The Gift!

March 16, 2009 -

John Heald

There are so many ups and downs, slings and arrows, peaks and troughs and other metaphors that I could use to describe what being a cruise director is all about. However, rather than me waffle on about this why don’t I just show you these two letters which I received on the last day of last cruise……………have a read of these




The angry “you need re-training” is referring to my bedtime story and I was astonished when I read the letter. I was astonished………..I have never had a reaction to this piece before. There have been guests who may not like it but to take the time to write a letter like that……..well…….they really must have hated it…….and, of course, I now think about that letter rather than the standing ovation the show received (as also mentioned by the guest) and I now have this letter firmly on my mind.

Yes……..I do get a little spicy and sometimes you react to a situation stage by saying what comes into your mind. But……….I never use foul language and I always make sure that the innuendos are in the guests’ minds and not actually spoken by me. I probably should have called the guest but after reading the letter a few times I knew it would be pointless. And so I wrote them a letter of apology saying how sorry I was and that I was so distraught that they felt that my bedtime story ruined their night. I also sent them a bottle of champagne as way of an apology which within 30 minutes of being delivered was returned to the Guest Services Desk by the guest who asked to swap it for some free photos ………..which I agreed to.

I know many of you will tell me not to worry but even though I get one letter like this a year or more………..I still find myself second-guessing if what I say on stage is indeed offensive. So, I did what I hate to do. I watched myself on TV and listened to the laughter echo around the room and watched 1,498 people stand and cheer and reminded myself that 278 people bought a DVD of the bedtime story…………and I felt much better. In these dark days of ever-deepening economic woe, the continuing concerns in Afghanistan, Iraq and The Middle East we desperately need something to celebrate………and that’s what I try to do through laughter and specifically through the bedtime story. I respect Mr. Irwin’s opinion and remain upset that he hated the show ………..was it offensive? ……………..all I can say is ……………offensive……… arse.

It’s been a very strange day because after the thrill of being on stage and enjoying being a CD again I am once again on the inactive list and forced to watch proceedings from the sidelines. I could have left the ship yesterday in Miami and spent a few days of relaxation shopping at El Dolphino Mallo but I wanted to stay onboard for two reasons. Most importantly I want to give David………..sorry…….Charlie my support and hopefully the benefit of my years of experience and help along the way. I watched for that week when I first joined the Carnival Valor a month ago and now I want to see if I he has put some of my suggestions into place. These included restructuring his travel and port talk and also scheduling himself better to allow more time on stage which is where I think we all agree the CD belongs. The second reason I decided to stay is that I never really got to see Roatan so I will take a tour this week and see what it’s all about.

So far David ……….sorry……..Charlie has done well yet like most first-time cruise directors, he just needs to have some more self-confidence in his abilities and he will have a long and successful career.

Here are the facts and figures of this voyage.

3547 guests


2-5 Years

6-8 Years

9-11 Years

12-14 Years

Under 21 – 835
Under 18 – 749

It seems like we have the same amount of older kids on spring break but with the addition of lots of younger children as well.

This is actually a good thing as not only do we have the best children’s program at sea in Camp Carnival, Circle C and Club O2 but having younger kids creates that wonderful family atmosphere on the ship that Carnival is famous for and that’s always a good thing. Last cruise we had lots of older people and a good amount spring breakers but nothing in the middle………so far this cruise it appears we have every age range covered which is also great for the ship.

I just read back what I wrote above and find myself wanting to add something ………….. so I will. While I am happy to help David……………sorry……..Charlie I did find it difficult to stop myself running ……..OK walking fast……….onto the stage and grabbing the microphone when a “fun opportunity to say something” passed him by………….oh well. There was one brilliant guest he had on stage who was a huge rotund man with a long flowing white beard…….it was crying out for a Santa joke or two but David…….sorry….. Charlie left him alone. I’m sorry, but having a man like that on stage and not doing a Santa joke is a bit like having Angelina Jolie in your bed and sleeping on the couch.

But overall David…….sorry ……….Charlie…….had a great show and I was very proud of him. Now, I have also met a few people who have recognized me and all have said that they are disappointed that I am not the cruise director which, of course, I feel so guilty about. I also met a young lady called Jordan who apparently had written on this blog recently that she would be sailing and that I had promised to spend sometime with her to help her with “her project.” I stood there nodding and saying “Oh yes of course and arranged to meet her on Tuesday.” …….the problem is I have no idea what she is talking about. My mind is as blank as the “Wars We Have Won” page in the French history books.

So………can anyone remember seeing a comment from Jordan and what I promised to help her with because I am buggered if I can remember?

Let’s go back to Sunday where I was joined onboard by Stephanie Leavitt and Tom Hoover from Interactive Marketing Internet Web Specialist Senior Nerd Specialist Managers Team. They came on board and brought with them two chaps who had applied for a new video producer position. You see, it is our intention to provide much more video footage for the blog and on It seems you all like the videos we put on and up to now all the updownshakeitallabout loading thingy has been done by Stephanie and Tom it has now been realized they need help……….and so we all interviewed the two hopeful candidates. To test their skills we shot some video footage and asked them to slap it on the blog. Here they are and I hope you enjoy them.

Pretty good don’t you think?……..although I look a bit tired ……….and I guess I feel a bit tired as well because ever since January 20 I have been going flat out ever since ……….. so while I have a rest…………….here’s Jaime

March 15, 2009

Dear John,

For as long as I can remember, I have made it a daily mantra to attempt to do one thing that scares me. This forces me to expand the horizons of what I would typically consider my comfort zone and in the end will allow me to be able to take on anything. Today I most definitely adhered to this goal of overcoming my fears; I will share more on that later.

We have now finally returned to what I would consider Carnival territory. The terminal building in Acapulco, Mexico, is filled with your typical tourist attractions, such as Diamonds International and Starbucks. One of the pamphlets that were distributed to my group of friends near the pier area was that which depicted the location “Paradise.” I had thought everywhere in Mexico was paradise! However, if this is not the truth, my friends and I knew we couldn’t go wrong if we headed to the resort that made this significant claim. The taxi driver requested $15 US for a ride to this delightful location, and after haggling down to a $10 price, my friends and I opted to take a nice relaxing walk along the beach in order to reach our destination.

The 30-minute walk that we were expecting turned out to be an extremely warm hour and a half of twists and turns with the hot sun gleaming down on us. We learned that reaching Paradise was not as easy as it seems! The smooth walk along a beautiful beach that we were anticipating turned out to be not only long but also under constant harassment by small children selling Chiclets. Also, the powder sand beach we thought was in Acapulco was actually filled with tiny stones that have now calloused our feet. Nonetheless, the tide brushed up against our ankles and after power walking to our destination we finally arrived we were greeted by many members of our incredible Splendor dance cast. After eating lunch and enjoying the sun, we could not resist any longer. Many of the entertainment department employees decided it was necessary to bound off the 50-meter high platform in the form of an official bungee jump.

After some of my peers successfully made this leap, and avoiding being transformed into road kill, it was finally my turn. I could not believe that I was insane enough to actually pay some company my hard-earned money to put my life in danger by jumping off a giant platform. Nonetheless, I headed over to the bungee location and signed my life away, literally. The disclaimer covered anything and everything. I could not jump if my grandma’s cousin’s uncle’s third wife could possibly be pregnant. If I had ever suffered from a hang nail, I could rule out this method of risking my life. And of course, it was not their fault if there was any miniscule possibility that bounding off a high tower could potentially cause myself damage, danger or death.

Let me inform you, this bungee jumping location was found and supported entirely on the personal volition of myself and my peers. Carnival in no way sent us to this location, supported us risking our lives, and possibly could do nothing other than attend the funeral if something was to happen. Nonetheless, since we didn’t make it to Maccu Picchu I wanted to at least say I took some sort of huge risk during this contract.

My friends and I got into the elevator which seemed never-ending as we made out way to the top of the 50-meter high tower; we received our extensive safety briefing- which consisted of me asking where to put my hands. The gentlemen at the top of the tower tied the harness around my waist and a towel around my ankles. After waiting what seemed like hours (actually two minutes) until it was my turn, I asked the employees all the questions I had stirring in my head before taking the possible last risk of my life. They told me they hadn’t lost anyone in 10 years, I told them who to contact in case of death, and they said that it is better if you open your eyes.

My friend Emily was in tears by the time she made it to this point, so I did not have time to be scared. I was too busy comforting her, telling her how much I believed in her, and if she did this she could take on anything. I was told DON’T LOOK DOWN, so of course, right before going over the edge I looked out to the ship in the distance as it was docked in the beautiful Acapulco bay, I smiled for the camera and quickly glanced at my friends waiting for me at the bottom – hoping I would have the opportunity to hug them in just a few short moments.

I spread my arms like a bird and fell… and fell… and fell… then bounced there for a while and had a warm feeling of pride gleam throughout my body. Well, that may have been pee, but either way it was warm! We all did it! Twelve of my friends bungee jumped, many of us for the first time today. We did something special.

The rest of the day continued to be filled with memorable experiences. High tides took many of our sandals that were nestled along the beach. One or two cameras may have become waterlogged and unfortunately, the ocean took my brand new Carnival towel. Nevertheless, the day was nothing short of incredible.

I think I may have been shaking more having to do Welcome Aboard Show on the Carnival Pride just a few weeks ago, but now that I can cross both of these momentous accomplishments off the list, I wonder what risks are next in line to be overcome!

Cliff diving location another show that I didn’t get to see but heard was pretty great

The Carnival Splendor docked in Acapulco for the first time

Yours truly bungee jumping for the first time

Only a few more days left now,
Jaime =)

Not long now Jaime and you will see the Golden Gate Bridge………and me. See you soon and thanks again for the wonderful Dear John letter.

Stephanie Meads, my ACD, left today to join Butch on the Carnival Glory and I thank her for all the help and support especially during the Bloggers Cruise. An old friend joined the ship as ACD today………Gary Brierly who many of you will have met on the Carnival Freedom and Carnival Splendor. It’s great to see him again……..because he owed me $30.

I am the proud new owner of a book called Doctor Spock’s Baby and Child Care bought for me by the entertainment staff here on the Carnival Valor and containing 936 pages that basically tells me my life as I know it ……….is over. While it contains a lot of useful information there are some paragraphs that I am very dubious about……….for example

“The birth itself isn’t that bad, and anyway her body is biologically programmed to forget the pain.”

Bollocks…….I have seen women giving birth on TV and in movies and it looks terrifying. The gas and air doesn’t work like they say it does, having stitches looks horrible, midwives don’t always get it right, there will be more blood and bodily fluids than an episode of CSI Miami, and having half the world staring at your wife’s most intimate parts while she make noises like a demented pig is not, in any sense of the word, pleasant.


“You get used to not having as much sleep as you used to.”

Again……..bollocks. From what I hear from Dads you will go insane with sleep deprivation. You really will. Even the hardiest of military men were reduced to wrecks after three days of no sleep in Japanese prisoner of war camps, and you were not trained for this. There will be days when the very act of having a poo will to your shattered body………..feel like a major achievement

“Returning to a normal life that involves rumpy pumpy (I changed the words there) will happen sooner rather than later as you begin to lead normal lives again.”

Ummmmm………Rumpy pumpy will be implausible because you will both be spectacularly exhausted, and no one feels like having much rumpy pumpy when they’re tired. And smelling slightly of sick.

It’s a nice gift though and obviously a lot of thought has gone into buying it …………. because getting someone the right gift is never easy.

Take our slacked jawed double chinned Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s recent trip to Washington. Gordon gave President Obama Barrack a penholder carved from the timbers of an antislavery ship. The sister ship, in fact, of the one that was broken up and turned into the desk in the Oval Office.

Barrack, meanwhile, gave Brown a copy of The Graduate on DVD. Which sounds like an “Oh, Bugger. What shall we get him?” moment at the local Citgo station.

And so I find myself in a similar dilemma………I can’t come home empty handed …………. but do I buy a gift for Heidi……..or something for the Thingy?

I know from previous long sessions in the doghouse that you should never buy your wife anything that needs a plug, but this has always presented a problem. Because I’ve always had some understanding of stuff that needed electricity to function, and had no clue about stuff that didn’t. Perfume, for example. Have you actually been into the perfume department of a shop recently? Not only do you have the traditional choice of about 10,000 from the well-known names such as Chanel and er . . . ummmm………..others but now you have celebrity-endorsed products, as well. 

Does your wife want to smell like Paris Hilton or Celine Dion? Or would she like to spend the year strutting around with a whiff of the thin one who looks like a horse from Sex in the City behind her ears? Horrified that you might trip over the great smell of Judge Judy — or bleach, as it’s known in hardware stores — you make a beeline for the clothes department, but this is an even bigger mistake because you’ll Buy the Wrong Thing.

And to make matters worse you will Buy the Wrong Thing in the Wrong Size. 

So, jewelry then. Well, no, because for reasons I’ve never fully understood jewelry shops never advertise their prices. Which means you need a basic grasp of the “bugger me if I am paying that” technique as you try to pretend the reason you don’t want the necklace is because of the clasp, not because it costs $5,000. 

Furniture……OK, not a bad idea as I know she wants a rocking chair…….but if American Airlines charges $3 billion for a bloody suitcase I doubt they are going to let me take it as a carry on.

Of course, the shop can deliver but this involves filling out a form, and then another. And then some more. And then the information has to be typed onto a computer, and by the time that’s been done and delivered to the UK, the Thingy is 27. 

At this point the modern gentleman will start to think about getting some candles. We all know that girls like to spend hours having baths in the semi-darkness and we cannot imagine what they might be doing in there. Books? Oh, come on. It seems a bit mean to spend only £7.99, especially as the sort of books my wife likes don’t even come with a plot or involve rumpy pumpy and explosions 

This is why I didn’t even bother window shopping for my wife this year. I just headed straight for the electrical department in Selfridges, where I knew I would feel safe and warm and comfortable.

As for buying gifts for the Thingy I have no idea where to start. We don’t know if it’s a male Thingy or a female Thingy so what color do I get and what size and what material and where from and help!

The bloggers who sailed with me on the Carnival Fantasy were so nice and have given me so much that I have even considered wrapping some of it up and saying “Heidi, look what I bought you”…………..but I can’t. So, at this moment in time I leaning towards ordering a Miami Heat baby shirt on line and a tiny pair of Dwyane Wade sneakers ……….. cute don’t you think?

But will she like that?………..I just can’t read women. It will be Heidi’s birthday next month and I remember the hell of last year
“I don’t want a present. You got me lots of nice stuff at Christmas.” That’s what she said. So, I don’t get her a present. I do, however, pay for her and her best friend Nadia to have a posh lunch and a two-hour spa treatment at our local posh hotel.

Not bad, I thought. Very bad, thought Heidi. It was clearly a huge problem that there was not a physical present to unwrap.
“It’s just me being greedy,” she said with sad eyes. “When I get over it, I’ll realize that just having the family around me is all I need.” This was an Oscar-winning performance and made me feel like a total bastard.

So, I guess as far as Heidi is concerned it will have to be perfume and I am leaning to getting her the latest scent to hit the market. It’s called Eau De Royal Champions No 5 ………….. And it smells of sheer desperation.

Your friends
John, Heidi and the Thingy

Comment Policy

Look, friends — there are a few things you should remember before you comment. The space below is for you to post your comments about the post I've just written above. Now, while I may not be able to reply to your comment below, I do sit in my underpants almost every morning and read everything that is here. So feel free to comment on the comments and then if someone wants to comment on the comment to the comment then go ahead as well. Please be courteous, unless the poster is French...........then you can say whatever you want.

51 Responses to The Gift!

  1. ROBERT & DORIS says:


  2. Pismo Jim says:

    Amazingly enough, the search function on the blog thingie works and found Jordan’s question. It’s on the Friday the 13th – Minus 8 post:

    Jordan Asked:
    John, please reply if at all possible: I’m a college student at the University of Central Oklahoma, and I just have to make a comment about your post about when your dad would get your college report card… Well I must let you know that at my college they are real cheap and send your grades via email. Yes, email. Not to my parents email, who pay for my college (thanks mom and dad!). But to my email. Want to request a transcript? You must request it through email. I think it’s safe to say that the internet is taking over the world. Well, school is actually where I am asking for your help. I’m in a class called Global Protocol and Diversity, and I have a project where I have to interview somebody from outside the country. It’s an interview about traditions, customs, and pop culture, and I was wondering if I could do a brief interview with you via email or while I’m on board the Valor March 15 through the 22nd. My family and I are very excited to go on this cruise, especially my fiancé, because it is his first! My parents decided to go back to Carnival after sailing a couple of RCI, as they felt like the value and staff on board were less than par. We had so much fun on the Elation ten years ago, when I was just a little girl, ten years ago. We are counting down the hours! Thank you for your time, my email is —–, or my cabin number next week is ###. Warm regards to you, Heidi, and the thing!

    John Says:
    Hello Jordan
    Great post and I was amazed that college grades are now sent by e-mail. You are quite correct the world is being over taken by e-mail and the web. I am so glad your family is Carnival fans and we will all do our best to make sure you all continue to have affordable value and brilliant fun. I would be happy to help you with an interview so please e-mail me the questions and I will answer them as soon as I can. I hope to shake your hand next week mate.
    Cheers and my best to all the family

  3. nanetteali says:

    John!!! Please reply …

    MUAXXXX !!!!! Miss you!! 🙂

    Did Heidi get my present for Thingy??
    A big huggo for all of you(Heidi , Thingy and you)

  4. Dear John
    Loved the Video’s
    Great seeing Miami, Stephanie and Tom
    Here’s an Idea for Heidi if you can find one in the UK. My boss just had her baby today, SHE was having Pre-Natal Massages. She loved them. Her hubby gave her a gift certificate for a massage with a pedicure and manicure (toes and finger nails). Just a thought,, With the perfume, Heidi;s hormones & tastes may change..
    Great Letter & Pix from Jamie, brought back memories of Aculpulco.
    I can;t believe you are near 4 mill. with the blog wow…
    You still carrying around the gifts from the pinata?
    Take Care
    The Tuckers
    Elizabeth Missing Arnold

  5. Andrea says:

    Hey John,
    Here’s the post by Jordan:

    March 12th, 2009 at 12:58 am
    John, please reply if at all possible: I’m a college student at the university of Central Oklahoma, and I just have to make a comment about your post about when your dad would get your college report card.. Well I must let you know that at my college they are real cheap and send your grades via email. Yes, email. Not to my parents email, who pay for my college (thanks mom and dad!). But to my email. Want to request a transcript? You must request it through email. I think its safe to say that the internet is taking over the world. Well, school is actually where I am asking for your help. I’m in a class called Global protocol and Diversity, and I have a project where I have to interview somebody from outside the country. Its an interview about traditions, customs, and pop culture, and I was wondering if I could do a brief interview with you via email or while I’m on board the Valor March 15 through the 22nd. My family and I are very excited to go on this cruise, especially my fiance, because it is his first! My parents decided to go back to Carnival after sailing a couple of RCI, as they felt like the value and staff on board were less than par. We had so much fun on the elation ten years ago, when I was just a little girl, ten years ago. We are counting down the hours! Thank you for your time, my email is, or my cabin number next week is 9259. Warm regards to you, Heidi, and the thing!


    Hope it helps!

  6. Catrin says:

    John (please reply)
    I know you take EVERY SINGLE letter to heart…. and I am sorry there was one person who “just didn’t get it”….


    Don’t you DARE change that Bedtime Story ONE BIT! On our second cruise with you, On the Triumph in 2004, we never laughed SO HARD …. so hard that we re-live it via YOU TUBE quite often!

    Because they asked to exchange the bottle of Champagne shows what kind of selfish people they really are. We won a bottle at the past guest party on our last cruise… and we are not drinkers. We did take it home, however, grateful we won something!

    and now.. to be a bit of a pain…. have you had any response from my lengthy letter regarding the Pricing of my APril 11th cruise on the Pride? I did send all the info you requested. Carnival DID call a few days later … asking if I wanted an upgrade to a suite for $1190.00 more (for both cabins) – but that was just a random “upsell” call.

    Thanks for continuing to look into this.

  7. dwa76 says:

    Hi John!
    Great to hear from you andI hope you can relax a bit this week before heading west.
    Good luck to Charlie on his CD run.
    Can’t believe you are heading across the pond again soon. I look forward to hearing about things over there.
    Sorry you had issues with the Birthday Story but a couple of people out of the majority is not something to be upset about. Oh well. Win some and lose some.
    Cheer up and enjoy.
    Take care!

  8. cruisingrandma says:

    John, I know that you are really busy, but did you receive the pictures of Butch and my husband with the collage of pictures?


  9. Host Mach from Cruise Critic says:

    “It’s called Eau De Royal Champions No 5 ………….. And it smells of sheer desperation” hehehehheeee…

    I have yet to see your ‘Bedtime Story’ (hint… hint… hint…) but I’m positive that the Pope probably would not find it offensive. Some people are simply full of themselves and have lost their sense of humor in that process.

    The videos were great and I’m thrilled to hear that we’ll be seeing more in the near future!! Great news!!

    Jaime… fantastic job! Every blog entry of yours has been brilliant! Thanks so much! And, by the way, I jump out of airplanes and I wouldn’t trust my life to that rubber band… You’re braver than I am!!

    Best of luck with the gift, John! I’ve never gotten the knack of that either, which probably explains why I’m not married!!!

    All my best to Heidi and the Thingy and my thanks to the two Stephanies (bye, Stephanie 02 and thanks!!), Tom and Tony, who I know is out there lurking somewhere!!


    Host Mach

  10. personally john the bedtime story is one of the highlights of a cruise with you in my opinion. perhaps you could start it out with some sort of disclaimer like, oh, let’s see…..

    “if any of y’all prudes out there are sensitive to a good time, well blast your be-hinds on out of here NOW!”

    or something…

    smiles, bonnie and prince charlie

  11. Squidly says:

    Dear John you never should secant guess yourself.You are a funny man with a great sense of humor.There will always be one thorn on a rose bush are one imperfect petal on a flower. Some people are missing something in there lives that lets them enjoy the simple joys of laughter and life.So never secant guess yourself you are good at what you do.Best wishes to you all Gary and Bug

  12. "BIG" ED says:


    You can go to my blog with the link below to see the BEDTIME STORY as done by John. We that have seen John do it can’t wait till we seen him do it again. It is never the same it changes with each new group of people he pulls out of the guest onboard. We laugh harder each time we see it. So just click on and enjoy THE BEDTIME STORY.

    BIG ED

  13. Nancy says:

    I feel sorry for the gentleman who did not like your bedtime story. When we sailed with you previously, it was our first cruise. We loved having you as a CD. People need to laugh in this world today. We laughed every night you were on stage. We are now truly disappointed you will not be the CD on the Valor next week. When we originally found out you would be on it for March we were so excited.

  14. KathyG says:

    I had to laugh when that guest suggested watching Buddy Hackett. I ‘ve heard his club routine had plenty of foul language.
    I was going to say Jordan wanted to do an interview but I see Pismo Jim has pasted the request above.

  15. jaxonboy says:

    Hi John:

    You have proof that if you do the best you can and most love it, yet a few do not, then as the French say, baisez-les s’ils can’ prennent une plaisanterie.

    If you are looking for an idea for a birthday present for Heidi, I have a good idea that I will send to Stephanie so that Heidi will not read the blog and find out ahead of time. U zult Heidi moeten wachten.

    The videos are good, maybe the one outside was zooming in and out a bit, I always enjoyed the ones you put up so thanks to Stephanie L. for her hard work, nice to get some help for her.

    I know how hard it is to watch someone do something that you know so well, but, you be back on stage before you know it. And the young Heald will be there!

    Your Friend

    Bill Heck

  16. Mary-Jo says:

    Dear John,
    Let me start by saying that we were on the Valor when you did the bedtime story. We have never laughed so much in our lives. Myself, my husband and our 2 teen daughters (ages 18 & 15) loved it. In fact, we loved the whole cruise experience, our first, and that was largely due to the fact that you were the cruise director. Of course, we have nothing to compare you too, lol, but we have been telling everyone all about you and your wicked and quick sense of humour and how you kept the entertainment hopping. I surely hope that if we get the opportunity to cruise again, if you can’t be the cruise director, whoever they find will be just as professional, fun and talented as you. You surely are a tough act to follow. Thank you again for the enjoyment you brought to our cruise, the Valor is lucky to have you.
    Mary-Jo, Larry, Cailey and Dani

  17. DocF says:

    Hey John, (Please Reply if you feel like it)

    You know, the folks complaining about the Bedtime Story would possibly be a bit more believable if they had not mentioned Buddy Hackett and Rodney Dangerfield. I have seen them both in clubs and they did some of the most blue (very, very adult) material I have ever heard. Their night club acts could not even be brought near a television studio.

    Anyway, the fact that these people turned down the champagne for photos tells me more than I want to know.

    I know you do not wish to offend anyone, but some people seem to get enjoyment from being offended.

  18. retirementman says:

    Good evening my friend. I can see if some people may not like your show but to write down the word “Disgusted ” in such force it just amazes me. You have to forget one negative letter especially since 99.99999 % of the people positively enjoyed the evening watching you do watch you best. I know that the 99.999% walked off that ship at the end of their cruise remembering the enthusiasm you gave and the laughter they will never forget. John, you must never allow that one negative individual allow you to even think about them. They are the sick people. I feel sorry for them for paying a for a cruise and not really enjoying it is a sin. I think God put you onto this earth to give us a moment a laughter and enjoyment because when we go home, we are back to reality and the everyday humdrum.
    The videos are tremendous. I thororoughy enjoy them.
    Say hi to Heidi the mother – to be. I bet she really misses you a great deal as you do regarding her.
    Your smile and laugh in infectious and it can only help more day after day. Rest John and prepare for the best part of your life, the birth of your child.
    Ciao my friend.

    Paul F. Pietrangelo

  19. Ron Laszczak says:

    Hi John,

    I just wanted to thank you for making this cruise an awesome cruise for my family and I. I also want to thank you for making my proposal to my girlfriend amazing. I could not have had a better CD to make it happen the way it did. You made this cruise we will never forget. 3/08/2009 on the Carnival Valor. Thank You again…As that was our 4 Carnival cruise we can not waite to take our next…This time we will be honeymooners thanks to you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Take care!


    Ron and Lauryn Laszczak

    Your bedtime story was amazing!!

  20. Nancy says:

    Hi John,
    I feel sorry for this man named Adam. I feel bad because he obviously does not know what good laughter is. I would say he needs to loosen up a little! You were our CD 3 years ago and we still talk about how much laughing we did when you were on stage. We are cruising again on Sunday on the Valor, for which we were truly looking forward to seeing you again. It sounds as though you will not be on the ship with us. We are saddend by this as we really need a good laugh!!!! I would say keep up the great work and don’t worry too much about Adam. You can please some of the people some of the time but you can’t please all of the people all of the time!!! You have brought alot of fun to people – keep smiling and laughing.

  21. Mr Derek says:

    I found this link to John’s Bedtime story on YouTube. I am still laughing…. I hope this works.!

  22. mickeyspal says:


    “Friday the 13th-8”: Jordan asked to interview you (a person from another country) either by email or on the ship (she’s there now), and you said send questions by email. Guess she found you!

    No offense intended, but toss the Dr. Spock book. He’s the guy responsible for all the spoiled kids you’re always going on about. Ask your Dad and Mum about raising Thingy…they sound very well grounded and not given to faddish “how to” books.

    Buy Heidi a funky designer combo diaper bag/pursey thingy from your last port before leaving the states, then when you’re in England, stop by your local florist and grab the biggest armfull of roses you can carry. When you arrive home, drop to your knees in front of her and tell her how dreadfully lonely you’ve been without her. That covers practical and romantic as well as sensitive and caring. And I’m not being facetious. I’d love it!

    My best to all of you.

    Your Pal, Myra

  23. John, Please answer.

    Jeez John,

    Why do you rewards guests for poor behavior, e.g. Adam, with a bottle of champagne? Doesn’t that just encourage more whining in the future?

    Unless, of course, he finds alcohol offensive, too, in which case, good one. Score!

    A question about the cove balcony rooms on Carnival Dream. I thought I read somewhere that in bad weather, the balconies may be closed off somehow. Is that true, and if so, how? Will something roll down or are there big metal plates that will be bolted on, or what?

    As to Eau De Royal Champions No 5, it is definitely a crock that stinkith. No cruise line with any semblance of integrity would pay cheerleaders to mislead the pubic. They must be Republicans!


    • Carl Denham says:

      Quote:”They must be Republicans” Can anybody ever talk about anything without some moron trying to throw in some idiotic little political digs???!! Hey idiot! Stick to the subject and keep your simple minded politics to yourself!

  24. Risa says:

    Hi John!

    I really sympathize with you about the negative feedback. There’s always someone out there who is not happy and tactless as well . As a person in customer service, I totally understand how a badly-phrased comment can bring you crashing down. People who are considerate enough to get the same negative message across in a polite and constructive manner are rare in this world!

    Gift suggestions: for Heidi, how about a Kindle if she likes reading books? (electronic thingy used to read e-books) I’ve got one and can’t stop using it. For Baby Thingy – soothing baby music that Heidi can play now and Baby will be able to hear. Same soothing music played later when Baby is upset will do wonders to calm him/her down. Worked with my kids and various nieces and nephews.

    All the best to you, Heidi and the Baby!

    p.s. Need to use a name, John, can’t keep calling him/her Thingy!

  25. Amor & Lou says:

    Dear John,

    What do you think of this itinerary? Please reply.

    7 Days RT out of Seattle:

    Day 1 Depart Seattle pm
    Day 2 Sea Day
    Day 3 Sea Day
    Day 4 San Diego or San Pedro (for LA)
    Day 5 San Francisco
    Day 6 Astoria, Oregon
    Day 7 Victoria or Nanaimo, BC, Canada
    Day 8 Arrive Seattle am

    Just a thought.


    ps. The Port of Seattle has a new state-of-the-art dock that can accommodate even the length of Carnival Dream. Read all about it in the Agreement between the Port of Seattle Commission and Carnival Corporation.

  26. **PLEASE READ**

    Hi John, Stephanie and other blog friends,

    Just wanted to let you know (in case you would like to share with the Blog readers) that in 1 month and 12 days Dutch By Association (DBA) has celebrated 10,000 hits. (

    For reference, DBA is a site put together, maintained and updated by myself, an employee at Holland America Line. I am not an official voice for HAL, in the sense that I am not in the PR department, but I have been okay’d by PR in this venture, and quite honestly, this blog was my inspiration.

    Reader support has been outstanding and I hope to celebrate 100,000 hits in no time.

    I’m considering a contest that would result in a HAL related prize for the winner in honor of this milestone and will have more details on the blog soon. In the meantime, I’d love to hear from DBA readers and would like to get your readers also involved by inquiring as to what sorts of things they would love to see covered on the site. While my main focus is of course HAL, as yours is CCL, I am always willing to post to the best of my knowledge on any topics the readers would like to see.

    I appreciate all you folks do, would like to again thank you for the motivation and wanted to share this milestone with you.

    With warmest regards,


  27. Jeff says:


    I know exactly how you feel regarding the letter you recieved. I broadcast high school football and basketball for our local radio station and our local newspaper has a section each morning called “Sound Off” where people call in and basically say whatever they want without giving their name. This stuff is then printed in the next days paper. It seems at least once per season some parent or grandparent calls in to say what a terrible person I am because they feel I am mean to the kids while broadcasting. It always makes me wonder if I really am mean to them? The fact of the matter is, I’m not mean, I know many of the kids and have great respect for their plights on the field or the court. I go back and listen to the tape of my broadcast much like you did and in the end I always find it amazing how some people can take what you say and comprehend it completely differently than what it meant. The feeling is tough after getting a letter like that, there is a strange feeling in the pit of your stomach and it does creep into my mind as I broadcast. I think that you would agree that in the end however the job that we have, entertaining and informing people is the best job in the world!

  28. John, Please……Do NOT let one person, with no sense of humour……… spelt your way, upset you because he did not like your Bedtime story. He’s just one in a zillion of the cruisers that have seen it and loved every minute of it.
    We were disappointed that you weren’t able to do it on the BC2 so my kids could see it. But not to worry. we have the DVD and will play it for them now that they have been on their first cruise with you.
    John, Don said if you want to come visit us, he will give you some hands on experience helping him with our yard and garden. 🙂
    We are 12 days away from our Valor cruise. You will be missed.
    Countess Carolyn
    Hi Heidi and the wee little one. I pray that all is going well with the 2 of you. We think of you often.

  29. Hi Stephanie it was great to see you on the video.
    Countess Carolyn

  30. Elaine says:

    I am so lucky that I have seen John and the Bedtime Story (I’m laughing now just rethinking about it)… My parents who are both over 70 saw John and The Bedtime Story and we all love it and John!! We loved it so much and laughed so much that we were planning on seeing it again until Carnival moved John off the Valor, but thats ok, we’ll catch up with John, Heidi and thingy again in the future.

    Please give Adam my email address (nooooooo!!) and we’ll set him straight… What is wrong with this guy??? He obviously was on the wrong cruise because Carnival is for FUN PEOPLE!!!

  31. kiciaski says:

    Hi John,

    Sorry the person did not like your bedtime story. We thought it was hilarious even after having seen it once. The fact that they sent back the champagne must tell you something. Maybe they should not go on cruises anymore.

    I see you have a new header for the blog. It’s nice but I like the one with Heidi better.

    How many kids are we going to have on our cruise next week? Did you get your mail on Sunday?

    Enjoy the last few days on the Carnival Valor and train David/Charlie well.

    Linda & George

  32. philimbesi says:

    Dear John,

    If you’ve been doing the bedtime story for a bit of time and this is the first guest who had enough of a problem with it to mention something I’d just chalk it up to someone not getting the humor in it.

    Trust me when I say that while I’ve never heard you perform if your on stage comedy is as funny as your written word, this guest is far more the exception than the rule.

    That’s showbiz kid!

  33. Linda (Mom of DJ) says:


    Mr. “disgusted” (Adam) lost all credibility when he mentioned Buddy Hackett. Buddy Hackett was the most foul mouth, vulgar individual around. If comedic style were an illness, Buddy Hackett would be Norwalk. If this Adam guy “writes to Carnival”, the only person he will be humiliating is himself.

    I hope you enjoy Roatan. We had a lovely time there. DJ did his first Dad and son Carnival excursion with David (Sea Spi) and they had a blast.

    Please tell Gary we said hello. We have sailed with him many times and he is a hoot!!! There is a family, I have been chatting with on Cruise Critic, who will be sailing the Valor soon and they have sailed with Gary many times. They were thrilled to learn he was going to be onboard for their Valor sailing.

    Also tell my “cruise son” Melvin, hi!!! He loves being on the Valor.

    Linda (Mom of your friend DJ)

  34. Lorraine & Mom Susan says:


    Can I make a suggestion for a gift that would benefit both Heidi & Thingy ? While your still onboard spend some time with the Camp Carnival Crew onboard and get some nappy (diaper) changing training, learn some of their top tips for entertaining the little ones and experience the noise, smells, chaos & fun that comes with having kids.
    When you get home you will be able to expertly do your “FAIR” share of nappy changes thus giving Heidi a chance to have some precious “Heidi Time”.
    You may want to think about opening a University Fee’s saving account for Thingy as it has been announced today that the fee’s in the UK may be going up to £7000 yr, who knows how much it will cost when Thingy is old enough to start higher education. Im predicting Thingy will inherit Heidi’s brains & good looks & your sense of humour 🙂

    Bestest wishes to you, Heidi & Thingy

  35. Peg Dunbar says:

    Happy St. Patrick’s day.

    I can not believe that someone objected to the bedtime story. Please, it is quite possibly the funniest of all your skits. I thought the one on the 9/11 cruise on the Splendor was the funniest, guess not 😀 Is there ever a cruise when someone did not pop up and complain about something, probably not. There are just some people that you can not make happy no matter what you do.

    Keep smiling John, you are one of the good guys.

  36. The Flying Dutchman says:

    One can never have too many choices in perfumes/colognes (as long as you have room for the bottles)

    Oh and if you need gift ideas for Heidi… look for shiny and twinkly things….

    A friend of mine who is a painter by trade created one of those “theme” rooms for his soon to be born daughter. The theme was Classic Winnie the Pooh.

    In the room one found all sorts of artifacts involving the old school versions of Tigger, Piglet, et al.

    When the time came I had to bring over an obligatory baby gift the suggestion was of course something to fit within the theme.

    So I gave Pooh…

    When I first walked into the finished nursery, it was overwhelming. There was Pooh ….. everywhere…. on the walls, on the furniture, and strewn about in every nook and cranny of the room..

    The Flying Dutchman

  37. lou-anne says:

    here it is John
    Jordan Asked:
    John, please reply if at all possible: I’m a college student at the University of Central Oklahoma, and I just have to make a comment about your post about when your dad would get your college report card… Well I must let you know that at my college they are real cheap and send your grades via email. Yes, email. Not to my parents email, who pay for my college (thanks mom and dad!). But to my email. Want to request a transcript? You must request it through email. I think it’s safe to say that the internet is taking over the world. Well, school is actually where I am asking for your help. I’m in a class called Global Protocol and Diversity, and I have a project where I have to interview somebody from outside the country. It’s an interview about traditions, customs, and pop culture, and I was wondering if I could do a brief interview with you via email or while I’m on board the Valor March 15 through the 22nd. My family and I are very excited to go on this cruise, especially my fiancé, because it is his first! My parents decided to go back to Carnival after sailing a couple of RCI, as they felt like the value and staff on board were less than par. We had so much fun on the Elation ten years ago, when I was just a little girl, ten years ago. We are counting down the hours! Thank you for your time, my email is —–, or my cabin number next week is ###. Warm regards to you, Heidi, and the thing!

    John Says:
    Hello Jordan
    Great post and I was amazed that college grades are now sent by e-mail. You are quite correct the world is being over taken by e-mail and the web. I am so glad your family is Carnival fans and we will all do our best to make sure you all continue to have affordable value and brilliant fun. I would be happy to help you with an interview so please e-mail me the questions and I will answer them as soon as I can. I hope to shake your hand next week mate.
    Cheers and my best to all the family

    So John , lots of comments are made to you and it was there a little while back – We all know you are a busy man, you should keep a folder of the promises for the cruises you are going to be on . Stephanie and crew could do this for you ( sorry Stephanie – another Job ) or teach him how to look it up on the blog – it would make it easier for you and then you would not have to ask the bloggers .
    Well unless its a test to see if we are paying attention – Which we were and we all know how to search the blog.
    So John , its too bad the guest did not like the show , but he could have left the show , and did not have to listen . Dangerfield – huh , he has some racey stuff out there – and you know your bedtime storey is awesome , we tell everyone about it . In fact it is our favorite ever . I am very very serious when we talk about Carnival it is to say John is the best , you make old and young laught , you have taste , you do not make things sound vulgar , never rude and you tell things to everyone with taste. I have never read a blog that was not able to be read to a child , it is tasteful comedy always .
    You are a great CD and it is too bad that this guy is not able to handle a great comedy routine . I think he needs to just realize that he had the choice to get up and leave . He was not forced to sit there and if he was offended he should have left . I really think he put one on – and there you did it again – gave a gift encouraging more people like that to be critical something and they too will expect a compensation for not getting up and leaving something they do not like and finding someplace else to go . They could have went anywhere – ok so how long has the bedtime storey been told , how many complaints and really if there were you would have changed it or been fired long ago . Ummmm note you are still working .

    Please reply John . Was this a test ?

  38. "BIG" ED says:



    BIG ED

  39. Mike & Lori says:


    Don’t worry because of the millions of people who love you there will always be a few hundred who don’t. You are not offensive in any way and if people don’t like the show, they always have the option to leave at the first thing they hear that they feel is offensive. We love you and would love to see your shows. Our best to you, Heidi and baby Thingy.

    Mike & Lori

  40. Cheryl says:

    Yes John, the rocking chair would cost a bizillion to send on American Airlines. I had to check an extra bag due to too much shopping for the grandchildren while in South America and is cost $200 for that one little bag…made what I bought in Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay & Chile not so much of a bargain…yikes!

    Jaime–wow, I am so proud of you! You got guts girl!! We all got to do a lot of exciting things on this cruise didn’t we?

  41. The Cruzin2some says:

    The jerk who didn’t like the Bedtime Story was on the wrong cruise he should have been on the Idontwanttohavefunandseeanyoneelselaughcauseimontheboringcruise of the sea
    James & Nancy
    The Cruzin2some

  42. Tina Tano says:

    You will never please everyone but, your record is definitely better than 99% of the population!

    I did notice that a bottle of champagne seems to be your choice of offering when you apologize to a guest. I socially drink but, my husband does not touch alcohol and even throws out samples of “alcohol” based mouthwash in hotels. If you were to send him a bottle of champagne or wine as an apology, he would politely send it back but, I am sure recovering alcoholics would be extremely insulted and upset, or even worse tempted? Just an observation (-;

    We think you are amazing and we love your work!

  43. RonRN says:

    Hi John,

    I find it funny the sour puss would rather you were more like Buddy Hacket, who wouldn’t know an innuendo if if jumped up and bit him, he was just down right raunchy, funny at times, but he was just nasty at times. Maybe he is just disgusted with his own thoughts, and therefore has to try and blame you.

    I saw a few people comment after I told you of my experiences on the Legend. I hope it wasn’t seen as bashing the Legend or her crew, I had a great cruise and would happily go on the Legend again.

    I have been paying for taking time off for my cruise, I have worked 8 of the last 12 nights, and trying to keep up with your’s and Jaime’s adventures at sea. I think I need a cruise to recover.

    Thanks to Jaime, great job on the Dear John letters. As always great job by the Miami Crew.

    All the best to Heidi and the Thingy.

    Ron(look’n for another cruise in ’09)RN

  44. Karen and Bill Luddington says:

    Hi John,
    We were on the Valor Mar. 1st – 8th ’09 (cabin 2427), and had a blast, as usual. Having connecting cabins with your Friends makes room for parties!

    So good to see you again (met you in 1992), and to speak with you in the restaurant in Cozumel. But missed you before we left, did you get my envelope with our email addy?

    Is the address listed on your blog page the one to send packages as well. (some people have one for each…. ?? don’t know why.) Please let me know as soon as possible so I can ship you three a little something.

    Would love to see you and Heidi’s smile when you see it. The reason for this will apparent when you do. :o)

    Do take care, hugs to you, Heidi, and ‘Thingy’.
    Karen and Bill

  45. Terry Lee says:

    Dear John,
    In 1992 my husband,sister,brother-in-law & I cruised on the Carnival Ecstasy.Anne (my sister)was chosen to play Mary in the “Bed time story”.I have to tell you, that it made our cruise.We still talk about “Ann’s moment of stardom”.Please don’t change anything about the Bed time story,it is the source of many happy memories for a lot of cruisers.Congratulations to you and Heidi and may your little one enjoy many “bed time stories “from her daddy.:)

  46. Rick H. says:


    Please don’t let Adam’s critique weigh too heavily in your mind. It sounds as though the selection of a CCL cruise probably wasn’t right for him. Before my first CCL cruise (1993, Ecstasy, our honeymoon, with you as the CD), my travel agent spent over an hour getting to know us and our personal preferences before recommending Carnival. As has been mentioned countless times, not everyone will enjoy Carnival’s atmosphere, including the humor. That’s fine — CCL offers a diverse group of cruise lines in order to cater to many different styles and preferences.

    You’ve taken time to consider comments such as these, and you’ve gotten plenty of positive feedback from past guests. Based on all of this, I think it’s safe to move on, and to continue with the humor and wit that is part of you (and that we all love about you)!

    Thanks to Jaime for the latest Splendor letter, and thank you for the video updates.

    Best to Heidi, Thingy (not much longer now!!), and the Blog Team.

  47. Lisa says:

    Good morning John,
    We had the pleasure of you being our CD on the Valor last week. I have been reading your blog the last couple of days since being home, and am amazed how many people read/write/follow you – for good reasons, of course.
    During our cruise, you mentioned that Carnival is having a few more ships built, and a naming contest. I have a great new name (no, not Preparation, Constipation or Ejaculation as some on the ship suggested), but can’t see anywhere to submit it. Was this a joke too? or is there somewhere I can suggest the name?
    p.s. we and our four kids had a fabulous time last week – thanks Carnival!

  48. Ryland Salsbury says:

    John, it’s funny you should post a letter that is angry like this. I believe it’s serendipitous I found your blog today.

    As my party left the Valor last week, meaning I was one of the people that was a) laughing my butt off and b) giving a standing ovation to the Bedtime Story, we talked about crotchety people just like this. We started making up sarcastic “Dear Carnival..” letters.

    The whole point was that people will complain about anything, and no matter what you do or how well you do it, somebody will always be there to complain. The best part is when they are so angry, any blame for their complaint is inappropriately placed. I believe the first “Dear Carnival” letter was based on a review I had read of the ship that complained about the weather on their cruise as their sole complaint about the ship. Thus, the first letter was, “Dear Carnival, due to a storm, my ship was not able to go into such-and-such port. Please change the weather immediately!” It regressed from there to things such as “Dear Carnival, my flight out of Miami was delayed. Please rectify this immediately.” Eventually, as we got more giddy, the letters became more silly, “Dear Carnival, some young harlots were on deck today exposing themselves. You could see their ankles! Please rectify this immediately.”

    My family and I have been on somewhere around 15 cruises, but I must say that you helped make my voyage on the Valor not only the best cruise I have ever taken, but the best vacation I have ever taken. Don’t change things up. 2 people were offended out of 1,498. I’d say that’s a good ratio to have.

  49. The Bears - Barb & Carl says:

    Don’t ever stop doing the bedtime story!!! It is so funny! We have showed our copy to several friends and they think it is as funny as we do. We plan on showing it at our Carnival House Party too!

    Hello to Heidi and the wee little Thingy!
    Princess Barb

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