How to make a boy band.

Ridiculously good looking boys in matching outfits? Check.
One who sounds like a cat climbing over an electric fence when he sings but because he has a six pack and looks like he has a cucumber in his underpants he’s in the band – check

A law that says you can’t get up off your stool until the key change two thirds of the way through the song, at which point you do a funny pointy thing with your right hand? Check.

Unlike the ingredients of Kentucky Fried Chicken, what makes a good boy band isn’t a secret recipe.

Now I have to admit that I am not a big fan of this music genre. Back in 2007 I was forced by Heidi to take her to see a British boy band called Take That for her anniversary gift ………….here is an excerpt from the blog I wrote about it back then.
There were 15,000 people, most of them screaming, hysterical ladies and sitting amongst that sea of female hormones gone mad……..was me.

Heidi and I were at the The London Millennium Dome or the 02 Arena as it is now called or as I had renamed it, The Dome Of Hell…and it was my fault that we were there, me and my tunnel-sized mouth had me sitting in a dome surrounded by bonkers women.

A few days ago I had asked Heidi what she would like to do for our anniversary and after deciding we would go to a Gordon Ramsey restaurant that she would like to go to a concert. Being the loving, teddy bear of a husband that is me I agreed and thanks to American Express I managed to get to tickets to see…..Ozzy Osborne…nope ………. Motorhead……………..nope…………………Puff Daddy …………… nope ……….. Jennifer Lopez…….nope…………The London Symphony Orchestra ……… nope ………..we were there to see a boy band………yep…………… a boy band ………… called Take That.

Now, most of you will never have heard of them but let me tell you they are a hugely popular band here with having had more number ones than someone with a bladder problem. They retired a few years ago and now they are on their comeback tour ……… Heidi is a huge fan so that was me………..£150 ($300) poorer…………listening to the 4 boys singing sloppy cover songs about love, heartache and why all men are complete bastards. Robbie Williams who now has a very successful solo tour used to be a member but he saw sense and buggered off to smoke a palm tree.

As I sat there and looked up at everyone standing and singing along I realized that they should have been singing a song called “Next time don’t ask your wife what she would like to do you idiot.” Of course Murphy and his law had crapped on me from 100 feet yet again. The room was full of women, some very beautiful and some who had decided not to wear skirts but instead wear a belt……….they were all over the place ……………… but of course next to me were two …………….men……….and lets just say they were in touch with their feminine side as they screamed, waved at the band and generally swooned every time one of the boys would say anything……..I was in hell …………….. I would rather go shopping………..I would rather kiss a camel with bad breath ……….. thank goodness for my Raspberry and I spent a lot of the time e mailing various people including PA 007 much to the disgust of one of the gentlemen next to me who in between declaring his adulation for the boys in the band gave me looks of hatred that I would dare to send an e-mail while the performers sang that they were back for good.

Anyway………..back to the present. Boyzone, Take That and the Spice Girls have all done it. So why not a reunion tour by New Kids on the Block? Now in their late thirties, the boy band from Boston find themselves saddled with a spectacularly unsuitable name yet they to have reunited and from what I hear their recent tour was a huge success.

So, put a boy band on a Carnival ship and you have a recipe for one fantastic cruise……and that’s exactly what is happening.

Tim Cabral from our Carnival office who is the focal point of putting these musical groups and performers on the stage of our ships, sent me this website which I thought you might find interesting.

I expect the Carnival Imagination will be full of women in their thirties, all suddenly wondering where their youth had gone, but intent on reliving it, if only for a few nights ……………….I wonder if Heidi will let me go…

Time for today’s questions………….which by the way to cleanse myself from writing about boy bands I am answering while listening to some Iron Maiden……….boy bands my arse.

Dave from Florida Asked:
What amazing timing for this blog!! (And your others, been catching up on the past few days) I was having dinner last night friend’s and we were talking about how cassette tapes are gone and the fun (and many challenges) of making a mixed tape. We used to have nothing better to do that sit around the radio and try to hit record at just the right time!!
I know it has been a few days, but I wanted to say thank you for your input on the ideas with my birthday cruise leaving April 30th. It has officially been decided I will be required (while kicking and screaming) to attend a work meeting on my 23rd birthday. My booking number is —– and surname is N—-. We having been looking at switching over to the Inspiration , but since we sail in 10 days, I doubt that will be possible. It appears I will be taking a flight out of Orlando to Nassau to meet the ship, which means, I will be spending my birthday night in Orlando while my family is on the Sensation…at least I will get to the ship and have 2 great days!! Better than none!! Trust me, I wanted to tell my boss to bugger off (which thanks to you, I now say frequently) but took your advice, I’ll wait, but someday!!
Speaking of technology, have you heard of the Eye Phone?? It’s like an eye pod and cell phone in one!! I’m actually have been reading your blog on the eye phone all day and am commenting with it now!! I’m sure you will hear all about this technology stuff when your thingy gets older. Resist as long as you can!!
Dave from Florida

John Says:
Hello Dave
Great to hear from you mate. I will make sure the ship is aware of your late arrival and what a shame that you can’t be with your family for your vacation. Still, as you said, you will have two days together and I know that you will make up for the day apart. I will send you a birthday card so look out for that. I have seen the Eye phone and I am sure it’s fantastic but if I got one as well as having a raspberry Heidi would make sure I would be spending many birthdays alone
Have a fantastic cruise and my best to the family

Austin Kelly Asked:
Who long does it take to be a cruise director?

John Says:
Hello Austin.
Good question. You know there really is not a standard answer to this. Most cruise directors have come through the ranks of entertainment staff and then go on to assistant cruise director before becoming an acting CD and then a full promotion to cruise director. This can take a few years or if it is obvious that you are a very special person your time may be quicker. I would though say 2 – 3 years is a good place to start. There is a lot to learn. If you would like to look at you will find more information about the job and if I can help you in anyway please let me know

Irene Garner Asked:

Dear John….Please reply
I am just wondering if you got my email with my mailing address on it. I forgot to add “Please Reply” so not sure if it went through okay. Please let me know if you need it again.
Thanks…Irene (hooked on cruising)

John Says:
Hello Irene
All received and Stephanie Meads who is the ACD on the ship is taking care of this for you.
Hope all is well
Best Wishes

Fraser Asked:
Please Reply,
Wow I now know I need to save as long as I can and go in a suite that is amazing. The video on does not do it justice.
Thank you for your Reply, and everything you do, I had asked for the schedule of elegant nights on my Parent’s cruise on Triumph leaving on 4/26, you provided me with the schedule for the Freedom in Sept which I will be going on, Thank you by the way you must be a mind reader because I was going to ask for that anyway. I was hoping you might be able to provide me with the schedule for the Triumph.
In regards to another comment about, I used to be able to find a link that provided a lot of info on the individual ships that included they year they were put in service, since the change I cannot find it, also are you aware your link for this blog thingy is no longer on the homepage?
I have read a few things about theme cruises, can you point me in the direction to get info on what themes and when they are? I cannot find it and would love to see what all the theme cruises are.
You must be very excited on the very short time till the arrival of the Thingy, and your life is not over, it is just beginning. You may be looking at poo filled diapers and not the bottoms of the ladies, well maybe it is.
Thank You,
My Best to Heidi and the Thingy

John Says:
Hello Fraser
Sorry mate, I guess I misread your e mail. Here is the schedule for your Carnival Triumph cruise next week.
Miami, FL;
Fun Day at Sea; – ELEGANT
San Juan, Puerto Rico;
St. Thomas, USVI;
St. Maarten, NA;
Fun Day at Sea; – ELEGANT
Fun Day at Sea;
Miami, FL
Hope you find the above useful. Now, yes, I am aware that our blog thingy has been removed from the front page of but if you look down the bottom there is a title called Carnival Blogs and that’s how you get to it. I am a little disappointed that the specific “John Heald’s Blog” title has been removed but I understand that there are many more important things to go on the front page than this blog.
I never actually remember seeing a page about the history of the ships so let me ask Stephanie…………Steph – are you aware of a page like that on the web site?
I will keep you informed about the theme cruises and as you will have seen mate we have an Elvis cruise and a New Kids on the Block cruise as well. I must admit we do little theme cruising however should we host such a voyage I will let you know
I hope you have a brilliant time on the Carnival Triumph and make sure you tell the CD George “I love you man” and then demand a free gift.

Barbara Butler Asked:
Hi John, Please reply,
My mother, sister, and I will be on the Carnival Pride starting May 17, 2009. I was wondering if you would let the cruise director and everyone else know that there will once again be a service dog on board. Valentine prefers her own box witch I will bring if Carnival provides the first step litter. Just have them leave it in our room and I put the items together as she likes them. LOL Aren’t we all a little critical in that area? Worked out great on the Freedom last year when Todd was in charge. Also john, since taking my elderly mother, and handicapped sister, and me with my dog would it be possible to get a 4 top table? It would make it so much easier. I’ve had so many say that they won’t eat with a dog! She is so clean, quiet, good that really no one would know she was there if the clothes were a little longer. So it would help a lot.
I’ve been reading in you blog how Heidi is in the nesting stage. She is getting so close now. I’ll bet it won’t be soon enough. I remember those days fondly. You can do that after the first 5 years or so.
Hang in there it won’t be long now and you will have a wonderful bundle to take home and I can’t wait to see that little face.
Hope to see you soon,
Love you lots,
Barbara and David

John Says:
Hello Barbara and David
It will be my pleasure to arrange all of this for you. I know last time that the crew of the Carnival Freedom looked after you so I promise you can expect the same this year from the ship’s company of the Carnival Pride. I will be contacting the ship for you and will request all you have asked for. Thanks for the kind words for Heidi who is indeed nesting and more.
I hope you have a wonderful cruise.
Best Wishes

John please reply
Hello Sir,
Just a quick question. I have a picture of the Carnival Freedom and Carnival Liberty in port, side by side in Cozumel. Our question would be what are the 2 additions on top of the Carnival Liberty’s bridge that are not on the Carnival Freedom???
Just wondering
Take Care
Cindy n Bill

John Says:
Hello Cindy and Bill
Great to hear from you. The additions on the Carnival Liberty are the extra cabin penthouses that were added during her last dry dock. I will try and get some photos posted of these cabins for you to see inside.
My best to you both
Semper Fi

Gary Thomas Asked:

Hi John,
Please reply.
First, Elvis is GREAT!! My wife would love to cruise on an Elvis cruise. Secondly, I never met Malcolm, but he sure has made a lot of friends with the Carnival folks and for that he can be proud! Please send my regards. Glad to hear that Chris is better. Third – thank goodness the fruit punch is going to be replaced! With something suitable, of course? We all missed it on our last cruise, which brings me to my question.
The Gala Buffet which took up an entire dining room was missing on our last cruise. My wife inquired at Guest Services and they replied that they have been discontinued. Imagine the disappointment. Have they been discontinued all together or are they on certain sailings? I know this was extremely popular.
We are booking our next cruise on the Carnival Dream, can’t wait.

John Says:
Hello Gary
Thanks for the kind thoughts for Malcolm. His mother e-mailed me last night thanking everyone for all their kind thoughts. He remains in ICU but had a better night and hopefully will continue to improve.
Well, you are correct. As we discussed a few months ago here in the blog the gala buffet has been discontinued. I know it was popular but the food waste was extraordinary and while many liked to look at the carvings and food sculptures not too many actually wanted to eat anything. So, along with the other late night buffets, we stopped serving them but still have plenty of options for late night dining. Remember we still have the late night snacks at “the grill” and the pizza is open 24 hours. However, I agree with you that it was so popular that we need to see what we can do to return more of the food carving demonstrations etc. I know we are looking at ways of doing this now and I will let you know what happens.
Thanks for taking the time to write.
Best wishes to you and your family

Jrmende63 Asked:
John (please read)
I wanted to firstly send my prayers and thoughts to Malcolm Woo Hoo Burns. We sailed with him on the Carnival Victory. He is so warm and friendly. Malcolm, please get well soon and back on the cruise ship where you belong.
John, I also wanted to mention to you and Heidi that some hospital have laws about not video recording the Thingy’s birth. Please check with your hospital to save your self some time. And please tell me the Thingy has a bassinette or crib to sleep in, that he/ she is not going to sleep in your bed. We have had 7 babies die from Lay over death in our county (sleeping with parents and got turned over on.) Thanks, Julie (I am not trying to be bossy, just trying to protect your wee precious one.)

John Says:
Hello Julie
Thank you so much Julie, I have passed your kind words on to Mrs. Burn who will show them to Malcolm. Thank you so much for the kind words and we both appreciate them so much. I do intend to take photos but as for videoing the Thingies entrance……..well, I won’t be anywhere near that end. Heidi and I have a beautiful Moses basket with blankets made by some of our blogger friends for the Thingy to sleep in next to our bed before he/she goes into the nursery. I once rolled over on Heidi and was in the dog house for days.
Seriously, it must be heartbreaking for a parent to lose their child to something as you described above and I cannot imagine how they would feel.
Thanks again for your kindness which means so much.
My best to you and the family.

Princess Lori Asked:

Malcolm – our prayers are with you for a speedy recovery.
Chris – we are thrilled you are home and we will continue our prayers.
JOHN, PLEASE REPLY – I love seeing all of the photos of upgraded ships. The Carnival Sensation luxury photos today were brilliant. As that is the only way I will ever see the penthouse – THANK YOU. Now, I would really like to see some pictures of the newly upgraded Miracle.
Take care of your beautiful wife and we look forward to pictures of the new baby soon!
Thanks, John!
Princess Lori
aka Catmama

John Says:
Hello Lori
Thank you so much for the kind words for Chris and Malcolm, I shall make sure they see them. Let me get you some photos of the Carnival Miracle and as soon as I do I will post them here for you.
Thanks Princess and my best as always to you and the family

Bill Copper Asked:
Please reply
Loved the video blog. I sure hope you can find some Udder Butter in your mom’s superstore. This has to be the most aptly named product on the market and I’m sure you’ll find a way to introduce the name into your on-stage routine. Speaking of which, we are looking forward to joining you on the Freedom, June 14-20.
Can you tell me if Lewis Nixon will be onboard? I went to high school with him back in FL and enjoyed his comedy on the Fascination back on December 07.
My wife and I and our three sons (21, 19, 1nd 13) will be on board and looking forward to a great trip – especially knowing you’ll be there. If you need to catch up on your sleep after the little one arrives, we’ll hide you in one of our cabins for a quick nap.
Bill & Chelo and the boys

John Says:
Hello Bill
I am sure, as you suggested, that the arrival of the Thingy will bring me a lot of onstage comic material and I shall look forward to sharing it with you here also on the blog. How brilliant that you went to school with my mate Lewis who of course has been a friend of mine for a long time. It must have been strange to see him perform when you saw him on the Carnival Fascination. Were you surprised, was he funny at school? I don’t have the June schedule for the fly-on entertainers yet but maybe, just maybe, I can manipulate him being on the Carnival Freedom with you.
I will need sleep for sure so being a cruise director isn’t going to probably be much help …………….oh bugger.
See you soon and my best to all the family

InMN253 Asked:
Hi, John.
I hope all is well with you, Heidi and the Thingy!
You may remember talking with my husband, Ken, and I in New Orleans. Ken is the one who “Travels 33RPM in an iPod World.” You asked to be reminded that my daughter and her fiancé are getting married aboard Carnival Glory on May 2. I hope I didn’t wait too long to send this reminder. It was so kind of you to offer to do something special for them! Their names are Esther Kern and John Allen. Their cabin number is —, and their booking number is —-.

John Says:
Hello Pat
Well the big day is nearly here and I am sure you and the family are very excited about the wedding. My friend Butch will make sure they have a wonderful honeymoon and please would you send them my best wishes for a fantastic day.
I have wonderful memories of Ken and his Eye Pod statement and I hope to see you soon
Best to all

cheri bolchoz Asked:
Please reply
1st prayers to Malcolm & his Mum.
I sent the eSeaview to your other email hope you get it. It is the April 14th Vol 9 eSeaview, was told it ges to some 60,000 employees. I also sent a copy to Currents. By the way Michael is also getting The Funnel tattoo right now on the other arm.
Yes “Big Sexy” is the Josh I am speaking of. Just wanted to drop him a line & say that Michael & I are thinking of him & want to keep up with what ship he is on. I believe he still has my email, ask him to drop us a line
Take care
Cheri & Michael

John Says:
Hello Cheri
Thanks for the clarification and I have now sent your e mail address to Josh on the Carnival Miracle. I received the Seaview and many thanks as I must have missed that one. I want to thank you also for your kind words for Malcolm which I will also forward.
My best to you both and hope to see you soon

theblences Asked:

John, – Please Reply
Is that Captain Pagano in the “New Ship Smell” commercial?
Bruce and Debbie

John Says:
Hello Bruce and Debbie
Yes indeed, that’s Captain Pagano, star of sea and screen. Have you seen the one where he tells the Fun Director to “get off my bridge “…….it’s a classic. Captain Pagano is a true gentlemen and as anyone at Carnival will tell you he was perfect for the role.
Best wishes

That’s all for today and many thanks for all the comments as always. By the way, the blog now has 4,100,000 slaps …………..thank you.

I was speaking yesterday to some friends who have just returned from their 51st cruise which apart from a few errors of judgement back in the nineties have all been with Carnival, Princess and Holland America. In fact they just got off the Caribbean Princess and had a wonderful time. During the conversation I asked what they did ashore ………. and the reply I received was quite interesting.

“Ashore? Why would I want to go there? It’s full of people who speak unpredictable languages, demand cash and don’t smile all the time. No, thank you. Leave me here, swathed in the luxury of this hermetically sealed floating resort…………why go ashore?”

That got me thinking. I am sure many first-time cruisers book their cruise vacations based on the whole package……ship, destinations, etc etc. However, after a few cruises how many people put destination at the bottom of the list. So, I wondered, how many of you actually book your cruise based on the ports of call. I would be fascinated to know and by the way, are there any others who, like my friends, don’t go ashore at all? Please send in your comments.

OK, time to open up.

First. My diet. Well it’s going well and I am losing weight. I have no idea how much yet.
I will start weighing myself at the end of this week and keep a daily record.

Yesterday I ate:
Breakfast – one lightly boiled egg with a Ritz cracker
Lunch – one wheat bread roll with cheese and a little light mayonnaise and a tomato
Afternoon snack – one green apple
Dinner – Grilled chicken breast cooked in olive oil and accompanied by loads of cauliflower, peas and …………broccoli!
Dessert – Sugar free Jell-O
Evening snack – celery and carrot pieces with lashings of tabasco for taste

This has been my basic menu for the last four days and so far my will power has stayed strong. This has already helped my sugar levels as well which were near normal.

However, this new pill Actos gave me some horrendous side effects including one that you could probably smell in Michigan. It also made my face tingle and I had water retention. So, I am not going to take those anymore and see if my regular Metmorphin and a good diet will keep my sugar levels normal.

This morning as in most mornings my level was 131.4 (I have found how to convert it to the American system) and before lunch it was 122. My goal is 120 all day.
Let’s see how I do today without taking this new pill.

I have a goal and that is to take Heidi and the Thingy on a proper vacation and rent a villa near a beach. I hate going to the beach. For me, it is the humiliation of watching tanned, muscular beach bums strut their stuff while I lie on the sand worrying that if I don’t keep my hat on a Japanese whaling ship will come and cut me up for blubber. ………. actually, that’s not true………I am doing this for me and the family.

I hope you don’t mind me writing this on the blog thingy…….for some reason it helps ……….hope that’s OK.

There is one fact that us men should not be afraid of admitting and that is they enjoy a good cry now and again.

While waiting for the basketball game (the Miami Heat won last night which made staying up until 3:30 am UK time worth it) to start I watched a movie called Spider-Man 3. Something about the Sandman character made me feel sorry for him. A throwback to Frankenstein’s monster, perhaps, or maybe the fact that underneath that lowlife hood was a father trying to help his sick kid. Yes, he had superpowers but still he cut a tragic figure throughout the film, and at one point I found myself choking up. Big, snotty man tears came, and it felt good. Now, I don’t know if this was also due to the fact that I had been feeling well for a few days and the relief of getting better had overcome me but regardless …………..

This morning I told Heidi, expecting her to throw herself at me for showing my sensitive side. After all, the last time she saw me shed a few tears was when Leo died in the West Wing. Do you know what she did?……………. She laughed at me.

Flicking through women’s magazines you’ll find countless articles asking, “How sensitive is your man?” They want us to be more emotional, but they don’t know what to do when a man starts blubbering, do they? Why is it that even in these open-minded times crying men are taboo?

There are a couple of exceptions, however. It is permissible for a man to let all those tears out in situations like these: seeing how the Miami Heat played in game one of this year’s playoffs. Opening your cabin door on the Norwegian Epic and finding out that your cabin really is 100 square feet and they weren’t joking and of course having to spend money on a steak on the WhatafoolIam of the Seas and realizing what a complete and utter idiot you were for not booking a Carnival cruise

Oh, and of course it’s okay for a man to cry if he gets kicked in the bollocks.

But I didn’t want to finish the blog talking about crying. I wanted to see you all smile and so it is time to show you a lot…….and my thanks to Stephanie for posting all of these for me………a lot of photos of ………hold on………….as its playoff season let me do this like the Miami Heat announcer……..first I have to pee so I will be back in DOS MINUTOS……………..OK, I am back.

Here we go.

































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.