John's Replies

August 25, 2008 -

John Heald

Hello Everyone,

PA007 mentioned that it might be nice to post the replies to the comments marked “urgent, please reply” and he/she of course, is correct.

Therefore, twice a week, Stephanie will post a new blog marked “John’s Replies”.

This will enable everyone to see both question and answer.

I would love to be able to reply to every comment as I used to but I am afraid time just will not allow.
Therefore, if you have an urgent question, please mark it as so and if you do not want it posted please also advise us.


Here are this week’s replies:

Troy asked:

I had a quick question.

Does Carnival have to approve a cruise directors skit and then they have to stick to it?
We have had 4 cruises now that have been identical. Every joke, every show, every top 10 list, etc…..

We just went on the Ecstasy with Big Tex and I mean every word / joke / song, was the same, no creativity after doing the same show for over a year.

All the cruises were over a year apart. Obviously the duplication was only twice but the first one we even had the same juggler, same comedians flown in, etc….. not a thing different.

The good news is we had enough drinks that it was still fun and laughed at the jokes.

But I do wonder how much control someone is taking at the top.

One more comment was we were on a Carnival cruise that had REO Speedwagon, STYX and Journey on the cruise doing concerts and they would not allow any outside songs on the decks, and we all wanted to hear the groups that were on board……… someone wanted to control the music but hey were playing Def Lepard and various other rock bands.


John says:
Hello Troy,

I think if you would to go around the industry, you would hear a lot of Cruise Directors and a lot of comedy acts use the same or similar material.

While Cruise Directors are encouraged to dream up new ideas, they certainly are not scripted. I know myself, that when you find something that is very funny, you tend to use it every cruise.

The problem with this is that you get comments from repeat guests as in the case here.

As far as the same fly on entertainers, that is something we can avoid and I have addressed this with the office.

Carnival has just hired a host of new entertainment acts from the U.K.

Many of these have been used here in Europe and have been so successful that we are transferring many of them to the Caribbean.

As to your comments on the REO speedwagon and Def Leppard being on board the ship. This was a private performance for guests who had booked through an agency and paid extra for their performances. I apologize that you could not enjoy their music, I would love to have heard Def Leppard myself.

Hope this answers your questions and thank you for reading the blog thingy.


John Hood Asked:

I will be sailing on your next cruise,has the original port schedule changed,looking forward to our trip and you making us laugh

Best Regards,
John & Kathy Hood

John says:
Hello John,

The only change to the itinerary next cruise is that we will call at Tallinn before St. Petersburg. Everything else is as per schedule.

Looking forward to seeing you both.
Best Regards,
Darlene Asked:
John, Please answer:

I would like to take Bubba a little something when we sail on the 3rd. Do you have any suggestions? Something that he may not have access to, but he would enjoy.

I love laughing at your blogs — can’t wait to meet you in February!

John says:
Hello Darlene,

How kind of you to think of Bubba. May I suggest FOOD, specifically, doughnuts.
He loves Dunkin’ Doughnuts. IF not that, he loves grits, I know it is something he misses very much.

I am looking forward to seeing you as well and thank you so much for taking the time to read the blog.

Best Regards,

Linda Asked:
So, the mystery continues, you didn’t say if you would still be on the Splendor for Thanksgiving week or not, you did say you would be back home in December, and that you were making the crossover on the Splendor, but left blank the few weeks in November, PLEASE LET US KNOW SOON, OK? Linda

John Says:
Hello Linda,

You know, I feel so guilty that we have never met.

I desperately hoping that we get to see each other this time, however, it is looking unlikely.

I do not know for sure but it does look like Goose will be your Cruise Director for the Thanksgiving cruise.

I believe in destiny and therefore I believe that one day we will meet, laugh and have a great time together.

I sincerely apologize for the bad news and I truly wish it wasn’t so.
My best to your both.
your friend always,

Joe Asked:
Hi John,

I read and enjoy your blog everyday. I will be aboard the Freedom from 12/28/08 through 01/02/09.

We will be in Ocho Rios on Jan 1, 2009. I noticed that the Carnival site is not offering excursions on New Years day. Can you please verify for me that this will be the case ? My son has his heart set on ridding horseback through the beach and shoreline.


John Says:
Hello Joe,

I am very surprised Carnival will not be offering tours on New Years Day, however, just to be on the safe side. I have forwarded this to the Shore Excursion Dept. for their confirmation.

I will get back to you.

Thanks Mate.

Arlene Asked:
I enjoy your blog tremendously!!! We will be on the Spendor 1/31/09 — back to back to back until 3/21/09, around South America.

No one can answer this question for me….and I know you can…… will we have the same entertainment 3 times…or will it be different for each leg? Also, do we get billed once…or 3 times?

I have asked and asked, but no one knows. Hopefully you will respond. Thank you

John Says:
Hello Arlene,

Congratulations on booking 3 fabulous voyages, I am sure they will be ones you will never forget.
With regards to the Entertainment, you will have the opportunity to see the 3 major production shows featuring the dancers and singers. These will be repeated on each voyage as much of the ship will have guests who are only on for one cruise. However, the singers, jugglers, comedians etc. will all be different and not repeated.

As far as your Sail & Sign bill, you will receive one at the end of each voyage, 3 medium shocks are better than one big one….

Please let me know if you have any other questions.

Thank you for reading the blog – thingy.

Best Regards,

Julie Asked:
John, ( Please Reply)

You keep writing these blogs! I love reading about these “fred and Gingers”, Mrs S Nobs, ect…I have met these people in everyday life, so I know you are not making it up!

My question that I am seeking an answer for is this: Hubster and I will be on the beautiful Carnival Splendor in Fort Lauderdale, Florida on December 6th of this year. We have a favorite server, Martina Filpova. She is in the Black Pearl I believe, I want to know if there is anyway Hubster and I could be seated in her area of the dining room. I know this is a big request, but Martina is the one who got us hooked on Carnival. She is abosolutely wonderful. She was on our Spirit cruise to Alaska. Thanks to her, and the many other wonderful Carnival employees, I have gone on 4 cruises ( all Carnival) and hubster has gone on 3. We have 11/30 /08 on the Freedom booked with the Splendor following. We are booked for the Fascination in April of 09 and the Truimph, November of 09. We are also booked on the Dream for April of 2010. So as you can see, we really love cruises on Carnival and would love to see the lady that made us fall in love With cruises.

Thanks, Julie
If you need our names
we are Randall and Julie Mendenhall.

John Says:
Hello Julie,

Thank you so very much for all your kind words, specifically about the wonderful Martina.
You will be happy to know I have sent this request to Ken, our Maitre ‘D, who will do his very best to make sure you have Martina as your server.

I know Martina very well and I can understand why you wish her to be your waitress.

Thank you for reading the blog and have a wonderful cruise here on the Carnival Splendor.

Best Regards,

Joy Asked:

Will you still be on the Splendor on the Nov. 21st sailing? I hope so. I booked it because you were the CD. I have sailed with you on the Freedom and the Triumph. You are the best.
Jim and Joy

John Says:
Hello Joy,

I am sorry to give you the bad news that I will not be with you for your November 21 cruise.

As I was just telling my good friend Linda, who is on the same voyage as you, unfortunately, I will not be the Cruise Director for the Thanksgiving cruise.

I hope we are able to meet again some day and I know Goose, your Cruise Director will give you a wonderful time.

Thanks for reading the blog thingy.


Andrew & Michelle Asked:
Hi John

Did I read it right – are you on Carnival Liberty next summer in Europe?

We will get to meet at last!

Myself and Michelle (DW) will be on board 13th August (Baltic 12 nights) and it will be brilliant to meet you after reading your blog so long.

We’re pretty committed Princess cruisers – and we LOVE Sabatini’s (whoops – corrected my spelling – I wrote Sabatitis….) but we had a great cruise on Carnival Conquest out of New Orleans the year before Katrina spoilt that beautiful town.

The great value of this cruise tempted us, and having read your blog we really got the impression that Carnival really cares about the guests (an impression that we do not always get on Princess, sadly) and we thought it was time for a change.

I’m not only looking forward to the cruise – but also to reading your blog about it.

See you in August!
Andrew & Michelle

John Says:
Hello Mate,

It has been a long time since I have written and I hope you are having a good season.
Loved your spelling of Sabatini’s by the way.

I am so excited that you and Mrs.. Caravanparkmanager will be with us on the Carnival Liberty in the Baltic next year.

Nearer the time, let me know if you have questions about the ports etc. and can you bring me some PG tips?

Cheers mate.

Bill & Cindy Asked:

As an avid blog reader since the beginning I have seen the many changes in you over the last 2 years, and i have to say that the events of the last 3 months have me extremly worried about you.
Cindy and I have sailed with you on 5 occasions and each time you…yes YOU made the trip special, yes the ships are beautiful and the crews are the best but its your personality that radiates thru the ship and makes the cruise more enjoyable.

Over the last 3 months i have noticed a very disturbing change in your writings. While they are still enjoyable they are not the John that I know .

I certainly agree that both Heidi and you are entitled to have a life together on solid ground, and truth be told i started noticing the change in you and your writings when you announced that Heidi will be retiring and accepting the full time job as mistress of the house.

If i may be so bold ….i was a very bad mistake for you to take the european tour circut. reading your writings it is obvious that you are not equiped to deal with the SNOBS that travel on that circut. I realize that it will allow you to be close to Heidi but i am sorry to say my friend but you are way out of your comfort zone.

As far as you doing a tour of other ships at the beginning of the year all I can say is what a waste of time, while i am sure it will make some interesting blogs any job/assignment that takes you away from working directly with the passenges is a total waste of talent.

John please dont take this personally, we love you not because you are the best cruise director,but because you CARE about the 3000 + folks put in your charge ( example: please re read your blog on Mrs S Nob) you bent over backwards to make that lady feel special. Its not about helping her John, its about the fact that, while to a point it is your job however you went well beyond the job description of a cruise director.

The only reason that i am writing this is that we have met personally on 2 of our 5 cruises with you and both cindy and I care about you and Heidi.

My advice to you (for what it is worth)would be to take more time off to be with Heidi and for you to get your butt back into southern waters where you belong.

I think that Carnival Corp knows your worth, and it would be in there best interest to get you back south and to give you the time that you and Heidi deserve together.

I hope that you read this and understand what it says and more important where it is comming from. Both of us care a great deal about you and Heidi and want the best for both of you and if that means we have to loose you as “our” cd well then so be it, the future cruises wont be the same without you but we will feel good in the knowing that you and heidi are well and HAPPY.

John get off the Splendor asap it is taking way to big a toll on you. And please dont turn into a “cruise critic” it wont be what you do best.

Bill and Cindy

John Says:
Hello Cindy & Bill,

I wasn’t sure how to reply to this one.

I am not quite sure also about the “disturbing changes” you mentioned in my blogs.

I think my style changes with each story that is to be told, however, I do not want you to worry, honestly I am fine.

The European cruises are challenging, however, I think I am more than equipped to deal with them and certainly well within my comfort zone.

I certainly will miss Heidi and you are correct, it will not be the same without her but this is my life …………for now.

I am hoping Carnival Corporation does, as you say, value me as an employee and I hope also that in the months ahead they may find a position that allows me more time on land. Most importantly, I want to thank you for your caring and considerate comment. It is wonderful to know I have friends such as you.

Best Regards,

Cheri Asked:

Your pic are great. We just hit the 99 day mark till our Freedom Cruise. I know you have been quite busy as you always are & doing a great job,

But I was wondering when you might be posting the Freddy Tattoo. If Looking forward to meeting up with you in San Juan on Dec 8th.

Take Care
Cheri & Michael

John Says:

I am so glad you wrote. Please send me the picture again, I can’t find it….
My computer crashed as you know a few days ago and it is lost in cyberspace.
Please send it to me and I will post it immediately.

Best to you and the family.

Bob and Donna Asked:

I’m crushed — we are booked on the Legend departing February 1 from Tampa to celebrate our 30th anniversary. We’ll miss you by a week. For your information (and suitable for forwarding to corporate for inclusion in your bonus calculation file) we are booked on Carnival for the first time due to your blog. We have cruised with Princess before but want something more fun — you’ve convinced us. Really looking forward to checking out the Spirit class ships.

By the way, keep pushing for a corporate loyalty program in addition to the ones for each individual cruise line.

As loyal readers since April 2007 we will catch up with you someday soon. Your blog is like a letter from home. Keep writing and thanks for the laughes!!!!

John Says:
Hello Bob and Donna,

Reading this e-mail has left me with mixed emotion.

I am so honored that because of this blog we have convinced you to take your first Carnival cruise. There are few words to describe how I feel about this, however, I am very sorry and a little sad that I will not get to be on the Carnival Legend when you are there.

Please remind me just before you sail.

Your friend always,

Myra Asked:
Dear John,

First, Cannon’s car was a Mark IV Lincoln Continental. And yes, that was a great show!
About your sleeplessness…you’ve been checked out completely for heart health, yes? I’ve read one symptom of heart problems can be not being able to sleep. Just a thought. Since Fred’s book put you to sleep you’re probably fine.

What a sense of humor the guest has who left the “towel” man for the cabin steward to find!!! I love it. Scott wondered what had been used for the mouth. Do you know? (Question #1)

Thanks for your schedule. When you say you’ll be “sailing on” the various ships, will you be in passenger capacity or will you have duties to perform other than reporting in the blog? Maybe reporting to “management” on the various ships, crews and ports? (Question #2)

I tried that “ancestor lookup” thing and was stymied by lack of information/records kept by family members. Without a good starting point it’s not easy to backtrack. I do know that I’m part French (sorry to disappoint you), part Italian, but otherwise????? Scott, on the other hand, can trace his “history” almost to the beginning of time. He actually became a member of the Sons of the American Revolution this year. I think my ancestors were probably all still in the “old country” at that time. But that’s okay…at least they got here and I was fortunate enough to be born in the greatest country in the world.

Soooo, tonight we’re going to Downtown Disney to see a movie (I think it’s called “The House Bunny”), then to The Adventurer’s Club on Pleasure Island. Disney is closing all the clubs on PI, which is making many (thousands of) people quite upset…especially fans of the AC. The last night for the clubs is September 27, and as we are hoping to leave for a cross-country drive next week, we’re going to make our last visit to the AC tonight. If there are any fans (from Orlando or anywhere else around the country) who are interested there is a petition online to “Save the Adventurer’s Club.” Kungaloosh!!!!

Hi to Heidi,
Your Pal, Myra

John Says:
Hello Mate,

How great to hear from you.

Thanks for your caring and yes, I have regular health checks. I appreciate your concern so very much.

I couldn’t work out what they used for the mouth of the towel man but I will find out.
In answer to your first question. I will be sailing on the ships I listed purely to write for the blog as well us helping where I can, some of the younger Cruise Directors.

Congratulations on looking up your ancestors. Don’t worry that you are French. You are still my friend.
Have a wonderful time at Downtown Disney, one of Heidi’s favorite places. I really like Wolfgang’s Puck restaurant there.

We both miss you and hope we see you soon.

John and Heidi

Hi, I’m John, and this is my blog. So please don’t mistake my opinions — or those of my dear friends, fans or commenters — for those of Carnival Cruise Line or Carnival Corporation. My apologies in advance for anything I may say that upsets you, but this disclaimer covers Carnival and puts the blame directly on me………….. bugger.