John Heald's Blog http://johnhealdsblog.com Tue, 08 Apr 2014 15:26:50 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9 HAVE A LOOK AT WHAT 688 BLOGGERS WILL BE ENJOYING NEXT CRUISE – WYWH http://johnhealdsblog.com/2014/02/14/have-a-look-at-what-688-bloggers-will-be-enjoying-next-cruise-wywh/ http://johnhealdsblog.com/2014/02/14/have-a-look-at-what-688-bloggers-will-be-enjoying-next-cruise-wywh/#comments Fri, 14 Feb 2014 16:22:38 +0000 http://johnhealdsblog.com/?p=21591 Continue reading ]]> The Winter Olympics are well under way and it has been the ice hockey that has been the most watched on the Carnival Sunshine’s Lido Seaside Theater big screen. Interestingly, it has been the Canadian guests who seem to be the most patriotic. There are not many of them here, only 181 out of over 3,000 guests but those 181 are all wearing the maple leaf shirts and are extremely patriotic, it seems.

 

I guess it shows that hockey is as loved in Canada as basketball is in America, cricket is in England, rugby is in Australia, soccer is in Italy and running ……away……… is in France. I have never quite understood hockey and I admit to never actually sitting through an entire match. Let me see if I have this right. It appears to be a game between two teams attempting to score goals by driving a tin of tuna into the opposition’s goal with the use of curved sticks, shoes with knives on them and protective padding. Then why is it the games I have seen involve a bunch of huge men called Wayne and Pierre punching the crap out of each other while the crowd waits for a hockey match to break out?

 

Seriously…….can someone, preferably a Canadian……explain to me why fights are allowed to continue? Are the referees scared? Is betting done in the stadium to see whose nose will get broken first? Or is it just a Canadian pastime like lumber-jacking and eating Tim Horton’s doughnuts?  Please explain. Oh and why is the goalie dressed like a bomb disposal expert?

 

Time for today’s Q and A – off we go.

 

 

Jackie Lilico asks:

We are just off the Carnival Legend where there were a group of deaf passengers who had reserved seats at every show. I understand why Carnival has to do this but they had two interpreters standing right in front of the stage so many of us could not see. They did not just do the sign language but danced and did wild movements which were very off putting and I left the show on two occasions and I saw many other passengers leaving as well. Carnival should have done a private show for them so not to spoil it for others.

 

John says:

Hello Jackie Lilico,

I do hope you had a wonderful time on the ship despite the concerns you mentioned. I have cruised many times with hearing impaired guests and have seen the sign language interpreters not only sign the words of the shows but add the emotions as well and, I must say, I found it fascinating. What they do really does help enhance the silent world these guests live in. Once again I do hope you had a great time and I do hope we see you again soon. Best wishes.

John

 

Paul Bradley asks:

Yes, we were on the Carnival Sunshine 12/15/13 to 12/22/13. We took part in the ugly sweater contest. We won two parts out of four and they only gave us a medal and I was really wanting a ship on a stick they said they were out of them so if you send me two, it would be great. It was our 15th cruise with Carnival and our next cruise is 4/3/14 on Carnival Triumph. We love Carnival. Thanks

 

John says:

Hello Paul Bradley,

Congratulations on winning the contest and I apologise that they had run out of trophies. Please can I ask that you remind me about your next cruise two days before on Facebook at facebook.com/johnheald and include your cabin number and I will make sure I send you one? Thanks so much and I wish you a brilliant cruise and also hope to see that sweater one day.

Best wishes.

John

 

Damaris N asks:

Is Carnival Splendor being moved from NY? I saw a comment from a lady that said that Carnival is pulling out of NY. Also while searching for 2015 cruises, I saw that the Carnival Splendor will be leaving from Miami. I truly hope that the Carnival Splendor is staying in NY. Help?

 

John says:

Hello Damaris N,

We are continuing to sail from NYC on a seasonal basis.  We are bringing the ship to South Florida for the winter season. Our guests really enjoy sailing out of New York and we will continue to do so with our summer schedule from there. Please let me know if you have any other questions. Best wishes.

John

 

Jeffrey Reese asks:

Hello John,

I have spoken to you several times on your Facebook page. You may recognize the name. I am approximately your age (within a year) and I have lost both parents so I know what you are going through. I lost my father 10 years ago and my mother two years ago. But what I am here to tell you is that you helped me through a very difficult time. As I mentioned, I lost my mother two years ago but a few months after her passing, I was forced to medically retire from a job I had done for 15 years due to medical issues that I incurred while in the military. I have worked since I was 10 years old so all I have ever known was work. Now to my point A few months before my mother’s passing I found your blog and your Facebook page and became a semi-regular reader. As my mother’s Illness got worse and my own issues increased, I found myself reading your blog and Facebook page more often to lift my spirits with your wit and news of things to come with Carnival. With my mother’s passing, I began to speak from time to time on your Facebook page and found that there was alot of others that loved to cruise as much as I did and you would ask for opinions on things from time to time and I started to participate in those. Then a few months later, I was forced to retire from a job that left me at home with little to do so I spent alot of time on the computer and began to make suggestions to you, some good, some not so good but you would make your gracious responses and make me feel like I had made a contribution. I have sailed four times in the last two years and you have helped me through the rough time I had in 2011. For that, I thank you with all my heart. I just wish I could do for you what you have done for me in your time of need. But at this point, John, all I can say is keep your chin up. You have alot of people here to support you. Cheers, John, and don’t forget to take time to remember the good times and keep them close to your heart and have them available and close at hand for the tough times.  Again thank you for all you have done to make us all feel important!! Your fan and friend.

Jeff Reese

 

John says:

Hello Jeff Reese,

I, of course, always enjoy speaking to you on Facebook and I wanted to say a huge thank you for these wonderful words of kindness. I know you understand the hurt and pain of losing a parent and indeed I send my deepest condolences to you as well. It is one day at a time and, as I sit here on the Carnival Sunshine, I worry so much about Mum who, after 54 years with Dad, is having to adjust to her new life. Thank you again for thinking of me and I hope to thank you one day in person. Best wishes.

John

 

Paul Cole asks:

I want to report a disturbing issue that happened to me on our Carnival Valor cruise. We brought our own bottle of wine to the steakhouse and were charged a $10 fee to have them open it. There were five of us who paid $35 each person but that was not good enough because they refused to take off the charge from our check. This left a very bad impression on us all.

 

John says:

Hello Paul Cole,

I am very sorry that this has upset you but this is indeed a company policy that we do charge a $10 corkage fee to open and serve the wine that guests bring in with them which is standard throughout the cruise industry and most land-based restaurants, as well. I do hope that, this aside, you had a wonderful experience in the steakhouse, a wonderful cruise and that we see you again very soon. Best wishes.

John

 

Kimberly Thomsen asks:

Hi John,

I enjoy reading your posts and my family has a wonderful time when we cruise on Carnival ships. I do have one suggestion if you can please pass this along to the appropriate person/dept:  On the booking website, can there please be an option to search for connecting cabins? I know you have the option to indicate you want two staterooms but the results don’t return just connecting staterooms. Thank you!

 Kim

 

John says:

Hello Kimberley Thompson,

I have to admit that I did not know that this was not an option and it would indeed make sense I think to add this. I have sent this to the right people so they can see this. Thanks for the kind words and I will be here if you need anything.  Best wishes.

John

 

Marc Wareing asks:

Hi John, we had a brilliant time with you in Europe on the Carnival Breeze (July 9, 2012). It was our second cruise so we are still quite new to the whole experience but you made it very memorable. My question is regarding our next two cruises. We have booked the Carnival Sunshine from Port Canaveral, April 19 and April 27.  On the internet I seem to find lots of conflicting reports, you have to get off in between cruises and go to the back of the queue, you have to go off but get taken to the front just to sign back in and others say you don’t have to get off at all? Can you give me any guidance on the best thing to do regarding this? Also, can we find out who the cruise director is? Do you move around ships for set periods of times or do you just stay on the same ship? I get the feeling you aren’t assigned to a ship?

 

John says:

Hello Marc Wareing,

I am very glad to hear that you had such a wonderful time with us in Europe and I am very happy to see you are sailing with us again soon. The cruise director will be the wonderful Jaime Dee who will be there to make sure you have lots of fun. And while you do need to get off the ship between cruises, you simply pass through US Immigration, take a photo for your new Sail & Sign card and then come back on board, you do not need to go through the check in process again. I do hope you have fun and if you need anything, please let me know. Best wishes.

John

 

Landon Groves asks:

You should check out the facts before resorting to juvenile humor Heald. Veganism may have been just a fad many years ago but studies by Harvard professors show that by 2020, one in five Americans will become vegan. If Carnival continues to treat veganism as a fad, don’t take it seriously and don’t do any planning or research into it you will no doubt be stopping thousands of passengers from choosing your cruise line Heald. Carnival’s poor attempt highlights everything that’s wrong with the way society as a collective now lives. I’ve been a vegetarian for years and when I truly learned about the inherent cruelty in the dairy industry and the egg industry I went vegan overnight. I forget the specific statistic but you save more sentient life by quitting milk and eggs than by stopping eating beef, pork, lamb and other meats. We simply don’t need these products either – which is what makes it all the worse. My last cruise on the Carnival Freedom I was hungry thanks to the biased lack of choice and availability. I am sure that this must seem a bunch of baloney to someone like you and someone of your “size” but if you are a representative ambassador of Carnival, then you need to know that we are a growing group and will soon represent a large proportion of your customer base. Ignore us at your peril.

 

John says:

Hello Landon Groves,

Thank you for writing such a spirited post and I can see how passionate you are about being a vegan. You mentioned that “someone like you and of your size” may not understand you and indeed I must admit that being vegan is something I personally cannot ever imagine becoming, I guess. I doubt if the human body has evolved so much that mother nature’s master plan is now obsolete. But that’s just me. What I will say is that Carnival is well aware that we carry vegan guests and we will continue to work hard to provide as much variety as we can for all guests and if you have any specific things you would like to see added, please let me know. Best wishes.

John

 

Cheryl asks:

Hi John,

Just wanted to let you know how much I enjoy reading your posts on the CCPPF FB page.  We will be cruising on the Carnival Conquest this coming August.  I’m getting a bit nervous about all the negative reviews I’ve been reading on the Carnival Conquest.  We were really looking forward to our trip but getting a bit nervous when I see such poor reviews.  Any chance there will be some changes made to the ship/shows/food prior to August?  Thank you again for your wonderful posts!

 

John says:

Hello Cheryl,

Thanks so much for writing. Carnival Conquest is currently sitting at number four in the fleet as per the scores those guests who receive our online review cards have given. I can assure you that for every one negative, there are many, many more positive reviews and it’s important to remember that. She is a wonderful ship with a great crew and I have no doubts that you will have a wonderful time. Please let me know if you need anything and have a great time. Best wishes

John

 

Marc Barre asks:

Can I ask that you secure a VIP table for two where all the action is for our cruise upcoming on the Carnival Dream 3/1 cabin 2391. We are platinum!!

 

John says:

Hello Marc Barre,

I have written to the maître d and have asked him to assist with your request and I know he will do his very best for you. I wish you a great cruise together and thanks so much for your loyalty. Best wishes.

John

 

That’s all we have for today and thanks to everyone for their comments and questions.

 

So I think everything is pretty much set for the Bloggers Cruise and I wanted to share with you some of the activities that will complement the regular shows, etc. here on Carnival Sunshine.

 

 

So there you go. As you will see, I am hosting The Chef’s Table, steakhouse and Ji Ji meals and hopefully thanks to the support of the guests we can beat the $8,000 we raised last year. The idea is to give them as much access to me as possible and, of course, to have loads of fun doing so. The tea times have become a big event and I serve the cakes and sandwiches and creamy treats to the guests and much laughter is shared. As you can see we have a special slot tournament with a balcony cabin on a seven- or eight-day cruise as the first prize.

 

I have the brilliant Gronway Thom flying in from the UK especially for these bloggers. Some of you may have seen him on the Carnival Legend during our European season and he really is a hilarious and brilliantly talented performer and I am sure the bloggers will enjoy this exclusive show.

 

The bloggers will all receive a special VIB lanyard and, at the end of the cruise, they will receive their bloggers T-shirt, as well. Plus there will be a special gift delivered to the cabins which I hope they all enjoy. Just a reminder that we don’t charge a premium for these gifts or the complimentary drinks and other extras. All you have do is register and enjoy all the fun. The biggest challenge I have is making sure I spend as much time as possible with the 688 guests and, exhausting though it may be, it is a challenge that I look forward to each time we do this.

 

I will have daily videos for you so you can see what has been happening and I will also be announcing when and where BC8 will be. It has been great to be on a ship again and I have been so busy that I have not had time to think about Dad and how much I miss him. Of course simply typing those words turns my eyes into Niagara Falls but there is no doubt that keeping busy has helped……….a lot.

 

Butch is, as always, doing a great job as CD but there have been times when I wanted to wrench the microphone out of his hand and do the shows myself. He has, in fact, been gracious enough to allow me to host my marriage show tomorrow for all the guests. I have not done a show for some months so this will be a great chance to get back on the horse again and see if I can still make a few people giggle. Before long, I will be back on stage full time as I journey with the Carnival Miracle to Alaska, something I am looking forward to very much indeed.

 

On Wednesday, the Carnival Sunshine was in Montego Bay and I met an old friend who came to visit me on the ship. He reads this page and indeed my Facebook page. His name is Khem and he was an assistant food manager when I worked in the bar department as the worst bar waiter Carnival has ever had.

 

He was a quiet, unassuming man who just did his job and went to bed….you would hardly have known he was there. Then, he left and I didn’t see him for many years. When I did, it was through my Facebook page and I discovered that he was now a pilot for Jamaica Air. The reason he always went straight to his cabin was to study…….to be a pilot…….and now he was a captain flying people from Jamaica around the world…………brilliant!

 

Talking of changes of job, there is Captain Gaetano Gigliotti who was the first captain of the Carnival Miracle and is now working in our corporate offices for Carnival. Before becoming a deck officer and eventually captain he was…………guess what……a wine steward on the Mardi Gras and Festivale…………what a great story.

 

And finally we have Mark Felix, ex-Carnival bartender originally from Grenada. He joined CCL in 1987 at the age of 18 and now one of the world’s strongest men. Here he is in competition

 

mark-felix-stong-man 

I am sure there are other Carnival crew who I have forgotten and who have gone on to do great things and I will see if over time I can remember some more and share their stories with you.

The hockey games will be on the big screen this coming cruise and, if the final is between Canada and America, that will be fantastic. My friend and assistant Calvyn said something to me tonight. He said that he wanted to go to the Winter Olympics and take part. I asked him what he wanted to do and his answer was ………”I want to wave a rainbow flag in front of Putin dressed liked one of the Village People”………………..brilliant.

 

Goodnight.

Your friend,

John

 

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LITTLE BITS OF CRUISE DIRECTOR http://johnhealdsblog.com/2014/02/03/little-bits-of-cruise-director/ http://johnhealdsblog.com/2014/02/03/little-bits-of-cruise-director/#comments Mon, 03 Feb 2014 20:37:06 +0000 http://johnhealdsblog.com/?p=21578 Continue reading ]]> Let’s start today’s blog with a chat about kids and this question posted on my blog over the weekend.

 

Gary Kemp asks:

Urgent for your IMMEDIATE Attention.

I am VERY disappointed with Camp Carnival. Our boys are six and eight and their group activities were very immature IMO. They are confined to a room – no outside or sports activities – and the most excitement I could imagine is the Wii and PlayStation games for kids that like that kind of thing. My kids are active and love sports or age appropriate games. The camp seems geared toward girls who are generally more passive, enjoy crafts and things. They had musical chairs as one activity. Seriously? They made them sit down and listen to a story!!! This is ridiculous. They are not three year olds. Very unimpressed and this meant no relaxing, casino or couple time for us. The parents who are thinking of using the camp should be warned!!

 John says:

Hello Gary Kemp,

Thank you for taking the time to write. I am very sorry that your children did not enjoy their Camp Carnival experience and I will be writing more about this in a moment. As you will see shortly, there is far more to Camp Carnival than the activities you mentioned but I also understand that not all children like to be away from Mum and Dad and, therefore, don’t want to enjoy what we provide. I am sorry that you did not have the experience you expected and we will work hard on this. Best wishes to all the family.

John

 

While I can’t speak for Gary’s case, our children’s programs get rave reviews from the 700,000 kids we carry a year – the most in the cruise industry.  We’re always tweaking the activities and trying to find both indoor and outdoor activities that are fun for the kids. What’s funny is that in contrast to Gary’s comments, some parents think that we should offer more educational activities, so go figure. By the way, our children’s programs – especially for the younger kids – will be taken to a whole new level with the new Dr. Seuss activities.

 

Interesting subject indeed and it’s important to point out that not all children like a camp environment, either on land or at sea. Take my daughter Kye. At first, she would not set foot at Camp Carnival unless Heidi or I were there with her. But last year on Carnival Legend, she could not get enough of it and wanted to be there morning, noon and night.

 

The kids really do have a whole variety of things to do including arts and crafts, games, fun, theme days, movies, parties and, yes, they get time on the Playstationxbox as well.  I really wanted to make that clear but as I mentioned before there are certain parents like Gary that just don’t like our kids programing for whatever reason. Of course there is the other side of the coin with some parents possibly thinking is it right to leave your kids at Camp Carnival or, indeed, Circle C or Club 02 for as long as possible during a Carnival cruise so we can have the “couple time” that Gary mentions above?

 

I have been humming and ahhing about this since I read this comment and I have two answers ………yes…………and ummmm………no.

 

I am sure that some parents are driven to Prozac and therapy by the slightly French sounding voice in their head that says “Why have children if you don’t want to spend all day with them?”

 

And I have seen this on the ships from time to time. I will meet families and ask if their kids have enjoyed Camp Carnival and will be told that they haven’t been there because, “They want to spend as much time together ………as a family.” I often think when I see this that it’s the kids that sometimes suffer. While it’s great to be with Mum and Dad, happy, confident children do not need to spend their maximum cruising hours with their parents………..or do they?

 

From what I have seen during my 27 years on board, is that kids like to hang out with other kids, especially on vacation and especially when they know that they have brilliant facilities like Camp Carnival, Circle C and Club O2. But sometimes you see these poor children on the Lido Deck, their mothers fussing the living daylights out of them, all in the name of “family quality time”…. a phrase that surely strikes fear into the heart of any Justin Beiber-worshipping 14 year old. When parents are on a Carnival ship, face painting and hula-hooping are not top of their agenda. And when kids are on a cruise, lying on a sun bed, having a drink with umbrellas sticking out of it and watching my marriage show is not I am sure what kids get excited about on board.

 

There is a simple and brilliant solution to all of this……….and that is our three kids and teens entertainment areas. There are plenty more reasons why Camp Carnival is the answer to a perfect cruise vacation for all the family including the most important fact………without Camp Carnival most parents would get bugger all rumpy pumpy.  Youth Directors tell me about parents who would drag their kids to camp screaming: “Do this for me and Dad! We need this time together.” Mom and Dad then disappeared ………probably back to Lido for a pint of ThirstyFrog Red.

I know this sounds harsh on the parents who want a rest, or maybe have some rumpy pumpy, so let me qualify it. I’m not saying people who put their children in for a few hours or so to make ice cream sundaes and shoot zombies on the Playxboxstation while they sneak some time at the Cloud Nine Spa are bad parents, not, not at all. Nope……. I’m talking about those parents who you see waiting impatiently for Camp Carnival to open at 9am and don’t get them again until our Night Owl program finishes in the wee small hours of the morning.

 

For the most part then I think it’s safe to say that children, crave the company of other kids and I know I am biased but Camp Carnival is the best and safest kids play heaven at sea. So, there is I guess a happy medium where you can find that middle ground providing time at Camp Carnival for the kids….and time for Mum and Dad to go back to the cabin to make them a brother or a sister. And, as you know, we recently announced our Seuss At Sea Program will start on Carnival Splendor and will make its way around the fleet after that. And for those who do enjoy their kids being at Camp Carnival, Circle C and Club O2 I would advise that you watch this space………… there is some brilliant news down the road at some point that I have no doubts that the kids and parents alike will be thrilled about.

 

Time for today’s Q and A – off we go

 

Keith O’Shay asks:

Hello John, I have to tell you and the beards about our “brilliant” cruise experience on the Carnival Sensation. We always have a great time when we cruise with Carnival but this was the best of our five so far. We loved cruise director Wee Jimmy. We’ve sailed with Butch and Malcolm and they were good but Wee Jimmy was born to be on stage He was very entertaining, funny and he made sure everything we did with him was hilarious and we had so many LOL moments because of him. I know you worked with him because he told us all about how you had helped him so I thought that I would pass on what a great job he did. It was a great cruise.

 

John says:

Hello Keith O’Shay,

Please know that I am sitting here smiling broadly because you’re right, I did work with Wee Jimmy and seeing words like this make me gush with pride. I will pass on your kind words and I know that Ralph (that’s his real name) will be over the moon. I am so glad you had fun and I hope we see you again very soon. Best wishes.

John

 

Bianca Hennessey asks:

I am booked on Carnival Paradise with husband, booking ****** 2/22/14. I suffer from severe muscle spasms thanks to my ALS which is also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. For this reason, I MUST HAVE A TABLE FOR TWO. A private table is the only way to go and, not having one, will most likely make it a ruined vacation for us. I do not want to have to eat beside of other passengers! My travel agent said there was nothing he could do and to write to you. Can you do a private table reserved and by the window would be great.

Bianca Hennessey

 

John says:

Hello Bianca Hennessey,

I totally understand and I have written to my friend Yusuf, the maître d, and I know he will do his very best for you. The tables for two are not next to the window I am afraid as it’s the larger tables that are placed there. But we will try and get you a private table and I wish you health, happiness and a wonderful cruise. Best wishes.

John

 

Terry asks:

I have always seen on line about people talking about “gifts” that they got for their group parties from you. I have been doing groups on ONLY Carnival for over 10 years (we are a bowling group) and we have a cocktail party with food for everybody (usually about 100 people). How do we get something to give away at these meeting? I have ALWAYS bought things from bon voyage myself to give away — drink coupons, photo credits, last year I bought over $700 in gift cards…just curious our group is booked on Carnival Conquest 9/21/14 for this year !   Thank you, and PS… Your posts always make me laugh at how stupid some people are!!!  Cheers Terry Leis

 

John says:

Hello Terry,

Your group sounds interesting indeed and I am sure you will all have a brilliant time together. I will be happy to send you two trophies and two bottles of champagne to your party so please remind me here or preferably on Facebook (facebook.com/johnheald.com) two days before the cruise, reminding me where and when the cocktail party is. Thanks so much and have a great time.  Best wishes.

John

 

Ann M. Bigelow asks:

I just want to thank you, so much, for the extra little attention, and gifts you sent to my husband and me.  (We were on the Carnival Breeze, November 17, cabin #2289). It surely made our day and made the cruise extra special and it meant so much to us, that you would even do such a nice thing for just us, and the time you took to do this for us.  You are such a dear man, and I do hope one day to have the honor to meet you!  You are so cute!

Ann and Richard Bigelow

 

John says:

Hello Ann M. Bigelow,

I wanted to say a big thank you for those very kind words. My thanks to my colleagues for helping with my request for you and I do hope we see you again very soon. Best wishes to you both.

John

 

Michael Follain asks:

My DW and I will be spending Valentine’s Day on the Carnival Breeze. Can you do something special for her? Maria works very hard as a serving police officer, plus raises our three kids and never has any time for herself. I thought maybe you could send her flowers and chocolates or something to make her cruise special. The last cruise was on the Dream when we had to stay in Saint Martin because of the engine breakdown!

 

John says:

Hello Michael Follain,

I am sure that your wife does indeed deserve a rest and deserves some fun which she will, of course, get both of during her cruise. Please send me your cabin number on the 12th on my Facebook page please (facebook.com/johnheald) so I don’t forget. I can’t send flowers but I am sure I can find her something to say welcome aboard. Have a brilliant time together. Best wishes.

John

 

Virginia Hughes asks:

Do you think Carnival will bring back the cruise certificates? I have purchased them before and found booking that way more enjoyable. There is no line at my desk to book it and I can schedule the time off from work before booking, eliminating having to cancel if my vacation is not approved. Thank you.

 

John says:

Hello Virginia Hughes,

I am very much aware of how many people were disappointed that we stopped these certificates some time ago. I have mentioned this to the beards on a few occasions and, so far, I can tell you there are no plans to bring them back. I do hope that we get to see you soon and if there is anything I can do for you, please do ask. Best wishes.

John

 

Steven Pawlak asks:

I cruised on the Carnival Sensation, my second cruise, and first time I have been told I have to wear shoes in the buffet. It’s supposed to be a beach area, isn’t it, on Lido so how come I was told to do this two times on Carnival Sensation and never on Carnival Fascination and why do I have to wear shoes because nobody told me why? Just to put them on in front of my wife and kids. WTF is this – customer is always right, not at Carnival

 

John says:

Hello Steven Pawlak,

We do have rules about this with all guests asked to wear shoes in the Lido restaurant for health and safety reasons as we are really trying to reduce accidents on board and wet floors and bare feet simply don’t go together very well. It is also not nice to see a minging (urbandictionary.com) pair of feet while you are waiting for your Mongolian Wok or if another guest dropped a baked potato or a huge fully loaded burger on your little toe, that would be very painful indeed. Seriously, though we do have these rules and we are going to be working hard to make sure the staff all know to enforce them. Flip flops, tennis shoes, sandals, steel capped work boots, Uggs, flippers, and oversized clown shoes are all OK but bare feet are not. I do hope that you will put this one little thing aside and that you had a great cruise which means we will see you again. Best wishes to you and the family.

John

 

Charles Parker asks:

We just got off the new Carnival Sunshine and had a great time.  I wanted to comment on a few things, starting with the crew. Jamie was a great CD and we talked a few times. We had the most interaction with Lexi, who did trivia all week!  She was a blast and very funny. And I finally won a ship on a stick after 8 Carnival cruises! Also, our team at dinner, Marko, Dusan, and Zeljko not only remembered what drinks we preferred, but our breads and “extra” butter.  There were a few things that were different in the theater for the production shows.  The backdrop with the bright changing lights, well were very bright. The live band was missed. We missed many events due to filled areas, Red Frog Pub too small for karaoke, comedians missed due to Limelight too small, and the live band in the Ocean Plaza, too small, even with overflow in the Alchemy Bar area.  If you did not get to these locations 30 minutes before show time, you would have to stand, which blocked views from everywhere except the main seating areas. All in all, another awesome cruise.

 

John says:

Hello Charles Parker,

Thanks so much for taking the time to write and I have just sent your review to the ship. It will be interesting to see all of this for myself when I take close to 700 bloggers on the ship and the flow and use of public spaces will be something I will play close attention to. I also miss the live orchestras at the shows very much but certainly not having them there means we are able to utilize them for music and dancing in the lounges and especially at the Ocean Plaza. I think we have learned a lot from the first cruises and since you sailed two months ago. We have increased the karaoke sessions and have added more live music. I want to thank you for taking the time to write because it is through comments like this that we listen and learn. I am glad to see that you had fun and I do hope we see you soon. Best wishes.

John

 

Dorothy asks:

John,

First comment to you. Just got off the Carnival Dream a few days ago. It’s our 14th cruise and we ONLY go on Carnival. Wouldn’t you think when we ask for a large table of guests to sit with, we would get it? Seems we always have issues with our table and need to change. We were changed to 406 in Scarlet dining room and those waiters were the worst we have had. We were ALWAYS the last to get served and always the last to leave. It was frustrating. We hardly ever saw his helper and they didn’t joke or bother much with the whole table which was very disappointing. We were on the Carnival Dream last Sept. also and it was worst. They stuck us in a corner facing wall and we changed, and was disappointing. Is it just the Carnival Dream?

 

John says:

Hello Dorothy,

I am very sorry to read this and it is indeed a very unusual comment because, for most people, the service and fun they have in the dining room is one of the highlights of the cruise. It looks like the servers you had are in need of some help and management so I thank you so much for taking the time to tell me about this. I do apologise and assure you we will work on improving their service and I am sure like all your other cruises, that your next one will be back to the very high standard you expect. I thank you so much for your loyalty and if there is anything I can do for you, please let me know. Best wishes.

John

 

David Murnaghan asks:

We were on a cruise on the Carnival Valor and heard an announcement by I think the captain that said bravo bravo team. There were no more announcements about what this was which we found to be very odd. Can you tell me what it was all about, Heald?

 

John says:

Hello David Murnaghan,

I checked on this and, apparently, the crew was holding a training drill thus the “Bravo Bravo Bravo” announcement was made over the PA system. It is a signal to the crew for a missing passenger or crew member and we hold these and many other drills on a regular basis as part of our ongoing safety training practices. I do hope you had a great cruise and thanks for asking the question. Best wishes.

John

 

Gabriela Hipolito asks:

Can you tell me who the comedians will be on our next cruise which is coming on February 9 on Carnival Glory? I was hoping for a Hispanic comedian because you have George Lopez in your headers but no Hispanic comedians. You seem to only provide comedy for African Americans and Southerners but nothing for us Latinos and, cruising from Miami, most of the ship are Hispanic. I hope this time it is different and you do not discriminate

 

John says:

Hello Lola Hipolito,

Let me start by saying that you have four wonderful comedians next cruise in Percy Crews, Lowell Sanders, John Wessling and Doug Willams. We certainly do not hire any comedian based on their background, colour or heritage but only on one simple fact — are they funny? If the answer is yes then we hire them. We do actually have some very funny Latino comedians such as George Solano and Al Romero, among others.  I am sure on the Carnival Glory next week that our four comedians will have you laughing out loud so please do not miss any of their shows. Have a wonderful time. Best wishes.

John

 

That’s all for today and, as always, I thank you very much for your comments and questions.

 

It will soon be Valentine’s Day………oh, joy. I say that because Heidi and I have not celebrated Valentine’s Day since her father passed away on February 14, 2005. I wonder In fact as I read this if with my Dad passing away this past December 18 if Christmas will ever be the same again for me?

 

Anyway, I say “oh, joy” about Valentine’s day also because I have always hated it ever since I was a teenager and I stood by the door waiting for a card to fall through the letterbox telling me that someone loved me. But they didn’t and February 14 was just another reminder that I was as ugly as a pair of putrid feet at a Lido buffet and there was as much chance of me getting a Valentine’s Day card as there is Pine Bluff becoming President of www.onlypositivecruisecomentsusingyourrealname.com.

 

But for many this special day of loooooovvvveee is very important and we will be celebrating on the ships as well. We will be doing the following:

 

-          A special “Chocolate Valentine” dessert will be offered at dinner.

 

-          A red carnation will be handed to each female guest during dinner (this includes those guests selecting the alternate dining and the steakhouse and other specialty restaurants).

 

-          “Free Valentine’s Day Hug” stations around the ship.

 

-          Ships with Seaside Theater big screens will be provided with Kiss Cam graphic box.  Focus on random guests whose smooch will be projected on the Seaside Theater.

 

-          There will also be a Romantic Trivia Quiz, the Real Romeo Contest, and The Romantic Crooner Karaoke Contest. There will also be date night movies shown on the big screens and cabin TVs. These include The Vow, People Like us, My Best Friend’s Wedding, and The Proposal.

 

There will also be a romantic hour in the nightclubs after dinner with the DJs playing these songs.

 

Boyz II Men I’ll Make Love To You
All-4-One I Swear
Art Garfunkel I Only Have Eyes For You
Backstreet Boys As Long As You Love Me
Bad English When I See You Smile
Bee Gees How Deep Is Your Love
Berlin Take My Breath Away (from Top Gun)
Bette Midler Wind Beneath My Wings
Bon Jovi I’ll Be There For You
Bryan Adams (Everything I Do) I Do It For You
Carpenters (They Long To Be) Close To You
Celine Dion Because You Loved Me (from Up Close And Personal)
Celine Dion My Heart Will Go On (From Titanic)
Celine Dion And Clive Griffin When I Fall In Love
Chicago Will You Still Love Me?
Dean Martin That’s Amore
Diana Ross & Lionel Richie Endless Love
Doris Day When I Fall In Love
Edwin McCain I’ll Be
Elton John Can You Feel The Love Tonight
Elvis Presley Can’t Help Falling In Love
Frank Sinatra My Funny Valentine
Frank Sinatra The Way You Look Tonight
LeAnn Rimes How Do I Live
Nat King Cole Unforgettable
Natalie Cole As Time Goes By
Peabo Bryson & Roberta Flack Tonight I Celebrate My Love
Stevie Wonder I Just Called To Say I Love You
U2 With Or Without You
Vanessa Williams Save The Best For Last
Whitney Houston I Will Always Love You
Mariah Carey Hero

 

And, of course, the DJs will take your love song requests.

 

The person in charge of scheduling and running these activities is, of course, the cruise director. I mentioned the other day that we are working on the schedule still as to specific dates for some of the ships. I will, of course, have the full and very specific schedule posted here after the CD conference but wanted to keep you informed as to what is happening that we know of so far. Have a read of this:

 

-          Butch Begovich will be joining us shoreside for the majority of the summer to work on some very exciting new projects for the fleet. He will be missed on board but I want to assure all his many fans that he will be back in the CD chair again later this year.

-          That means we need a new CD for the Carnival Breeze and I am happy to tell you that this will be Matt Mitcham who will join the Carnival Breeze after his vacation. I have not had the chance to watch Matt at work but I hear from many of you that he is a great cruise director blessed with a great personality and dashing and hansom good looks…….the bastard. Congratulations then to Matt and I am sure he will do a superb job on the Carnival Breeze.

-          Brad Calabrese, who is currently on the Carnival Freedom and who has done a fantastic job there for some years now, will be moving to a floating role as cruise director.

-          Skip Lyons will be moving to the Carnival Freedom and guide the vessel through dry dock and the upgrades that we will be announcing soon. Skip is another great CD and has just completed the Panama Canal cruise on the Carnival Imagination and reports here and on Facebook show that he did a super job.

-          But don’t worry Carnival Imagination fans, because you are soon getting the one and only Goose Neumann who will be heading to the West Coast to take over the Carnival Imagination. And as we all know, Goose is one of our best CDs and will as always put his heart and soul into making that ship the best in the fleet.

-          Jen Baxter certainly had adventures while serving on Carnival Triumph. She proved herself to be calm and assuring in the most difficult of circumstances and has taken Carnival Triumph since her dry dock and 2.0 upgrades to the number one ship in the fleet according to your online surveys. Jen will be packing her extraordinary dresses and moving off Carnival Triumph to take a floating role and spread her joy and fun to many new Carnival guests who will like so many find her adorable.

-          The new CD of the Carnival Triumph will be one of our most experienced CDs and congratulations to Kirk Benning will move to the Carnival Triumph out of Galveston. Kirk and I are old friends and he has a personality that makes him so comfortable on the microphone and his humour and love of what he does means that the ship is in the best of hands as he brings his huge experience and special brand of fun to the ship.

-          That means that another very experienced cruise director, Brent Mitchell, will move to Carnival Pride. Brent is a perfectionist and is loved by his staff and the guests that sail with him. He is a very unusual person because he is funny and he is Canadian!………OK, kidding ………..but he really is very funny and I know that as the Carnival Pride gets her full list of 2.0 upgrades that she will have a brilliant person in the CD chair.

-          Lastly and on behalf of Ryan Fitzgerald, our manager of entertainment and the person in charge of the CDs, I am very proud to announce the full promotion of the following gentlemen to cruise director:  Hennie Van Heerden, who will continue floating and assisting in filling gaps in the CD schedule. He is the Jim Carey of CDs and whose facial gestures and comedy style have propelled him to a quick promotion. Well done mate.

Then we have Marcelo Alvarado, who will be taking the Carnival Victory later this year as his core ship. Marcelo is from Brazil and is known affectionately as Marcelo Marshmallow by the guests. I know him well, he was with me on the Carnival Splendor during the difficult times we had there and he is a natural leader and someone who has one of the most important and most difficult to obtain qualities of a CD…….instant likeability. Congratulations to Mr. Marshmallow.

 

Now please don’t ask me yet for dates when these changes are happening because I do not have specific dates just yet. When I do………so will you. There will be other changes as well to some of the other ships and, again, I will let you know these soon and will I promise to have that complete schedule soon. There will be some changes coming soon as well for the job itself which will be fascinating. Thank you all for supporting the best group of CDs in the business, I know they all appreciate it very much

There have been so many changes already to the job since I became a cruise director back in 1492… Gone are the days when I could make an amusing farting noise over the PA system. Instead I have to make sure the guests are aware of our rules and regulation “No smoking.” ”Watch your step.” “Mind your head.” “Shoes must be worn in the Lido restaurant.” “Dry yourself off after coming out of the pools and hot tubs.” “Separate your garbage.” I still make mistakes and call the crew “crew members” and not team members as the beards decree and yep, even after all these years, I still say the word “Capers” instead of Fun Times.

 

The problem these days though is that as things changed so did the amount of time the CDs have to actually be on stage and out with the guests. Paperwork consumes so much of their time; it’s not an excuse, just a fact. Let me give you an example. When I was on the Carnival Legend this past year in Europe one of the dancers sprained his ankle during one of the shows. It wasn’t a bad sprain but an entire Brazilian rain forest has had to be chopped down to allow for the paper work that I, as his department head, have to fill out asking about what shoes he was wearing, the condition of the stage, how many hours he had worked and if Saturn was in line with Uranus at the time of the incident. I then have to return the rain forest to the security and medical department who then send it to the beards at HQ. This isn’t just Carnival, it isn’t just the cruise industry and it’s the world. When I first started, there would have been no paper work and the dancer would have hobbled around a bit, still smiling, still doing his job ready to dance again in a few days.

 

This is just one small example of the job description of your cruise director and it should not be that way. It should be stage, stage and more stage with lashings of one on ones with the guests. And that’s what it will be again. More news on that after the CD conference in March. I am very much looking forward to working as a CD again in Alaska on the Carnival Miracle. I will be reunited with an officer I have not seen in many, many years. In fact, the last time we worked together was ummmm……….interesting. It was on the Carnival Liberty in 2006 and he found out that I had chosen the movie Titanic to show on the Seaside Theatre and, trust me……. he went absolutely bonkers. His arms were flapping around and he started screaming and jerking his body like someone who had just had a cattle prod placed on his dangly bits. He was shouting words like “minkya” and  calling me “stunard ” and touching his dangly bits as Italian superstition dictates. We only showed it that one time and Leonardo DiCrapio (spelt correctly) never again appeared on the Seaside Theatre big screen. I understand his superstitions and he was after all, the captain. But the chances of seeing a sodding iceberg sailing between Grand Cayman and Ocho Rios were as plausible as actually seeing Pine Bluff actually on a Carnival ship.

 

And now the captain and I will be reunited and I wonder if he will have forgiven me? I am feeling a little tired today as last night I stayed up to watch the Super Bowl and watch the Seahawks slaughter Denver. My wife stayed up with me and I did my best to explain the game to her as best as I could. The idea, Heidi, I said is for the big players to knock the small ones over and try and get the quarterbacker fired…….or sacked as it’s known in America. The quarterbacker passes the ball to a running backer or wide catcher who then has to run with the ball into an area known as the M zone. It is then the law that the player who reaches the M zone must do an impression of either a Michael Jackson dance routine or go down on his knees and say a prayer. Heidi lasted about 20 minutes and then went into the kitchen, turned the TV on in there and watched a program, Real Hoes Wives of Beverly Hills……..as it’s sometimes known.

 

Goodnight.

Your friend,

John

 

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APPARENTLY THE CREW DOES NOT LIKE ME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! http://johnhealdsblog.com/2014/01/29/apparently-the-crew-does-not-like-me/ http://johnhealdsblog.com/2014/01/29/apparently-the-crew-does-not-like-me/#comments Wed, 29 Jan 2014 19:51:38 +0000 http://johnhealdsblog.com/?p=21572 Continue reading ]]> Let’s start with this today:

 

Jim Brunswick

I wanted you to read this thread made on Cruise Critic made by Carnival’s top cheerleader.

http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1907764

 

My point of concern is that you will see a message from Pine Bluff who states that “the crew does not like you” that I think you need to address and have the right to reply to. Care to comment because this is a serious allegation!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Well, maybe now you can see why I mentioned the subject of the overuse of exclamation marks on Facebook yesterday……….prepare for your nipple to be flicked, Jim. Most importantly, though, I found the comment by Pine Bluff quite upsetting. Now I guess you will have to ask the crew if that’s true or not because it is not my place to say if they like me or not but I will say that I work very hard when I am CD to make sure I look after them. I have never forgotten where I came from and by that I mean the bar department.

 

Yep, I started my career with Carnival in the bar department. I had bluffed my way through the first interview as a bar waiter with consummate ease. The only difficult moment was when Barbara Wang, the Carnival bar director who was interviewing me, asked if I knew what a “sex on the beach” was. I was about to say that being an ugly bastard, I hadn’t a clue about sex on a beach, a hill, a bed, a couch, a hammock …….in fact, anywhere….when I realised that it was some sort of drink …….. so I said, “Of course,” smiled…………… and got the job.

 

I have shared a cabin and a bathroom, I have worked hard and had no guest area privileges and I know how hard the crew works. I pride myself in never ever walking past any crew member without saying hello and always have an open door policy for all of them. I respect every crew member without measure and have always said they remain the most important part of your cruise. But again, you will have to ask the crew if what Mr. Bluff said is true. By the way, my guess is Mr. Bluff is the artist formally known as H82SEAUGO……..welcome back, mate.

 

Finding myself at the receiving end of these kind of comments can be distressing, sometimes intensely so. But I take it as given that being “well known” after 26 years at sea and a few years on social media means that I am expected to have such a thick skin that this kind of comment bounces off me. And, for the most part, they do but it is puzzling that just because someone is well known or indeed famous means that this should be so. Take anyone truly famous. They may have money in the bank and a high profile life that makes them a “star” and household name but does that automatically come with skin as thick as an elephant’s scrotum and should these people not have feelings about some of the spiteful and hateful comments they get? This is the same for most famous people, trolls attack and yet they are supposed to take it all up the jacksie (urban dictionary.com) without question.

 

When I first started this blog and was on the way to more than 46,000 likes on Facebook, my instinct when reading the trollage was to demand every nasty and personal comment be deleted, or have them branded on the head with a huge “T” for troll. But then, as time went on, I reminded myself about my total belief in the freedom of speech and so I felt conflicted. And so after a specific incident involving a man with a sombrero that evolved on Facebook and resulted in a kneejerk and stupid reaction by banning a few posters I vowed never to do that again and apologise again now for doing so. So, unlike other sites I do not ban or delete unless someone steps way, way, way over the line. So what about comments like Mr. Bluff and a few others throw at me? Well, I don’t think they’re necessarily dreadful stinky people. They may have only one or two friends. But I do get the strong sense that trolls of both genders do not have satisfying rumpy pumpy lives. Right Mr. Bluff?

 

This doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t hold social media providers to a certain standard and ask them to moderate their pages to stop death threats getting through especially with internet bullying involving children. This worries me and, as Kye starts to discover the World Wide Web, I am well aware of the dangers that await her there. Online, as in the real world, we’re all free to say what we like, no matter how nasty or offensive. That’s a beautiful thing, and we should not lose it over its dark side.

 

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

 

Tanya Ellis asks:

I have Your Time Dining on the Carnival Elation in March and want to know if I order a bottle of wine the first night and do not drink it all will I have to take it with me and bring it to the table the next few nights even though we have different servers.

 

John says:

Hello Tanya Ellis,

Yes, of course, we are happy to do this for you. The waiter will ask for your cabin number and when you come into the dining room the next night, just tell your server you have a bottle of wine from the previous night and he or she will bring it to the table for you. I hope you have a fantastic cruise. Best wishes.

John

 

Michele Chase asks:

Hi John: I just returned back from my cruise on Carnival Valor. We had a great time on the cruise it was a group of 45 people. I do have one complaint; I was put in room 2477 aft cabin. I enjoyed the spaciousness of the room, but what I did not enjoy was the noise and vibration from the thrusters. There should be a disclaimer put on these aft cabins warning people about the noise and vibration. On the last day of the cruise from St. Maarten to San Juan I did not sleep the noise and vibration started from midnight until we docked at 7am. Other than the noisy room I enjoyed the Carnival Valor the CD was great, the staff was friendly and helpful, and I loved all the ports. I will be sailing again in Jan. 2014; on the Carnival Ecstasy I love Carnival cruises.

 

John says:

Hello Michele Chase,

I am so very sorry that you had a sleepless night and I will definitely pass this to the ship and the Miami office. I also want to thank you for your kind words for the crew and they will be very proud when they see this. Thanks again and please accept my apologies for the concerns you had

Best wishes.

John

 

Kevin Chartrand asks:

We were on the Carnival Freedom. We had a wonderful cruise but my wife twisted her ankle in St. Thomas. It didn’t bother her until dinner time. We headed back to the cabin after dinner to take care of her ankle. I took what ice we had and put it into a towel and wrapped it around her ankle, which was now elevated. The cabin steward was nearby and I asked him for help. His name was George and on the Riviera deck. He asked me to call room service, for a zip lock bag and he got additional ice. When I was on the phone with room service my cousin came into my cabin to tell me my family was trying to reach us because my father had died. I asked George to take over so I could go to the Internet cafe to let people know that I was aware of the situation. He took right over and helped my wife. When I got back to the cabin she was doing fine all thanks to George. I don’t know what I would have done without him. He went well beyond what he had to do. It was greatly appreciated.

 

John says:

Hello Kevin Chartrand,

May I start by sending my sincere sympathies for the loss of your beloved father. I of course know exactly how you are feeling having just lost my Dad too. I realise I am late in sending my reply to you so please may I thank you for taking the time to write about George who I will make sure sees this. I hope there have been better times since and that we see you soon. Please let me know if there is anything I can do for you. Best wishes to you both.

John

 

Neil Camden asks:

Why is Carnival so far behind the rest of the cruise industry in its smoking rules? Smokers are still on Carnival and are allowed on their balcony to use their cancer sticks and ruin the health and ruin the cruise of others. More and more across the world, smokers are vilified as the rodents they are but, on Carnival ships, these rodents can spread their self-inflicted death sentences to others. Wake up Carnival, smell the fresh air and see your profits rise. That got your attention, I think.

 

John says:

Hello Neil Camden,

Thanks so much for taking the time to write. Certainly, there are arguments on both sides of the smoking argument that are worthy of discussion although I think the use of the word “rodent” is rather baffling to me. Over the last few years, we have reduced the smoking areas on our ships to and may I also mention that while smoking is allowed on balconies we do not allow it on spa balconies found on the ships that have the Cloud Nine Spas. We will continue to try and help both smokers and non-smokers as best we can. Thanks again for writing. Best wishes

John

 

Katarina Karpenko asks:

My parents are celebrating their 40th wedding anniversary on one of your ships the
Carnival Fascination this February 17. They are from the Ukraine and now live in New York. They speak zero English, so I am begging you nicely for a Russian speaking cabin boy and a Russian waiter. The cabin they are in is on a different deck to me because we booked different times. Theirs is Rivera Deck 91 and they are with booking number for the cruise that is ****** Can you make this come true?

 

John says:

Hello Katarina Karpenko,

I will certainly do my best on the waiter and I am sure in this aspect we will be able to help you and I have asked the maître d to assist you. The stateroom steward is not easy to change because each is assigned to their section and we can’t change that based on one cabin, I am afraid. I am sure though that if your parents have any communication difficulties, we will be able to help them so please do not worry. I wish them a wonderful anniversary and I wish you a brilliant cruise. Best wishes.

John

 

Heather asks:

Hello!  I just returned from a wonderful cruise on board the Carnival Victory.  There were eight of us total in my group. Everyone was great as always.  I especially enjoyed Jakob, Roly, Jenn

from Canada, Shane from Wisconsin, (I think that was his name) and one other young man whose name I have forgotten.  Sorry! I saw this group daily at trivia, the scavenger hunt, name that tune, etc.  They were loads of fun.  I walked away with a medal and two ships on sticks.

One question, am I mistaken or did the Lido deck have trays on the last cruise for the buffet lines?  It’s been a year since my last cruise, but I thought they used to have this. We made it work, but they would have been helpful.  One thing that was definitely different this time was the past guest party. I loved the party as always, but I missed the video.  The other three past gust parties I have attended were in the big lounge, and we would see a short film on the history of Carnival.  This time we were in the Punchliner Comedy Club and there was no film.  I missed that.  The party was great as always, though.  Already trying to plan my next cruise (or two).  I miss the port of Mobile, but at least we have New Orleans. Possibly taking a spring break cruise on the Carnival Sunshine. Hopefully, one day I will get a chance to sail with you.  It’s possible I did already back in August of 1995 on the Imagination, but who can remember that?  I was only 16 then, ha!  So I’m hoping that even if I did already share that cruise with you, I will get a chance again as an adult when I will appreciate the experience.  Keep up all the great work!  My family loves Carnival.

 

John says:

Hello Heather,

Thanks so much for a wonderful review, which I apologise has taken me so long to respond to. I have sent this to the ship’s hotel director who I know will be thrilled when he sees your kind words of praise. The trays on Lido have been replaced with large plates which we find to be just as good and much nicer then the old trays, it also promotes less food waste. As for the past guest party, yes it has been revamped again and starting this coming month, each ship will have a newly created video to show all our guests that I hope you enjoy. Please let me know if there is anything I can do for you and I do hope we see you again very soon. Best wishes.

John

 

William Starks asks:

Hello John, just wanted to tell you that we just returned from a cruise on the Carnival Dream.  It was the best cruise ever!  As a platinum member, it was great to get to our cabin way early. No waiting and they took care of us.  I wanted to let you know about our wait staff in the Crimson Dining room.  Eduardo was the head waiter, I Made and Jeffery were the best!  They were so great that we added more on our gratuity for each of them!  If you could say something to the beards about how much fun we had with them at our dinner we will appreciate it. Everything about the cruise was great. There were some minor glitches but nothing serious.  Already planning our next cruise.  Our table # was any time dinning 5:45-9:00pm, table #218 and 220.  Thank you and Carnival for a great vacation.  Hope to see you soon again.

 

John says:

Hello William Starks,

Again, my apologies for the delay in writing back but I am thrilled that you had such a brilliant time. I will be passing this to the ship and if there is anything I can do regarding those “minor glitches” or anything you need to let me know, please do contact me. I hope we see you soon.

Best wishes.

John

 

Dave Conlin asks:

Hey John, I convinced my group to come sail with me in February for back to backs on Carnival Conquest. My concern is the price of flights out of Miami coming back home to Ottawa leave around 11:50 and noon. Could you tell me what is the earliest flight we should book from docking in Miami and flying out from Miami… The site says 11:30 am but just wanted to know your input… Will the ship let us off first?  Thanks in advance.

Dave from Ottawa

 

John says:

Hello Dave Conlin,

This is another post that needs an apology from me for the late reply but, yes, we will indeed make sure you are off the ship once Customs and Border Protection give us permission to start. Please let guest services know that you have an early flight and be sure to use the self-assist system in which you carry your own bags off the ship. All should be well and I wish you a brilliant time.  Best wishes.

John

 

Beth and Arthur Havenstein asks:

Why does Carnival make it so difficult for my husband to use his CPAP machine? This made us both very upset and spoiled what was otherwise a good cruise on the Carnival Magic. Carnival should actually listen to someone who depends on these machines to get through the night alive.

 

John says:

Hello Beth and Arthur Havenstein,

I am sorry to read of your troubles and I would like, if possible, for you to send me more information on what concerns you may have had. I know that with some of our power outlets being away from the bed, that an extension cord is required but I know that we will provide one if someone asks. That aside, I really would like to know more so please let me know when you can. Best wishes.

John

 

Jennifer B asks:

Hi John, just wanted to say that myself, husband and toddler daughter had a great time on board Carnival Sunshine. Every time I see MakkaPakka now, I’m reminded of you singing this to my little girl.We’re trying to get my folks out for a Caribbean cruise in 2015 and just can’t wait. Would like to say that everyone we came into contact with on Carnival Sunshine were great and could not do enough for our girl, let me try to remember…John from Honduras, our cabin steward, Hilario and Mahai (sp), our waiters, Sean our bar waiter, Dewi (sp), our restaurant host and many more I may have forgotten.  In reference to another comment made about the Sunshine musicians, I have to disagree, and say that Robbie was by far the best, a great musician and really knew how to interact with the crowd.  Anyway, thanks to everyone who made that a holiday we won’t forget in a hurry.

 

John says:

Hello Jennifer B,

I remember, of course, your beautiful daughter and that priceless look she gave me when I sang the In The Night Garden song to her. Thanks so much for taking the time to write to me and for these wonderful words of praise for the great crew of this superb ship. I do hope we will see you all again soon and thanks once again. I send you all my very best wishes.

John

 

Linda asks:

I want to thank you for the amazing way you took care of my husband and me on our cruise on the Carnival Miracle. I had written to you telling you about Bruce’s motorcycle accident and how it had changed his life and what you did for him on the cruise was something he and I will never forget. Please also thank Jasmina our waitress at table 226 and Novko our cabin steward, for all their help and their smiles which brightened each day. We love Carnival. Thank you, John, for all you do.

 

John says:

Hello Linda,

I am honoured by those very kind words and I thank my colleagues on the ship who made all the requests I had sent them happen. I will be passing on all your kind words to the senior managers and I know they will make sure the brilliant crew you mentioned see your praise. I hope your husband is doing well and I do hope also that we will see you very soon. Best wishes.

John

 

Aaron Horenstein asks:

John, from the Carnival Splendor’s jazz club: so many thanks to the beards for leaving the bar open for us to enjoy our cigars at will—and for having the wonderful Latin band to play for us.  This is such an improvement over our 2011 voyage on the Splendor, when the jazz club was closed most evenings for private events, and an officer so rudely screamed at me when I asked her why she was booking private events in the only cigar-friendly bar.  CCL has earned back my loyalty.

 

John says:

Hello Aaron Horenstein,

It is interesting that we have two spectrums of the smoking debate here on today’s Q&A. You are referring to the aft bar on deck 5 which is one we do allow smoking in and as a cigar smoker myself, I know how wonderful and, indeed, rare it is these days to find a place to enjoy some long ashes. I am so glad we have your loyalty and hope we see you again soon. Best wishes.

John

 

And that’s all for today and many thanks for all your comments.

 

A lot of you have been asking for an updated version of the cruise director schedule and so I wanted to address a few things about that if I may. We are making changes and certainly the CD schedule is very fluid at the moment with lots of changes and movement happening. This means that I do not want to publish a new schedule until it is all set. And while I will, as planned, be the CD for the Alaska season on the Carnival Miracle there will be lots of other movement.

 

There are reasons for this and these reasons will be discussed with all my colleagues when we meet for our conference in Miami on March 31 – April 4. We certainly have lots to talk about and for reasons I will explain to you after we have spoken with the CDs, this will be one of the most important conferences we have had in a long time. Big changes ahead that I have no doubt you, the guest, will appreciate very much.

 

So if you have questions as to who your cruise director will be please let me know and I will do my best to confirm. The schedule will remain the same until March and then some of the changes will start. Obviously while the CD conference is on, there will be a chance for some of our assistant cruise directors to shine and I wonder if you have sailed with any that you would like to see in the big chair?

 

Anyway, more on the CD’s as the days progress and I still maintain that a great CD can make a great cruise a brilliant one.

 

Things here at home are getting better…….slowly. Mum is staying strong and she is a

remarkable woman but it must be so challenging and to suddenly go to bed, wake up, eat and spend the day without the man she loved and was married to for 54 years. But, as I said, her strength is extraordinary and with the loving support of the family she will get through this. I am here until the February 8 when I fly to Miami and then on to New Orleans to sail on the Carnival Sunshine to make final plans for the bloggers cruise on February 16.

 

As I mentioned in my opening waffle about the worries of the Internet I do have concerns about the world she is growing up in. Yes, she will be teased, that’s for sure – that’s just the way all kids are — but I hate bullying in all forms although there needs to be a clear understanding between teasing and bullying. Teasing for instance would be putting some itching powder in Justin Bieber’s underpants minutes before his court appearance in Miami.

 

Teasing was part of my school life and I am sure it was yours as well, right? Sure, it has its bad sides, of course, nobody likes to think that someone will draw a huge gentleman’s sausage on their children’s schoolbook but there are upsides, if you will, like in my school years where I spent all day with my head in a toilet you I didn’t need to wash my hair that night.

 

But today’s PC world means we can wave goodbye to the socially important pursuit of teasing. I tease people for being too short. I tease people for using!!!!!!!!!!! at the end of a post. And, in return people tease me for looking like I have a beach ball down my shirt and a tooth that looks like it could be used as a bottle opener.

 

Teasing can be a good thing – sometimes. It sharpens the mind and punctures the ego. Teasing, at its best, is faster and funnier than a drunk pop star in a yellow Lamborghini. Teasing is what separates us from the animals. You never, for instance, see a zebra laughing their heads off when one of their mates falls over or gets eaten by a lion. Well, I was bullied at school, mercilessly and endlessly for nearly two years. I had a fire extinguisher let off in my face. And I was thrown on a daily basis into the school’s unheated plunge pool.

 

I was punched, kicked and, at one point, had my hands super glued together. I had to do something to make them stop. So I tried my hardest to make everyone laugh. It’s not easy when you’ve got a mouth full of dog poo, but, eventually, I succeeded and the bullying stopped. There is though a fine line between teasing and bullying. If say, I was to meet Mr. Bluff, strip him naked ……..cover his dangly bits in honey……..and then invite a big group of wasps and hornets over for lunch…………..is that bullying or teasing?

 

Goodnight.

Your friend,

John

 

 

 

 

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THE RETURN OF THE BLOG http://johnhealdsblog.com/2014/01/27/the-return-of-the-blog/ http://johnhealdsblog.com/2014/01/27/the-return-of-the-blog/#comments Mon, 27 Jan 2014 19:19:43 +0000 http://johnhealdsblog.com/?p=21568 Continue reading ]]> No, it’s not an illusion; this is indeed a new blog. Yep, here I am, back in my underpants, ready once again to give you another average blog. I had paused from writing the blogs while I was home thinking about my book about my life at sea. And then Dad passed away …………. and …………well……..you know. But the blog is as important to me as Facebook, if not more so, because it was the blog that got me on the social media thingy and thus connected with you. And it is the blog that our seven blogger’s cruises have been named after including the one in February of which we have 688 people registered for. 

It is far easier to write these blogs when I am on the ship, not from a time point of view but for content because the blog was always about my life as a CD and the stories that happen every day on the brilliant ships of Carnival Cruise Lines. But it is my intention of getting back to writing at least two blogs a week while on land and then three a week minimum when I am back on the ocean waves. So unless I get asked to star in a Latvian rumpy pumpy movie or someone called D Clark and her mates from the Cruise Critic boards has me whacked for using the word “brilliant” then I will pledge my allegiance to this here blog.

 

So, what shall we start with today? Well, it has to be rock and roll…………doesn’t it? The announcement of our Carnival Live program is very exciting and we will chat about that some more shortly. But I will say now that having rock and roll bands performing on our stages will be sensational. And I wonder as STYX and Foreigner and REO Speedwagon, etc. rock the Seven Seas if they will or not behave like proper rock stars. It would be acceptable if you were a beard-wearing accountant or a tofu-eating professor of applied mathematics mind-numbingly dull. But in a pop star, dullness is not allowed and that brings me to everyone’s favourite Canadian ………..Justin Bieber and his alleged drag race with a model with breasts bigger than my head in a yellow Lamborghini through the streets of Miami.

 

I have been giving this a lot of thought and part of me is not surprised that an internationally famous worshipped God of rock, with groupies and millions of dollars in the bank did what he did. Maybe the reason so many are disgusted by his behaviour is because these days rock stars are, for the most part, so well behaved. I have in my role as CD and Brand Ambassador, met John Mayer, Jennifer Hudson and other performers whose abilities were just fantastic…….but bloody hell…….they were as incredibly engaging and nice as my Mum. I cruised with the New Kids On The Block on one of their special cruises and there were no signs of orgies in a lifeboat or finding one of them passed out in an elevator. Nope, they were so nice and very well behaved and had I been in their dressing room, I probably would have found some scented candles.

 

So Bieber, the boy wonder, was being a rock star, driving a sports car, drinking and having rumpy pumpy with supermodels. But then you have to worry for him as well because he could possibly be on the same road as Kurt Cobain or Amy Winehouse and, like both those much-loved performers, be dead by the age of 27? And who is to blame? Bieber, his agents and managers, his parents? It seems all of them but the easiest thing is surely to simply …………… blame Canada :)

 

Let’s chat then about Carnival Live. I will never forget the first time I bought a ticket to hear a band live. It was Black Sabbath with the incomparable Ozzy Osborne and, from there, I went on to buy tickets to see Queen, Jethro Tull, Meatloaf, Deep Purple and Barry Manilow…….don’t ask, please don’t ask. A good concert is a good night out. A brilliant live concert is a memory that stays with you forever and I am sure the memories of hearing these artists perform live on one of our ships will be just that, an everlasting memory.

 

We have to address a few things as we start to plan these. Seating is one of them. The front rows will be reserved for those who have paid extra to get them along with a meet the artist session etc. But the rest of the seating will be first come, first seated and that’s why it is my intention to make sure we have lots of staff on hand to police the no seat saving policy which we have to be strict about. This, I think, is very important. We will also have to have an area backstage for their dressing rooms which currently are used by the dancers. These areas will have to be dressed up for the concerts as I expect the artists will expect more than a cup of coffee from Lido deck.

 

We certainly have to work hard on board to make these concerts successful and we haven’t even spoken about the sound checks and bringing in all their equipment etc. But successful they will certainly be.

 

Now there may be some who are saying, “What does Carnival know about putting on concerts?” and that is a great question. The answer is twofold. Firstly, we have had lots of experience putting on shows, including with full-ship rock charters and, secondly, we have recently hired a new director of entertainment whose background is exactly this, large scale concerts featuring big name performers. So ….. on we go and wait……just wait……… we’re already looking at phase two of Carnival Live.

 

And just to reiterate, those who choose not to come to the concerts, you will be able to enjoy live music in all the lounges, the Punchliner Comedy Club shows, a deck party and, of course, extended time in the ports of Nassau and Cozumel. My most memorable concert was Queen at Wembley Stadium, an epic gig with Freddie Mercury’s ego and voice in full flight. I hope our concerts on board will give you such a memory and for those of you who haven’t seen how or where to book your tickets…………here is the answer.

 

http://www.carnival.com/live-entertainment.aspx

 

I wonder………..what was the best concert you have ever been to? Share yours here, please, for us all to enjoy. At this moment (thanks to me being away from the blog for so long), I have over 1,500 questions in my in box. Obviously, Facebook remains the quickest way for me to get back to you but, meanwhile, here are 10 questions from the blog………………….off we go.

 

Scott Izzet asks:

We’re Platinum with Carnival!!!!!!! I need a table for two by a window; we have YTD, and eat at 7:30pm each evening. Our cruise is 2/23 on Carnival Magic with booking ******. This will be our anniversary cruise as well just for your information!!!!!!

 

John says:

Hello Scott Izzet,

I want to thank you for your loyalty, first of all, and secondly, mention that I cannot reserve seats for anyone at your time dining. While I am happy to try for guests on assigned seating, it is not possible to reserve tables at a specific time on our anytime option because it would take away the principles of this choice. However, I am sure that if you ask the hostess as and when you enter the dining room, that she will do her best to seat you at a table for two. But assigning a specific time and reserve tables is not something we can do, I am afraid. Please let me know if you have any other questions and I wish you a brilliant cruise and many more happy years together.

Best wishes.

John

 

Rose Marie asks:

CONGRATULATIONS!  I am very happy to see that you finally stood up to someone (initials were G.K.) and told them how you feel about comparing one cruise line against Carnival when it comes to Meet and Mingles. I belong to Cruise Critic, sail on Carnival and attend each Meet and Mingle that I can and never once have I expected the captain, cruise director, executive chef or head of housekeeping to show up.  I attend Meet and Mingles to meet the people I have been chatting with on Cruise Critic and Facebook.  People who love cruising on Carnival do so for so many more reasons than what is being served at an hour or two long social to meet people they met on-line. And just once, I would like to tell them that if they don’t want to sail on Carnival, then leave and don’t let the door hit you on the way out.  I only have one more thing to say about this, “What took you so long?”

Rose Marie

 

John says:

Hello Rose Marie,

Thank you for your kind words. I think meet and greets are a good way for people to make new friends and making new friends on a cruise is something that I encourage which in turn is why I am glad to help arrange these meetings. I think I learned to differentiate between the wonderful writers from Cruise Critic (I met the new editor in New York last week and she was so delightful and she and her team are to be congratulated on their reporting) the people who ask me for these meetings and the one or two people whose agenda is simply to persuade anyone who will listen that Carnival is the devil incarnate. These people are as pointless to me as a dull pencil and outside of me using them for a bit of comic relief, they mean bugger all to me or any of the Carnival beards. I have a duty of care to those who write to me here or on my Facebook and to those who cruise with me as CD. So I am glad to help with the organisation of these meetings and supply raffle prizes as and when needed. I hope we will see you on board soon and making many new friends so if there is anything I can do for you, please let me know. Best wishes.

John

 

Lisa asks:

Hi John, I’m not writing to have you arrange anything for me or send me free gifts such as a 24 karat ship on a stick or strawberry tuxedos or champagne, nope none of that at all. I just

wanted to give you a BIG FAT THANK YOU to you and all the carnival staff for making dream vacations come true. Hats off to all. Again, thank you P.S. I can’t wait till my February 23 cruise on the Carnival Legend and I hope you are my CD.

 

John says:

Hello Lisa,

What a wonderful post. Even though I am not going to be your CD for the cruise, I do know that you will have a wonderful time with the cruise director, Willie Lee, who is very, very funny. The ship will also have had her upgrade so you will get to see a new Carnival Legend. Have a brilliant time and, please, do ask me if you need anything. Best wishes.

John

 

Winona Wentworth asks:

Not sure if I am supposed to ask a question here or not so here goes:  I’m sharing a cabin with someone I met on a “find a cabin mate” page on Facebook.  I want early dining because when you have late dining, you miss a LOT of stuff I like (karaoke, for instance. My last two cruises I had a choice of eating or doing the things I wanted to do.)  She, however, wants late dining because she likes to take a nap before supper.  I don’t want any time because I want to get to know my dinner mates by spending each night with them.  Is there ANYTHING that can be done?  My last cruise was HORRIBLE and Carnival ignored my complaints for months and then said it is “too late to do anything to make up for it because it is outside our 30-day period.”  I had sent you a message about that also a while back but I know you are busy so I haven’t heard back from you about it either. I’m really hoping I hear from you about either my LAST message or this one!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

John says:

Hello Winona Wentworth,

I am so very sorry that I have not answered you so far and I hope that your cruise has yet to happen. I had no idea about the Facebook page you mentioned and it is fascinating that people are meeting this way to share a cabin on board. As you are a Facebook member please can you send me your details there and include your sailing date and cabin and I will certainly do all I can for you. I hope to hear from you soon and apologise once again for the delay in getting back to you. Best wishes.

John

 

Angela Powis asks:

I called Carnival to see who the piano entertainer in the 88 bar on Carnival Breeze on March 15 cruise would be and I waited forever only to be told that nobody knew. How ridiculous is that. customer service at Carnival is non-existent and you should take a lesson from Southwest Airlines and Papa Johns, both of who I have complained to and both who resolved my issues immediately. The piano bar is our favorite place to hang out. I was told you have the answers.

 

John says:

Hello Angela Powis,

I apologise that our customer service team were not able to help you with this particular question. I think also it is important for me to defend our superb team who help hundreds of people each day. But they do not have all the answers and do not have access to the crew schedules like I do. So, then, I am glad that you asked me and the answer is that Ben Gentry will be the piano bar entertainer from late February until late June. From what I have heard he does a brilliant job so I am sure you will have fun. Please let me know of you have any other questions.

Best wishes.

John

 

Leon Joiner asks:

John, love your blog and FB page. We’ve sailed with Carnival six times and love it. We’re sailing again on Apr 20 on Carnival Legend. The wife and I are both over 50 and will graduate from college for the first time in May. I would like to surprise her with something nice in the cabin. This will be like a graduation present to ourselves. Any suggestion? Thanks mate.

Leon

 

John says:

Hello Leon Joiner,

How fantastic is that, many congratulations to you both. Please remind me here on April 1 or, preferably, on Facebook the day before you sail and include your cabin number. I would be glad to send you a little something to wish you all the best. Thanks again and I wish you both a brilliant cruise. Best wishes.

John

 

Lynn Pavia asks:

Hey. Why is the Miracle not getting any upgrades?

 

John says:

Hello Lynn Pavia,

Thanks.  To be honest, haven’t heard anything from the beards on the Carnival Miracle’s dry dock one way or the other but as soon as I do, you and the other readers will be the first to know.

John

 

Kevin Shah asks:

Hi John, my family just returned from a cruise to Progreso and Cozumel on Carnival Triumph. I’ve been on one other cruise before on another cruise line. I was told by people on the cruise boards that Carnival would be a step down or two from other cruise lines…that is NOT the case. The embarkation went perfectly! The muster drill went smoothly. The food….AMAZING! Can’t complain about one single thing. I’m now a huge Guy’s burgers fan. The dining room service was perfect and everything was delicious. The dining room service was FAR superior than another cruise line I’ve been on and kudos to Iza, our waitress, and her assistants, Damir and Ionuts. They were funny and service was just perfect. My room was awesome….on spa deck and like all the staff on the ship Wayan from Indonesia, was a gem. We had such a great time that we booked again, this time for the Carnival Breeze. Way to go Carnival.

 

John says:

Hello Kevin Shah,

I want you to know what a joy it was to read this and I can tell you that there will be some very happy crew and very proud senior managers when they read this. I am so glad that despite what others may have told you, you went with an open mind ready to have fun because that is exactly what you will have. I am so pleased to see that you will be sailing with us again and if there is anything I can do for you, please let me know. Best wishes to you all.

John

 

Laura & Mike Davies asks:

Hi John: We were on the Carnival Legend with you we had a great time and wanted to know even disembarkation in New York was great as far as we are concerned. Thanks to you and all the crew we had a blast hope to see you soon.

 

John says:

Hello Laura and Mike Davies,

I am so sorry that I am delayed in writing back but when I saw this, I felt I needed to reply even though it is much after the fact. I am so glad you enjoyed the cruise and that debark in New York went well as I know that it does not always go that way. I also hope you had a great time and that we will see you again very soon. Best wishes to you both.

John

 

Stacy Leo asks:

Hi John: Let me first start off by saying how much I enjoy your blogs.  They are very fun and entertaining.  We are planning our seventh Carnival cruise and fourth on Carnival Liberty.  We have always had Karl Bird as our cruise director and think he is the best!!!!  I noticed the 2014

cruise director schedule is out and I don’t see his name at all on there.  Is he no longer going to be with Carnival?  My kids are going to be so bummed.  Most of the cruise director names in 2014 I don’t even recognize.  Can you please tell me if you know anything about James Dunn?  Also, please let me know if you know anything about Karl. Thank you.

 

John says:

Hello Stacy Leo,

Yes indeed, we said farewell to Karl who has retired as of late in 2013 and he is much missed. James Dunn is from the UK and is a fantastic CD full of life and energy and has a true passion for his work. He has a big following and I am sure that after you sail with him that you will be writing to me telling me how much you enjoyed him. Please let me know if you have any other questions and thanks so much for the very kind words. Best wishes.

John

 

Larry Bayliss asks:

We are cruising on the Carnival Dream Feb 1 because, amongst other things, my daughter won the State of Idaho High School Honoree for the Prudential Spirit of Community Award. I would like to have her recognized for this in some way on stage possibly. Do you have any suggestions on what can be done and given to her and how she can be rewarded for this awesome achievement? Our booking details are ******

 

John says:

Hello Larry Bayliss,

Many congratulations to your daughter who I am sure you are very proud of. May I suggest you write a letter to the cruise director on the ship once you are on board? Leave this at the Guest Services Desk and mention her achievements and I know he will be read this out loud in his live Morning Show. I will also ask him to send her a little something. I wish you all a brilliant cruise. Best wishes.

John

 

Pearl asks:

We are booked for B2B on the Carnival Breeze for Feb 9 and 15 – very excited!!! – and would like to sign up for Faster To The Fun on 9th. I check daily, sometimes more than once per day, and it is sold out. I have read on some discussion boards that it is often reopened for a few more slots, so just wonder if you know about that possibility? I emailed you a while back about the lack of response to my emails about the Chef’s Table and within hours of my email, I got two responses, so thank you for that! Hoping you can get us info for FTTF because we are ready to cruise. February can’t come soon enough!

 

John says:

Hello Pearl,

I can see how excited you are for your cruise and again I have to apologise for the lateness of my reply. FTTF is capacity controlled so if it’s sold out, the only way it will re-open is if someone cancels it. We obviously have no way of predicting when that may or may not happen. Please do not let that worry you and if there is anything else I can do please drop me a line on facebook.com/johnheald and I will do all I can for you. Best wishes.

John

 

And that’s all for now and I will be back with more mid-week. Thanks for your understanding with my lack of replies and, while I do not think I will ever catch up, I will work as hard as I can to do so. As I mentioned above to Angela Powis in today’s Q&A, the customer service team that work so hard and do such an outstanding job for hundreds of our guests do not have access to the crew schedules as I do. I should also point out that it is only since I started writing my pages that our customers have access to this kind of information. I don’t say this because I want a massive pat on the back but because as far as I know, Carnival is the only cruise line that publishes its CD schedule and answers in advance who a comedian will be or what waiter is where etc. Anyway, as we are talking about live music today, let me share the current piano bar schedule with you. Here it is;

 

CARNIVAL BREEZE

Ben Gentry                                 2/26/2014 – 6/15/2014

Jordan Heppner                       6/15/2014 – 8/16/2014

 

CARNIVAL CONQUEST

Martin Aucoin                         10/27/2013 – 3/30/2014

Gustavo Garcia                        3/30/2014 – 6/15/2014

 

CARNIVAL DREAM

Robert Berhalter                     11/9/2013 – 5/4/2014

Andrew Pobjoy                        5/4/2014 – 6/15/2014

 

CARNIVAL ECSTASY

Hailey Morgan Wiebe             28/12/2013 – TBA

 

CARNIVAL ELATION

Martyn Lucas                          1/16/2014 – 4/5/2014

Susan Erwin                            4/5/2014 – 7/26/2014

 

CARNIVAL FANTASY

Robert Crucilla                        9/16/2013 – 2/16/2014

Keith Channer                         2/16/2014 – 8/18/2014

 

CARNIVAL FREEDOM

Larry Maconaghy                    11/24/2013 – 3/30/2014

Jonathan Thompson              3/30/2014 – 4/19/2014

 

CARNIVAL FASCINATION

Jim Morris                               1/16/2014 – 5/19/2014

Jonathan Thompson             5/19/2014 – 9/18/2014

 

CARNIVAL GLORY

David Filsinger                       8/10/2013 – 3/30/2014

Jordan Heppner                    3/30/2014 – 6/14/2014

Kyle Bronsdon                       6/14/2014 – 9/13/2014

 

CARNIVAL IMAGINATION

Marty Gast                              1/10/2014 – 7/10/2014

 

CARNIVAL INSPIRATION

William Reid Zimmer             1/31/2014 – 4/21/2014

TJ Kuenster                             4/21/2014- 8/29/2014

 

CARNIVAL LEGEND

Kyle Bronsdon                        10/10/2013 – 2/2/2014

Roger Concepcion                  2/20/2014 – 8/17/2014

 

CARNIVAL LIBERTY

Jonathan Thompson                12/28/2013 – 3/8/2014

Seth Gibson                                3/8/2014 – 8/1/2014

 

CARNIVAL MAGIC

Derrek Wayne Robert             1/19/2014 – 3/2/2014

Steve Burks                              3/2/2014 – 6/8/2014

 

CARNIVAL MIRACLE

Frank Golden                          2/7/2013 3/1/2014

 

CARNIVAL PARADISE

Barry Meijer                             2/3/2014 – 2/17/2014

Alan Sheppard                        2/17/2014 – 3/31/2014

Robert Cozma                         3/31/2014 – 10/27/2014

 

CARNIVAL PRIDE

Tom Grable                             1/19/2014 – 8/3/2014

 

CARNIVAL SENSATION

Gary Mumford                        11/21/2013 – 4/13/2014

James Carter Stringfe            4/13/2014 – 7/13/2014

Mike McCabe                          7/13/2014 – 10/9/2014

 

CARNIVAL SUNSHINE

Gary Pickus                             11/17/2013 – 2/16/2014

Barry Meijer                            2/23/2014 – 4/19/2014

Ben Gentry                             2/16/2014 – 2/23/2104 (bloggers cruise)

 

CARNIVAL SPLENDOR

Tonya Scott                             12/11/2013 – 3/17/2014

Dana Honey                            3/17/2014 – 10/16/2014

 

CARNIVAL SPIRIT

Trevor Jones                            12/21/2013 – 2/10/2014

Natalie Carboni                       2/10/2014 – 6/25/2014

 

CARNIVAL TRIUMPH

Michael Geier                         12/2/2013- 2/1/2014

Agustin Villarin                      2/1/2014 – 8/16/2014

 

CARNIVAL VALOR

Carlos Marquez                       12/29/2013 – 2/16/2014

Walter Boik                             2/16/2014 – 5/11/2014

 

CARNIVAL VICTORY

Angela Johnson                       10/19/2013 – 4/14/2014

Robert Crucilla                        4/14/2014 – 9/25/2014

 

And my thanks to each and every one of the above entertainers who remain such an important part of our entertainment. My thanks also to Laura — aka Divetrash — who manages a Facebook page dedicated to them and the promotion of these wonderful performers.

 

I will have the latest CD schedule for you very soon.

 

May I take this one last opportunity to thank you all for the messages and cards of sympathy after my father’s sudden passing. I realise the last think you tune into this blog here is for sad tidings of sorrow from me but it would be amiss of me not to say something. It truly was a sudden passing. Yes, Dad had health issues, including Parkinson’s disease, but at 79 years of age, he was strong and determined and so when he passed in his sleep the morning of December 18 it was totally unexpected and nothing that my Mum or my sister or I or any of the family were prepared for.

 

You see looking back, I am astounded by my ignorance, but my only reference point to Parkinson’s was Michael J Fox and the odd visit to the E.R. I knew the disease made my Dad’s hands shake and not allow him to walk so freely but I had never bothered to ask Uncle Google or his doctors what Parkinson’s actually meant. And I think the reason for this was Dad was still at home, still being my Dad.

 

And while the disease did not allow him to make his beloved furniture or put together his model trains he could still drive, still talk, still hug my daughter Kye and play with her and well ……….. just be Dad. Yes he was older, smaller even but because he was not in the hospital but at home I never realised just how serious Parkinson’s really was.

 

There are times these past few weeks when I dream about him and talk to him. I talk to him and we laugh. I have a vision of him and how he would be in my life today. Then I wake up and remember. I need a few minutes to gather myself. It is in those moments that I let myself stop and think about what I’ve lost… Like many of you reading this, I am forced to cope with his loss, there is little else I can do. I have also learnt that when I sit with Mum and my sister Suzanne and talk about Dad that laughing is sometimes as important as crying. My Mum is being strong and although she can’t drive she is amazingly resolute and we will all support her as she starts her life living alone after 54 years of being with Dad

 

All this has made me think about……..well, me. I hope I poop off before Heidi because without her, there is no way I could look after myself. I don’t know how to cook, clean, iron, operate a washing machine, change a fuse or where the new roll of toilet paper comes from. I am glad that Dad didn’t suffer and that he never had to spend years in a home. While I’m sure there are lots of wonderful care facilities out there, I don’t want to go to the type of retirement home where you’re left to marinate in your own urine, while the “helpers” stand around texting their boyfriends, waiting for you to pass on but preferably not on their shift.

 

I am sure everyone here dreads ending their days in a home for the nearly dead wearing someone else’s false teeth. If I am lucky enough to reach 79 years of age like Dad, I think I may want to go the same way. Because if Kye says “Dad, we have found you a nice spot at The Lucinda Lace Retirement Home,” I will start drinking again, smoking 30 cigars a day and eating nothing but animal fat. Maybe we should have a have a happy hour for only those over age 75 where with pints of ThirstyFrog for 50 cents and let them smoke and have an hour of Frank Sinatra karaoke. You may spend the rest of the cruise in bed but that’s better than ending your days wasting away wearing a diaper.

 

I am proud of my family for the way in which we have managed to rebuild our lives amid the ruins and eventually we will learn to cope without a husband and a father. This will be my last mention of what has happened because this blog needs to get back to whence it came. But if I may say this before I go. My Dad was the most wonderful and, at times, infuriating man I have ever met. He influenced me, cared for me, bollocked me from time to time, but, ultimately, he taught vital truths and built a foundation for my life. Dad was inspirational and loving, passionately loving in a subtle understated way and absolutely, utterly deserving of my never ending love.

 

Goodnight.

Your friend,

John

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Carnival LIVE: the schedule http://johnhealdsblog.com/2014/01/22/carnival-live-the-schedule/ http://johnhealdsblog.com/2014/01/22/carnival-live-the-schedule/#comments Wed, 22 Jan 2014 23:24:45 +0000 http://johnhealdsblog.com/?p=21563 Continue reading ]]> John, who is currently in a taxi, asked that I share the below schedule with you guys. For your convenience, here it is… though I’d also urge you to always refer to the official page on carnival.com for the most up-to-date information.

These dates are subject to change. Note that the dates below are when the concert itself takes place, not the date the sailing begins.

Artist Concert Date Concert Ship Departure Port
Kansas 22-May-14 Cozumel, Mexico Breeze Miami
Jennifer Hudson 19-Jun-14 Cozumel, Mexico Breeze Miami
STYX 09-Oct-14 Cozumel, Mexico Breeze Miami
Lady Antebellum 20-Nov-14 Cozumel, Mexico Breeze Miami
REO 23-Apr-14 Cozumel, Mexico Ecstasy Miami
Foreigner 10-May-14 Nassau, The Bahamas Ecstasy Miami
Martina McBride 14-May-14 Cozumel, Mexico Ecstasy Miami
Kansas 21-May-14 Cozumel, Mexico Ecstasy Miami
Chicago 04-Jun-14 Cozumel, Mexico Ecstasy Miami
Jennifer Hudson 18-Jun-14 Cozumel, Mexico Ecstasy Miami
Olivia Newton-John 28-Jun-14 Nassau, The Bahamas Ecstasy Miami
Gavin DeGraw 20-Aug-14 Cozumel, Mexico Ecstasy Miami
STYX 08-Oct-14 Cozumel, Mexico Ecstasy Miami
Lady Antebellum 19-Nov-14 Cozumel, Mexico Ecstasy Miami
STYX 07-Apr-14 Nassau, The Bahamas Fantasy Charleston
38 Special 07-Sep-14 Nassau, The Bahamas Fantasy Charleston
Leann Rimes 29-Oct-14 Nassau, The Bahamas Fantasy Charleston
Kansas 13-Nov-14 Nassau, The Bahamas Fantasy Charleston
Trace Adkins 25-Nov-14 Nassau, The Bahamas Fantasy Charleston
Daughtry 04-Dec-14 Nassau, The Bahamas Fantasy Charleston
REO 15-Dec-14 Nassau, The Bahamas Fantasy Charleston
STYX 08-Apr-14 Nassau, The Bahamas Fascination Jacksonville
Kansas 16-Apr-14 Nassau, The Bahamas Fascination Jacksonville
38 Special 06-Sep-14 Nassau, The Bahamas Fascination Jacksonville
Kansas 24-Sep-14 Nassau, The Bahamas Fascination Jacksonville
STYX 29-Sep-14 Nassau, The Bahamas Fascination Jacksonville
Trace Adkins 13-Oct-14 Nassau, The Bahamas Fascination Jacksonville
Trace Adkins 24-Nov-14 Nassau, The Bahamas Fascination Jacksonville
Daughtry 03-Dec-14 Nassau, The Bahamas Fascination Jacksonville
REO 17-Dec-14 Nassau, The Bahamas Fascination Jacksonville
STYX 15-Sep-14 Catalina Island, CA Imagination Los Angeles
REO 22-Sep-14 Catalina Island, CA Imagination Los Angeles
Jewel 10-Nov-14 Catalina Island, CA Imagination Los Angeles
STYX 16-Sep-14 Catalina Island, CA Inspiration Los Angeles
REO 23-Sep-14 Catalina Island, CA Inspiration Los Angeles
Jewel 11-Nov-14 Catalina Island, CA Inspiration Los Angeles
REO 22-Apr-14 Cozumel, Mexico Paradise Tampa
Martina McBride 15-May-14 Cozumel, Mexico Paradise Tampa
Chicago 03-Jun-14 Cozumel, Mexico Paradise Tampa
Gavin DeGraw 21-Aug-14 Cozumel, Mexico Paradise Tampa
Kansas 15-Apr-14 Nassau, The Bahamas Sensation Orlando
Foreigner 09-May-14 Nassau, The Bahamas Sensation Orlando
Olivia Newton-John 27-Jun-14 Nassau, The Bahamas Sensation Orlando
Kansas 23-Sep-14 Nassau, The Bahamas Sensation Orlando
STYX 30-Sep-14 Nassau, The Bahamas Sensation Canaveral
Trace Adkins 14-Oct-14 Nassau, The Bahamas Sensation Orlando
Leann Rimes 28-Oct-14 Nassau, The Bahamas Sensation Orlando
Kansas 14-Nov-14 Nassau, The Bahamas Sensation Orlando
REO 16-Dec-14 Nassau, The Bahamas Sensation Orlando
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Happy birthday, John! http://johnhealdsblog.com/2014/01/22/happy-birthday-john-5/ http://johnhealdsblog.com/2014/01/22/happy-birthday-john-5/#comments Wed, 22 Jan 2014 15:50:51 +0000 http://johnhealdsblog.com/?p=21560 From all of us beards with beards, and even some beards who don’t wear beards, have a happy birthday!

(And if your face gets cold in New York today, try a beard!)

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THE AMERICAN TABLE http://johnhealdsblog.com/2013/12/03/the-american-table/ http://johnhealdsblog.com/2013/12/03/the-american-table/#comments Tue, 03 Dec 2013 18:40:04 +0000 http://johnhealdsblog.com/?p=21542 Here are two examples of our exciting new menus that we will be serving on the Carnival Glory next week before rolling out to other ships next year.

Enjoy

American Table Menu

 

American Feast Menu

 

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I FINALLY GET TO WRITE THAT BOOK http://johnhealdsblog.com/2013/11/12/i-finally-get-to-write-that-book/ http://johnhealdsblog.com/2013/11/12/i-finally-get-to-write-that-book/#comments Tue, 12 Nov 2013 21:24:09 +0000 http://johnhealdsblog.com/?p=21523 Continue reading ]]> This is not going to be my best blog ever, just letting you know. That’s because I have just come out of one meeting and in between organizing the last details of the Carnival Sunshine naming ceremony I have just had a two-hour meeting with someone who can only be described as ……………ummmm……………boring. The person who was leading the meeting is excellent at his or her job but bloody hell……he or she really is boring. Even if they had just been abducted by a naked space alien with three eyes and a 22 foot long thing who had said “take me to your leader” in a French accent..…he or she would still tell that storing in such a boring way. The meeting this morning was indeed so boring that I wished I was a horse so I could fall asleep standing up. I wish I could have found an excuse not to attend this meeting but when certain beards find out I am in Miami they like to schedule a meeting with. In the old days I would have found an excuse, I used to be really good at that but as I got older I got more responsible ………bugger. I have been thinking about my early life at Carnival recently and you will see why later in the blog and I remember one excuse I used.

One of the girls I dated (I like that — one of the girls – as though I was some sort of Tiger Woods) loved to talk. Her name was Sarah, a massage therapist who I met on the Carnival Sensation. She could talk for hours and one day we were watching a movie in the cabin. It was the beginning of our relationship and I really liked her. But she wouldn’t stop talking. Anyway, the movie was really good and I was aware that she was talking and talking and finally she must have gotten to the point and expected me to answer. But I hadn’t heard a thing which made her mad. Now, I was hoping that a spot of rumpy pumpy might be on the cards later so rather than telling the truth and saying, “I hadn’t heard a word you said love, shut up and let me watch Steven Segal shoot people in the face.” I told her I was deaf in one ear, in an attempt to explain why I hadn’t been listening to her. It worked. She believed me and felt sorry for me.

 

We were together for six months during which time I kept forgetting which ear it was I was supposed to be deaf in and sometimes I forgot completely. I lived in constant danger of exposure. I got away with it, mind you. And if you’re reading this now, Sarah…..sorry love. Oh by the way ……the relationship ended not because she discovered I wasn’t deaf…..nope……..she realized that she preferred Italian cannoli to British sausage.

 

My best excuse ever though was when I was a social host. I was supposed to be on gangway duty but had totally slept in. I was meant to be there by 8 am, but I had woken up at 9:15 am. By the time I had gotten showered and dressed I would have been nearly two hours late. Well sod that I thought – I might as well pack my Samsonite now because the CD at the time was not a chap with a forgiving nature. The only sane course of action was to pretend I was sick. So I called the cruise director’s cabin. Now some may have pretended to be sick and called using an “ill” voice. But I knew Mr. Capone my cruise director was a wise chap who wouldn’t fall for that so I called and said “Sorry Mr. Capone. I didn’t get to the gangway this morning. I shat myself in the elevator.”

 

I went on to explain just how embarrassing it was and how I thought it might’ve been something I ate last night. I told him how I had to waddle back to my cabin, making the description as vivid as I possibly could. I offered to come up to the CD cabin to apologize in person but for some reason my boss told me not to and to take the rest of the day off. I did…..and I slept the day away in my bed and my unsoiled underpants…….you may know that Eddie Capone (the godfather of comedy) and a great friend is still entertaining guests on our ships and is still a brilliantly funny entertainer. However, I have never told him the truth until now….. sorry Eddie

 

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

 

Susan Morrow asks:

Hi John,

I just returned home a few days ago from sailing with you on the Carnival Legend. I must THANK YOU again for reading my letter about ‘THE RUDE MAN’ in tender line in the port of Edinburgh, Scotland.  I was so surprised to receive your ‘WITH COMPLIMENTS’ bottle.

Thanks again.

Susan Morrow – The Canadian with Pink Hair.

 

John says:

Hello Susan Morrow,

There is absolutely no need to thank me because I was outraged at what that guest said to you and he needed to know that there was an another side to the story. Most importantly I hope you had a wonderful cruise with us and I wish you health and happiness in future days. Best wishes.

John

 

Dorene Sikorski asks:

Hello John, I am a huge fan of you. I recently did the Baltic cruise on the Legend and had an amazing time. Loved watching you and Calvyn on the Morning show. I am booked on the Carnival Splendor December 27 and again next year November 9 with my family including my new grandson who will be 17 months at the time on the cruise.  We are very excited.  I want you to know that I enjoy Carnival cruises and I am hoping you go back to Europe in 2015.  I think my grandson will be Platinum before he is 10 years old.  Thank you again.

 

John says:

Hello Dorene Sikorski,

That’s two great comments in a row for the Carnival Legend and many thanks to you for taking the time to write. I am so glad that you enjoyed this voyage and I have my fingers crossed that we will return soon. Until then I see you have two more cruises booked which is great news and if there is anything at all I can do for you please do let me know. Best wishes.

John

 

D Clark asks:

Heald – you talked about the Vista and how “brilliant” it will be. My suggestion is do not over play this because look what happened with your “brilliant” loyalty program and how you became a laughing stock on Cruise Critic. Suggestion: think seriously about an ice rink. Royal has one and thousands of their passengers book the ship just for that. Regardless stop talking things up when you have no clue most probably what is being done there and until those people you call “beards” stick their hand up your ass and tell their “puppet” what to say.

 

John says:

Hello D Clark,

How truly wonderful to hear from you. Well, apart from me truly not caring what is thought of me on other web sites I will tell you two things. Firstly, we won’t be adding an ice rink and while I’m sure it is very popular indeed on other cruise lines it’s been done and is not for us. Secondly, I do know some of the things we will be adding on the Carnival Vista and they are yep….  brilliant. And knowing what these new things are I have absolutely no fear or trepidation of saying that. I hope you come and sail with us and see for yourself. Best wishes.

John

 

Alfonso Malian asks:

John, can you help with a unique problem. I will be taking a special lady on a cruise this December on the 22 cruise of Carnival Magic in Galveston booking number ******. The unique problem is that I was divorced from my wife Clara for 14 years but last year we started to talk again and have been in a relationship now for six months and its going very good. I was divorced by her because of my drinking problems but I have been dry now for four years. So I am going to propose marriage to her and will do this at the meal time. Can then I have a private table for two people so that we can talk and because I will be nervous she will say no I don’t want other passengers to see me this way. Thank you John for doing the needful with this for me and I hope my wife again.

 

John says:

Hello Alfonso Malian,

Please don’t worry as I am sure she will say yes and that this time you will do all it takes to make this marriage work. I will take care of the table for you and have spoken to the maître d about this and asked him to assist. So all you need to do is take a deep breath and give her the ring and I hope you have happy and healthy years together. Let me know how it goes if you can please and have a brilliant cruise. Best wishes.

John

 

Renee asks:

John when will the rest of 2015 cruises be out. I want to book one for our 20th anniversary and they only go to April 2015. I would like to see Junes schedule.

 

John says:

Hello Renee,

Please stay tuned as early next year we hope to have all those details for you. Thanks so much and please let me know if you have any other questions.  Best wishes.

John

 

Craig Iverson asks:

I like the guitar players on the Carnival Sunshine in our Med cruise but they are very much the same and play very much the same music. Adam was the best of them but we would have liked to have seen more variety. Had a blast though, John

 

John says:

Hello Craig Iverson,

Yep. I agree and so do the beards and in fact I can tell you that we are changing this and adding more duos and party bands across the fleet during the next few months. We have already started with the Carnival Sunshine that now has a duo and one soloist which makes for more variety. The guitar soloists are great musicians and entertainers but having them and a duo/four-piece band really does give us far more live music options. I am so glad you had a great time and hope we see you again very soon. Best wishes.

John

 

Joleen Koprucki  asks:

John

I just wanted to say bravo to my Carnival PVP Carmen Wilson. I had posted here about a week ago about cruising on the Carnival Glory in February, but due to unforeseen circumstances with the person I was supposed to cruise with I felt it was in my best interests if I cancelled. Carmen was terrific! She called the other person, got me deleted from that booking & got my deposit back ASAP. And a few days later she helped me get set up on another cruise (which is actually the cruise I’d originally been planning to take). Anyway, I just wanted to say how grateful I am to Carnival and their wonderful staff. And of course, John, that includes you and your wonderful humour. Carnival Liberty Here I Come April 5, 2014…YIPPEEEE. Thanks for all you do for us John and your brilliant sense of humour.

Joleen

 

John says:

Hello Joleen Koprucki,

Thanks so very much for taking the time to write about Carmen and I am sure she will be thrilled when she sees this. It really is a wonderful advert for our PVPs and I appreciate you sharing this with us. I am glad all is set and if you need anything at all before you sail please let me know won’t you. Until then I wish you a fantastic cruises. Best wishes.

John

 

Iain O’Keefe asks:

When will you start spending more time answering questions on this blog and not on Facebook John? You spend too much time on Facebook and I don’t do Facebook because I have a life and am not 16 years old. I sent in this question ages ago and no response was sent to me. My family of 4 will be on the cruise of the Conquest 11/24. My children are aged four and eight and we need early sitting confirmed but for some unknown reason we are wait listed- this is our third cruise and we always get early sitting. Sail Date 11/24/13, Booking number ******. Can you do something about this and help us?

 

John says:

Hello Iain O’Keefe,

I realise that since Facebook I have not written as many blogs as before but also this has been because of my busy schedule, as well. Therefore I do apologise and am glad that you have written here and I have seen it in time for your cruise. I will ask the maitre d to assist you and I know he will do all he can for you and the family. My apologies again for the delay and I wish you all a great time. Best wishes.

 

Mindy Worthington asks:

How much does a cruise director earn? I am trying to decide if this is a career path I want to follow but there is no information anywhere about salary and benefits.

 

John says:

Hello Mindy Worthington,

Obviously I am sure you understand I cannot discuss my salary here but I will say that any crew member who works on a ship in the cruise industry has the chance to save money as board and lodging is included. But the work is hard and takes you away from family for months on end. That aside it’s a wonderful career path and one I have been so lucky to enjoy and I wish you that same luck too. Best wishes.

John

 

Deb Shinder asks:

Hello, John. My husband and I are planning to book the July 1 sailing to Alaska. I notice in the CD schedule that for July 2014 on the Miracle, it shows “John Heald off” and “Troy Linton on.” Will you be on that first Alaska sailing of July? It would be fantastic good luck to get to meet you; I enjoy your sense of humor and I know my husband (who is finally about to go on his first cruise with me on the Triumph on October 26) would enjoy it even more. Either way, thanks

for the entertaining and informative blog.

 

John says:

Hello Deb Shinder,

You are too kind and I will indeed be on the ship for the entire Alaskan season so I look forward to seeing you there ready to explore together and have loads of fun doing so. Thanks again for the kind words and please let me know if you need anything. Best wishes.

John

 

Michael asks:

Hi John,

My family will be taking our first cruise on the Carnival Breeze December 1. To say the least we are very excited and can’t wait to experience our first cruise. My question is about dinner times.  My wife and I have 3 children (perfect little angels). They are 12 (almost 13 boy), and 11 and 7 year old girls. What do you feel is the best time for dinner?  I have switched a couple of times from Early to late and back to early. I guess we don’t want to miss anything at night that the might enjoy. What other advice do you have for first timers as we start our cruising adventures?  Thank you for your time and I sure hope you have enjoyed spending time with your family this weekend.

 

John says:

Hello Michael,

This is an easy question to answer. Please choose what we call Your Time Dining. This allows you to go to dinner any time from 5:30pm – 9:30pm and from your demographics I think this would be perfect for you. Have a chat with everyone and if you need my help with this or anything else please let me know. Best wishes to you all.

John

 

And that’s all for today.  Just before I continue I wanted to say I had a great time on the Carnival Legend this past European season and that I miss her very much. She now has a new CD in Brent Mitchell who as usual is doing a great job. However I have to use this medium to write a public apology to him because the day I left the ship in New York and before he moved into the CD cabin I dropped a large Richard the Third (cockney rhyming slang) in the toilet…….and didn’t flush.

 

Instead I left a Post-It note on the inside of the toilet seat that simply read…… “Handover of the Cruise Director’s Log.” This apparently angered Brent for which I apologise sincerely and should add that I did this before I started my non-carb diet which trust me Brent, would have been much, much worse.

 

I thought you might like to see the top five ships for October/November as rated by those guests who are sent and complete an online review card.

 

 1. Carnival Triumph  
  2. Carnival Magic
  3. Carnival Fantasy
  4. Carnival Liberty
  5. Carnival Breeze
     

 

Congratulations to the Carnival Triumph, what a journey she has been on these past months and how brilliant it is to see her in the number one position.

 

So the other day I sat down with a beard called Jim who basically gave me permission to start writing my book, yep finally I can get writing and Carnival will help me with a publisher, etc. Brilliant I thought and went back to the Intercontinentalhyattmarriott full of joy and excitement.

I stripped down to my underpants, sat down, at 5:30pm, with a Diet Coke and bag of Cuban style pork cracklings, and started typing on my laptop. My presumption was that when I finally stood up again— perhaps some time after 7:30pm — I would have my first book about life behind the crew only door completed and ready to give the publisher.

 

Looking up some time later, I was shocked to see that it was 9:45pm and I had only completed 3 pages. FFS. How could this be? I hadn’t even taken any breaks to watch some Latvian rumpy pumpy or even order some dinner.

 

So thinking that that, in order to write more quickly and more ummmm…..better………I decided I would have to drop something out of me and then put something in so I went for a number one and a number two and then ordered a Caesar salad with chicken. That, I thought, should give me enough energy to finish chapter one and most of chapter 2. When I looked at the time again it was just 11:30pm and I had written only three more paragraphs plus doodled a picture of a huge gentleman’s sausage.

 

Since starting the book I have come to realise that it’s not as easy as it looks and that its probably best I know how the book will end and indeed, who’s in it etc. before me and my underpants sit down to write. There is thinking about it so much to choose from with this book, stories that you can’t make up, they can only happen in real life…….real life on board a cruise ship.

 

I shall be talking about my learning curve as a CD like the time on the Carnival Fantasy in 1991. I had only been in the job a very short time and I must admit I was a bit full of myself. I was the youngest CD Carnival had ever had and I was the first CD not to be a proven entertainer, something which pissed of some of my colleagues I can tell you.

 

Anyway, I was in the middle of my travel talk for Nassau, which I did before the ship sailed from Miami and was in full flow about the tours and what to see and where to go doing my usual information dissected with various off the cuff remarks and as the talk went on I realised that there were very few laughs coming from the audience. This puzzled me a little but I carried on regardless. I mentioned the casino that Carnival used to own in Nassau called Crystal Palace. We used to send guests there during our overnight stay to see a spectacular show that featured “topless dancers” in a showgirl scenario and some panthers and lions that were so old that they were as ferocious as a hamster wearing pink fluffy slippers.

 

Anyway, I made my usual reference to the show saying don’t worry about the topless dancers because “If you have seen one you have seen them both” …….usually this joke got a good laugh but this time the laughter was sparse to say the least…….and as I looked up and then suddenly loads of guests stood up and left..…yep……….they walked out together shaking their heads.

 

I finished my talk in record time and went back to the cabin dumb struck by what I had seen. I called the chief purser (this was before we had hotel directors) and told him what had happened and he said “Didn’t you read your memo; we have 400 Jehovah Witnesses on board?”

 

Oh FFS. Well I felt an idiot for upsetting these nice people and indeed I had not read the memo which in the days before e-mail came in written form in a big brown envelope which was sitting on my desk………..unopened

 

I spent the rest of the four day cruise apologising and making sure I said nothing that would upset them further…………but they never forgave me………I don’t think they enjoyed the Male Nightgown Contest too much either and every time there was a knock on my cabin door……..I hid under the bed. Anyway, write I will and obviously with all the expense involved in printing a book I hope some of you buy it. The book itself is all about my journey with Carnival the people I have met and some of the things that have happened along the way. I hope it will, unlike some other books give you a true description of life below decks, the good, the sad and the funny. It should, based on my current writing timeline be ready for Christmas 2019. Kidding, I hope to have it finished and printed as soon as I can and I really hope you will buy it………..and enjoy it.

 

Goodnight.

Your friend,

John

 

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GOING THROUGH CHANGES…………OH SHEET http://johnhealdsblog.com/2013/11/08/going-through-changesoh-sheet/ http://johnhealdsblog.com/2013/11/08/going-through-changesoh-sheet/#comments Fri, 08 Nov 2013 19:47:57 +0000 http://johnhealdsblog.com/?p=21520 Continue reading ]]> News from the Hyattintercontinenalmarriott where I am staying here in Miami and where it seems they change the bed sheets twice very seven days. No, not just mine, everyone’s. I know this because I asked someone. I asked the maid first and she smiled and said “Si, si” which is Spanish of course for “I have no idea what this fat gringo is saying to me.” So I asked the front desk and they said they changed the sheets twice a week. Now I asked this not because I had left vast amounts of pubic shrubbery on them but because I had just broken in some new sheets which had become soft and comforting and yet last night I was again sleeping between two brand new sheets which were as stiff as Tiger Woods at the Playboy Mansion.

Thinking about this I have realised that I have never, ever changed a bed sheet. My Mum did it for me, various Ketuts have done it for me on the ships and Heidi, of course, now does this for me. And I bet many men rewarding this would probably if left up to them ever change the sheets either. You see, ladies love nothing more than nice fresh lavender-smelling bed sheets which is why, in a marriage they do all the sodding sheet changing. I realise that if it were left up to me then I would leave it until the bed bugs are holding their noses shouting “It stinks down here fat boy, for God’s sake change the sheets.”

 

I am now realising that the one period of time when I didn’t have a Ketut or Heidi when I was living as a young bachelor that I got bugger all rumpy pumpy. I was 19 and had my tiny flat (apartment) and maybe it was because I never ever changed the sheets that when I brought a girl back to my place and showed the “bedroom” that nothing happened. Yep, dirty sheets may have been the answer………..that and the fact that at 19 I had a David Hasselhoff and Knight Rider duvet and 12 copies of Big Jugs magazine on the bedside table.

 

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

 

Richard Neefe asks:

Hi again, John: I don’t mean to bug you, but I’m trying to identify which ship “Blood Power” may be performing on during this coming New Year’s holiday. Hopefully, they remain aboard or have returned to Carnival Paradise, but any Florida-based ship will do. If you happen to have an e-mail address for one of the members, Bong perhaps, that would be great. Otherwise, any suggestion you might have as to how to track them down would be appreciated. Thanks! Cheers and Happy Sailing!

 

John says:

Hello Richard Neefe,

You are never bugging me and thanks again for writing. Blood Power is currently entertaining our guests on the Carnival Paradise and will remain there until 4/15/14. I am afraid I am unable to pass out crew members contact information though.  I hope this helps and I hope also you get to enjoy them very soon. Best wishes.

John

 

Jeremy Christiansen asks:

John, I asked you to send my brother and his new wife something to help celebrate their honeymoon and you did just that and so I am writing to say thank you. I also have the sad news of telling you that currently my brother Frankie is in hospital suffering from deep vein thrombosis which he got on their flight back from Puerto Rico. He was in a serious condition for many weeks and hopefully he will be allowed home soon. He still talks about the cruise and all that happened and I had to tell you that thank you for the gifts you sent.

 

John says:

Hello Jeremy Christiansen,

I am so very sorry to read about Frankie and I hope by the time you read this that he is out of the hospital and home again with his family. Please send him my best wishes and I hope we see you all again very soon on another cruise. Best wishes.

John

 

Alison Camus asks:

I have been designated the group leader of our Cruise Critic Meet and Mingle for the 12/08 cruise on Carnival Magic and need your help organizing some important things. I need a private room for us to meet in on the Monday, which is the day at sea, at 2:30pm – 4:00pm. There will be 50 – 60 members in attendance so a designated bartender just for us will be needed maybe two bartenders as it is such a big group. One of our members has put together a movie of the last cruise many of us were on together on Norwegian Dawn and we will need a big screen or television and DVD to show this on set up for us. I did contact your groups department about this and they told me there would be a $50 charge for this. This is outrageous and has already put a sour taste in our group before this cruise gets going so I hope you will do the right thing and wave this stupid fee. My booking number is ****** in cabin 1392 so can you send the goodies that you send Cruise Critic groups there for me. We are all excited about this cruise, which for some is a first Carnival experience which is why I hope you will do the right thing.

 

John says:

Hello Alison Camus,

Thanks so much for writing and I am sure you must all be very excited for your cruise with us on Carnival Magic. I will be arranging a lounge for you as per the times you requested and will make sure that there is bar service for you so you can all purchase drinks using your individual sail and sign cards. This lounge will be listed as CC meet and greet in the Fun Times so you all know where to go. I am afraid as in all group requests like this we do charge for the setup of the audio visual equipment and the time for the technician to do so and I am sorry but I am unable to waive the $50 fee. Please let me know then if you still me need to arrange this or indeed you can do so through our groups department. I wish you all a great time.

 

Bettye Rolle asks:

Hi John: Booked my first back to back cruise for Jan 11 and Jan 18 2014, on Carnival Liberty. The main reason I booked was based on sailing with Karl with a K again. Checked the 2013 CD listing which had him listed so I booked. Checked your 2014 listing and he is nowhere to be found! Is he leaving Carnival as booked the trip with him in mind. Don’t want to travel without him. Can I cancel the second part of cruise without penalty? Help! We really wanted to sail again with him!

 

John says:

Hello Bettye Rolle,

I am afraid that Karl is no longer working with Carnival and has taken retirement. He will be thrilled though that he has such a fan in you and as I have his e-mail address I will make sure I send this to him. Please check with your agent or Carnival if you can cancel without penalty as there may be certain circumstances that allow or disallow this. I hope you still get to sail and enjoy the CD there next year who for the most part will be the wonderful James Dunn. Best wishes.

John

 

Tammy Hooker asks:

John – on one of your new Carnival Sunshine videos you said that the Carnival Sunshine MDR is for my time dining and the smaller dining room was for the scheduled dining. Is this going to be the case for all Carnival Sunshine cruises or just the one sailing now? We are booked on the 12/8 Carnival Sunshine and looked forward to the MDR but we are scheduled for the 6 pm seating.

 

John says:

Hello Tammy Hooker,

Yes indeed, due to the ever growing popularity of your time dining the aft dining room which is the biggest will remain the YTD dining room and the forward dining room will be for assigned seating. Thanks for writing and please let me know if you need anything before you sail. Have a great time. Best wishes.

John

 

Rhonda Brewer asks:

Do you know who will be the cruise director on the Carnival Sunshine sailing Nov. 18, 2013? The information is not on the cruise director schedule. Thank you!

 

John says:

Hello Rhonda Brewer,

Yes indeed, the CD for this inaugural cruise from New Orleans will be the very talented Jaime Dee. Have a brilliant time and let me know if you need anything. Best wishes.

John

 

Jay Brensford asks:

Heald, can I bring my Gerber Tool on the ship? I use it for a corkscrew in the cabin. We were allowed to bring it on our Royal Caribbean cruise!!!!!

 

John says:

Hello Jay Brensford,

If it is a small version of the tool, one that easily fits in the palm of your hand then this may be OK. If it’s the larger version then no, I am afraid not. Either way I suggest you have in your carry-on luggage so that when you pass through security they can see if it’s OK or not. Have a great cruise. Best wishes.

John

 

Christine & Gary Moss asks:

Hi John: Just got off the Carnival Legend 11-day New York to Tampa cruise on October 21. Just wanted to tell you about an outstanding Carnival employee — Nevenka, the pools and decks supervisor. We thought there was more than one of her; she was everywhere on the decks. She seemed to be working 24 hours a day; we even stopped her to ask if she got any sleep. She was constantly on the move, making sure the decks and pools were clean, neat and tidy. We watched her pick up garbage, plates, cups, arrange deck chairs, check garbage containers, take wrapping off new deck chairs, and solve the “yellow slime” issue in the Serenity pool. From watching her (and again it was hard not to she was everywhere) she seems like a very good supervisor and clearly leads by example; she was doing the work right alongside her team members. We know all Carnival employees work very hard and they all do a great job, but Nevenka really stood out. I would also like to give a big thank you to Miroslav, Milos, and Joy who took good care of us

in the dining room (early seating table 206).

 

John says:

Hello Christine & Gary Moss,

This is brilliant. Thanks so very much for telling me about Nevenka who is truly one of the unsung crew members who is never usually in the spotlight so thank you so much for putting her there. I will make sure she gets the praise she deserves and again it’s because of you that she will. I hope you had a brilliant cruise and that we see you soon. Best wishes.

John

 

Jason asks:

Hello John. We are on the Carnival Breeze this week and noticed that there is no Carnival Legends show??? Has this been cancelled on all ships or is this just on the Carnival Breeze?  Thank you.

Jason

 

John says:

Hello Jason,

We have stopped Carnival Legends on some of the ships now although it remains on others. We are looking at updating the show as well and I will have more information on that as and when it happens. I do hope you had a great time and that we see you soon. Best wishes.

John

 

That’s all for today.

 

As you know we recently said goodbye to two cruise directors in Karl with a K and Jeremy “Tex.” This has meant a few changes in the CD schedule and I will post a new one soon. Meanwhile I can tell you that from January next year that James Dunn will be the permanent CD on Carnival Liberty and that Butch will now cover the Carnival Sunshine to cover Jaime Dee’s vacation in February which means Butch will be the CD for Bloggers Cruise 7. Meanwhile Pete Leibenberg will go back to Carnival Breeze on 1/18 until Butch returns to Carnival Breeze on 3/23.  Those are the changes so far and as and when there are any more I will let you know. As you know I am on a diet, a strict no-carb diet and it’s working slowly but surely and I am starting to see things far more clearly……..if you know what I mean. So this diet basically means that I can only eat meat, fish, eggs and veggies, sod all else. Now that’s fine when I am choosing where I eat but its more challenging when I go out for dinner with others like last night.

 

You see one of the beards took me to what some people would describe as a “posh restaurant” and let me tell you what was on the menu. I started with duck, it was described as “crispy” on the menu which is just how I like it but– wait for it, it was embedded in an entire field of blackberries (the fruit, not the phone) and they had drizzled blackberry sauce all over the duck. The menu had declined to mention this and if you ever have duck with blackberry you will discover the two go together like the words Paris and hospitality.

 

I then ordered a steak and I told the waiter who will shall call Ernesto, because that’s what his name tag said, it was that I wanted the rib eye steak and that I would like it to be cooked well done and please let me explain why. I hate any redness in my meat and while Heidi is happy to have her steak waved in front of a candle for a few minutes and call it cooked ….. me……. well, I have to have mine burnt.

 

I know there are foodists out there who will tell me that this takes away the taste but they can …….. with respect………bugger off. I do not want my plate to look like the first 15 minutes of Saving Private Ryan….eating should not be a blood sport. Unfortunately the well-done piece I had requested was, in fact, the opposite and I am sure as stabbed my knife and fork into it I heard it moo. I have never had to ask for a steak to be taken back and because the senior beard was paying and because I am British I reverted to being Hugh Grant when Ernesto asked if everything was OK and replied with, “Yes, absolutely, spiffing, cheers, wonderful.”  I then spent the rest of the main course trying not to look down and the bits of curdled blood in my steak and instead stared directly into the eyes of the senior beard which must have made him very nervous indeed. Some people say that cooking steak requires no skill beyond what we were capable of a million years ago, when our knuckles still dragged on the floor and foreplay was a tap on the arse with a mammoth bone……..but they are wrong. Cooking the perfect steak is an art form and one that I am proud to say we have perfected in our Carnival Fahrenheit 555 steakhouses.

 

On Monday’s blog in the Q&A section a lady suggested that I would live longer if I became a vegan?  Short of having my dangly bits blow torched, I can think of nothing I’d like less. Eating a plate of food that contains no animal product of any kind makes me ummm……a yak. I respect vegetarianists …..really I do……but eating only vegetables is like deciding to talk using only consonants. You need vowels or in this case…. steak. But being on this diet I have rediscovered my love of veggies. Cauliflower and peas, particularly. But these are an accompaniment to food, useful only for filling up the plate and absorbing the au jus. The idea of eating only a cauliflower, without even so much as a cheese sauce is unfathomable. There are wider implications, too. Let us imagine that the world decided today to abandon its appetite for sausages, prime rib and roast lamb. The fields would be full of millions of cows, sheep and pigs………..and unless we introduce a yearly case of mad cow and foot and mouth – or reintroduce wolves and lions to the fields of Texas – then surely, just as in Planet of the Apes, the bovine creatures of the planet would eventually take over the world and rule us all.

 

So, I guess I should explain about my food venting this morning…..and the answer is very simple. The food served on a Carnival ship is excellent and it will be getting even better as you will see in the days ahead. Change is never easy and not only takes time but also guts to do especially if what you already have is working so well. Let me try and explain and use TV in doing so. Yesterday on Facebook I spoke about my new favourite show Breaking Bad and how the character of Mr. White changes from a good bespectacled chemistry teacher into a murdering bastard of a drug dealer. This is unusual in TV, I mean the change aspect. Take some of America’s most famous sitcoms such as Friends and Sex and the City? These prove my point perfectly. Those characters were the same at the last ever episode as they were at the first ever episode. What made them popular was that the characters were still eating pizza and drinking coffee in the cafe and still having rumpy pumpy with someone called “Big.” This isn’t the case with Breaking Bad or The West Wing or, of course, The Sopranos and the much missed James Gandolfini’s brilliant performance of an ever-changing mob boss and family. So, if you want success the formula seems to be, don’t change a thing.

 

I remember back in the day “fine dining” and Carnival Cruise Lines were not words you usually heard together in conversation but thanks to the beards who are the architects of the brilliant food that you can all enjoy fleetwide we have come a long way and rather like in Breaking Bad ……  wait until you see what happens next.

 

Goodnight.

Your friend,

John

 

 

 

 

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PANDORA’S BOX….…OR MIAMI INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT, AS IT’S SOMETIMES CALLED http://johnhealdsblog.com/2013/11/04/pandoras-box-or-miami-international-airport-as-its-sometimes-called/ http://johnhealdsblog.com/2013/11/04/pandoras-box-or-miami-international-airport-as-its-sometimes-called/#comments Mon, 04 Nov 2013 20:56:14 +0000 http://johnhealdsblog.com/?p=21516 Continue reading ]]> So I am back from my trip to New York and, as always, it is a city like no other. New York is totally extraordinary. The whole city seems so diverse, from the mix of culture to the brilliant people, places, bars, restaurants, architecture, the men and the women…. everybody is different, everyone is loud and everyone is in a hurry. New York is simply…….wow. I have never seen a city with more restaurants than New York. I can only imagine that no one cooks in Manhattan and that if I were to go and inspect apartments and houses in New York City and examine the cookers in these homes, the very vast majority would still have the instructions inside and they have never been used.

Then there is the traffic. I am guessing that some of the richest people in New York must be car valets and people that own underwear shops. I watched our cab driver maneuver his car through the throngs of vehicles and pedestrians. As he did so, he leant on the car horn constantly and swore at everyone in Pakistani. And everyone was swearing at everyone else and everyone was blowing their car horns at everyone else and everyone who was not used to driving in New York was for sure ruining underwear and giving the leather seats a tint of brown.

 

That journey from Carnival Splendor through the city to JFK Airport is enough to make most people wonder if they should pull over and shoot themselves in the head. But all of this aside and amid all the hurly burly of New York life and regardless of how many times I have been there, I still see and experience things in New York that make me stop, smile and open my mouth wide in awe.

 

My favourite moment from my trip on Friday, though, was the sign I saw outside a pizza restaurant on 45th Street where we walked to dinner. It simply said:

 

FREE DRINKS ALL NIGHT! TOPLESS BAR STAFF! FALSE ADVERTISING!

 

Brilliant! I Love New York.

 

Time for today’s Q and A……………..you talking to me?

 

Courtney Logan asks:

Hi John: My husband and I are taking the crossing cruise next year on the Carnival Legend to Australia. I was wondering if you would be CD for this cruise, and, if not, if you know who it will be. I would love to meet you!!

 

John says:

Hello Courtney Logan,

What a brilliant voyage this will be and although I won’t be the CD, I know that you will have the best of times. I will let you know who will be in the cruise director chair soon here on the blog. Until then, if there is anything I can do for you, please let me know won’t you? Best wishes.

John

 

John Steiner asks:

Hi John,
I have an idea for you to discuss with the various beards. I have been on one Carnival cruise where there was a meteor shower so the captain had the top decks darkened so people could see the show. It was great. So my question is whether Carnival could, weather and cloud cover permitting, attempt to darken the top decks once per cruise while sailing? I know that there are safety issues to be considered, but the idea of being at sea away from light pollution and possible being able to see things that can’t be seen at home could be something that Carnival could do for passengers at little or no cost. See you next year.
John Steiner

 

John says:

Hello John Steiner,

Yes indeed, we did this as well during the crossing when we saw those amazing Northern Lights. I think this always has to be at the captain’s discretion and depends on where the ship is and the traffic, etc., around at the time. This is never something that the beards would instruct the captains to do because, as I said, it has to be at their discretion but we can and will do it when needed. Remind me when you sail again and I will gently ask the captain to consider this. Hope that is OK with you.  Best wishes.

John

 

David Blackmore asks:

I read your comments on the Cruise Critic parties which I found to be distasteful showing an obvious dislike for the millions of members of Cruise Critic. I wish Carnival would do what Royal does and just throw the party! Why don’t you and why, Heald, do you get all pissy when questioned about it?

 

John says:

Hello David Blackmore,

I am very happy to help arrange a room for you all to meet and supply raffle prizes for you as well. That aside, I am afraid we won’t be offering anything else except our wishes that you all have a brilliant time.  Best wishes.

John

 

Cindy Reed asks:

Hi John, I was on the Carnival Liberty for its Sept 14 sailing for my birthday cruise. The ship is very beautiful. My friend who was going with me, her husband had some health issues and she was unable to come so I went by myself. I had a wonderful time and I wanted to personally thank my wait staff for making my birthday a very special day. I am sorry I don’t remember their last name but it was Michael, Marcos and Mr. D. I was in the Silver Dining Room, table 326. I have cruised several times on Carnival and I think by far they were the best group of wait staff I have been around. Thanks so much for your blog, I so enjoy it.
Sincerely,

Cindy

 

John says:

Hello Cindy Reed,

Thanks so very much for telling me and I will pass this on to the ship. They will be able to tell from your booking who the waiter was and that Michael gets all the thanks for the outstanding work and service. It is very kind of you to write and I do hope we see you again very soon. Best wishes.

John

 

Janice Getty asks:

Myself and my life partner are both vegans and both are very disgruntled at the lack of decent up-market vegetarian dishes on Carnival Liberty. It seems to us and many others who lead a healthy lifestyle that Carnival does not promote healthy living and are too busy talking about greasy burgers and fat ridden dishes that cause heart disease, etc. Maybe Carnival and you, John, should take a long hard look at your vegetarian choices or the lack of them!!! Vegetarians live longer, this is a fact and if you saw the cruel way in which animals are slaughtered that, too, may change your minds. This is very troubling and will stop us ever cruising with Carnival again.

 

John says:

 Hello Janice Getty,

I am very sorry to read that your cruise was not enjoyable due to the lack of vegan choices for you during your cruise. I think I have to say though that while I realise choice is limited for vegans (which I am sure it is in most non-specialised restaurants and hotels as well) we do our best to provide for you. I also have to add a personal note to this as well. You see, in my mind there is bugger all wrong with having a strong conviction. But at the same time I also have to say that there, is I think, something truly wrong when you believe that everyone else in the world must share that conviction. “I don’t eat meat and you shouldn’t eat meat either.” But I do and so do thousands of our guests. That aside, I do apologise that you found the choices limited, I will let our executive chef know your thoughts and we will work harder to improve. I do hope we see you again soon. Best wishes.

John

 

Vinnie Hartig asks:

My husband and I are traveling on the Carnival Conquest 12/29/2013. We were wondering if there is something planned for New Years Eve on the ship. I would also like information on the ship. We were told that it was renovated. Can you give us any info? Thank you.

 

John says:

Hello Vinnie Hartig,

Yes indeed, there will be a huge party on Lido Deck with live music and complimentary champagne and, of course, the big countdown from New York, live on the big screen. The ship has had all the 2.0 upgrades and that means you get Guy’s Burger Joint, the new bars on Lido, EA Sports bar and much more. I have no doubts you will have the best of times. Best wishes.

John

 

Brandi Webb asks:

Hi John,
I just wanted to say I love reading your Facebook and blogs, but I do have a question I hope you can help me with. I have a cruise coming up on the Carnival Ecstasy (Nov. 9) for my 21st birthday and I have just a few questions. My fiancé and I want to watch the Cowboys vs. Saints game on Nov. 10. They’re our favorites playing against each other on my birthday. I know that this isn’t always possible to do, but I’m just curious. I’m extremely excited for this cruise as I am every Carnival cruise, and I know we will have a great time.

Sincerely,

Brandi Webb

 

John says:

Hello Brandi Webb,

Thanks so much for the kind words and I am hoping that your game is one that we will show. We don’t choose the games but show only what our network provider sends us. I will post the games this coming Tuesday on my facebook.com/johnheald page so hopefully you will see your game is one of them. Have a brilliant time and enjoy your cruise together on this wonderful ship.

Best wishes.

John

 

Frank Teeman asks:

Just off the Carnival Pride where we were taken to the naughty room which was embarrassing and ruined the first few days of the cruise. What gives, John, there has to be a better way because this sucks.

 

John says:

Hello Frank Teeman,

I have to admit that I had no idea what you meant by this post and what the “naughty room” was. I asked those on my Facebook page and they explained that it was the term that guests use to describe the place where guests have something that they should not in their suitcase. Now as I have no further details here I really can’t comment so, hopefully, you will let me know more so I can give you a proper answer and help you further. Please, then, do get in contact with me. Best wishes.

John

 

Steven Pavia asks:

John- why do you continue to give all that free stuff to the beggers who pretend to be your friend and then ask you for freebies so it is laughable? I know of some who write with their real names to you here and on your Facebook and then use a different name to flame you on Cruise Critic. It has gotten out of control and yet you continue because you love the drama.

 

John says:

Hello Steven Pavia,

It really is not that big a deal for me to help people and thanks to my colleagues’ great help, I think it’s a nice touch to make special occasion cruises that bit more special. As for what others say about me on other sites, well, I can’t control that and, honestly, I don’t really mind, I am here to help and will always do my best to do so.  Best wishes.

John

 

Catherine Meneley asks:

Hi John: Looking forward to another amazing Blogger’s Cruise 7 in February. Here are a couple of suggestions/requests for BC7. Please don’t schedule the Welcome Aboard Party (or any other bloggers event) during Sail Away so we don’t miss sailing down the mighty Mississippi River
Photos for the photo contest should be limited to ones taken during BC7. Please, please, please, do your Bedtime Story either for bloggers only or for the entire ship. See you in 131 days!!!

 

John says:

Hello Catherine Meneley,

It will be a great cruise and I am making more plans and decisions during the time I am here in Miami. The Welcome Aboard party has to be at 5 p.m., I am afraid, as many are on first seating dinner and there is really no other time to have it. I will definitely take what you said about the photo contest into consideration as it would seem fair to make it so. If there is anything else I can do for you before you sail with us, please let me know. Get ready for a brilliant time. Best wishes.

John

 

And on that note, we end today’s Q&A. Thanks for all your comments and questions. OK, lots of you have been asking about the new dining room menus and what’s happening and when and most were concerned that we were going to make changes that had been reported on Cruise Critic’s boards. So let me just say this. We are not planning any changes to the main dining room menus that will reduce the quantity, variety or quality of choices available to guests. However, we are examining potential changes to update our main dining experience. More information will be available once we are ready to begin piloting those changes and that may possibly come this week so stay tuned.

 

Talking of food, my diet is going well. Yes, yes, yes, I have said this before but this time I am serious. While in New York last week, a colleague asked me how I had managed to get “so big.”  And thinking about it the answer is really simple – I just enjoy food. The end.

 

And, if like me, you have worked on a Carnival ship for 26 years, the stuff is everywhere all the time. I used to skip dinner though and work on the computer and then do the shows and then come back to the cabin and call 8000 and Ketut would appear with my room service order of two BLT’s with cheese on white toast. I would munch these down while watching my West Wing box set and then waddle off to bed. Yep, a balanced diet for me was holding a BLT in both hands.

 

And I would do stupid stuff like eat crisps for breakfast. Crisps are what Americans call chips and, yes, I am sure that some bloggers are giving that statement a disgusted response but, frankly, I can’t understand how anyone resists it. It seems obvious to me that crisps are the ultimate breakfast food. You get an instant wake-up hit from all the salt and a savory taste on the palate that is far superior to toast and butter, lots of lovely carbohydrates and, back then, I would rather have eaten chips than a bowl of beardy food like the tasteless, dry muesli I am forced to eat now. I hate muesli and I hate the way that when I do a number two, it comes out like a rope.

 

Plus, I am sure I read somewhere that there is more Vitamin C in a packet of chips than there is in an orange. It is probably bollocks but it sounds perfectly feasible to me. Anyway, the days of chips for breakfast are long gone and I have stepped up my diet. I have no idea how much weight I have lost but certainly quite a bit because I am starting to see my underpants now when I look down over the awning. The day I finally get to see my gentleman’s sausage without the use of a mirror or Calvyn, will be one of pure celebration.

 

So I have two more flights to New Orleans and back and then another from Miami to London, all through the joy that is Miami International Airport. Having flown as many times as I over the years I think I am able to express a decent opinion on some of the world’s worst airports. Heathrow is a nightmare to get to but terminal 5 has improved a lot. St. Petersburg in Russia is scary in a Tom Clancy kind of way but Miami trumps the lot with its own special brand of dreadfulness. They do say there is a place where all the world’s evil is stored and they called that place Pandora’s Box………wrong………..it’s Miami International Airport. It is full of a twilight zone of lines manned by people who will only speak Spanish, rip-off restaurants that have terrible service and charge 18% automatic gratuity and that has seating that makes putting your arse on a cheese grater more comfortable. Calvyn and I stood in line at security for 45 minutes looking at all the unmanned X-ray machines, wondering why they couldn’t have hired a few more people to tell us to take our shoes off…….in Spanish. This was way before the shooting at the Los Angeles Airport which would have meant more security understandably, but as anyone will tell you, long lines are normal at Miami Airport.

 

I think my disdain for Miami International Airport has grown over the years thanks to the two-hour wait to get through immigration where once you do get to see an inspector you are treated in such a soulless way that you feel as welcome as syphilis. And because you have waited for two hours your luggage has been removed from the carousel and shoved onto the floor along with hundreds of other bags making it very hard to find.

 

But this past Thursday, as I flew to New York, my dislike for MIA reached new heights. My American Airlines flight was delayed by two hours and so I was already in a bad mood when I got the call of nature. So, I walked into the restroom and, as I did, I slipped and slid across a sticky disgusting stained floor hurtling towards one of the urinals that hadn’t been flushed and was full of frothy yellow liquid. I am still having Vietnam-style flashbacks about that.

 

Goodnight.

Your friend,

John

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