Why 12 year olds should watch Greys Anatomy

July 15, 2015 -

John Heald

I met a hero yesterday here on the Carnival Paradise. His name is Alan and he is 12 years old.

It was a meeting by chance after the show last night with his parents, Sally and Anthony, and their eight-year-old daughter, Megan. They came to see me having recognised me from previous cruises. During our conversation I learnt about Alan and what he had done to earn the title I just gave him of “hero.”

It was a story that left me somewhat gobsmacked. Basically, Alan saved his two-year-old sister from choking to death on a piece of popcorn by using life-saving techniques that he’d seen on TV shows. His parents were in other parts of the house and he shouted for them but then realised she could not breathe and, as Alan described it to me, “her face was like a Smurf.” He decided to act and saved Sally’s life.

Listening to his story, I was flabbergasted by Alan’s courage and quick thinking at age only 12.

I mean, when I was 12 the only TV programs I was watching were Space 1999 and Dr Who

Had my younger sister Suzanne been attacked by Daleks I may have been able to save her but popcorn………….ummmmm……………no.

And anyway, what program had Alan watched that enabled him to know what to do. If it was ER or Greys Anatomy all he will have seen would have been a person straddled the victim like a horny yak, making a fist with both hands, then pressing down hard on the sternum while shouting, “Fight, damn it! Come on you bastard, fight! You’ve never quit anything in your life before and don’t start now! Don’t you quit on me, you ungrateful bastard!” until the person springs to life or………they have to tune in next week.

But save her life he did and since hearing that story has had me in awe of him. He was featured in his Indiana newspaper and now here on the blog and tonight he will meet the Captain, have a pho with him and get a goody bag as will his sister………no popcorn, obviously

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

Susan Corbett asks:
Hi John: I will be cruising in September on Carnival Triumph as a birthday gift to me. My question is, does Carnival have a photo package? Or is it by the photo? I am working on my budget and need to plan appropriately or give hints for Cruise Cash.

John says:
Hello Susan Corbett

For now we have the package deals on just one ship, Carnival Pride. However I understand that there are plans to add this to other ships in the weeks ahead. I will keep you informed on that and please do have a brilliant cruise and let me know if you need anything. Best wishes.


Chuck Fraser asks:
Hello John: I just read the policy change concerning water being brought on board. My last cruise on Carnival Pride, I brought water and soda onboard and had purchased the same for my upcoming cruise in October. But then I remembered the hassle of lugging it onboard the last time and decided to drink it at home. I purchased a combo water package from the Fun Shops instead. I guess things work out for the best, after all, not that I would have been disappointed. After all, I’m going on an eight-day cruise with best cruise line there is. I’m not going to let a few extra dollars spent take away from a great time. Thanks to you and Carnival for all you do to make for a great cruise experience.

Chuck Fraser

John says:
Hello Chuck Fraser

Thanks for writing and I can tell you that this new policy was met with mostly good reaction; especially at the new price we are selling the water. I hope you have a great time and if there is anything I can do for you please let me know. Best wishes.


Grant O’Donovan asks:
We are back now from a good cruise on the Carnival Fascination. We have one comment to pass on to you and people who may be going on this boat. Our cabin steward _______ was nonexistent. We only know his name from the card on the wall of the cabin. The cabin got cleaned but I wasn’t overjoyed with his service and there was no hair dryer in the cabin, no explanation from him why. I have never removed my tips before and this is my third cruise but I had no choice this time. _________should be removed from the job or demoted because he did not provide the service the other two cruises have.

John says:
Hello Grant O’Donovan

I appreciate you letting me know your thoughts and you are correct, the stateroom stewards are expected to introduce themselves to every guest on embarkation day. Now this is not always possible if guests are out of the cabins which may have been the case here. I should also mention that hairdryers are available upon request. I am sorry to see you removed the gratuity and it is your right to do so despite you mentioning that your cabin was cleaned and tidied. I will pass your comments to the ship’s managers and ask that they work with the cabin steward to help him improve where needed. I hope we see you again very soon and thanks again for the valuable feedback. Best wishes.


Leah Nunes asks:
My mom and me never get to cruise together because she lives in Buffalo and me in Anaheim. We have managed to book a cruise with Carnival on the Inspiration. I am asking for an upgrade because my mom raised me and my brothers with no help from our dad who walked out on her. We have a small inside cabin but would like to have a window room. I work with old people in a retirement community so it would be good for Carnival to give me some kind of reward with an upgrade. Here is the screen shot of our bookings. I am reachable through _________ I cruised with Carnival before in 2010.

John says:
Hello Leah Nunes

I am so glad you are able to cruise again with us and bring Mum too. I am afraid I cannot give you an upgrade but I will see what else I can do to make you both smile. I notice your cruise is this coming week so I am glad you sent me this in time and I am sure you will both have a brilliant cruise together

Best wishes


Jaynendel Vincent asks:
John, just wanted to say how much I appreciate all the flack you take from people over everything you post. You must be a saint and your family must be so proud of you. The water issue is brilliant!! I have already ordered water at the original price. When the price went down I called the Fun Shops and was immediately refunded to me. They were very nice and accommodating and it was so easy to order more. Thanks again for all you do. Looking forward to boarding Carnival Legend to Alaska next Tuesday. Wish you were gonna be there!!!

John says:
Hello Jaynendel Vincent

Your support and kindness is much appreciated. I know sometimes we make changes that some do not necessarily agree with and I always try my very best to listen and understand what people are saying. I am sorry for the late reply to this and hope you had a brilliant time in Alaska. Thanks so much again and I remain here at your service. Best wishes.


Morris Freidan asks:
Why does this cruise line not honor the Jewish faith by having a Rabbi on the Carnival ship during high holidays? I was on the Carnival Valor with my family for Yom Kippur and no Rabbi was available, we were above and beyond angry. We will be on Carnival Breeze for the Sukkot festival in September. Will Carnival guarantee my family and other Jewish passengers a Rabbi to help us celebrate ???!!!

John says:
Hello Morris Freidan

Thank you for cruising with us again and I am sure you and your family are looking forward to another wonderful cruise. Currently, we do not have a religious program where Rabbis, priests or ministers conduct services on the ships. However, if you wish me to help you reserve a room for yourself and other guests to meet and hold a service amongst yourselves, I will be happy to do so. I wish you a wonderful cruise. Best wishes.


Charlene asks:
Are there plans to add a Guy’s Burger Joint to the Carnival Valor or Carnival Splendor by next summer? Does the Carnival Sunshine have one?

John says:
Hello Charlene

Carnival Sunshine does indeed have a Guy’s Burger Joint as does the Carnival Triumph, Carnival Liberty, Carnival Freedom, Carnival Breeze, Carnival Conquest, Carnival Pride, and Carnival Glory. And, of course, the new Carnival Vista will have one as well. Have not heard plans for the Carnival Valor or Carnival Splendor, unfortunately, but will let you know if this situation changes. Best wishes.


Harry asks:
John: I just had to write to tell you about our cruise on Carnival Glory. It was our first cruise as Platinum people and we loved the laundry perk and the cabin surprises. The crew was outstanding. I must mention three people. Mike, the CD, was everywhere. His interaction with the guests was never ending, when does he sleep? LOL. Wifey and me love live music and the piano bar. Chris was excellent and his Elvis night was so much fun. What made our experience even more special was the service from the delightful bar server, Jacinta. She made us feel like we were VIPs and had our drinks ready before we even had time to order them. Her smile and kindness will be something we never forget. We had gotten the Faster to the Fun. That worked out great. We got early tenders as we were supposed to. I will share that siting at the table right beside us was an older couple that came across as aghast that us normal people were cruising with them. We work hard and like to wear relaxed clothing at dinner. However, the “lady” to our right made snide comments each night that she obviously wanted us to overhear. It was a fabulous cruise though and the Glory crew was the best yet. We will be back.

John says:
Hello Harry

I never will understand why some people get upset about what others are wearing and how it spoils their food and service. Oh, well. On a happier note, I am so glad you enjoyed the team and I will make sure that those you mentioned get to read this. I know these people well and, in fact, just mentioned some of them in my Carnival Glory report from last cruise. I will make sure they see this and their mangers do too, they will be thrilled. I hope we see you for many more cruises as you head to Diamond status. Best wishes to you both.


And that’s all for today. I will answer more soon but the best way to get a quick response is to write to me on my Facebook.com/johnheald page. Thanks to you all for the comments and, of course, for reading this blog.

So hello from the Carnival Paradise where I am watching my great friend and someone who many of you know from my Bloggers Cruises and from features here on the blog. I am talking of course, about the Nathan Lane of cruise directors, a man who has a shrine to The Golden Girls in his cabin and a man with the world’s largest collection of pressed wild flowers, Calvyn Sean Champagne Martens.   And what a pleasure it is to see how much he has grown into the job of cruise directing. There are CDs with more energy, there are CD’s with more poise and grace and there are CD’s who can dance the wobble and stand on a bar counter and lead the atrium in a party that shouts the word “fun” out loud. But are there funnier and wittier cruise directors than Calvyn? Honestly, nope, I don’t think so.

I have been helping him learn the finer points and how to play the CD game and, hopefully, this will help him become one of the very best. During Calvyn’s Welcome Aboard show, he had a single chap on stage for some audience participation. He looked to be in his twenties and when Calvyn asked if he “was looking for love” a lady shot out of her seat as though someone had shoved a cactus up her bottom shouting “I’m a cougar, I’m a cougar” running toward the stage as she screamed this. Now it is only in the past few years that I have started to understand what a “cougar” is but I still don’t understand how in July 2015 a lady shouting “I’m a cougar” can bring 800 people to laugh so loudly.

I guess though it is much more acceptable today than in past years. Back in the day, a 40-something-year-old lady dating a 20-year-old man would have been called disgusting or worse. But today….in these modern times, a woman has become a cougar and having rumpy pumpy with someone many years younger than you is as fashionable as a Gucci bag and a pair of Birkenstocks and no one bats an eye.

Anyway, she ran on stage, tried to jump on the poor 20-something guest and it was quiet a picture watching 6 foot 4 Calvyn stand between this five-foot nothing 40-plus-year-old lady and her would-be prey.

These past two weeks, I have seen Mike Pack and Calvyn Martens, part of the future of Carnival’s cruise directors and I feel proud that they have this chance to shine. Now this may seem a bit like I am giving myself a huge pat on my hairy back and excuse me if it does. You see, back before I was a CD, everyone who had that title was a born entertainer. They were jugglers or singers, magicians or comedians, violin players or ventriloquists. Then along came this British guy who was a bar waiter and who had the talent and show business experience of a chair leg.

One of the guys I used to stand back and watch as a bar waiter was a master ventriloquist called Gary Hunter. He was one of the old school breed of CD’s who spent every minute out in guest areas or on stage. There were no other responsibilities that the CD has now and that have been taken away again by the introduction of the entertainment director back then safety was making sure you moved the bed away from the wall so you didn’t bang your head when you were having rumpy pumpy. High visibility meant standing in full view at the crew bar letting the single crew members buy you drinks all night before showing her your Fun Ship Freddy.

These were the days of the Carnivale, Mardi Gras and the Festivale and the days when the kings of the stage were people like Dave Armor, Malcolm Kennedy, Paul Frankie, Bill Panoff, Bob Hamill and Gary Hunter. I was the first CD for Carnival and I think in the industry that was not a proven entertainer and I like to think that I opened that door for people like Mike and Calvyn, Jaime and Matt, Jen and Jason and all the others who proudly wear the CD badge today and I wish them as much fun as I had entertaining you all….the company is in good hands with them leading the fun.


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.

26 Responses to Why 12 year olds should watch Greys Anatomy

  1. scott silver says:

    I was earlier informed that the Carnival Conquest will be getting high speed unlimited internet sometime in July 2015. Can you please confirm if indeed this has happened?

  2. scott silver says:

    Can you please advise me when the Carnival Conquest is expected to get the new high speed internet? I have been told previously that would occur in July 2015. Thank You

    • vivienne Canavan says:

      Scott, If you post your question on John’s Facebook page, you will get it answered within a couple of hours.
      Or, you can scroll up, to the top, and click on the “ASK JOHN” link

      This space is only for responses to his blog above.

      • Really O'Reilly says:

        If you are not a subscriber to Facebook, you’re basically S-O-L with John. I speak from experience in saying he doesn’t respond to “Ask John” communications.

      • Mike says:

        Perhaps Scott is not on FB so that option is not available. Speaking from personal experience, the “Ask John” link doesn’t always yield a response. I’m not sure why but that’s what I’ve experienced.

  3. John Wilmeth says:

    Inre the lady who had to make remarks about the way the couple were dressed, it is a shame that this happens from time to time but there is a group you will run into who feel they are entitled to pass judgment on all who do not meet their high standards. My big complaint is the folks in the MDR who’s mama forgot to teach them to remove their caps or hats when inside. I wear both (at different times)but I have no problem with removing them when I go to eat. Since I thought there was a policy on CCL ships about this, it is disturbing to notice all the caps being worn at dinner. I was turned down for lunch one time for wearing my sleeveless shirt and I went and changed it, no fuss. Is there a rule regarding this issue? Thanks for all you do to keep we Cruisers informed of the day to day happenongs!!!

  4. Patty K says:

    Can you please clarify to me what the new policy is regarding bringing water bottles on board? I have asked two different Carnival sources and received two different answers. Are we allowed to bring EMPTY water bottles on board and then fill them once on the ship?


    • Fern says:

      You can bring empty bottles onboard and refill them from the ship’s water (very good) or from bottled water you buy onboard.

  5. george kotch says:

    About Calvyn we met you and him on the Legends Med cruise. Met him again on the Valor and I mentioned to him how well he grew in to theC.D. job Along with Jaimee D. and Matt John they all give thanks to you for their success.

  6. Michael Cohan says:

    This is a reply to the Morris Freidan that was upset that Carnival did not have a rabbi on a cruise for the Jewish high holy days.

    If it was so important to him that he needed a rabbi that bad he should’ve went to temple instead of going on a cruise.

    • Fern says:

      I was about to post the same thing. Mr. Friedan, if Yom Kippur services are important to you, you shouldn’t schedule a cruise for those dates. You should stay home and go to shul.

    • Charles says:

      Or Mr. Friedman might gather the members of the tribes together to hold his own services?

  7. Sue Weiss says:

    I taking a cruise on the Legend on August 11 with my family. Can my oldest granddaughter who is 13 use the gym? Also we want to eat at the Chefs Table, will my youngest granddaughter who ten be able to eat at the Chefs Table?

    I enjoy reading your blog and you on Facebook.

  8. David says:

    I just love it when people ask you for free stuff.
    I will be on the Sunshine in about 16 days.
    There will be ten of us. We don’t like to talk to other people or look at people so can we have the dining room all to our self from say 8 to 10:30.
    Or just upgrade us to the steakhouse every night.
    What is wrong with these people. I guess there just entitled

  9. Ken says:

    I very fondly remember both Gary Hunter and Bill Panoff. Both of them were outstanding at their jobs. Bill was the CD on my first cruise on the Holiday way back in 1986. I sailed with Gary too many times to recall during my 40+ cruises with Carnival. He was a ventriloquist par excellence. I loved his Mrs. Tweed dummy and his act was fantastic. It was through these CD’s that I got my love of cruising. The mere mention of those CD’s brings back a flood of wonderful memories. Thank you for that.

  10. Bernie Perry says:

    Hi John. I have some feedback and a question for you. At least one member of our Carnival Karaoke Cruisers Facebook group has experienced the new karaoke system you reported about recently. So far the feedback is quite positive. My next cruise is mid-September on the Sunshine. Do you know if the new system will be available for that cruise? TIA

  11. Len says:

    Just a quick comment on “proper” dress in the dinning room. Harry mentioned the remarks by a table mate. He should have asked to be moved. I no longer dress up for dinner but I do dress neatly. The choice of dress is up to whoever is wearing it. Carnival is very informal and most people like it that way. I do think however that men should remove their baseball caps and maybe even their Cowboy hats at dinner.

  12. Karen Kueck says:

    Hi, Back in December 2011 aboard the Elation they had t-shirts for sale in the hallway outside the gift shop. Does Carnival still have 3X Caribbean blue t-shirts for sale, 2 for $30?
    (Will be sailing on Dream in Nov. 2015, our 3d Carnival cruise)

  13. Judi says:

    Read the comments from the man criticizing Carnival for not having a rabbi on board during the Jewish High Holy days and really was angry, at him, not at Carnival. If the holy days mattered at all to him, he would not be on a cruise ship. He would be in synagogue where those of us who observe, are. The holy days are times of introspection, reflection prayer and atonement (and in the case of Yom Kippur, of fasting)and no rabbi that I know would spend his/her holy days aboard a cruise ship.

  14. Michael Mayo says:

    We cruised on the Sunshine June 6th. Let me say CD Jaime Dee was absolutely the best. On recent past Carnival cruises the CD was non existent. It was so great to feed off Jaime’s energy. Hope to see her and her staff on the Vista soon.

  15. Pat Davidson says:

    John, just wondering if you will be traveling on any other ships in Florida since you are here? We are leaving in September on the Sunshine. You were our CD on the Miracle in Alaska and it made our cruise (along with the wonderful Carnival staff). Thanks for all you do.

  16. CHARLENE says:

    Hi John,
    we plan on a cruise in oct on the Valor. My question is going to Mexico do you have any worry about being safe. Please tell me your opinion. Thanks alot

  17. Suren Gi says:

    Hey John, we sailed with you on the Miracle (Alaska) last year. We just completed an 8 day Breeze cruise and our cabin was at the aft of the ship (8453), there was a stench (sewage like) in the air, the folks in the other cabins around us also noticed it. What was it, I don’t think it was sewage but it sure smelled like it. p.s.:We just booked a July Med cruise on the Vista and can’t wait.

  18. Linda (Mom of DJ) says:


    David wishes he could remember who the CDs were from his cruises back in the 1980’s.

    He had a blast but does not remember a lot…lol.

    I am so glad that Carnival allows each Cruise Director to be individuals with their own special gifts.

    Linda (Mom of your friend DJ)

  19. Barbara Huggins says:

    Someone on cruise critic posted the movies for August 2015. However, they did not break the list down by ships. I will be on the Victory 8/3/15 for 5 days. Could you please tell me the dive in movies that will be shown?

  20. Mary Kennedy says:

    I will never forget the cruise we went on when you were the cruise director. I have been over 20 times; but, only been on the ship with you once. I will say always enjoy the cruise and
    try to bring new cruisers along each time.
    I loved the Fun Force entertainment. My friends
    from work and I are going on the Breeze Oct 10th
    and hoping it is fabulous as this week we found out that our employer didn’t get a state contract and we will have massive job cuts and that shortly after we return they will let us know whose postitions will be gone. Predicted 50-65%

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