Crying and Cougars

June 27, 2009 -

John Heald

Conference calls are totally brilliant. I was on one yesterday and thanks to the magic mute button on my raspberry I could sit there, listen, type my blog and fart and none of the dozen or so people on the call are any the wiser. I was talking to ……….or rather not talking to………..a group of people from our Miami office. Now, for those of you who have never experienced a conference call let me explain what happens. They’re exactly like a normal meeting in that nothing happens and nothing gets done and everyone talks bollocks but you don’t have to sit there, remembering not to fall asleep and not to pick your nose in front of President Gerry Cahill.

I just poured myself another cup of tea and at one point during the call I went to the toilet for five minutes, and when I finally rejoined the conversation nobody had even noticed I’d been away.

Unfortunately, one of the problems with this is that someone from marketing is going to ask for my opinion and I won’t have any clue what they have been talking about because they were in the box and we were outside it, at the top of a flagpole seeing which way the wind was blowing.

I hate meetings but I guess I am the only one because anytime I call anyone at Carnival they are either going to a meeting, in a meeting, leaving a meeting to go to another meeting or planning tomorrow’s 39 meetings with a follow up meeting about the previous meeting.

If I was Carnival’s President I would have one rule. If I go to a meeting, only I am allowed to speak. And then something gets done.
I can’t say who but apparently one of the ladies I was on the phone with is a wild animal! Now, as I said I have to be very, very careful here but before the call started one of the chaps from the office described this person as a Tiger……………nope……….that’s not right……………..a lion…………..bugger…………no…………..hold on let me think…………….hyena……….no……….jaguar………that’s not it………….ahhhh yes…………….apparently this lady who works at Carnival is something called a cougar.

I am sure many of you out there are saying “Cougar ………….what the heck is a cougar?” And I said the same thing. Well apparently cougar is part of a new street language developed by metrosexual men with gel in their hair and Liza Minnelli on their Eye Pods. It refers to a lady over 40 who is looking for a relationship with a man of a much younger age ……….say 18 – 25…………and they are very predatory about it hence the name cougar.

Now, I am 8 years older than Heidi so I understand something about age differences but why would a lady of 40 want to be with a kid of 18? Anyway, this Carnival lady is apparently a big Cougar and she is on the hunt. She is in her mid forties and being the same age I don’t understand. If I were to go out with a younger girl – especially someone in their early twenties it would be a very traumatic experience for her. I’d be revealing all sorts of things she wasn’t prepared for.

And surely it would be the same for the poor chap who has been devoured by the 40 something Cougar. Why would a young chap want to listen to the Cougar moan about the lumps, the bumps, the wrinkles her hair going grey and not to mention the mood swings?
Anyway throughout the conference call all I could think about was that one of the ladies on it was a Cougar who later that Friday night would be stalking her Justin Trousersnake prey ready to pounce.

Me………………I’m more of a Sloth. That’s the term for older men who don’t want to leave the house and go anywhere or do anything. ………..except fart and pick their noses during pointless conference calls.

I hope the Cougar doesn’t read my blog……………………………..bugger.

Time to answer a few questions. ……………….here we go.

John & Patty

Hi John,
Was hoping you could direct us and/or help us make contact with the appropriate individual to obtain a Cloud9 Spa robe on our upcoming cruise.

John & I have a wonderful cruise last year through the Baltic’s on the Splendor. We enjoyed the ship, fantastic crew, service, spa and spa suite.

Apparently the Cloud9 robes had been a hot item since we can’t get opportunity to purchase two. Day two our cruise we began the “quest” to purchase two robes; spoke with everyone, hotel mgr, spa mgr, room steward, but were told unfortunately there were no longer any left for purchase, but maybe they would arrive later in week at another port. Well needless to say they never arrived. When we got home we spoke with our Carnival Cruise Specialist in Miami, unfortunately he has also been unable to connect to the right person for us to purchase. Also sent a few e-mail inquiries to Carnival but no response.

Well, we believe YOU are the person with all connections and can make all things possible. We will be sailing on the Dream on December 3rd. We are again booked in a Spa Suite and were hoping that we could make arrangements prior to the cruise to ensure we can purchase two robes upon our arrival (or have them shipped to us prior to the cruise). Might you be able to direct us to the appropriate individual? Who should we contact and/or e-mail to make arrangements?

Looking forward to seeing you in December.


John Says:

hello Patty
Thanks for taking the time to write and I am so glad you had such an enjoyable time in the Baltic discovering St. Petersburg, Helsinki, Berlin and so much more. Congratulations on booking your Carnival Dream cruise vacation and I will continue to provide as much information, photos and video of the ship as I can here on the blog thingy. I remember just how popular these extra thick and luxurious Spa robes were on the Carnival Splendor and I am so sorry we did not have enough. I don’t think we realized just how many people would want to purchase them and hence we did not order enough. However, I promise you will be able to buy one when you sail on the Carnival Dream. I will be onboard as its the Bloggers Cruise and if you remind me via the blog a few weeks before you sail I will make sure one or two are placed aside for you to purchase. It will be great to see you on board and I know you will be flabbergasted at all your Carnival Dream will have to offer.

Best wishes to you and the family

JP Kraus

Hi John, please reply.

I have “infected” a colleague of mine with the cruise bug and now she and her husband are going on their first cruise in September (Sept 5, Liberty). As a going-away present, I’d like to buy them dinner at the supper club. Is there a voucher or gift certificate that I can buy at Carnival guest relations? There is no such item in the Bon Voyage store, but maybe there is another way to arrange this.

I should point out that I’m from The Netherlands (maybe you’ve heard of it –lol), so calling Carnival USA is a bit problematic since 1-800 numbers don’t work and there’s a time difference…

Anyway, I hope you can figure something out.

Thank you and groeten aan Heidi en Kye. Doei!

John Says:

Hello JP
Hello to you and your family from me………….nearley a Dutch person. I have been infected with the Dutch way of life being married as I am to Heidi. I love the colour orange……….I have three pairs of orange underpants…………..I wear clogs…………..sometimes just clogs and my orange underpants and nothing else……….and I love frikendel and crochetchas mit patacyas orlock …………….mmmmmmm.

Anyway, what a great idea. I have never thought about this but it is a great idea. I will now write to the office and let me see if we can get this going and by the time your friends sail on the Carnival Liberty. I will be back to you soon.
Tot zins und noo ich will poopalater


Kenny Randolph

Dear John,
(please reply)
I don’t understand why you can’t visit some ports. Would you elaborate on that a bit? I would think that the ports that you visit would want as many visitors as possible. It also seems that any crew member should have no problem visiting all the ports.

Only 5 days to the Inspiration!


John Says:

Hello Kenny
I think you are referring to my comment about not being allowed ashore in St. Thomas and San Juan. Well, these are rules set by U.S. Immigration and they will not allow any non US crew members to go ashore in a US port until that crew member has been through Immigration at the end of their first cruise. Tomorrow then I will be up early to go through US Immigration in Fort Lauderdale and then I will receive my I95 Immigration document meaning that I will be able to go ashore in all the US ports.
Thanks for asking and I hope you will send me a review of your Carnival Inspiration cruise when you get home.
Best wishes and have fun

Kathy Asked:

Hi John, 

Please Respond.

I know you have been telling us how the Carnival Dream is coming along, but I was wondering when you are going to start doing updates about the Carnival Magic. Are these going to be the same class of ships or are they different.

I do have a question, when a ship leaves the port, does Carnival leave a couple of cabins open in case something happens during the cruise that someone has to be moved from their cabin, due to things beyond anyone’s control. I was wondering how that worked. It would seem to me that they would leave one or two cabins reserved for emergencies.

I would like to say that I am sorry that you could not spend your first Father’s Day with Kye, but you are going to have so many more that are going to be so memorable. I know the next time that you see your beautiful daughter; you are going to realize how much she has grown and all the little changes in her. I hope Heidi sends you videos of all the new things in life that Kye discovers.

Your blogger thingy fan, 

John Says:

Hello Kathy
Thanks for saying you are a blog fan and I hope you will remain so for some time to come. We are all very excited about your Carnival Dream as we will be about the Carnival Magic. There is not much to report on her just yet but as soon as I know more about the ship I will let you know. She will feature much of what you will experience on your Carnival Dream but the Carnival magic will also have many more “firsts ” for Carnival as well.
With regards to the cabins we never leave the cabins empty. It is our goal to always sail at 100% occupancy or more……….meaning not only is every cabin booked but every bed in every cabin is full. Now, sometimes we do have a few cabins that are empty due to last minute cancellations etc but we never purposely leave cabins empty based on the ” just in case ” scenario you mentioned. If an emergency arises such as a flood in a cabin etc we have teams who can quickly repair the problem .It was very hard being away from Kye on Fathers Day and I felt very guilty. I miss her and Heidi so very much but as you may have read from Heidi’s blog yesterday she has been so very supportive and understanding and that’s why I am so very lucky.
Thanks so much for the kind words of support.
Best wishes to you and the family

That’s all for today and I think I am all caught up so please let me know if you need my help with anything. Tomorrow there won’t be a blog as I have to move into the CD cabin and finally………………..I can be a Cruise Director once again. We will be sailing on a 6 day cruise to Key West, Cayman and Ocho Rios, Jamaica and from Monday I will be telling you all about whose onboard, sharing their stories, telling you about the shows and whether or not I can still remember how to make people laugh. I will include interviews with the crew and include photos of this beautiful ship the Carnival Freedom and as always I hope you will join me here on the blog thingy.

Now, let’s talk about your Carnival Dream and start with two photos sent to me by Captain Carlo Queirolo who as you will see has provided us with two brilliant shots of the ship which is currently undergoing final tests in dry dock.



Great photos and there will be more from the flag ship’s master next week.

We have already met two of the Entertainment Staff chosen to be part of the start up team onboard your Carnival Dream. Now let’s meet the third.

Eli Sharplin




# 1- About Myself.

Well my name is Eli Sharplin, I am 32 years old and I was born and raised in Auckland New Zealand on a peninsula called Whangaparaoa. Don’t feel bad if you can’t say it, I was about 18 before I could spell it. It is however an incredible and beautiful place to live.
I have a younger sister and an older brother and they live in the same area as do my parents, step parents, grand parents, uncles aunties and cousins. As I was growing up, family would visit and fall in love with Whangaparaoa so would all end up moving there.

I always enjoyed the out doors as a child and that only grew stronger as I grew stronger and although my family never had a lot of money, I was still blessed to grow up surrounded by parks, forests and beaches. I got my first boat (a little old row boat) when I was 8 years old. The boats have since gotten bigger.

I became interested in acting and drama when I was 11 and got a part playing Kurt in the sound of music at the local theater. This led me into film and television at the age of 12 and I continued with amateur theater through my teens and started dancing at 15. Then on to professional theater and dance at 18.

I studied graphics and design along with workshop technologies in collage and did an apprenticeship in landscaping soon after.
I started teaching at a performing arts school and at other local schools in 2005 and when I am not on a ship I travel the country teaching Art and drawing workshops for students and teachers.

I still enjoy the out doors more than ever and New Zealand is the perfect place to do so.
Don’t get me wrong, I love traveling the world, meeting new people and experiencing new cultures and adventures but at the end of it all, whether you travel with or without the ruby slippers, there’s no place like home. If you don’t believe me, come visit New Zealand, your all welcome, any time.

# 2 – I have traveled and experienced a lot over the last 20 years but have never been through the Mediterranean so that in itself is something I am really looking forward to but to experience that and all that the Dream has to offer with such a talented and fun group of people is going to be amazing.

# 3 – I know it might sound cheesy but it’s the people, a ship is just steel, chairs and paint. It’s the people that bring it to life.

# 4 – Q and A. It’s a chance for me to get to meet people and for them to get to know me as me and not just a voice on a mic. Many people have never met anyone from NZ before.

# 5 – I like to think I bring a lot to any team I work with but why this team. Well I had worked with Todd years ago on the Spirit when he was first made a Cruise Director. We always worked well together and had a lot of fun. We became good friends and after I left ships for a few years to build a house and do some of the things that people with normal lives might do, I returned to find Todd going strong and I couldn’t wait to work with him again. Thank you Todd, It is a huge honor. Go the dream team!

# 6 – I would have to side with a lot of crewmembers on this one and say Cozumel. There is just so much to do there.

# 7 – That’s a hard question as there is so much history. I think Venice as it is so unique and the architecture is stunning. Hay there might even be a chance for romance.

# 8 – Favorite ship – the Spirit.
Favorite movie – Dumb and Dumber ( I know, don’t judge).
Favorite show onboard – Ticket To Ride.

That’s a huge question as there are so many things I still want to do but I try to do, see or experience something new every week that I have never done, seen or experienced before.

And here’s a quote from a Kiwi who loves life with a passion. “If you want to be happy, live, love and laugh every day, strive to make a difference in the lives of those who have trouble doing this and enjoy the company of those who feel the same.


Congratulations to Eli who I will have the honour of working here on the Carnival Freedom with for a few weeks. He is a total natural on the microphone and I see great things in store for him.

I want you to see this great photo of Carnival Corporation’s Chairman and CEO Mr. Micky Arison.


Now, you may be looking at this photo and thinking that Mr. Arison has just seen me and is saluting the world’s best blogging overweight Cruise Director accordingly…………….but actually he is he is looking at P& O’s Aurora which was docked behind Holland America’s Oosterdam and he is doing so from the deck of the brand new uber luxury Seabourn Odyssey……………how proud he must be.

Now, have a look also at the Holland America blog today………… features more great photos of the ships in Venice and…………….if you ever wondered how big a ships horn is……………….pop over to

Forget this summer’s metrosexual fashion of wearing sandals and anything pink, these days the accessory du jour for any man is a nice lace-trimmed hankie – proper cotton mind you, so as not to chafe his nostrils. Now, don’t get me wrong, Michael Jackson’s sudden passing was so very sad but did it need grown strapping men with thighs you could sand floors with to publicly cry their eyes out as they watched the news unfold on the Lido Deck big screen? Honestly, there were loads of them.

They are of course simply following a well-trodden path of discarded Tissues from the host of stars who have all cried in public. But when, precisely, did crying become cool? I think men now believe that women find a man who is not afraid to cry and is in touch with his emotions attractive. I blame these celebrity chefs and DIY shows that have metrosexualized man who tell us a man’s place is in the kitchen and painting the house in light pastel colors. They have turned heterosexual slobs like me into perfumed ponies.

I guess this is another sign that I am not metrosexual and that unless a Cougar bites me in the arse……………nothing is going to make me cry………………nothing!

Except……………..oh bugger……………..Heidi just sent me this photo of Kye smiling for the first time………………..and I missed it…………………..and ………… hoo….boo hooo………and now I am crying like a passenger on the Oasis who has realized what an idiot they were for not booking the Carnival Dream instead.

I can’t find my lace-trimmed hankie……… hoo, boo hoo, boo hoo…………………….my beautiful daughter smiled…………and boo hoo………boo hoo……….I guess I am metrosexual after all.


Your crying friend

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.