My Dad’s Drawers

June 23, 2015 -

John Heald

I know this is supposed to be a cruise-related blog and for people clicking on this page for the first time, I welcome you and assure you cruise-related business is the normal conversation here and I will return to it a bit later in this episode.

However, I hope you will excuse me if I put into words something that has been on my mind these past couple of days. The subject is my dad, a subject that I think about every day, more so this past Sunday which, of course, was Father’s Day. For those who may have just joined me, let me mention my dad passed away a year and half ago leaving his bride of 54 years, me, my sister and three grandchildren missing him more than I have the ability to describe. This past Sunday, I had to go into his office/study, something I have purposely avoided as much as I could over the past months, unless requested by mum, to fiddle and check on an insurance file or some banking in one of the files he kept so meticulously.

The reason I went in there on Father’s Day and I sat for a few minutes in his study – which was a combination sanctuary, office, man cave, shrine to Carnival Cruise Line surrounded by Carnival photos and awards, a shrine to my sister and her achievements, a shrine to cricket — a game I would need three years to explain to my American readers – and, most of all memories of his grandchildren. I realise that in the midst of death, life must go on. But for whatever reason, I have hated, yes hated, to have to go in to his office. It was strange then that I found myself for no apparent reason started to examine the contents of the office. Examine as in – and I feel sodding awful for saying this – throw some of those contents in the garbage and shredding the old bank documents, etc.

As I started to do this, I knew well enough that dealing with these memories wasn’t going to be an easy task for me. My dad, Neville or “Nev,” as he preferred, lived, recorded and archived his life in woodwork and on paper. Not exclusively on paper – he also maintained a mean toolshed: nails and screws of varying types and lengths precisely housed and labelled and a selection of tools, some handmade woodwork planes by a chap called Norris which I know he saved hard for and one I had bought him for his 70th birthday. My Dad could turn a few lumps of old wood into an Edwardian desk that would make anything from IKEA look shoddy and cheap. He was a craftsman and he taught boys how to be a craftsman for 30 plus years at Southend High School for Boys. He tried to teach me woodwork but it would be as pointless as a snooze button on a smoke detector.

As I went through each drawer in my dad’s study, I was not in the least bit surprised that all his letters, paid bills and correspondence in the desk he built himself desk were in perfect order until the day he had passed away. After that, the letters and correspondence were in a big pile in the corner of his desk, something that would have driven him stark-raving bonkers. After 79 years of life and the inability to throw away even the smallest item, my dad had amassed a sensational amount of books, model steam trains, photos, letters and enough stationery to stock an Office Depot mega-store. There is a 1997-vintage photocopier. A selection of cricket and steam train videos, not DVDs, videos and 78, yes 78 model steam engines and 45 models of Old London buses beautifully arranged in wooden showcases made, of course, by my dad, with love. I think if the truth be told, my Mum would like the office cleared and turned into an empty room. Dad spent so much time there that I think this room more than any other in her house is the toughest one for her to be in.

So now I have to decide what to do with all of it, and I can’t deny I don’t even know where to start. I was daunted beforehand – and I was right to be. The desk alone – coins, cheque stubs, accounts, photos, camera bits, pens, keys, wallets, you name it – looks like several days’ work that I would have to do. Fascinating work, emotional work. Work I will, however, carry out, as my father’s son, and because he worked hard to accumulate it all, and because if it’s in his office, he will have had a good reason for it to be so.

And to bring light to what was a bit of a dark day for me, in one of his desk drawers, I found a wooden key ring I bought him at the craft market in Ocho Rios, Jamaica. It was beautiful handmade and hand turned carving of a Rastafarian and when you pulled the key chain…….his gentleman’s sausage would pop up. My dad loved it……….actually, no, he didn’t but it is at least another memory of a great man who gave me so much.

Cheers, Dad…………..I miss you.

Time for today’s Q and A……………….off we go.

Lance Hansen asks:
Just off the Carnival Magic and still stunned there was no COUNTRY MUSIC!!! Texas is the heartland of America and mainstream country is the music of America. I found it offensive both to Texans and to the military that there was no country band on the ship. Every ship Carnival has and, I think you have lots, should have a country band.

John says:
Hello Lance Hansen

I do hope that you enjoyed the cruise and that the disappointment of not having a country band playing all country music did not stop you enjoying the food and service and the fun. I know the ship has two guitar soloists and duo and a party band that will play country music by request. It is important when we have these discussions to remember that we only have the cabins we have. By that I mean the entertainment department has a certain budget and that budget is based on the number of beds we have to fill. If we were to add a country band that plays country music all the time, then we would have to remove the party band that plays such a wide selection of music. I hope this explains why we have the choice we do and I will be writing more about live music shortly. I hope we see you again very soon and thanks for writing to me. Best wishes.


Javier Vega asks:
Why do you keep saying how important it is to meet your cabin steward? My wife and I were on the Carnival Fascination in April for our anniversary and our steward was a ghost. The room was clean and tidy and he did everything he needed to do but we never saw him. I wrote this on a Cruise Critic review and there were some answers to me saying how angry that would have made them and one told me I should have complained and asked for some money back!! Why? He was a ghost, but also an incredible room steward. I am interested to see your take on this please. Why do passengers want to actually see their stewards and interact with them? I’m fine talking to them or never seeing them. As long as things go well, I’m happy.

John says:
Hello Javier Vega

That’s a great post and a fascinating question. I will bring this up for general discussion on my Facebook page and see what everyone has to say. I, in turn, will mention that the cabin steward is supposed to introduce him or herself to you on embarkation day/evening as part of his regular duties. After that, it is often down to chance if you see them as it depends if they are in your cabin area when you leave and or return. Most of the cabin stewards have the ability to detect when a guest is leaving and will come out of the cabin they are cleaning if they hear you leave yours. Interacting is important to many guests and so it should be, it is enjoyed by both parties I think plus it would be ridiculous of me not to mention doing so helps with the cabin stewards gratuities. I hope that helps with some kind of answer for you and please let me know if there is anything else I can help you with. Hope we see you again very soon. Best wishes.


Terry asks:
John, you mentioned you would be on the Carnival Journeys and I’m wondering if you mean all of them? We are on the January 31 sailing on Carnival Miracle – would love to cruise with you!

John says:
Hello Terry

I will be on the first two on the Carnival Dream and it is my intention to be on many more. I will confirm my schedule as soon as I can and I do hope to see you there. Please let me know if there is anything I can help with. Best wishes.


Julie Elkin asks:
Hi John. This is our first time on Carnival and we are about to go on Carnival Sunshine. If we do not want to go to the formal nights are there other dining options apart from the chargeable restaurants? Also, when is Carnival Sunshine getting the Fun Hub? Thank you. Juls

John says:
Hello Julie Elkin

Yes, of course, so please do not worry. Remember the choice to dress elegantly is yours as it is your vacation after all. You can wear more casual clothes that night, just no shorts and T-shirts. If you wish, you will have dinner served on Lido from 5:30 – 9 pm and various outlets there providing you lots of choices. I hope you will have a wonderful time…..actually, I am sure you will and if you need anything or have any other questions, I am here or on my page. Wishing you the best of times. Best wishes.


Max Wooten asks:
Do you have to be fat and obese to be a Carnival John Heald cheerleader??? I always see the fatties comments salivating over the burgers and prime rib not asking for nutrition information. Why is nowhere I can find nutrition info for the different meals in the dining room, buffet, etc.? I track calories and macronutrients. I bet you do not even know what they are. They should be available on the menus many of my local restaurants are already doing. Asked on the Carnival Freedom and last week on the Carnival Sensation but nobody knew. Also, the same meal can vary greatly in calories depending on how it is made and the specific ingredients. Carnival this is common sense, really.

John says:
Hello Max Wooten

Let’s ignore the first couple of sentences, shall we, and put that down to frustration on not being able to see the nutrition information on our menus which is happening at some landside restaurants now I see. Meanwhile, on your next cruise, please feel free to ask the waiter for the menu for dinner for the following night, have a think about what you want to have and the waiter will ask the chef for the information you need. I am sorry it was not shared with you on your past two cruises with us. Obviously, there are far too many items for me to list here but if you have specific questions on menu items, please do let me know. Thanks and hope to see you soon. Best wishes.


Dana asks:
Morning John! I’m very excited to share that my husband and I have just booked a cabin (#2222) on the fabulous Carnival Freedom for November 12 this year. It will be our 13th Carnival cruise. Even more special is the fact that we’ll be bringing along our two foster sons, each of whom will be celebrating his birthday aboard! This will be their first cruise, and I can’t think of a more wonderful birthday present for them. One rather important question: During embarkation, will Carnival staff accept our placement paperwork and a good copy of their birth certificates as identification? Foster children rarely have original birth certificates available through Child Protective Services. Thanks for your insight. Dana

John says:
Hello Dana

How wonderful. I have such admiration for any foster parents and I am sure you have given these young men a wonderful life. Please do bring the official placement papers and a copy of the birth certificate and that will be fine. Please also send me your cabin number the day before the cruise on so I can send them a little birthday something. Best wishes to you all.


Carol O asks:
Hello John, Taking your lead, I am writing to you in my underpants. I am a 69-year-old solo woman cruiser who has been cruising for 35 years. I am taking my first Carnival cruise on Freedom, August 29. I will be solo and won’t know anyone aboard. I selected second seating dining (8:15 p.m.) table for eight. Does Carnival arrange for older solo cruisers to dine at the same table? That might be too much to ask for. Just a little concerned at being out of place at my table. Any suggestions? Thank you, love your blog and follow you on FB.

John says:
Hello Carol O

And let me start by saying that my reply is also following your dress code, as well. Thanks for making me smile and may I ask that four days before the cruise via my Facebook page please would you send me your dining request to be seated with others and I will ask the maître d’ to make it so. Thanks so much and I wish you the best of times and am here if you need anything. Best wishes


Dustin McCoy asks:
Hi John, my wife and I are looking to book our next cruise, would you recommend booking with a Carnival PVP or through the website. What are the advantages of a PVP? Thanks!

John says:
Hello Dustin McCoy

I think many people reading this will tell you that the expert advice provided by our valued travel agent partners and our PVPs can make a real difference to your cruise. They are the ears and eyes on specials, discounts and can do all the legwork to find the right cruise for you with the right cabin and so much more. Please have a think about that and if there is anything at all I can do I am here for you. Best wishes.


Karen Sykes asks:
Has Carnival ever thought about holding a teen pageant contest during a cruise? I think this would be an awesome thing to do, like Miss America’s Outstanding Teen. With lots of teens on your boats there would be some big turnouts and what great entertainment for the passengers. You could give free cruises to the winners. Count my daughter in on this when we cruise on the Triumph on August 8. Awesome idea, right? Please respond if Carnival is going to do this so we can prepare.

John says:
Hello Karen Sykes

While I think there would be some who may enjoy this, I do have to respectfully say that this is not something we are able to do. Not only would this be challenging from a logistical standpoint, the cruises are all about fun and however we did this, I think some would take it very seriously and the fun part may be forgotten. I want to wish you a brilliant cruise and there will be a superb variety of entertainment on board and, of course, loads of fun for you and your family. Please let me know if you have any other questions. Best wishes.


Pat Piscopo asks:
Which ship is Jaime Dee on now? She was on Carnival Sunshine!!!!!!!!!!!! Who will be the cruise director on Carnival Sunshine Feb. 13, 2016?

John says:
Hello Pat Piscopo

Jaime is on the Carnival Sunshine until her vacation in a couple of weeks’ time. She will return to that ship in September. We have not done the 2016 schedule yet, Pat, and as soon as it’s ready I will post it here.


Frank Albauer asks:
Faster to the Fun!! Last year I booked this 10 months in advance. I booked a cruise for February 14 on the Carnival Magic it’s not available yet! It hasn’t been put out yet. Is there a policy change? Thanks, john!!

John says:
Hello Frank Albauer

This should be there now and, if not, will be there by the end of July, so please do keep checking. Please also let me know if you need anything else before you cruise. Have a great time.

Best wishes.


That’s all for today. The blog has received an average of 40,000 views each time one has been posted and that has brought with it lots of comments and questions. I will then try and answer as many as I can as quickly as I can but I remind you that questions can also be asked on my page too.

So tomorrow I will fly to Italy and the town of Trieste where your Carnival Vista is under construction. Please check back here in the next couple of days for some video footage of what will happen and more news on our incomparable ship……….sorry………..your incomparable ship.

I want to introduce you to the name Eddie Castro. He is our new music manager and he and his team under the guidance of our senior entertainment beard Sara are adding more and more live music to our fleet of ships. Eddie worked with me as a musical director and we delivered the Carnival Breeze together and he loves live music………he truly does. I love live music, too, and in that Eddie and I are joined at the hip. Now I should say that Eddie is a proper musician unlike me because after half a lifetime of consistent failure I knew I was not born to be a musician. I suppose I should have seen the signs at the age of eight, when I attended Heycroft Junior School in Essex, UK. Like most of the kids in the UK, we were issued with a Dolmetsch recorder. I remember all the other kids could play a tune, while my own instrument emitted nothing but a sound similar to a constipated mouse trying to take a dump and produced a worrying quantity of warm spit.

The recorder, I decided, was pretty much a girly instrument so, by the age of 11, I was playing with the trombone. Sometimes, I would blow so hard into the mouthpiece that I saw stars and nothing would come out except a sound that can only be described as a wet fart.….you know the one all of us do after sitting at the meal table for hours eating everything in sight and then, finally, we stand up and…..bweeeeeeep. After a while, I laid the trombone aside, consoling myself with the thought that you never saw a trombone player in a rock band. So I took up the bass guitar. One year later I was fired from my mate’s rock band on the not unreasonable grounds that I was the only would be bass guitarist in history who could not play the opening bars of Smoke on the Water. But on the ships we have and always will support live music, however, it worries me that kids of future generations will one day believe all music comes from an Eye Pod thingy and not from the hearts and minds of brilliant live musicians.

Eddie has already overseen the addition of party bands on the ships and returning the likes of those Carnival household names like Blood Power, Music Unlimited and, beginning in September, the brilliant band Blackjack returns to Carnival Dream. There are party bands in the RedFrog Pub and romantic music in the lobby. There is Cuban/Latin music in the Havana Bar and soon you will hear much more Caribbean and Calypso music on the Lido and, indeed, in the atriums as you board the ships.

And as I sit here writing in my underpants to you there is another team currently making their way around the fleet………the sound patrol. This is a group of technicians and music supervisors who are going ship to ship to check the volume of all our live and indeed recorded performances covering the theatre, lounges and Lido. Some of you may not realise that we have standards set by the beards as to what volumes we can run shows, music, movies, etc. We do — sometimes they are full in their volume and, yes, I know that some people don’t appreciate that very much. I am fully sympathetic that as you get older your hearing becomes more sensitive or in my case, disappears. I say disappears but that’s not really true. What I will say is that it seems to me that movies and TV these days are made in such a way that many of us have no idea what the heck is being said. I was on a flight last month from London to Miami and decided to watch an in-flight movie: American Sniper. But even though I was using an expensive pair of those noise- cancelling headphones, I could not make out a single word that anyone said. Every actor whispered.

But back on the ships, our team will check all the levels and will make sure that all of our shows and musical performances are set to a comfortable level for all without losing the energy in the room that a good, solid, full sound always gives. May I give our guests some advice? Before you sit down, in the main lounge especially, look up and if you see a speaker right above your head or on a pole (structural pole not on an actual person from Poland). I would suggest you move away to a different seat if you do have sensitive hearing. Once again, I wanted to say how committed we are to live music and you will be seeing that commitment for yourself on your next cruise.

Well, this time tomorrow, I will be on a Ryan Air flight to Trieste, Italy, to see your Carnival Vista. I will be joined by Peter the Hair who will be filming loads of footage and interviews with me and, of course, and a special guest and I will be Facebooking photos from the ship daily and reporting on the coin ceremony.

Ahh yes, Ryan Air, an airline that should be renamed “Oh FFS Airlines.” Yes, I know they are cheap……………but there are so many rules and so many short cuts that past flying experiences with them have made my hemorrhoids flare. Their sandwiches cost about the same as the flight and are so refrigerated you may as well chew on a lump of frozen yak scrotum.

Yes, you’re right; here goes the chubby grey-haired wanker moaning again about flying. I know Carnival is paying for my flight but it’s not the money I am moaning about……it’s well …. let me explain. I believe that flying with Ryan Air is the perfect way of deterring everyone but the most determined traveler from ever setting foot on a plane. My previous flights with them have me getting off the plane feeling like the unlikely offspring of Charlie Sheen and Lady Ga Ga.

I have in recent flights to the Carnival Pride and Carnival Legend, been able to upgrade to business class thanks to my frequent flying points. So I am aware that something infinitely more agreeable exists in the air. Soft pillows, unlimited bottled water (I am Platinum……..with British Airways) exotic nuts and a good chance of sitting next to Megan Fox in tight jeans. I have mostly flown coach across the Atlantic which is purgatory, no more than a waiting room for the true hell of flying Ryan Air where the only nuts I will be served will be crushed ones, mine ………… I try and fit into a seat designed for Tyrion Lannister.


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.

37 Responses to My Dad’s Drawers

  1. Margaret Wagner says:

    Dear John
    There is nothing in this world more amazing than the love between a father and his children. I am the youngest of eight and we lost my dad seven years ago. We are all adults now and when sharing stories we all came to the same conclusion, we were all his favorite child. He had a way of making each of us feel this way. It sounds as though yours did to. We are lucky to have had fathers who gave us so much love. They live on in our hearts and in our actions. We can’t help it they taught us too well. Thank you for sharing a bit of yourself with us today. And belated happy Father’s Day.

  2. Sue March says:

    I too sit here in my “under-pants” writing to you as I never go “commando”!!

  3. Glynnelle Jones says:

    The PVPs were mentioned in the questions today. They are not easy to get. I have called Carnival 2 times asking for a PVP to contact me. I finally gave up and booked our upcoming cruise myself.

    I do enjoying following you on Facebook and in your blog.

  4. Nancy Rand says:

    John, we understand the overwhelming feeling standing in your dad’s office. We have just finished completely cleaning out Carson’s mom’s house of 60 years. Somewhat difficult and emotionally gut wrenching when she is still alive, but the victim of a massive stroke, and a shadow of her former vibrant self.
    Savour your memories, and hang on to some of the things that made him happy.
    Your friend Nancy

  5. Earl Higgins says:

    John the fact that the blog is Yours, you can talk about anything you want to. The thing is, those of us who have lost our fathers too can see where your coming from. The fact that you can talk about it, even to faceless, nameless people is great! I miss my father too, he has been gone 19 years now, and there is a little part of everyday that is just for him. Now we just lost our mother, this last November, so my brother and I are kinda lost but you keep up your blog and FB because Everyone loves it! Oh and one more thing Never apologize for talking about your family because most of us feel they are part of our family too.

  6. Julie Tyler says:

    John, I can’t help but tear up at your vivid description of going through your Dad’s things. I had something similar happen to me. On this Father’s Day I was rummaging through my chest of drawers in a futile attempt to find swimsuits that fit for our upcoming cruise when I found an old pocketbook or wallet of mine. In it was a crisp dollar bill with a post it note that said, “I taught school. Daddy.” My father had driven out to the Fort Worth Mint and gotten some crisp new ones and given one to me when I started teaching 29 years ago. I retired this year. My Daddy passed away from Alzheimer’s in 2003. I carried that wallet with me for the longest time. It was stolen from me on the Paris Metro. (I have a similar opinion of the French as you, John.) I ran back to find my walket dumped, my credit cards gone, but that dollar bill with the note still in the interior pocket. I felt like I had won a victory against the thief. Today I feel like I received a gift from my Daddy.

  7. Cindy Burtner says:

    I lost my father 1 1/2 years ago and can understand what you are going through. My first cruise with Carnival was in 2012 and with my Dad. On July 4th we will be on the Valor and I will miss not having him with us. As with you, we have our fond memories to carry us through. I am sending you my thoughts and prayers as you go through this journey. Also wishing you a happy belated Fathers Day.

  8. Joe Quimby says:

    John: we booked the BC9 out of Galveston. Signed up this past Sunday (6/21) for the “Bloggers” portion & still no “receipt.” How long should we wait until trying again? Thanx!

  9. John says:

    When the Audio Beards are checking out the announcements from the Bridge and the CD.
    On the Fantasy no one can understand what is said. I’m sure that this is the same on other ships. On the Lido Deck on the Fantasy all announcements are jut a waste of time. No One can understand them.

    • Jeffrey says:

      Just got off the fantasy yesterday you are right can not understand the captain at all.

  10. steve_s says:

    Max Wooten, Get a life and find some manners.

    Please, please, please do NOT play more country music. While I know everyone in Texas thinks the world revolves around them, sadly, it does not. I have been on many cruises out of Galveston and I hope to never have to hear “The Yellow Rose of Texas” or “Save a Cowboy, Ride a Horse” for the 8 millionth time again in my life.

  11. Debbie Greenwood says:

    Totally understand your comments about your dads’ office. My dad passed away May 2014, mom this March. Started cleaning out the office a couple of weeks ago. Emotionally overwhelming reading and looking at all the scrapbooks, journals, pictures that we didn’t know were there. Do it a small bit at a time. Otherwise it is way too much. Appreciate all your blogs and posts. Hope we’ll be seeing you on the Miracle next Jan for the Mexican journeys cruise.

  12. Sue Weiss says:

    I am sailing with my family Aug. on the Legend with my family. Can my 13 year old granddaughter use the gym?

  13. Blair says:

    Max Wooten…..did your parents not teach you any manners? A lot of people that I know do track their calories and macros…however, that is a lifestyle choice just like any other choice. That doesn’t give you the right to be degrading against people that chose not to do so, especially on vacation. Rude. I am continually surprised by the audacity of some humans.

  14. Natalie says:

    Hi John,

    I just wanted you to know that yours is the first Blog I have ever read. I found it to be entertaining and informative.

    I have been cruising for years and my boyfriend (can I still call him that even though he is in is 50s?) has finally seen the light and loves to cruise as well. We will be cruising out of our hometown of Charleston, SC in just 13 days! We can’t wait. I am hoping that we have as much fun as we did on the Carnival Sunshine a couple of years ago. Why don’t you bring that ship to Charleston?

    Have a fantastic day. If you are every in Charleston let us know and we will show you some Southern hospitality. : )

  15. Ralph says:

    Max Wooten,
    You track calories and macronutrients? Nobody could ever say you’re boring…FFS!

  16. Hello John,
    I was touched by the story about your dad. I too lost my dad 14 1/2 years ago. There are still times when I hear a song or voice or even think I see him in the crowd, that makes me cry. Just writing this I’m getting teary eyed. He was one of a kind. We were 8 – 6 girls and 2 boys. All grown and now everyone is almost over fifty. Just the other day, I was looking at old photos of holidays and events in our families lives. We are all close, speak to each other every week and still get together major holidays – Christmas and Easter at my moms. So cherish those memories and yes, keep a few things that not only meant something to him, but to you also.

  17. Nancy t says:

    I always find your blogs entertaining, but this one about your dad was truly beautiful, yet humorous at the same time. I too, someday will have to pour through my father’s workshop and figure out what to do with all his model trains, planes, odd tools and old floppy disks which I’m sure are carefully labeled and stashed in a cigar box in the back yard.

    On another note….Max needs to stop worrying about the nutritional and calorie content of food on cruise ships and have some fun…..or just bugger off to the salad bar. He has no idea how much work it would be to compile that information!

    Your Britishness makes me laugh and now I know how to properly incorporate the word “wanker” into a sentence.


  18. James Eager says:

    For those steam engines in the office, find a local train club and have them come in and value the engines. You might be surprised at the value there.

    • Kathy M. says:

      I donated all of my dads trains. He built all of his HO engines and cars. The club put many of them on display and put my dad’s name under them. After I saw this, I thought many people will now the 75 piece train collection that my father built by hand. That was an amazing feeling.

  19. Quyen Nguyen says:

    Hi, John!

    Our Family is taking a cruise for the very first time on the Triumph, July 4th. We bought the FTTF pass. Will there be signs telling US where to go? How would we use this service without seeming…pushy or entitled?

    Thanks for your help! Quyen N-Phan

    • Mike Doll says:

      In Galveston there are signs for FTTF and if you are not sure just ask someone they are very helpful at the terminals

  20. CJ says:

    Hiya John!!!
    Thoroughly enjoyed your words about your father and I’m sure quite a fine gentleman. And so many memories in that room. I’m sure one day your kids will have those same feelings after you board that big cruise ship in the sky. Hopefully not very soon. Speaking of memories, our first cruise with CCL was in 2002, and I must say that so many wonderful family memories were made on Carnival Cruise ships. My kids, who are now grown, still talk about all the fun times we had on the ships and all the ports we visited. Priceless!!!! My wife and I will be taking our 11th CCL cruise in July and although the kids are no longer cruising with us, we still enjoy making memories together. Cherio John and keep up the great work!

  21. Carolyn Smith says:

    My Dearest John,
    Thank you for sharing your story about your dad. My mom passed away 4 years ago and I still miss her terribly. Me and my two sisters were put to the task of going through her things and figuring out what we wanted to keep, who got what and so on because my dad couldn’t and didn’t want to deal with it. I dreaded it so much because of how much I was hurting from losing her. I have to say that it was a bit sad, but it was also kind of joyuous. I was able to share memories with my older sisters. We were able to laugh and cry together. I still miss my mom so much and I’m tearing up as I write this. My grief has eased and I’m able to talk about my mom most of the time now without crying, but I don’t think the feeling of loss will ever leave me. I think we just learn to deal with it as the days go on. I’m sending big hugs and warm thoughts your way.

  22. Kathy says:

    Hi John,

    I am back John, I sure missed reading your blogs and keeping up with you on FB. I was amazed at how great you look from the last time I saw a picture of you. John, you look fantastic and just think of the inspiration you will be to others. You found the diet that was right for you and you stuck to that and look at the results. I have always said that people who are overweight took years to get to the weight that they are at now, but it will not take that long to take it off and you proved that.

    I was without a computer for a long time and I also have been really sick, but I am getting back on my feet so you will hear from me now and then,

    Cheers my friend,

  23. Kathy M. says:

    Hi again John,

    I know exactly what you are going through, but try it with both parents and a sister all dying within 22 days. Having to go through both parents things at one time is overwhelming because I did not want to get rid of anything. so I packed it all up and put it a storage unit in Dec. 1997 and I as of today, I still have not finished the job. I would say that I have been able to get rid of about 80% of the whole house, but this last 20% is the toughest. My advice is lay out 3 boxes and put on one box 1) Maybe 2) Donate 3) Definitely Keep and you could have a box for things to be tossed. This made it easier at the beginning, but then when I started working the maybe box it was much harder. Even though it have been 18 years, sometimes it feels like they just passed because I miss them so much,

    Cheers my friend,

  24. Tobie Gerbrandt says:

    Your blog reminded me about when we had to deal with the leavings of Barb’s Mum’s house when she died 13 years after her Dad died. The cabinets in the basement were stuffed with probably 20 years of utility bills, etc, all in envelopes with cancelled checks. Dad was a cabinet builder and installer and all the left over moldings, panelling, etc. almost filled his work shed. I wish Mum had asked us to deal with all of Dad’s “stuff” many years ago. There was enough of Mum’s things we had to deal with. She was an active member of our local dog obedience club, and an Obedience Trial Judge. Along with the room full of competitor rosettes and trophies, she had about 6 or seven of most every photo she ever took of her many dogs and those of friends dogs. Dad and Mum had been on many cruises with us and all her memorability’s from that were still there, too. What a job to deal with all that stuff, lots of which we gave away or trashed, but we still have a lot we couldn’t part with. Mum and Dad are still missed every day.

  25. John, I lost my dad 15 years ago from cancer. He was a strong individual but towards the end the sickness had taken away the strong person he was but it couldn’t take away the love he had for us. I still miss he a great deal especially since I lost my mother a year an half ago. Today I’m father of my family and I hope that I can be as great a guy that he was. Father’s Day ( and Mother’s Day ) gives me pain that my parents are no longer with me. You are still lucky to have your mum. Keep her close to you for some day you won’t be there just like my mom is gone. I truly enjoyed today’s your blog about the dad. Thanks John for giving us a very personal part of your life.

    Your friend,
    Paul F. Pietrangelo

  26. Steve Ellingwood says:

    Have cruised over 15 times. Most on Carnival. Have noticed that things are not the same. Don’t want to embarass Carnival in an open forum. Not just a few things. If you are interested in more info, you can contact me at my e-mail. Miss U in “bedtime story” w/ mr. wong and losing your pants. Thanks Steve

  27. tommy gayer says:

    when my da left us, i felt like it was all on me now, as he was no longer there to ask for advice. he provided for us and took care of us all those years and he knew we loved him for it.

  28. John Melvin says:

    Hi John. First let me say I appreciated your sharing your personal feelings and pain concerning your Dad. I lost my father 50 years ago when I was 16 and still think of him every day, and particularly on Father’s Day every year.

    My son and I are excited about our upcoming summer cruise on the Sunshine next month. We are frequent Carnival cruisers and this year chose the ship rather than the destination. And we chose our favorite, the Sunshine, for it’s amenities, port location and size.

  29. linda Davenport says:



  30. Alexandria Marshall says:

    Will the new American Feast American Table menu be on the Carnival Valor in November 2015? Also will the new room service menu be on the Valor in November 2015 as well?

  31. Karen says:

    My sister and I share your thoughts and feelings almost word for word. We are in the process as are you – our beloved Father passed away last August at the age of 94, still living on his own.

  32. Chris Rupert says:

    Dear John,
    I have been on many Carnival (and other cruise lines) in the past. I read in one of your comments you will be on the Dream journeys cruises. I will be doing a back to back on the Dream from Oct. 4-15 and 15-25, are you going to be on both? I hope so, I will be traveling alone, I read your posts daily and hope to meet you. I am pretty sure I will be getting my Platinum on the 2nd leg. Thanks, Chris

    • Brenda Curvin says:

      John will be on both of those cruises with us. There is a Facebook group that is over 350 strong that has lots of activities planned. There are many solo cruisers on the page that are setting up some outing for solo travelers as well. Look for: Carnival Dream October 4, 2015 and October 15, 2015 “Carnival Journey”

  33. brian mclaughlin says:

    You speak at length about your love of cricket. How about a special “Cricket for Americans” cruise?

    For what it’s worth, there is an Ashes grade pitch in Lauderhill, near Miami. There are some top notch American youth players in the system now. And there are many Caribbean performers (most notably Rihanna but i am sure there are some performers in your troupes) who love the sport dearly.

    With so many of the Caribbean islands being so small, and venues so near to cruise ports … well jts just a thought.

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