May 26, 2015 -

John Heald

Yes, the blog is back.

After ignoring it for far too long, I have decided to put more time and effort into this and so I hereby pledge to you with my right hand on a photo of Megan Fox’s bottom, I shall sit here in my underpants and write as often as I can.

In my defence, the blog received the 20 million page views it has had because it documented my life as a cruise director and because I answered the questions posted there. So I hope that, as I do breathe new life into this page, you will continue to read and comment and although Facebook remains the main course, that a twice-weekly blog appetiser will be to your liking. OK, let’s crack on and talk about…………ummmm…………..me.

Since I last wrote, a lot has changed. I have lost more weight and really have tried to improve my lifespan and live longer by dropping the pounds. I remember waking up one morning last year, aged 49 years old and well aware that, unless I took some serious steps soon, I would be in serious trouble and not be around to tell Kye’s first boyfriend to bugger off or I would cut off his dangly bits with a Swiss Army knife.

It really was awful. I got out of breath pulling on my socks, my knees ached after scaling the four steps from the lounge up on to the stage on the Carnival Breeze, and my stomach was so enormous it looked like I had swallowed a one of those kids’ hopper things.

The cause of this was 29 years on ships. Yep, I blame Carnival and I should consider suing Carnival for allowing cruise directors to have room service. Yep, that was the problem. I would do shows, wander the decks and then shove a huge pile of BLTs with cheese down my enormous gob and then go to bed. There was no exercise, no rumpy pumpy to burn off calories and repeating this over the years, really put the pounds on me……..I was in serious trouble ……… I knew that for sure.

The solution was obvious but impossible for someone with the determination and drive of a vegetablist that has been invited to eat her tofu and kale wrap in a slaughter house. I had tried the gym in the past and it was hopeless. I had tried running on the Deck 11 jogging track but only just made it round one time before collapsing in front of the guests. I just have no sodding will power.

And my pain barrier is so low, only a maggot could get under it. If I were to be captured by some Cruise Critic board readers, I would give up the remaining dancing of the ships information and all of Carnival’s secrets even at the mere mention of the words “nipple clamps.” To me, the notion of doing exercise for the purpose of getting fit was completely bollocks. Running, when I had nowhere to go, and riding a bike to sodding nowhere seemed ridiculous. But I swallowed my pride, endured the looks of the spandex-wearing, muscle-bound guests on the ships who giggled and took photos and video of the fat grey haired man puffing and wheezing on his bike and kept calm and carried on.

Seventy pounds lighter I feel better and my diabetic levels are normal. I am not telling you all of this because I am trying in any way to say “you should do the same.” Oh no, I remember the hell of being chased and harassed by sandal-wearing Herbal Lifers all wanting to sell me their teas which through explosive diarrhea, would lose me 30 pounds. No, this is my diet story and I am sharing it with you because it has been part 1 in the change of my life and part 2 is coming up after today’s questions and answers. Here we go and we start with someone who is also concerned about my health.

Louise Chantell asks:
You are a smoker so you promote smoking on the Carnival ship which is fundamentally scandalous. I’m surprised that nobody has yet advised you to give up smoking. You may not want to, but you can guess that dying of lung cancer is not an attractive option. Stopping smoking is the one most useful thing you could possibly do. Get a life, John. Stop smoking those smelly disgusting cigars. The rest of us are not impressed.

John says:
Hello Louise Chantell

You are right. I should give up and maybe one day soon I will but not yet. I have given up bread, pasta, fries, chips, soda, anything with any carbs, chocolate or anything sweet and rumpy pumpy, too. So the only treat I have is my daily cigar. I can’t defend the fact that they are not good for me, I know that but the time is not right for me to stop. I thank you so much for thinking of me, that is very kind. Please let me know if there is anything I can do for you. Best wishes.


Andrew asks:
Hello, I am cruising on the Carnival Valor December 26, 2015, on a New Year’s cruise from Port Canaveral. Who will be the cruise director? Thanks!

John says:
Hello Andrew

Your cruise director for this fabulous cruise has yet to be decided. A new version of the CD schedule has just been posted here on the blog and a newer one will be coming soon which will have your CD listed then, so please look out for that. Please let me know if you have any other questions. Best wishes.


Kelly Varner Clark asks:
John, I cruise often (Platinum) and I have noticed on my last four cruises I have swelling very bad! I drink water all day and if I have a cocktail, I drink water after. My last cruise I took fluid pills 40 mg.  Took them every day but still had swelling but not as bad. I NEVER had this before. I have seen online that a lot of people are having this problem as well. So what in the world are they putting in our food? I love cruising but when I go in September, I will eat salad only and see if this helps. This cannot be healthy for people with blood pressure problems. Please get down to the bottom of this. It is not just me, thousands of people have commented on this. Thank you.


John says:
Hello Kelly Varner Clark

I am so sorry you have had this concern and I assure you we are not adding anything in our food that would cause this. I am sure if you visit your medical professional, he or she will be able to help you discover what is causing this obviously very uncomfortable condition. I have not seen any other comment about this but I will be here if there is anything I can do for you. Best wishes.


Abriana Perrin asks:
PLATINUM CRUISER writing.  Me and my family need a table for four because last time we were put with a family from Venezuela who spoke no English. This spoiled every meal time and made it so awkward for me and my wife. This time, bringing my brother and his wife so we must have a table for four people. Our cabins are E72 and E86. Booking numbers ****** ****** Carnival Ecstasy 6/26/15

John says:
Hello Abriana Perrin

Thank you for writing and I have written now to the maître ‘d on the Carnival Ecstasy who I am sure will do all he can for you. I wish you the very best of times and lots of fun. Best wishes.


Meshia asks:
How can I find out the new Internet package schedule? Right now, I’m mainly interested in the Carnival Valor, being my next trip is on that ship. Please and thank you.

John says:
Hello Meshia

The new $25 a week social media package is expected to be placed on the Carnival Valor in September. More news on this in the weeks ahead and I wish you a brilliant time. Best wishes.


Donna Huffman asks:
Has Carnival ever considered having a scale available to weigh luggage for flights?  I am always stressed out about going over luggage weight limit.  So far this year, we’ve been on Carnival Breeze, going on Carnival Legend next month and Carnival Splendor in September.

John says:
Hello Donna Huffman

We have scales in the gym which I have actually seen people drag their suitcases to so that they can be weighed. But that aside, and with the movement of the ship it is not something we can offer. However, from someone who flies as much as I do, I totally understand why you want this. Please let me know if I can help further. Best wishes and have a brilliant time on board.

Neil Goodman asks:
On our Carnival Magic cruise, my wife was diagnosed with _________ and had to be medically air evacuated by a United States Coast Guard rescue helicopter. The medical staff was amazing and so kind and, after nine days in the hospital in Houston, she was allowed to come home. I have one comment that has been resting uneasily with me. Why does Carnival not stop passengers from crowding on the decks to get photos of my wife who was seriously ill being hitched to a bed and pulled into a helicopter? The flashes were everywhere. At the time, I did not have a moment to stop and think but, now that I do, I am so angry that the passengers were allowed there to do this and angry at Carnival for not stopping them. This was my wife and I know that if it had been their families, these people would not have wanted the whole frigging thing recorded and photographed. What is your policy on this?

John says:
Hello Neil Goodman

Let me start by saying that I hope this reply finds your wife having made a full recovery and that she is doing well after what must have been a very challenging and emotional time. I also understand totally what you have said here because, if it were a member of my family in that situation, I would not have wanted it filmed and photographed by hundreds of people, as well. But while we do ask that guests not take any flash photos for the safety of the helicopter pilots, stopping the guests from being anywhere on the open decks and requiring that they do not take photos would be very difficult indeed. Obviously, we do not allow them close to the rescue center on Deck 10 aft but the guests often want to see the site of a helicopter hovering over the ship. I honestly do not know what the answer is here but I do know that I appreciate your kind words for the medical staff on the ship and I will send this to them. I hope we see you both soon under happier circumstances and I remain here at your service. Best wishes to you both.


Edward Ludford asks:
My wife and I are “lots rusty” in our ballroom dancing.  Do you offer lessons on your three- to four-day trips to Mexico from Long Beach?  Actually, if you do, we would spend four- to five hours a day in practice and “lessons.”  Thank you.

Ted Ludford

John says:
Hello Edward Ludford

I am afraid we don’t offer dance classes but, as the saying goes, I think, “Dance like nobody else is watching” and have a brilliant time. Best wishes.


Henry Cabrini asks:
Your cabin lights are too bright. Hurts the eyes, so put dimmer switches in there like Seven Seas Navigator has. They get hot and put the room temperature up too. Seven Seas Navigator also had better stocked mini-bars and beef wellington and caviar on the menu. Carnival could learn from them.

John says:
Hello Henry Cabrini

Interesting point about the cabin lights. I can’t say I have heard that one before but I must admit, I always turn them off when I leave, not only to save energy but, yes, to stop them from heating the room. I do hope you had a great time with us and that we will see you soon. Best wishes.


Sue Laursen asks:
Hi John: My husband and I enjoy the flexibility of Your Time Dining but also enjoy meeting and talking to other guests over dinner. My question is; why do we always have to be seated alone?  We do ask if there is a table we can join but have always been told there are none available.

I’m sure there must be other cruisers who would like some dinner company. Any suggestions?

John says:
Hello Sue Laursen

This is a good point and one I wrote about on Facebook last week. It does seem that most people who ask for YTD do ask for private tables, which is why when you ask that question it is difficult for the dining room hostess to seat you with others. Plus, I think our response to this has been to configure more tables for two. I do always recommend to guests that, if they wish to sit with others, then it is best to ask for early or late sitting. Please let me know if I can help with anything. Best wishes.


Laurie Willis asks:
Hi John: I know lots of people write to you with complaints, but I’m writing to say thank you to Carnival. You see, I just got home from a four-day cruise on Carnival Victory. We boarded on April 23, 2015, stopping at Key West and Cozumel. This trip was planned for a while and my husband and I were very excited about it. John, my beloved mother died on April 21, 2015. The day before my mother passed away, she told me not to cancel our cruise, that she wanted us to go and have a great time. I was devastated to lose my mother. I reluctantly went on my cruise. I was upset a few times in the first day and the customer service people in the ship eventually found out about our loss. The entire guest services team checked on us numerous times a day. They took such excellent care of my husband and me. Every crew member we came in contact with seemed to know about me and my situation. The empathy and compassion on that ship was absolutely incredible. I really didn’t want to go on the cruise but I am so glad I did. It meant so much to me that the staff of the Victory went well beyond what they usually do to make me have a good time.  Even while handling some very difficult things on the ship. So, John, I’d like you to pass on my gratitude and gratefulness to everyone for me.  It really did mean so much to me. Best wishes.

Laurie and Everett Willis

John says:
Hello Laurie

I am so very sorry to read of the passing of your wonderful Mother and I am sure the decision to take the cruise must have been so hard for you. I am very thankful to you for taking the time to write and to praise the crew, all of whom will see this, and they will be so proud. Thanks again and I hope there are many happier times ahead and hope also that we see you soon. Best wishes.


Annette Lautar asks:
Hi John, I am cruising Carnival Valor spring break 2016.  My daughter has Celiac and cannot eat wheat soy or milk. (Very severe allergy to wheat, soy milk, causing swelling of the throat, and intestines when digested.) What is the best way to communicate with the Carnival Valor team so my daughter is able to eat without worrying about food?  We appreciate your time.  Thank you

John says:
Hello Annette Lautar

Please do not worry; we are very used to looking after our guests with such concerns. May I suggest you contact our guest access services desk, give them a call and let them know and they will arrange everything? I will also be here and on my Facebook page should you need my help. All will be well and you will have a brilliant time.  Best wishes.


Athena Jones asks:
Heald – you have served your purpose: you should surrender your giant ego at the gangway; you are not the star you once thought you were.  You will not be missed on the Cruise Critic boards. Goodbye, Heald, don’t let the door hit you in the ass as you leave.

John says:
Hello Athena Jones

I don’t think anyone can honestly say that they are in the entertainment business and that they do not have an ego. I certainly do have one, although I think calling it “giant” is a wee bit of an overstatement. Ever since I started writing this blog and until today, I truly do not understand why I am so despised by some who read Cruise Critic and I wish that there was something I could do to change that. Until then I will simply say that I am not going anywhere and will continue to be part of this brilliant company. I hope we see you sailing with us soon. Best wishes.


That’s all for today, I will be back with another 10 on the next blog. I know at this point I should apologise to those who have posted here only to find bugger all answer from me. I did give my full time to Facebook and answered hundreds of questions a week there but I will try really hard to put more time into this blog and help you all I can. The quickest response still though comes through Facebook.

When I had been dropped off at the cabin, I had not been told anything– I was literally just dumped outside the door and told to wait here and, therefore, I had no idea about the communal hell that awaited me.

So let’s get back to talking about me, shall we? I have a feeling that at the end of this blog some of my readers will look like that scene in the movie Airplane when that lady talks too much …………. anyway, part 2 of my changes.

As you may have read, I have decided not to do any more long contracts on the ships as cruise director. This was a very tough decision to make — I mean really tough — and I did not do it without a lot of thought and conversation with Heidi and some of my colleagues.

And, in the end, I decided that for the sake of my family and for the sake of the department, I would stop putting my name on the cruise director schedule, it wasn’t fair on anyone. Did I want to do this? No, I really did not want to stop. Being a cruise director has been part of my life for 24 of my 29 years with Carnival Cruise Line and deciding to stop doing something that has been something that I was so lucky to be doing; well, it was a decision which I wrestled with for weeks.

So why did I decide to do this? Why did I decide to stop being a full-time cruise director? Well, for the seven of you who have not buggered off to watch paint dry or have gone over to the Cruise Critic boards to write about a door “hitting me in the ass,” let me explain.

Many of our ships now have the entertainment director position and he or she now being in charge of meetings, meetings, more meetings, the Fun Times, scheduling, meetings and department affairs (not the ones with the Italian officers, I mean general every day affairs) the cruise director is now free to host far more events. In fact, it is now his or her job to host these events and it is expected of them.

Having an entertainment director on the ships has been such a great improvement for you ……… yes, you, the guest and this is being proven by the comments I read on Facebook and by the internal ratings numbers we get from our TGEM report. TEGM stands for ummmm ……… ummmm …….well, buggered if I know……but it shows the ratings based on the review cards some of you complete and those ratings show that ship’s with the entertainment directors have high ratings, higher in most cases than the ship’s that do not.

The ratings are high because the cruise director is free of all the restraints that was changing the job from being a on stage, front of house, always there for the guests position to a job that because of e sodding mails and more red tape than a factory that makes red tape…….the cruise directors were spending more time with Mr. Dell then with the guests.

And so the new position of ED has allowed the CD to be hosting everything, morning, noon and night and I know that you all appreciate that so very much and for the very most part, the cruise directors prefer this as well, after all, they choose to be a CD because of their love of people. It certainly took a chunk of time for the CD to accept they were no longer the department head, something that I understand completely. Some of you may think that this had something to do with my decision but I can tell you honestly, it had absolutely nothing to do with it. Certainly for the last four or five years, I had chosen very strong assistant cruise directors who as anyone who worked with me will tell you, really ran the department anyway.

That’s because my social media and brand ambassador duties were such that it was difficult for me to be a CD and keep up with Facebook and this blog. The toughest time was bringing out the Carnival Breeze which had me on four or five hours sleep a night………not a good thing.

And so because I can’t dance the Wobble and because I am 50 years old and can’t be bouncing off the walls like a Mattjamiestumikeweemalcolmjasecorygeorge can, I knew it was time ……. time to pass the torch of fun to our brilliant crop of CDs.

I want to pause here because I see Carnival has put a link to my blog on the main page of carnival.com. That means some of you may have clicked on this having no bloody clue who I am.

So with that in mind, I will give you a quick look at my career so far.

I joined the Holiday as a bar waiter, aged 22 years old and not knowing the difference between a Pina Colada and a Slippery Nipple. That first day, I was shown where my cabin was and that was it. No training, no big welcome as we give all our crew now and, as I sat on the one chair in the room, I realised that there was no shower and no toilet. I didn’t think it could get any worse; I was alone and no clue what to do next. It was then that my cabin mate entered the room. He was a wine steward and he was from Portugal and we will call him Manuel Quencho because that was his name

He was the perfect cabin mate, if you were looking for someone who never took a shower, peed in the sink, yep — he peed in the sink — and smoked 20 cigarettes a day…..in the truly tiny cabin we both lived in. You would expect that upon meeting someone who is going to be sleeping a few feet below you, I would have received a warm welcome but he was a complete and utter bastard……and I spent the first week crying and wishing I could simply go home ……..and that if Manuel was going to pee in the sink that he would move my toothbrush out of the way first.

What saved me was that Manuel left a week later and I had a new cabin mate who was absolutely fantastic. His name was Bican, a wine steward from Istanbul and we became firm friends. Bican taught me to love Turkish tea, which he would boil in the cabin every day. After work, all the wine stewards would get together and cook ……yes……cook….in the cabins on little portable stoves.

I am not sure how I got through those first few weeks, which were a cross between being in the army, boarding school and prison. Nowadays, it is, of course, so much different. The crew are welcomed with open arms and given a full orientation before they start work. Many of the crew will have had to pass through what we call Carnival College specific to their job before they join their ship and there is a dedicated department on board who is there to assist with training and crew welfare. My training was Bar Manager Colin Campus handing me a tray and a menu and off I went to serve drinks I had never heard of before and when a male guest asked me for “sex on the beach” I ran back to my cabin locked the door and hid under the bed.

I had completed my contract as a bar waiter and, surprisingly, I decided to come back for another eight-month contract. This time, to the Jubilee where amazingly I was given a job as wine steward. Now, if I knew bugger all about exotic cocktails, my understanding of wine was comparable only with Kim Kardashian’s understanding that her bottom does not look sexy covered in so much oil and that she is lucky that Exxon didn’t set up an oil rig between her cheeks. But a wine steward I was. Back then I did actually drink the odd glass but most of the wine I did drink, came with a screw top and had a picture of a Blue Nun on it or if I was really living the lifestyle of the rich and tanned, I would treat myself to something with a cork in it.

My life as a wine steward was short lived probably because I didn’t know anything…….and I mean anything…….about wine. The only thing that got me through it was a bit of banter and a few jokes, plus the fact that many, if not most, of the Carnival guests during the late 80s knew even less about wine than I did.

It only took six months for the management on the Jubilee and the Carnival shoreside bar beard who was called Barbara, the bar beard, to realise I was a terrible wine steward and asking me to recommend wine was like asking Stevie Wonder to be a golf caddie. And so they promoted me to assistant bar manager.

Ahhhh yes, 1989. WHAM was singing Wake Me Up Before You Go Go and I weighed the same as my right thigh now does. My hair was as black as coal and I was a sex object, meaning I asked every lady I met for sex and they would all object.

I had been promoted from wine steward to assistant bar manager and they gave me a white uniform. I won’t spend too much time on this because I wrote a blog about this last year but, basically, the bar manager, an evil bully called Oswaldo, physically assaulted a bar waiter called Aslim and when I tried to stop him, he put his hand in my face and pushed me away. I should have called security. I didn’t. Instead, I broke his nose and fractured his jaw.

I hate bullies.

I was fired.

I was hired two days later in a position newly created for me…………they called it “social host.”

And so later that morning, I packed my suitcase, moved cabins, and, to my utter joy, it had its own private bathroom, so my days of peeing in the sink were over and my days of entertaining the guests and using a microphone had begun.

I never saw Oswaldo again as he and Carnival came to an agreement that it was best that he go home to Spain and he never returned to Carnival. I hope he is today living in peace and happiness, growing olives and doing so with a nose as bent as a dog’s back leg.

I should have been fired but thanks to the Carnival beards of the day, I wasn’t and they gave me a chance. So children, remember Uncle John’s words of wisdom. If you want to succeed, find a manager and break his nose — it means a guaranteed promotion.

And here is what happened next.

Social host, working for Carnival’s best-ever cruise director, Gary Hunter – delivered the Carnival Fantasy

Promoted to cruise director – first ship, TSS Carnivale

Delivered Carnival Sensation – the first of 13 new ships I have delivered as cruise director

Promoted to senior cruise director

Received my first hemorrhoid

Started this blog that has over 19 million page views

Hosted my first “Bloggers Cruise” on the Carnival Fantasy

Promoted to Carnival Cruise Line’s brand ambassador

Gene Sloan, the wonderful writer from USA Today describes me as “famously irreverent” and “known for his candid, funny and sometimes outrageously inappropriate daily missives about life at sea”

June 2012
Delivered my last ship as cruise director – Carnival Breeze

So, after all of that, I am probably down to just one person reading this – hello, Mum.  It has been a brilliant ride and I am not ready to get off yet. I will still be very much part of this great company, the best cruise line in the world, Carnival. I will be sailing every other month on ships and hosting shows and telling inappropriate jokes and not doing the wobble.

I will be on the Carnival Journeys voyages. I will be hosting Bloggers Cruises 8 and 9. I will next month, be in Italy filming your Carnival Vista and will be on her inaugural cruises and the trans-Atlantic. And I will be here on the blog, twice a week, and every day on Facebook, helping, listening, making more “outrageously inappropriate” posts and, despite what Athena Jones was hoping would happen …………..“letting the door hit my ass on the way out.”

I want to thank Carnival. The beards have been so flexible and allowing me to do all of this shows that they still have belief in me which is, after all these years, so very humbling. I also want to thank my family for the times they stood at the window, waving goodbye to me and for allowing me to follow my dreams. I wish Dad was here so I could thank him one more time, he was and always will be my role model.

I have more laughter to share in me and I look forward to many more years of sharing that laughter with you both on the ships and here on the interweb. I love my job, I really do and I consider myself to be one lucky, lucky man.

Right, that’s enough about me, let’s talk about something else………the movement of ships between…………oh, bugger, I am out of time. Sorry, you will have to wait a few more days for that.

I have 30 seconds left, so I will say thanks for reading this blog and I promise the next one will not be “all about me.”

It will, instead, be about a sponsorship deal we have signed for our entertainment directors. Their uniform polo shirts will read “ED – sponsored by Viagra.”


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.

81 Responses to LET’S TALK ABOUT ME

  1. Kendel Ince says:

    Thank you for your humour and your irreverence John! It is refreshing! Congratulations on your many successes and wishing you many more. Cheers!

  2. Terry Tamborello (@txaggie76) says:

    John!! Love, Love, Love your sense of humor! I cannot wait to meet you on BC9 next February out of My Hometown Port, Galveston!!
    Terry Tamborello

  3. Martha Morris says:

    I always enjoy your blogs, and I’m so happy to see you here again. Your humor always makes me smile – and sometimes to engage in stomach clenching guffaws – so keep it coming. Laughter is good for the soul – and your kind advice to our queries is much appreciated.

  4. Jeannette says:

    Welcome back! Thanks for the giggles. Another great blog. 🙂

  5. Bonnie Tift says:

    John, I just want to say Thank you for all you do for us Carnival junkies! I may not get to cruise as much as I pray I will be able to. I have not been in 8 yrs. because of finances and health problems my husband had but I appreciate that I can live my dream through your blog and facebook posts. Thank you… Bonnie Tift

  6. Linda ( Mom of DJ) says:

    THANK YOU to Carnival for allowing you the flexibility to serve those who love this cruise line in a way that is best for you and the best for us.

    May 11th was hubby’s 55th birthday and his retirement date. He has worked for the same company for 35 years.

    He traveled for 90% of our married life.

    And he can attest that retirement is an adjustment.

    (And having him around every day is an adjustment.)

    DJ having Dad home has been no adjustment whatsoever!

    As soon as we get our home complete…we can get serious about cruising. LOL

    Congrats on the weight loss and for doing it in a healthy manner.

    Linda (Mom of DJ)

  7. Dana T says:

    To Donna Huffman, I invested in one of those little luggage scales–cost me around $15. Works great.

  8. Big Ed Konefe says:

    John, the first Bloggers Cruise was on the Carnival Freedom, not the Carnival Fantasy. I should know it was my idea to have it. BC9 will be The Return To the Start Cruise again on the Carnival Freedom. See you there.

    Big Ed

  9. Kathleen Dembowski says:

    Thank you John for your Welcome back Blog, It was very enjoyable, I really have missed them.

  10. Gayle says:

    I have missed your blog! Welcome back.

  11. Julie Mendenhall says:

    I wanted to address the concerns of the lady who has the ankle swelling. I, too have this issue. I found that drinking bottled water helped. And if I drank alcohol, I would increase the water consumption as she did. I know of lots of folks that have this issue. Some think it is salt in the food. Some think it is salt in the ships water. I do know that water from the bottle helps.

  12. Ralph says:

    Abriana Perrin,
    Try adding “please” and “thank you” to your limited vocabulary. You won’t sound like such an A**.

  13. Gwen Virag says:

    Hi John,

    I think you have made a great decision because we love you as Brand Ambassador!! Athena Jones and Cruise Critic are sodding monkey’s, I deleted my account on that website over a year ago. I hope you consider cruising on the Legend again, early September this year, specifically the 9/8/15 sailing 🙂


  14. Laura says:

    Read it the whole way through….And I’m not your mom…excellent blog as usual!

  15. In regards to Carnival providing luggage scales, I bought one several years ago and it has gone on every plane trip that I have gone on. It is wonderful and I don’t have to worry about dragging my luggage to the gym to weigh it. Those small luggage scales are surprisingly accurate. It would be a good idea to sell them in the shops for those who don’t have them or forget them.

  16. Wes says:

    Great to see the blog back up and running.Hope you can see your way to be on our Vista sailing Sept 13th out of Athens. Our group is now around 24, and you’ve met most of them before on the Breeze inaugural and the Legend Baltic.
    Does ass sound better than arse
    Keep up the good work.

  17. Sonya Sherow says:

    Hi Sweetie,
    I’m 20 days from platinum status and it will take a while to earn those days. The only issue I have is the gold pins we receive on every cruise. It was fun the first two cruises but now not so much. I stepped on one a few months ago…OUCH! Is it possible not to receive the gold pins anymore?
    We have loved the CCL brand since 2009 and will continue to enjoy to do so. Thanks

  18. Linda Breeden says:

    John, thanks for sharing your journey with Carnival. I enjoyed your blog very much. I am thinking about booking the Pride back to back this Fall on its Journey cruise. Looking forward to more info on this . Thanks again for sharing.

  19. Bobbi Davis says:

    Love you John Heald! You are a gift to all of us from CCL. Thank goodness you broke the asshole’s nose and CCL kept you on. It was the BEST thing they have ever done. Being on a cruise with you is on my bucket list and I hope one day to get the chance. You are quite the lucky chap. You parents taught you well and you love and respect your family. May God continue to shine down his blessings on you, Heidi, Kye, Breeze and your lovely Mum. For the pains in the butt…..no worries. They’re just jealous. Carry on. PS….start the dang book. I am waiting for my autographed copy.

  20. John Martin says:

    January 19, 2008 Carnival Freedom, 1st Bloggers Cruise. My wife Jodi and I were there. Ken Byrne was the matrie’d. Great cruise! Still remember doing the Kentucky Fried Chicken wing dance on stage. We are now Diamond with 8 future cruises on Carnival booked, next will be Splendor September 13, 2015. Thanks for the memories, we first remember cruising with you on the Triumph in February 2003.

  21. Jeff Linder says:

    Any chance you will stay on the Vista for the short nowhere cruise right after the TA. Would love the chance to meet you, as your blog/FB posts are the reason we are trying Carnival this trip!

  22. Gregg Schenk says:

    John, I havent seen any info on wee jimmy (Ralph)hope all is well thanks

  23. Sandra Smith says:

    i enjoy reading your blog and enjoy cruising on Carnival even more. Cruise directors have a very tiring job. Seems they are every where. Thank you for giving us an inside look at what makes Carnival work.

  24. Lisa Wiggs says:

    Hooray, the blog is back! I have been reading the blog since you started it in 2007, and I have missed it.

  25. stacey kelley says:

    Hi John,

    We just returned from our cruise on 5/10 board the Glory. There were 30 people in our party and i must admit for the most part we had a great time. Many people in our party were first timd cruisers and i had boasted about how the CD would keep them abreast of everything the would need to know. I consider myself a regular cruiser and my last 3 cruises were on the Glory with Dr. E. Imagine my embarrassment when I and my guest arrive only to hear Dr. E was not on board. I decided to give the cruise director a try as i was sure he would help make the trip memorable regardless. My words could have been more FALSE… Adam our CD was not engaging, hardly visible and the aire was almost as if it was beneath him to entertain the guest. Many remarked how dissatisfied they were with the CD and the entertainment crew as they seemed to have more fun entertaining themselves and each other than the guest… As a rule i don’t complain much because I believe everyone deserves at least an “A” for effort, but must state my dissatisfaction with both the CD and the entertainment crew. Next year we will be cruising with Dr. E from Galveston, TX so my first time cruisers can see how it really should be done.



  26. Debbie Betzer says:

    Which Carnival Journeys cruises will you be sailing?

  27. John, I very happy to see the blog is back on. You & the blog were the first things that got me into cruising. Next year, January 30th, 2016 will be my 10th cruise and they are all with Carnival. I’m happy to say that I was able to see & meet you 3 times. I still call you my friend. I’m sad to hear that you are slowly working out of being a cruise director and thus I probably won’t ever see you again. I’m very proud of you for losing 70 lbs. I have also lost 55 lbs and I’m feeling great. Good luck in your future endeavours and I hope that some day I can still meet you in the future on one of Carnivals ships. Well done my friend.

    Paul F. Pietrangelo

  28. Charles A. Phillips says:

    Welcome back, It is good to hear from you, John I missed Your Stories. Charles

  29. Claudia Medinas says:

    You are so entertaining, love it. What are the dates of bloggers cruises 8 & 9? Look forward to booking and seeing the amazing Mr Heald once again. Smiles

  30. Karen Stewart says:

    John I just read that you you will be on the Carnival Journeys Voyages. Does that mean all of them? If so my 50th birthday cruise in January 2016 on the Miracle will be complete!

    Now would it be possible for you to arrange our party of 4 to have a large round table on the first floor of the dining room in the open area at the base of the stairs?

    Also may I invite you to join us for dinner in the steakhouse one evening?

    I am so happy to hear you are continuing your relationship with Carnival. It just wouldn’t be the same without you and when that time comes it will be a very sad day.

    Hoping to see you in January in Long Beach for my bucket list cruise to Hawaii,

    Karen Stewart

  31. Trish says:

    So glad to read your story, from beginning to end. You are my favorite CD of all time. I don’t remember any of the others names….and we just took a cruise in February. Keep up the good work. I love reading the things you post.

  32. Darrell Pierce says:

    Will you be on all the journey cruises? We sailed with you on the Miracle in July 2014 which I guess was your final CD contract. We will be on the Sunshine journey cruise in December and, if we can sneak in a five day before then it will be our inaugural cruise as platinum members.

  33. Iona Stepp says:

    My husband and I are looking forward to seeing on our Journeys cruise, October 4th on the Dream. You were the CD the first time we sailed on the Dream, December 2009 and we truly enjoyed your humor and obvious love to entertain. While stepping back from your life as full time CD was difficult, we hope that your new duties and appearances will be what you want them to be. Best wishes!

  34. Amanda Turner says:

    Dear John,
    I am writing in regards to a question about swollen ankles, or cankles as I like to call them. I too swell up like a flippin balloon on my cruises. I believe it has something to do with the sodium content of the water. It is quite painful, but do not let it ruin my fun. The best suggestion to offer, is if the cruisers have that problem, bring or buy bottled water. While it is an extra expense, it does help with the swelling. Love your blog John. I hope someday I have the honour of meeting you to say thank you for all you do in person. Until then, cheerio!!

  35. Mary says:

    Welcome back to the blog John!

  36. Kim Rainey says:

    I was wondering if there was anything you could do about getting a 6 pm dinner for me and my two friends I am on the Ledend on June 9th and my cabin in 8132 and my friends is 8118 I AM DIABETIC AND TAKE medication and we live on the east coast and the 8pm dinner will be like eating at midnight Thank you

  37. The Flying Dutchman says:

    Whoa Nellie ….. the Blog is Back!

    Welcome Back!

    BTW 1st Bloggers Cruise was on Carnival Freedom me thinks. The 2nd was on Carnival Fantasy.

  38. Becky Parkinson says:

    John you should tell Donna Huffman that she can buy a hand held luggage scale at WalMart. You just hook it to the handle and hold it up (I get my husband to do it so I can read it). Its small and easy to travel with.

  39. Charles White says:

    Who is Athena Jones and why should I care for her opinion?
    Keep going, John.
    Consider the source when this singularly opiniated individual refers to it…

  40. Ken says:

    Your mention of Gary Hunter brought back many fond memories. He was the CD on many of my over 40 Carnival cruises. His ventriloquist act with Mrs Tweed was hilarious. I wonder where he is and how he is doing. I do remember one time he was cruising as a passenger on one of my Carnival cruises and we had drinks together.

  41. Edward Gramauskas says:

    John…..So nice to see you back on the blog……Brilliant return and so looking forward to sailing with you in Jan. 2016 on Carnival Miracle’s Mexican Journey…….See you then my friend

  42. I was with you to the end along with your Mum! I am so glad to see a new Blog from you…I do hope that I will get the chance to finally meet you on the two Journey Cruises that I already have booked for 2016. Carnival Sunshine 13 day on Feb 21 and 10 Day on May 30.

  43. Princess Susan says:

    I am very happy to be reading your blog again!! I missed it even though I follow you on facebook. Please keep writing them!

  44. Art larkin says:

    First, everyone at Carnival is doing an outstanding job, even those sitting around in their underwear. BUUUUT, oh come on, you knew there was a but coming.
    It may be time to retire the fun idea of the first patron at the Red Frog getting a free drink. I myself have been lucky enough to be the lucky one. But on my pat two cruises there was a kerfuffle when people were allowed to board earl because if in if their party being in a wheelchair. But both time one of their party ran to the Red Frog Pub and beat the rest of us poor slobs who patiently waited.
    There, I got that out my system. Off to the comedy club on the legend.

    Thanks for all you did, do, and will do.


  45. Raymond Nee says:

    So proud of you John for losing that weight. Need to see new pictures

  46. Judith Leenen says:

    Hello Mr. Heald,

    (That’s how i was told to start a letter to someone i do not know in person!
    But to be honest… it sounds weird… It feels like i do know you in person… So, let;s try again)

    Hi John, (ahhhh, that’s better)

    No big decision is ever easy… But when taken you mostly know if it was the right one… And sadly (for me that is) i think you made a great decision!
    It’s just to bad that i never had to change to be on a cruise with you as a CD… Now i’m hoping that maybe, one day, you decide to be on a ship that i happened to be on too… I simply would love to meet you in person.

    O, and John… There where at least two of us that read the whole blog ;). Your mom… and me…

    Thank you for your nice (sometimes personal) posts and all the extra information you give us. And thank you for all the laughter!

    Now i’m just hoping that my Enlish writing wasn’t to bad…

    Kind regard,
    (en hartelijke groeten aan Heidi en Kye)

    Judith Leenen

  47. Shannan says:

    Hi John,

    I was so happy to see another blog post this morning. I miss Carnival so much after a two-year drought, but I hope to be able to come back with my husband as soon as possible. It was good to hear from you. (I need to get on Facebook more and get my daily dose of John!)

    Congratulations on your weight loss! I’m also glad that you’re now able to spend more time with your family. It was a good decision.

  48. Flo Hill says:

    So funny, as always. I love reading your writings – you have a great sense of humor. Keep writing and sharing. It never grows old!

  49. Paul Carter says:

    G’day John, wanted to say real quick that I understand your smoking and feel the same. I have been smoking for something like 40 years so giving it up is to say the least aaaggghhh. That said myself and my better half will be joining you on the Journey cruise aboard the Dream Oct 15th and hope to meet up with you up on deck for a smoke (and let the smokeless critics be damned…lol). I know I’m a lowly red card member but my baby is a platinum and I am planning on catching up to her as we both are very loyal Carnival cruisers (we even have a whale tail sticker on the van back glass)! Hope to see you on board as we both are fans of yours and your writings. Til then “Second star to the right and straight on ’til morning. ”

  50. Janice says:

    In response to Donna Huffman
    Question about weighing luggage.
    We bought a handheld luggage scale from Amazon
    Called balanzza Digital scale for 17.99 we take it every time we fly. Weigh in your room before sending it out. That way we always know we are within our weight limits.

  51. Marvin Sowers says:

    Welcome back to blogging. We love your blogs and look forward to more. Best of luck in your life changes!!!

  52. Jessica says:

    We have been loyal Carnival cruisers for most of our adult lives! We love the casino’s onboard and I wondered if you could post a list of which hosts are on each of the ships. We look forward to seeing them as we consider them friends. Thanks

  53. Barb says:

    Love your blogs and so happy they are back. Enjoy your family and we understand why you are cutting back on being a cruise director. Makes us want to consider a Carnival Journeys cruise in the future so we can finally meet you.

  54. Marc Petrick says:

    YEAH!!! So happy to see the blog back!! I love your sense of humor and I hope to be on a cruise with you one day (who knows, maybe the bloggers cruise!!). And forgot all those wankers on Cruise Critic. All they like to do is complain! 🙂 Great blog, John!

  55. Colleen Davis says:


    So happy to have the blog back. I just wanted to comment on the fact that you have never been a CD on any of my cruises. I always tried to book cruises that you would be on, but the schedule always got changed. With that being said, I have cruised with you about 4 other times, the last time was just 2 weeks ago on the Carnival Legends cruise from Hawaii. You just make the whole cruise experience that much more enjoyable. You have to do what you have to do in life, and if that means staying home longer to be with the family, then that is the way it has to be. Congratulations on the weight loss, it really shows. Have a great time with your family and I look forward to reading the blog once again.

  56. Larry Marak says:

    John, congratulations on losing 70 pounds so far. Everyone who has been either entertained or offended by you wishes you the best of health and a long and rewarding marriage and fatherhood. It is nice that Carnival is allowing you to slow down and smell the roses.
    You left an indelible impression on my wife and the 3 other women who accompanied me on a Med cruise on the Breeze several years ago. For the next 10 days men were coming up to buy me drinks, ask their wives what’s he got that I haven’t got, asking to have photos taken with D.L.

  57. MaryB says:

    Gosh I’ve missed you! I don’t get a chance very often to read FB but have always made time to read your blog! Welcome Back. You always provide a smile for me and countless others, I’m sure. We have all missed you –
    Congrats on the weight loss.Now you won’t have to put up with the herbal pushers! Love you, love your blog,love CCL and LOVE CRUISIN’ (tho I don’t get to very often I do put most of my clients on the ships)

  58. David Grampp says:

    I am so glad to see the blog back! Thank you John for bringing the blog back to life, and thanks to the Beards for letting you customize your job responsibilities to give us more time with you!

  59. Geneva says:

    Well for those of us who are on your page & the CC boards I say, ( well can’t say it here) but the haters are not the only people on there. There are a lot of us who respect what you do..So keep on keeping on, & let the haters hate, it’s what keeps them jolly.

  60. Karen Stewart says:

    John now I am sad because I just looked at the Journeys cruises in January 2016 and there are several of them so there is no way you can be on all of them.

    I am putting in a special request again that you be on the 15 day cruise to Hawaii on the Carnival Miracle out of Long Beach on January 16, 2016.

    I will also shamelessly add that I have been cruising with Carnival since 1991 and this will be my 50th birthday bucket list cruise to Hawaii. This cruise will also put me over the halfway mark to Diamond VIFP status.

    Please let me know if begging will help. 🙂

    Karen Stewart

  61. Elizabeth says:

    I’m so glad you are doing the blog again. Thank you.

    Which Journeys will you be on?

  62. Kim K says:

    This was the most entertaining blog I’ve read! I wish I had sailed with you as CD. Just got off the Fascination and can not wait to book another cruise.

    Looking forward to your upcoming blogs!

    Thank you John…you ARE appreciated 🙂

  63. GRIZEL says:

    John, I understand your decision to change your work pattern to fit in with your family life and the new concept of CD versus ED appointments. I had the pleasure of having you as CD on my BtoB cruises in 1998 on Destiny and I loved your humour. Had a break from cruising between October 2000 and August 2008, due to personal issues, but have taken 20 cruises since that time. I have been blessed with you and Calvyn as partners on several cruises including BCs 6,7,8, Magic and Legend in Europe. As for Louise, a cigar a day does not kill anyone, including you, when you are on an open deck. Smoke dissipates so quickly when you move at 15-20 knots. Stop the AS brigade from imposing intolerable restrictions on those of us who partake of a legal habit. Stop complaining and start posting “real issues”.

  64. Rick Williamson says:

    John glad you are back on here. Please remember my question that I have emailed you 3 or 4 times over the last year. Why can’t you also post your 5 quick questions here on your blog? Like you do on FB every weekend. We would like for you and the beards to know how we feel about a subject also. Thanks

  65. Juliette Burbige says:

    I love reading your blogs and comments!!! You are very funny and make me laugh all the time!!! Please don’t ever stop. Your Mum and I thoroughly enjoyed this latest blog. You don’t often get to work at a job that you love for so many years. You are truly blessed. Wishing you many more happy years with Carnival.

  66. Marshall J. Gruskin says:

    John, change the header on your blog to show that your new function is Brand Ambassador and no longer Senior Cruise Director.

  67. Debbie says:

    John, We’re looking forward to seeing you on the Vista Trans-Atlantic sailing Oct 21,2016 as we so enjoy your humor. You were the CD on 3 of our past sailings with the last one being on the Breeze Trans-Atlantic sailing in Nov. 2012. You and Calvyn were a hoot then Butch, a fellow Minnesotan, relieved you 2 while we were in the Caribbean and he was also great. I realize you won’t be in the CD role but I’m sure you’ll be out and about. We want to be able to say hi and thank you for everything you do. I enjoy reading your blog/Facebook as you keep us updated with what’s new with Carnival and you brighten my day with your humor. often I laugh out loud and my husband knows I’m reading something you wrote. Hope to see you on that voyage, Debbie and John

  68. Cindy says:

    Greetings John!
    So happy your blog is back. 🙂 I adore reading it & follow you on FB daily!
    Will you be cruising on the May 30, 2016 Journeys cruise from Charleston, SC on the ” Sunshine “?
    My teen son & I are planning to cruise on this sailing IF you are too. Please let us know!

    Kindly yours,
    Cindy Boles
    Charlotte, NC

  69. carrie says:

    So glad to see you back here. Looking forward to having your blog pop into my email even if it is only twice a week! I have missed you!!!

  70. Donna Ryan says:

    John I have followed you over the year on the Blog and Facebook but have never had the honor of meeting you. We have never been on the same ship at the same time during my last 14 cruises. Well that will change Nov. 18, 2016 when the Vista sails to Miami. What a fabulous sail that will be. Keep up your British humor and pad the edge of the door so you do not develop calluses as some wish.

  71. Amber says:

    John, thanks for the hilarious post!

  72. Pete Turner says:

    Hi John,
    May your career continue to be as brilliant as the first half! Just want you to know there is ONE reason I NEVER will read Cruise Critic – the warped craziness toward CARNIVAL that rears its ugly head far too often. We love and are completely loyal to CARNIVAL. There is no better vacation value in the world. (Now, bring back the ‘cigar bars’!). Love you bunches!

  73. Elaine says:

    I haven’t had the privilege of having you as a CD on one of my cruises. i was hoping i’d get to hunt you down on my next one, but alas, it’s time for you to step away from that. I still hope to meet you one day, though. #dreamcometrue #bucketlist

  74. Alycia says:


    Your blog was the reason we chose Carnival for our first cruise. If someone genuinely has that much passion for one company, it must be doing something right. We have traveled extensively due to my husband’s job. I can tell you, without a second thought, that our cruise on the Magic last month was the best vacation we have ever taken in our lives. The ports of call were irrelevant, it was the crew and the ambiance on the ship that made it worth it. The dodgeball tournaments helped too. Those were some of the highlights of the trip.

    But I digress. Thank you for your passion and humor about Carnival. Your enthusiasm gave us the push to choose a cruise line that gave our family some of the best memories we’ve ever had on vacation. Thank you for continuing to blog and answer questions on here. It’s helpful and entertaining.

    -A newly loyal Carnival cruiser.

  75. Jose L Velez says:

    Hello, I went on cruise on the Liberty to Europe when you were the cruise director and had great time. Since then I have been on about 8 more cruises with Carnival
    And I have never gotten any of invitation from Carnival to travel as a past passenger. You don’t want us back.

  76. Paula Graves says:

    I read the whole thing!

    I love reading your blog and Facebook posts. Please keep them up!

    Take care,


  77. Tara Spencer says:

    Loved this one! Thanks for all you do for us. I have learned so much about Carnival from you and look forward to your Facebook posts each day.

  78. sofia says:

    i love your blog me and my kids allways read it keep writing and be happy!!!!!!!!!!!!

  79. kathy thompson says:


    I have a Q Do I understand that we will be unable to buy a bottle of run from room service like we did on our last 21 trip on THE MIGHTY T ? I can understand not selling booze to kids on short 5 day trip,but 9 0% of folks 0n the 21 day trips are over 60 . As matter age on the last trip was 82 thank for your help Kathy from Dallas

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