John's Replies

October 15, 2008 -

John Heald

Hi Everyone,
Just wanted to let you know that this will be the last “John’s Replies” until Oct. 20th as John will be traveling. John will also not be able to respond via email until then. Comments will continue as normal, however if you need immediate assistance just mark them with “attention Stephanie”.

And now back to the regularly scheduled John’s Replies….
John Asked:
Hi John,
I just heard that Winston’s Cigar Bar on the Valor is now called Winston’s Bar and is a smoke-free bar.
Is this true?
Are there other smoke-free bars on the Valor?

John Heald Says:

Hello John
Yes, it’s true. The cigar bars on Valor and Glory are now smoke free with cigar smoking allowed in the sports bar. This leaves the Piano Bar and Casino NS Sports BAR as the only inside lounges where smoking is allowed
Please let me know if there is anything else I can you help with

Shirley Asked:
John, please reply. Some time back on the blog I read about a must-do Vatican shore excursion. I have just booked the transatlantic for November 2009 and want to know if it is possible to schedule an early arrival and tour the Vatican. When I booked the cruise (with air) I was told that I would arrive and embark on the same day. This may be the only time I ever get to Rome so I want to be certain to take the tour that you recommended. Which tour is the best and how many days ahead of the cruise would we need to schedule?
As always, thanks for all you do. Shirley
I also want to let you know that on this cruise my sister will be joining me for her first cruise. That makes a total of twelve people that I have introduced to cruising since my first cruise in 2003 (this will be my 11th). My cruising circle keeps getting bigger and bigger and all of them love it just like I promised they would.

John Says:

Hello Shirley,

If your flight arrival time allows you should book the Exclusive Private View Of The Vatican.
I think this is the one that you are referring to. It takes you completely behind the scenes and where ever there is a do not enter sign you will enter.
It is extraordinary.
If you don’t do this one, then I recommend the Best Of Rome with the Vatican Museum.
How wonderful that you have introduced so many people to the world of cruising and I know it is a long way away but I hope you will remind me before you sail.
I remain at your service.


Abby Asked:
Hi John,
I saw a mention that your blogger’s cruise was doing something with Habitat in New Orleans? My hubby and I are cruising a month after you on the Fantasy and wanted to do the same thing. Any word on how to go about that?
Thanks so much, and I think its so great of you to do that.

John Says:
Hello Abby,

How kind of you to offer to help in New Orleans. I will ask Stephanie to send you a contact name and e-mail address for the Habitat charity.

Many thanks for taking the time to read the blog and to think about the people of New Orleans.
Best wishes John.

Hi Abby,
We are working with Beacon of Hope Resource Center. You can register to volunteer her:

Tracy Asked:
hi john and hidi congrats. my ? is do u know whos the cruise director for imagination we are going dec 1 08. tc

John Says:
Hello T,

The CD will B Karl with a K.
He is grt, how is my txt speak?

Ralf Asked:
Hi Donna, John
ref: Johns Replies 13 oct 08
See homepage Carnival. You will see a button “MY CRUISE”. You do have to register, getting a log in password. After log in you do Use “MY PROFILE” then “VIEW CRUISE HISTORY”. there you are.
All your current bookings can be seen there as well. I am always using “my cruise” to update data (fun pass etc) or booking shore excursions. You can go from one to another booking without having to log out/in every time. You can update your profile any time setting dining preferences.
Very good news hearing the medical Staff did save a life again.
I sometimes spent fathers day in Miami/Beach. Filling my Hotel fridge I was offered a flower/Rose more than one time. I did never accept my words: I do not know beeing a father, but am not paying for any children until now.
Congratulations to both of you again, but keeping your Thingy at home until beeing 26 John you are retired at that time!!??
You could use briefs instead of boxers again (Old blog readers do know).
Please do answer this one:
What flag did you use taking over Splendor from Fiancatieri??
Is there any chance seeing you on a bloggers cruise TA C-DREAM next year??
Yours Ralf

John Says:
Hello Ralf,

Thank you for the kind words and help for Donna.
You will be happy to know that I am certainly considering the Carnival Dream for a bloggers Cruise in 2010.
Also, I can tell you that during the flag ceremony on the Carnival Splendor we lowered the Italian flag, raised the American flag and the Carnival Cruise Lines flag.
The National anthems of both countries are played at the event.

Thank you for reading the blog.


Vicki Asked:
Hi John,
Sorry to be responding so late to your Oct. 8 blog thingy, but I just got back from an RCI cruise (had a great time). I love your blog (and by extension, you), but have not had good luck with Carnival on the two times that I have tried it. To be fair, it was the same ship and same CD a year+ apart. But the things you describe doing (interacting with guests, the morning show, Dear John letters, etc.) just weren’t done. There were very few activities for folks our age (late 40s) – and we’re pretty flexible. The production shows were good, the food in the dining room was excellent, and the CD was very funny, but overall, not great experiences. Can you recommend a Carnival experience that would be better for us? Besides Carnival and RCI, we’ve also sailed Cunard twice, Norwegian once, and Celebrity twice – 10 or 11 in all – to ports including the Bahamas/Caribbean, Europe, NE/Canada, and Pacific Northwest. We’d really like to try Carnival again, as it is a major player in our homeport. Thanks, and again congrats to you and Heidi!

John Says:
Hello Vicki
Welcome back and I am glad you had a great cruise. As long as people keep cruising its good for everyone no matter what the line. However, saying that, I would hope to see you on a Carnival Ship again. You asked me to recommend a cruise with us and that’s easy.Here are three top tips.

1. CARNIVAL DREAM………….Our newest and largest ship will debut in the Autumn of 2009. She has some incredible new features including a Piazza and the new and must have deck 2 balcony cabins giving you the greatest view at sea………of the sea. The ship will sail from Europe on a 16 day crossing to New York and then after a short time there will sail from Port Canaveral on Eastern and Western itineraries. The CD will be Todd who is one of the best in the industry and there will be many, many new and exciting activity features for you and your family to enjoy.

2. CARNIVAL SPIRIT………..ALASKA…………no other words are needed. It’s a must see.

3. CARNIVAL LIBERTY………..Baltic cursing to Russia, Finland and Germany with me.

what do you think

let me know

Your friend

Brandy Asked:
I have only recently found your blog and am loving it. I have gone back and was reading some old post when I came across a name that made me laugh out loud. We were on Liberty in February (February 4-12) of 2006, and had the honor of sailing with Willy and Anita Banger and Mr. Cinncinati (sp?). That was our very first cruise – my sister in law actually got married on the ship before we set sail. We have been on two more since then – Ecstasy and Legend. I have to say we were spoiled – having the best cruise director and the newest ship at the time. The other two cruises were great, but they do not compare to the first one. And finally to my questions – Is your wife Heidi, the same Heidi that was with you on Liberty in 2006? What ship is Stephanie (with hair died like a skunk) on now? When are you going to be on another ship sailing out of the US? I can not get my husband to sail across the ocean – no European cruises for him. He enjoys Mexico and the Caribbean cruises.
Congratulations on the “thingy!” I understand how frustrating it can be. We have been trying and have had no luck with a thingy of our own.
If you get an opportunity, please respond. Thanks and hopefully we will get to sail with you again.
Brandy Walter

John Says:
Hello Brandy
What a great posting and I am so glad you have found the blog. Yes, Heidi was with me on the Carnival Liberty and of course I remember Mr.. Cincinnati………what a great sport he was. Heidi is now pregnant and we will have our first child in May.
Stephanie now has all black hair following her skunk period and is a wonderful friend
I wish you success in your rumpy pumpy. I got very frustrated as did Heidi so I know how you feel. It will happen……… really will.

I hope you will continue to read the blog and I hope to hear from you soon

Jeff Asked:
John, please respond… I have a picture I need to send you. Where do I send it?

John Says:
Hello Jeff
Stephanie will send you the address. Can’t wait to see it

Hi Jeff,

Stephanie here, you can email it to or mail it to:
3655 NW 87th Avenue
Miami, FL
Attn: Stephanie Leavitt

Nancy Asked:
Hi John & Heidi & ‘lil Thingy!
Congrats and many blessings to all of you! Since we won’t have the pleasure of you as our CD on the Freedom next week – do you happen to know who is? We have loved reading your blog about Italy, Turkey & Greece and it’s been so informative! This will be our first Carnival cruise to Europe (13 total cruises with Carnival, 16 on other cruise lines) and we can’t wait! We will be celebrating my husband’s 56th and also our 31st anniversary! We sail on 10/24 – just 10 days away!!!!!! Yippee!!!
Please reply if you get a chance! Thank you!

John Says:
Hello Nancy
Your CD will be the one and only Todd Wittmer who is just fantastic. I wish I could be there with you and can you send me your last name please
cheers and have a great cruise and thanks especially for the kind words about the blog
your friend

Sergio Asked:
Hi John,
PLEASE REPLY-Congratulations on your “thingy”. I am a relatively new reader of yor blog (approximately 2-3 months) but I am hooked and my wife who does not read English, expects a summary every evening.
We are cruising the Valor beginning on November 9. It is my second cruise (I cruised the Elation in 1999 with my ex) but first for my wife. Since we met, I have told her about the wonderful experience a carnival cruise is and I promised her that one day we would cruise together. Well that one day is finally here as we decided to celebrate our 5th year wedding anniversary by taking this Caribbean Cruise.
We are also trying to have a child as we have no children of our own, but have been unsuccessful throughout our marriage. I told her about Heidi’s thermometer and she is going to ask her doctor about teaching her that method. But hey, maybe all we need is the magic of carnival and our child will be conceived on the Valor during our upcoming cruise
Is Chris Jefferson still the CD on the ship? Also, I read on one of your recent blogs that you sent a signed picture of the ship to one of your passengers. How can we get a signed picture of the Valor for ourselves?
Thanks for reading and good luck with all your future endeavors both with carnival an beyond
Sergio Medina

John Says:

Hello Sergio
What a great posting and lets start with the most important thing. Heidi and I hope that you and your beautiful wife are soon blessed with child. Hang in there and I think the relaxed and fun atmosphere the Carnival Valor will provide may move things along.
Chris Jefferson is your CD and he is brilliant.
I wish I could be with you and look out for a little gift from me
best to you both

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.