Luck Be A Lady Tonight

March 1, 2009 -

John Heald

You won’t believe this one!

Guest: Mr. ________ Ref: 846009233A
Cabin: _____ Booking#: ________ Added-Changed: 02/27/09 – 02/27/09

Guest called 911 emergency line stating that he was bleeding heavily from his mouth. Guest said that he had tried to take out a bad tooth by tying some string around the cabin door handle. Nurse and security informed and full accident report submitted.

This is a joke, that’s what you’re probably thinking but I assure and promise you it isn’t. I have heard of some self help reminds before but trying to yank out your own teeth. And by tying string around the tooth and a door handle? If you’ve completely lost your mind, why not just invite the local psychopath round with his pliers?

Of course, you have to sympathize with fear of dentists. I myself have a morbid fear of men and women in white coats. I think I once described in a past blog about being put under the gas for treatment, then getting home to find my underpants were on back to front.

The problem is that if we stop using dentists we won’t have any dental records, and how would they identify us if we’re left charred in a fire?

But that’s a mystery, too. Because if they don’t know who you are, how can they know who your dentist was?

I asked the ship’s doctor why he did such a thing and the doctor had obviously asked the guest whose answer was “I have been doing this for the last 20 years and it’s what his Papa taught him.”………I didn’t believe this and so I called the guest to see if he was OK. Now, firstly he had no idea who I was, which I guess if you haven’t been to any shows, listened to the PA system or turned on the TV these last seven days may be possible.

After explaining who I was I asked the question “why.” He told me he was in pain and that “his Papa had taught him how to avoid medical bills by pulling his own teeth and that he had been doing this for 20-plus years…..only this one was a bleeder.” … I shivered and half expected to hear banjo music in the background. I can only imagine what his Papa taught him to cure hemorrhoids.

Good morning everyone. I am so sorry I could not write a blog yesterday. The last sea day is such a busy one with meetings, the debarkation talk, The Morning and Afternoon Shows as well as preparing for the next western Caribbean cruise. It looks like for the next few weeks there will be no Saturday blog but a Sunday one instead. My goodness me I met some amazing characters this cruise and I have tried to share most of them with you. It was brilliant to be cruise director again though and especially great to be so in the Caribbean once again.

Being a cruise director in Europe is very different. There, it’s destination cruising and the shows, events and activities take a back seat to the outstanding and historic ports of call. In Europe the guests are so tired after long days and nights of exploration that many times the shows are less than full and by 11 pm the ship is as quite as a monk’s bedroom.

However, here the ship is vibrant until the wee small hours and the shows are full and echo to the sounds of laughter. It’s what Carnival cruising is all about and it’s been a wonderful reminder about why these kinds of voyages are our bread and butter. Sun, beaches and fun………………’s been great to be back.

I think my comedic timing may have been a little rusty. It’s been quite a few months since I performed but overall I think the cruise went well and today the guests left with a smile and a goodbye hug and a wave which is always a good sign. Anyway, I shall be interested to see the ship’s comment card ratings which should be out tomorrow and I will of course share them with you.

Tomorrow we start using a new Sail & Sign card/cabin key design here on the Carnival Valor. I thought you may like to have a look at them……………here they are


They look good and I would be interested to see what you all think about them. Besides the new design, these cards have a better quality, so-called “HiCo” magnetic stripe on the back which will basically eliminate the need of reprinting “demagnetized” S&S cards at the guest services desk. It’s hard to see on the screen but the cards do say Gold and Platinum on the top of the cards. Anyway, we start tomorrow with the new design and let’s hope it’s a smooth transition.

Now, I know many of you have a Carnival ship as your screensaver………….mine is of Jessica Simpson in a pair of tight shorts and knee high boots washing a Ferrari Enzo ……………… anyway, I thought you might like these photos as a screen saver. They are of the Carnival Valor and the Carnival Splendor (during her current South American voyage) and all are taken by Carnival’s master photographer Radu whom we thank so very much for sharing these amazing shots with us.







Over the past fast years there have been a handful of ships that stand out as especially innovative, brilliant and important. If they were paintings, they’d be in the Louvre. If they were animals, Texans and Alaskan politicians would have their heads on a wall. These are the Mozart ships. The Mona Lisas of cruising.

And sitting a top of the list is the Queen Mary 2. Men with beards speak in secret underground sects about her beauty, elegance and domination of the world’s oceans. They talk of her 150,000-plus gross tons and her four 21.5 MW electric propulsion pods, two fixed and two azimuthing. And when you get them onto the fact that she can muster up 29.62 knots, many are so overcome with emotion, they have to go to the toilet.

The Queen Mary 2 is due in Sydney, Australia, tomorrow and the last time she called there thousands of people in shorts shouting “strewth” and “crikey” lined the harbour (spelt correctly) to welcome the majestic leviathan. In fact, let’s find out about Cunard’s return down under and check in with the boss………….the one and only Mr. Peter Shanks.


Greetings to you and your bloggers from Blighty. We have been making
history again with Cunard and I know you like to share our historic moments
with your fellow bloggers. First up today I wanted to share the following
youtube link with you. It is a three minute video taken by some Cunard fans
down in Auckland, New Zealand as they were up early one morning awaiting
the arrival of Queen Mary 2. As she goes around the world she has been
turning heads and causing chaos with traffic jams in every city she visits.
What is so good about the video is that their is not an ounce of marketing
in it. It is real views of real people anticipating the arival of the most
famous ocean liners in the world – including a marvellous local lady who
was also about to sail on the ship. So click and enjoy – would make me want
to travel that’s for sure !

The second piece of news I wanted to share was a wonderful 60 minute
programme that aired on BBC 2 last night. It was a programme called
‘Timewatch’ – ‘QE2 – The Final Voyage’. Not only does it cover the history
of the ship – but it has unique footage from onboard the final voyage from
Southampton to Dubai on our much-loved QE2. Your bloggers should be able to
find it by going to , then click on BBC iPlayer and they
should be able to view the programme.

The most encouraging thing for all of us at Cunard Line – was that whilst
millions were watching the QE2 programe last night – Queen Mary 2 was
steaming towards Yokohama, Japan and Queen Victoria was steaming towards
Nagasaki, Japan – and as they arive they will be turning heads , causing
traffic jams, making history and making new friends.

We are Cunard !

Best Regards to you and all your Carnival Bloggers



Peter Shanks
Chief Commercial Officer
Carnival UK

How lucky we are to have Peter as a guest reporter. He is one of the most respected people in the industry and his writing I know has all of us wanting to try a Cunard experience. Thanks again Peter and congratulations.

This week here on the Carnival Valor I noticed that there were groups of people huddled together speaking in whispers. I assumed they were funnel heads (that’s the term for people who love cruising) who were talking about the QM2 as she is sometimes annoyingly referred as. However, as I approached this group with my left pant leg raised above my knee and using the secret handshake to show I was a member it became apparent that they were not talking abbot Cunard’s brilliant liner………but instead were discussing the Carnival Dream.

Now, I have had the privilege of delivering many of Carnival’s vessels but never can I remember hearing such anticipation before. So many people asked me about the ship during my Q&A and when I spoke about her cove balcony cabins (closer to the water line) and two-bath family cabins they were honest to goodness gasps and lots of “oooosssss” heard around the theatre. Many of those who had “ooooooeeed ” then went to the booking on board desk thingy and converted those gasps into bookings and that was great to see.

It seems that Carnival Dream is going to become an instant member of those ships that will forever be part of that select group and I for one can’t wait to see her again this April. Obviously it would be amiss of me not to mention that some people are talking about that huge thing that’s due out at the end of the year………..if they can find enough loose change down the back of the chairman’s sofa to pay for it.

You know the NBA is enjoying its most absorbing individual rivalry since the early 1980s, when Larry Bird and Magic Johnson fought each other with the Boston Celtics and the Los Angeles Lakers.

Today’s equivalents are LeBron James, of the Cleveland Thingies, and Kobe Bryant from the Lakers and Dwyane Wade of the Miami Heat who last night got elbowed in the face by a Knickerbocker……..twice………. got pissed of and scored 46 points. These three pair of players are, by some distance, the best basketball players in the world and their rivalry is, by an equal margin, the most compelling in American, if not world sports.

Rivalry is a good thing in all walks of life. It keeps us on the ball and because these days we are accustomed to a steady diet of depressing news the shiny new vessels that the industry is launching this year is a wonderful reminder that the industry is strong and ready to continue providing the best vacations…………in the world.

My mail arrived this morning and among the letters forwarded by Heidi was a copy of my old school’s magazine. A few months ago I was asked to write in for an article on what the class of 1984 is doing now.

Tony Pipen who had huge pus-filled zits on his face works for a pharmaceuticals company and is working on a special disinfectant to kill mouth bacteria. Colin Kutt has written a book called Guidelines for the Use of Personal Data in System Training which considering he was the most boring person in the entire world is not a surprise …… bet he has a beard.
Then there’s a chap who’s actually written to his old school magazine, at the age of 43, to say he’s been working as a roadie for various rock bands and living out of his VW camper van. His name is Brian Ikelstein and I cannot for the life of me remember him.

The only fly in the ointment, so far as I’m concerned, is a direct contemporary of mine Alex Pimol who’s now the director of international security for a major oil company. That sounds pretty cool…… the bastard.

Well, another cruise starts today. We finished debarkation using a changed system to the one they have been using here. I put into place some of the things I learned in Europe and even if I do say so myself, it was a great idea. We mixed self assist with the zone tags and had the guests just relax in their cabins. No waiting lounges and no huge push for the self assist suggesting that only guests who truly could manage to carry everything take this option.

I also blocked off the lobby and the main lounge so that nobody came down before their tag or deck was called. We started at 7:40 am and the last guest left at 9:35 am and there was not one complaint…..not one. Now, it’s not a perfect system and we can still improve but we have come a long way and thanks to Heidi………yes, OK, it was Heidi who came up with the system in Europe that we used today here in Miami …………… thanks, Heidi.

OK, time to put this voyage away and start on a new one. Just before I do I wanted to share this letter with you.


I wish I could have seen that.

Finally…………last night we held our $2,000 bingo game……here is a photo of the winner.


Then we drew one ticket from over 700 sold for the seven-day cruise for two raffle ……… here is the photo of the winner.


Yep………………what are the chances…………………she won the money and a seven-day cruise. Her name is Amy Lunger. Actually it’s Sergeant Amy Lunger U.S.Army recently returned from seven months serving in Iraq……..I can’t think of a more deserving winner.

So, that’s week one done and I enjoyed each and every moment of it………………except coming back to an empty Heidi-less cabin. That was about as much fun as trying to pull your tooth out using a piece of string and a door handle.

Your friends
John, Heidi and The Thingy

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.