Thanks Gerry

November 3, 2014 -

John Heald

I will be very sad to see our President and CEO Gerry Cahill retire at the end of this month. Now some may be thinking that it’s the sort of thing that an employee with a Facebook and blog read by many thousands of people has to say in public………… but I genuinely mean it.

During his time in the big chair, Gerry had some challenges for sure, including a leviathan of a recession to maneuver through and, of course, the incidents on the Carnival Splendor and Carnival Triumph.

Through it all Gerry was there. I remember how I personally saw him carry guests’ suitcases from deck 7 to the gangway on deck 0 when the Carnival Splendor arrived into San Diego –something he repeated on the Carnival Triumph. The anguish and care he showed every single minute anything challenging happened was absolute and anyone who says different truly does not know the man at all.
There is a side to Gerry that I have seen over and over again through my time on stage with him, my interviews with him and my personal time with him and I wanted to share those thoughts with you. I saw the complete concern and care he had for all of you, our guests. Gerry also showed right from the moment he took the position of CEO that the well-being and motivation of his most valuable assets, his employees, was something he took very seriously.

And in a tough economic climate that Gerry inherited this made total sense. Like all CEOs, not every decision he made was greeted with cheers from some of you. But his skills and his drive and his belief that Carnival was and is the best cruise line in the world made for competitiveness, sustainable growth, investment in much of the fleet with the Fun Ship 2.0 upgrades and the continuing affordable prices you will pay for your next brilliant Carnival cruise vacation.

Gerry is strong-willed and he always talks a lot about the importance of his team. Some of you may think that this is some Heald spin but his colleagues will confirm it – Gerry is devoted to 360-degree feedback from his shoreside and shipboard staff. He also reads what you have to say here and on my blog with your feedback being extremely influential.

Gerry and I had some fun times on water slides, on stage and we faced some challenging times together. I remember when we delivered the Carnival Dream, my first real up close and personal meeting with Gerry. We were in the shipyard in Italy and I was about to have lunch with Gerry Cahill and the Fincantieri executives.

Well ……… I had no idea what to wear. We were still in the final stages of getting the ship ready for delivery and I didn’t have anything overly smart to wear for the lunch and the following press meeting and tour and besides I had no idea what everyone else would be wearing. But I was about to eat lunch with our president and CEO ……………what the hell do I wear?

If I wore a blazer and shirt and dress pants and everyone else was dressed casually I would be perceived as a kiss arse and if I decide to wear casual attire and showed up in sweat pants designed by Omar The Tent Maker and a T-shirt with more X’s in the label than a Latvian porno movie…… and Mr. Cahill is clad in a Giorgio Versacamani suit……I would be on the next flight home for sure.

It was a dilemma. So I called my wife for advice and Heidi said, “Why not call Gerry before you eat lunch and ask him what he is wearing.”  Oh yes, I can see that now can’t you?

“Hello Gerry, it’s John…..John …..John Heald….… senior cruise director……you know…the blogger………..yes, the fat one. Sorry to bother you Gerry but I wondered what you were going to wear for lunch.”

Well I need not have bothered because I can honestly say that Gerry is as down to earth as you could possibly imagine a CEO could be. He was dressed for that lunch as he often is, in a pair of chinos and open neck shirt. Often when we did announcements on stage and press occasions together he would decree these occasions “no tie zones” ………brilliant.

I know people at the top of the Carnival Corporation & plc will be sad too to see him go and despite many conversations and an offer of me becoming Gerry’s personal assistant and to dress in short skirts and high heels every day, Gerry will leave Carnival and spend quality time with his wife and daughters who I know he loves unconditionally.

He leaves behind a cruise line that thanks to his hard work and your support continues to shine brightly and every time you enjoy any of our Fun Ship 2.0 upgrades, think of Gerry and every time you walk into a RedFrog Pub think of Gerry and raise a glass of ThirstyFrog Red and toast the man who all of us will miss, a man who simply wanted you to have the……… best of times.

Thanks for the memories Gerry, enjoy your retirement and never forget…………a fat bloke in socks who beat you down the racing slides on the Carnival Dream.

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36 Responses to Thanks Gerry

  1. Rita Baumann says:

    What a glowing fareell to someone’s “boss”. I’m sure the admiration works both ways. My partner Robin and I are booked on the Breeze out of Miami Nov. 16 and the Fredom Feb 21 out of Galveston. Wouild be great if we could be on a ship with you again. This time I will know to bring the depends for laughing so much I ____ . Well you know. Hope to see you in the future.

  2. Marilyn Schiff says:

    Nice tribute to a man who has guided Carnival through all of the things you mentioned. As a seller of cruises, I thank Gerry for making Carnival a product I am proud to sell. As a cruiser, I am happy to be able to enjoy the ships, itineraries, and great value Carnival offers. Hope the next CEO follows Gerry’s lead! BTW John, you do a pretty good job of representing the best Carnival has to offer, both on the ships and online. Will be on Miracle 11/29 and anxious to introduce cruising to my stepdaughter. It’s a celebration of her 49th birthday, and her FIRST CRUISE!

  3. Atoya says:

    What a heart felt blog. Based on your blog I feel as though I knew him too and I am sad to see him go. Hopefully his replacement will have the same caring attitude and will carry on the kind of quality and care we have come to enjoy with Carnival. I wish him and his family the very best.

    • After a good absense from cruising,Carnival, I was surprised to find a welcome back letter, from Mr Cahill, in my mailbox. That is good business policy. That is what makes Carnival, a cut above the rest. Good luck, and much happiness to Mr Cahill and family. Ann

  4. John Castillo says:

    Fabulous words John. He will be Missed. Just hope Prices don’t go up after he leaves. We loved Cruising Carnival Miracle with you in Alaska. Had we had a grand time on the Magic for Halloween. So Much we are book in Magic for June with Family on same Itinerary. We Love Carnival and how it has made Cruise open to all income brackets.

  5. Susan Drysdale says:

    All I can say is wow. Well said Mr. Heald. I’m sure Mr.Cahill was very honored by reading this. By the way you described him I can bet he does not take all the credit himself for making Carnival the best cruise line it is! He knows it takes a good leader all the good people under him. Mr Heald, you might just be that next good leader!!

  6. Kaelyn says:

    Hi there!! My husband and I are SO excited to be going on a cruise together for the first time and I was wondering if you had any tips, or insiders’ scoop on things to do before/while on our cruise! We are sailing Feb 7, 2015 on the Carnival Miracle ship! I am so excited, I check the website every day, just to see the countdown to cruisin’ 🙂 Thanks!!!
    P.S.-I forgot to check the field when I booked to pre-pay for gratuity. Is there a way to pay for it before the cruise or did I miss my opportunity? lol thanks!

  7. Hal Hoffman says:

    John, he sounds like a stand up guy. Now I have a question, not so much for you, but to the beards upstairs. We started sailing with Carnival in 2004, and Saturday, we embark on our 23rd sailing.(140 something das) In all that time, nobody ever told us about Carnival’s stockholder benefits! We just found out, and are now holding 100 shares, with the intent to buy more. But we would have invested years ago, and probably had several thousand shares by now! I am just surprised is all!

    • Nancy Houchens says:

      We found out about the stock from a gentleman who has “retired to cruising” and immediately went home and purchased 100 shares. The OBC we have received as a shareholder benefit has almost paid for the stock and since we plan to “retire to cruising” it will pay for itself over and over!

  8. Linda says:

    I’m glad to see you post again John. I hope Gerry enjoys his retirement. I have loved every cruise on Carnival so I know the big wigs are good people.

  9. Paul says:

    Wow, I have been now sailing since 1986 and while I know there has been troubles with carnival over the last few years, he has left just in time to see it going down hill. In the last few years Carnival has changed their policy on Smoking, new food menu and now less staffing. The Smoking policy is a joke while I am a non smoker I was burned by flying ash. Lets put it back on the balcony where it belongs. The new american menu is nothing to write home about. Less choices and it has less taste. Service what a joke, we are on the Liberty right now and let me tell you we waited over an hour our first three nights to get our food. A company from Boston who knows nothing about cruising made all these decision thanks to Gerry. Until things change back good by carnival

  10. howard glancy says:

    Good morning John

    I have just been introduced to you and your blog by my American wife.
    What a breath of fresh air and all done

    I have been living in the Usa for some years now and its so pleasant to read the no nonsense approach that you use as it is one of the things that I miss living here.

    My three young daughters(13,11, and 10) and my wife ( who is twelve years younger than me) are about to head down to fort lauderdale next friday night to travel on the Carnival Freedom to the Caribbean /mexico.
    The occasion is one of my daughters 10th birthday and mine too (55)

    Hope we have a great time and look forward to reading your blog again

  11. Rosalynn Kuhn says:

    It’s because of Mr. Cahill, you and all the fine people that work for Carnival that I continue to cruise with the best cruise line in the world. Bloggers cruise 8 will be my 23rd with Carnival and first bloggers cruise. Looking forward to meeting you. Take care.

  12. Linda says:

    Heading to Miami to take a cruise for our 40th anniversary. Really looking forward to celebrating with 3000 or so close friends. The CDs on Carnival have always made it fun and entertaining. Never sailed with you but I know it would be fun.

  13. Chris Oeser says:

    I too seen him carry luggage off the Splendor as my family was on that ship. Carnival is the greatest and it shows. Keep up the good work and I hope they find someone as funny and brilliant as him.

    -Chris Oeser Alaska

  14. Benjamin Lethco says:

    I am sure that Gerry will be missed, but was wondering who is replacing him. I’m sure it has been posted somewhere, but I haven’t seen it. From the eyes of a platinum guest; even though I have never met the man; I too would like to thank him in his efforts to make and Keep Carnival the best ever Cruise lines in the world. Having said that I have never been or had the desire to cruise with any other lines. Completely satisfied with Carnival so why bother looking else where? Thanks Gerry.

  15. Chris says:

    Carnival has brought four generations of my family on vacations that we will cherish and take with us in our memories for a lifetime. Like on the cruise my then 7 year old son became best buddies for the week with the cruise director on the Elation and graced the stage with him every night of our Mexican Riviera trip. Or my wife’s fond wildlife experience holding stingrays in Stingray City during our Magic cruise. Gerry I personally thank you for steering the corporate ship in such a caring way that it shows through on the face of every room steward and dining waiter. Wishing you many happy bon voyages in retirement.

  16. Daniel Ollis says:

    Well done John! Gerry you will be missed by this adived Carnival cruiser…

  17. Marty Breitinger says:

    Question: Are there any plans to change the cruise ship in Charleston, SC? We would like to sail out of Charleston but have been on the Fantasy. Thanks for your response.

  18. ben tardif says:

    john I would like to know y in Norfolk ,va.we don’t have no cruses as the same ones that I have gone on 7 or 8 times.?

  19. It is now December 28th and I was wondering when will John ever write a blog again. I’m so very disappointed in you John. The blog was what made you, you. Unfortunately you have decided to let it die. I’m so sorry to see this happen.


  20. Jerrod Swain says:

    We are going on our first cruise on carnival Triumph June 1st out of Galvaston. Does the ship move that much to Cozumel and progresso. We are worried about sea sickness both of us have a weak stomach.

  21. theresa fair says:

    It is so sad to him leave. He keeps us all so informed… I bored my next cruise in a few days. I will have drink for him…

  22. udin says:


  23. katherine hadoulis says:

    hi john, happy new year to you and yours. I will be on the valor in april, and I have been reading that the valor does not have a future cruise desk. booking onboard for the past 3 cruises has been a big plus for us, and has become my favored way to book. the added $100 obc is a big plus to us. wondering since the ship will be in port Canaveral this year if that is something carnival might entertain. hoping you could give me some information on this as inquiring minds want to know, thanks MATE. your Katherine hadoulis

  24. Dave Cowan says:


    I was a great fan of your blog. I am very sorry that you have abandoned it in favour of Facebook. I am not a member of Facebook, so your wit is now lost to me.

    Thanks for your previous posts. I miss them.


  25. Mike Sagara says:

    How come you aren’t righting blogs anymore John? Some folks don’t do FB and a lot like reading your blog with a cup of tea! Is the blog over?

  26. January 8th, 2015
    Last blog written November 3rd, 2014

    Will you ever write another John Heald’s Blog?

    Maybe if you just get off of the Facebook for a change.


  27. bob says:

    This is a post from the triumph

  28. Read about the Freedom coming to Galveston and what Carnival is planning for the vets etc. I just want to say thanks for all of us Texans, we will love having the Freedom join the Magic and the Triumph in Texas. We will be sailing the Freedom on the March 28th cruise to Key West and Bahamas with a Little Big Town Concert we are so looking forward to the cruise. It will be our 4th Carnival Cruise on our 4th different ship and 4th different set of ports of calls, all of this in 18 months we came to cruising late I don’t know why we so late to the game. Again please says Thanks to everyone in the Carnival family for what ya are doing for the vets for us.

  29. Cruzin2some says:

    Dear John,
    Mr. Cahill has made a difference in so many peoples lives without having ever met them. He made it possible for us to afford such a great vacation. Carnival is such a great product that all who work there can be proud of. Farewell Sir and may you have a great retirement and may I suggest that the best way to start a retirement is on a Carnival Cruise. I know that is how Nancy & I are planning on sailing off into the sunset.
    The Cruzin2some James & Nancy

  30. Deloris Fontenot says:

    Beautiful and heartfelt comments about what sounds like a great man. I would like to have known him like you do.

  31. Pamela Wendt says:

    I am taking my 16th cruise…my 4th on Carnival…and I must say I am very disappointed. We weren’t met with smiles and happy people. Our waiter for dinner is horribly slow, resulting in lukewarm food every single night, And it is rare to have any of the workers say hello to you, even when you instigate it.Carnival is supposed to be the “fun” ship. Why isn’t the staff showing us that they are happy to see us anymore. I thought it was just first day exhaustion, but it has carried over to day 2 and 3, and I am sure it will continue. The only exception to this is our room steward. He is wonderful. He is gracious, smiles, says hello whenever he sees us, and treats us like we are important. Your other staff members could learn from Antonio, for he would be the only reason I would consider another cruise on Carnival!

    • Jenny amith says:

      That is because the workers are worked to the bone- some of them work 10+ hours a day for 6+months a year without a day off. Imagine if someone said to you, you can’t have a day off for at least half a year? I think you might have a few off days. Cut them slack, they work so hard.

  32. It’s extremely interesting.

  33. Irene Bigley says:

    I would like to speak to a representive to talk regarding a cruise that I would to book
    can you give me the CARNIVAL telephone

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