruising is. I hope your visit home rekindles your fire (let’s leave it at that).

  31. Cindirelli says:

    John, Have a wonderful trip home. I myself know what it is to have mom need you. I have been with mine everyday since the end of May. Sometimes you just do what you have to do. My husband and I are leaving this week end for the Panama Canal voyage on the Legend. One of my husbands bucket list items. We are celebrating 43 years of marriage. YAHOO !!! We look forward to meeting Eli Sharplin and will definately look him up since my husband did in fact meet Sir Edmond Hillary. Won’t he be envious. One day we will get to meet you. We are Platium members and this is our 9th cruise with Carnival. Looking forward to picking one for next year. Safe travels and my sympathy to you and your mom “mum” on the passing of your dad.

  32. Colleen Moore says:

    Hello John,

    I noticed your name is NOT ON THE LIST of cruise directors – anywhere. Does this mean you are getting some well deserved time off? Or, does it mean that you won’t be doing what you do best any more? (GASP)

    A huge Fan of John Heald
    Colleen Moore

  33. Jacki says:

    Hello john,
    I have sailed with carnival several times I am gold member and with the new cruise director schedule that came out how come there are only 2 female cruise directors. It’s seems a bit sexist that 23 carnival ships and only two female cruise director. There are several ACD that are females but they are not getting the same opportunity for acting as cruise director. How come carnival discriminates against women?

  34. Vincent Clausen says:

    Just back from 23 days long beach to Sydney. Have to say best cruise ever great crew great passengers. Captain Gaddani was everywhere and should be proud of this crew. Eli kept us entertained. American Airlines lost our bag and the customer service team of Director Caroline Bourke, Brittany Rossi who kept after American to get our bag. 10 days in in Papeete and Maxine who got the paperwork going went over and above and surprised us with some great comps. Our Steward and asst. Arnulfo and May were great. And we got adopted by three. Bar waiters Aris in comedy club and on lido, Alexandra and Richard in the piano bar were memorable. And casino dealers Stephanie and Malissa sic from Peru were outstanding

  35. Michelle says:

    Wonder if you can tell me what ship Paul Santley will be on for the months of November and December 2014. He was on fascination out of Jacksonville last year.

  36. marco says:

    What happened

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