Being Butch

September 14, 2009 -

John Heald

It feels like I haven’t written to you in ages. Maybe it’s because I was a head of myself last week finishing blogs the day before they were posted in order not to miss any because of my traveling to Holland…………but any way………I hope I find you all well, happy and non-constipated.

I’m writing this in my underpants and feeling 100 years old. While I was disembarking the ferry which returned us from Holland to the UK, I was holding Kye and also lugging a suitcase I did my back in and am now in a permanent crouch as if sitting on an imaginary toilet.

Obviously, it’s all because I’m not young any more. Once I would have shrugged off such an injury with Tylenol and a massage from a Latvian woman named Nora Bollockov. Now I need a Demerol to get out of bed and make old-person noises – “eeeeesh”/ “aaaah”/“bhoaah” – while lowering myself into chairs…………rumpy pumpy is completely impossible.

Anyway, I have been thinking these last few days about my upcoming month onboard the Carnival Legend as cruise director and some of the new things I wanted to try. One of the specific areas I have been second guessing myself about is the debarkation talk. The question I keep asking myself is do we at Carnival think our guests are incapable of doing anything for themselves. ………let me explain.

A few years ago a large group of entertainment staff, shore excursion staff and office personal as well as Heidi and I completed a three-week familiarization trip around Europe to set up the Carnival Liberty‘s European season. I have clear and present memories of being driven on a 52-seater coach from our hotel to the airport, when the tour operator started up in the usual tour guide, sing-songy way. “As we wind our way down to the airport, ladies and gentlemen, can I ask that you relax and take in your final sights of Barcelona, Spain” at which point 25 plus heads obediently turned sideways to look out of the window at a freeway. “And could everyone double check that they have their tickets AND passports with them,” (A mass delving into handbags and money belts, some people clasping their documentation tightly in their palms for the rest of the journey). “I’ll be telling you more as we get nearer the airport.”

And, bugger me, did she tell us. In a voice one might reserve for the a puppy, she told us the flight number, the check-in desk number and that once inside the airport we “should join the back of the queue and wait to check in our suitcases” as if we were a bunch of single-celled organisms who might otherwise have demanded boarding passes from the man selling ice cream. She led the way into the terminal with crocodile of leisure-suited Carnival employees following. Few thought to glance up at the departure board themselves. Why bother? We just followed orders, which is of course my point.

There are some who would say that they resent being told what to do. Don’t smoke, don’t eat too much salt, no right turn, keep your dog on a leash, correct change only, hold the handrail, watch your step, mind your head, don’t throw bulk objects into the toilet, don’t eat a sandwich while driving your car…… it is absolutely true that you can spend an entire day feeling scolded. Get off a plane and the flight attendant’s voice is nagging over the loudspeakers: “Remember to take all personal belongings with you.”

My car bollocks me – a nagging, irritating alarm – if I don’t fasten my seatbelt the second that I have switched on the engine. I have mentioned before about things that beep and how that beep is yet another way to tell me what to do……………..and the worst of all is that bloody dishwasher.

When it’s finished washing the mugs and plates it makes a beeping noise. And if I don’t empty it immediately (and it’s my job now since Kye arrived) it beeps again. And then again. How stupid is that? It means nodding off in front of the television, when you hear the electronic summons and, because you know it will go on until the end of time, you haul yourself out of your chair, pad into the kitchen, open the door and discover, as jets of superheated steam gush into your face, that the beeping was not, in fact, coming from the dishwasher at all.

So now you’re standing there, looking like Judge Judy after she has been dipped in acid, wondering what on earth had been making the infernal noise. It could be anything, because these days everything beeps. My Raspberry beeps when its battery is dying. Microwaves beep when your food is ready. …………….aggghhh!

I mean………… we really need to know all these things? How did my parents manage with nothing beeping at them?

And that brings me to my job as a cruise director.

I remember how I used to tell guests that drinking the water in Cozumel was “very silly”……and that if you did it would give you a “real run for your money.” But help was at hand. The bar department could sell bottles of water to save us from being able to poo through a straw. Like infants on a school trip, people immediately formed a lengthy queue for 40 minutes to buy water……..the idea of finding bottled water ashore obviously too complex.

But, here is where I start second guessing myself. Do you need to me (and other CD’s) to tell you not to drink the tap water in Mexico and other tropical locations……..or do most of our guests already know that and am I just wasting your time?

Now, I do think we need to provide basic information on the ports of call and what to do there as well as tell you why it is best to take a shore excursion…………and it is of course for so many reasons that I will talk about again one blog in the future.

But, the one area where I am really unsure is the debarkation talk. Now, to the best of my knowledge I think we cruise directors at Carnival are the last ones in the industry to provide this service. I know Princess have a taped five minute reel played on the TV’s and a flyer is sent to the cabins and I understand other lines do the same. My debarkation talk is 30 minutes long and if I am honest, its 10 minutes of information and 20 minutes of jokes and attempted humor. Yes, the parade of crew at the end is a great spectacle and having the captain say” arriverderchey ………..arrivadaachi…………arriveerd………saying goodbye is great.”

But………….do I need to pull you all out of the sun on that last day into the main lounge and tell you about immigration, luggage, customs, etc. etc………am I treating you all like puppies ………. do you need me to tell you or is a brief video and flyer, just like the other cruise lines utilize enough? What are your thoughts?

While you are thinking about this let me crack on with today’s questions……………here we go.

Barb Emmanouilidis Asked:
Hi John, (please please please reply)

Have you gotten any of the emails I have sent? Are they all lost in cyber space?

Kye is absolutely gorgeous, congrats (in case you haven’t received any of my previous posts.) I am so wanting to hear from you, it’s been too long.

John and I are sailing on the Freedom on Oct 18th, I read you will be on the Legend (wish I knew that sooner would have booked that instead to sail with you)…will Ralph (alias wee Jimmy) be the CD on the Freedom? Do our itineraries cross at any port; we’d love to see you. Will bring sugar free salt water taffy and Diet Stewarts root beer if we do meet in a port?!

Barb Emmanouilidis

John Says:
Hello Barb

I haven’t seen any postings from you Barb so I am so very sorry if they have been lost in space. It is a shame but unfortunately we don’t get to be in port with the Carnival Freedom. However, I do know that you will love sailing with Wee Jimmy who also loves taffy. I know this because my much missed friend Robert Schneider and his wife Suzann used to bring some to me every time they sailed and Wee Jimmy would scoff them all. I am glad you reminded me about the Fun Ship Freddy cake. I did suggest this but I have yet to hear anything so I will indeed follow up on this today. I am sure JoJo will have a brilliant time with Fun Ship Freddy.

Sorry I cannot be with you but I know you will have a brillinat time.

Best wishes to you and the family

Sara Jennings Asked:

Just wanted to check back with you. I emailed you about the fun ship Freddy birthday cake. We are sailing in 33 days!! (Oct. 3 -6, 2009) I haven’t seen the cake advertised yet so I assume it’s not ready yet. Do you think they will have them by the time we cruise? We are getting so excited! JoJo has been telling everybody about his funship freddy birthday party! Thanks so much!!

John Says:
Hello Sarah

Thanks for the reminder. I did manage to add sugar free cakes to the bon voyage gifts and I asked at the same time for a Freddy cake as well. Thanks for the reminder and I will chase this up.

Please remind me of your sailing date and ship.

Best wishes to all

Deborah Asked:

56 Days and counting until we are on the TA Dream…Our Cruise Critic Group called the “Transatlantic Dreamers” need a lounge on the first sea day, Oct 28, to hold our meet & greet and gift exchange. (We are all bringing a small gift representative of where we live)

Do you think that you could arrange for us to have a lounge for this meet up? Any time between the hours of 11am – 3pm – we would need about an hour maybe little longer as we have a group of about 100+. Also, is it possible to get a bar tender, we will drink and we will tip…? And is it possible to have this posted in the Capers – “Transatlantic Dreamers” meet up – xxxx Lounge xxxx Time. Please let me know..

In our group are a couple from the 2007 Freedom “Mellow Yellows” – remember that group?

On another note – have you confirmed joining the TA Dream in Bermuda? I know you motioned it a while back. I need to know, as this may affect my packing 🙂

All the best – Deborah (Debs)

John Says:
Hello Deborah

I have wonderful memories of the Mellow Yellow group and our gathering in the card room. It will be an honor to arrange this for you and I will send this now to the groups coordinator and cruise director of your Carnival Dream. I will ask them to provide bar service and for Todd to kindly put a note in the today at a glance section of the Carnival Capers as well. I hope you all have a brilliant time and it is still my intention to join the ship in Bermuda.

Have a fantastic time and my best to you all.

Beentravelin Asked:
Dear John (Please Respond),

We will be sailing on your…my… The Carnival Dream on May 1st 2010 and am soooooo looking forward to being on a new ship again (went on your sister company, Holland America’s Eurodam on its first Caribbean sailing).

My question is: What would be a good gift to give to “my” CD Todd. Does he enjoy cigars too? I’m pretty sure he drinks a little. Maybe a bottle of his favorite liquor? I’m sure you know him better than I and it would be a nice to have a little insight on this.

I know its way early, but I hope to have you contact Todd shortly before our cruise to set-up a CruiseCritic Meet and Greet.

Thanks so much for all you do for everyone onboard and here on the blog. You seem to wear a lot of hats these days. Don’t overdo it!

My love to You, Heidi and Kye.
Your “friend”,
Beentravelin (Robert Herrin)

John Says:
Hello Robert

I have the Eurodam on my bucket list of ships I want to sail on. I am sure you had a great time. It’s so kind of you to offer Todd a little gift but honestly it’s not necessary. However, just in case you ignore me and insist on doing so I will suggest that you bring him a shirt or baseball cap from hour local college or professional team. He is a huge sports fan and only smokes other people’s cigars as he is tighter than a pair of medium size underpants on me. He takes size large I would think. I am sure he will be more than happy to set up a CC meet and greet for you and please remind me in April next year and we will arrange this for you.

I take XXXXXXXXXXXL by the way……… underpants
Thanks for all the kind words

Best wishes

Janet Asked:

Please reply. I apologize if you have addressed this already, but I have been away for awhile and have not been able to read all the blogs I missed.

We have heard that the Dream will have a ceremony at the end of the TA in New York. Will this happen on the morning we arrive? We may not want to miss this… Luckily our flight leaves at night. Can you tell us about it and the timing?

John Says:
Hello Janet

The naming ceremony is indeed in NY New York. Unfortunately it looks like the event will be a late afternoon one due to the fact that we have to disembark all the guests and the ship’s crew will also have a full US Immigration inspection and United States Coastguard drill as well. I will try and give you more details as soon as I can. One thing I can tell you is that there will be full coverage including video here on the blog thingy. I know you will have a brilliant time on your Carnival Dream and as I just mentioned I hope to join you in Bermuda.

I remain at your service

Best wishes

TVLAGT Carrie Asked:
John–(Please reply)

I am a travel agent (not one of those older than dirt no fun to have dinner with agents!) who is hosting my first group aboard the Carnival Dream on October 3. I have been religiously following the blog and enjoy hearing about the adventures onboard as well seeing the progress made on the new ship. I have tried to search online to find the details of the thalassotherapy pool. Will there be a spa pass required for access? Is that only open to guests before or after a treatment?

John Says:
Hello Carrie

First of all I want to thank you for being such a supporter of Carnival Cruise Lines and for taking the time to read the blog thingy. Here’s what we said in our press materials: “Spanning the forward portion of two full decks with large picture windows providing panoramic views of the sea, “Cloud 9 Spa” is designed as an oceangoing oasis for relaxation and tranquility, with such innovations as a thalassotherapy pool, an elaborate thermal suite, and 17 private treatment rooms, including two VIP facilities for couples. Adjacent to the facility are 68 spa staterooms and suites – a first for Carnival – accessible by a private elevator and offering a variety of exclusive amenities and privileges.”

The t-pool has various jetted stations at different levels producing massage when you stand next to them. The pool is about 4 feet deep over all. It also has 4 spouts (one on each corner) that pour water down over you. There are tubular lounge sections to lie on with bubble jets underneath. It is warm and therapeutic and totally relaxing.

Now these facilities are available on a complimentary basis for those staying in a spa suite cabin however day passes can be purchased. Now the cost of this on the Carnival Splendor was $40 and I am pretty certain it’s the same on your Carnival Dream. Have a look at what is available by clicking onto this link thingy which we set up for the Carnival Splendor and which should be available online for your Carnival Dream very soon.

Please let me know if I can help further

Best wishes

Al Asked:
John Please reply.

I have been doing research but I can’t seem to find who is the Carnival Dream’s godmother.

Is that a secret or you can share it with us?

Thank you for your answer, I love your blog

John Says:
Hello Al

Good question. Well, I can tell you that it’s a big secret. I have our super spy PA 007 on the case but here are the names that I have been hearing




Seriously, I have no idea. I am sure they will tell me soon as I am supposed to be hosting the event and as I said; I have our internal spy looking into this and hope either way someone will tell me soon so I can tell you.

Thanks Al and I hope you continue to enjoy the blog.

Best wishes

Linda Hernacki Asked:

See John, being a CELEBRITY (and that is what you are to us) has its rewards! FREE Lunch! I had to laugh about the grapefruit diet. That is my best friend in the world Michele Maragni, who wrote to you, and you better take good care of her when she and her mom are on the Dec. 3rd bloggers cruise! Don’t forget ME either, you must remember to give Michele my bloggers package as you promised. Hope we can come visit you in January 2010 on the Dream with my family as you promised. You MUST take Kye on the Dream for her first taste of Carnival cruising! Please be sure to publish your itinerary for 2010 soon, and also where you will be the rest of this year too. Will you be back home in the UK for Christmas? I imagine you will be. You had mentioned a few months ago about moving. Where should we send Christmas gifts to this year? I want to send ours out by mid November at the latest, as I don’t know how long it will take to arrive in the UK. We will be on the Dream 12/26/2009-1/2/2010 and then the week of 5/29/2010 with my entire family (kids, grandkids etc.) which will include 5 grandkids, son and wife, daughter and husband and sons friends Bridie & Frank and their son. Can’t wait to see our DREAM come true! Kisses to KYE from Auntie Linda & Uncle Mike

John Says:
Hello Linda

I hope you saw the 2010 schedule I posted a few blogs ago which includes time on the Carnival Conquest, Carnival Fantasy and Carnival Pride. Hopefully you and Mike will be joining me for one of those. I have not forgotten the January meeting and it will be great to see you.

I will indeed be back home for Christmas and how kind, as you always are, to ask about Christmas cards. Our address remains the same as listed at the side of the blog thingy. I will make sure I give everything to Michele in December. I hope we get to see each other soon, it has been too long.

My best to you and Mike

Matt Edmunds Asked:
Please email or reply:

Hello john,

It’s matt again the lad that lost his son earlier this year and was trying to make the freedom before you got off.

Hers your link to five fishermen in Halifax!!

Also if you’re interested and craving Canada/Maine lobster shoot me your info and I’d be more than glad to ship some your way overnight! I live in NH which is one state over from Maine and Nova Scotia is less than 6 hr trip from me via the cat ferry out of Maine.

Let me know if interested wouldn’t have a problem getting you some good Canadian/main lobster!

Matt Edmunds

John Says:
Hello Matt

Oh you just sent my taste buds into overdrive and I wish I had one or two of those wonderful lobsters in front of me right now. Thanks for the link thingy and hope that one day I get to shake your hand in person. Maybe next year we can eat some lobster together….my treat.

Best wishes always

Rose Lamb Asked:
Hi John, Please reply!

I just discovered your blog a few months ago! I now start each day with a cup of coffee while reading your blog. Makes for a great start of the day!

I have a cruise booked on the Carnival Triumph for June 2010 and have just booked the Carnival Fantasy for the Sept. 28th sailing. We were able to catch a great price with the “Pack and Go” rate.

The best part of this “Pack and Go” deal is that my sister and family were able to book this cruise. They had a cruise booked for last December, but had to cancel it due to my brother in law’s diagnosis of pancreas cancer.

My reason for writing to you is that he will be borrowing someone’s scooter to use while on the ship. After reading your posting a while back of the kids damaging someone’s scooter, I am concerned. Is there anywhere that the scooter can be stored while not in use? He will not always need to use it. Or do you have any suggestions to safe keep it?

I don’t want anything to spoil this cruise for them, since this may be the last family vacation for them. We are still praying for a miracle!

John, you and your blog give Carnival such a personal touch. Just knowing someone is reading and addressing the issues and questions. Thank you for all you do!

I especially look forward to Fridays to see the picture of the beautiful Kye!!!

John Says:
Hello Rose

I usually start my day on the toilet and then me and my underpants write the daily blog so it’s wonderful to hear that you start your day by reading my silly musings. I wanted to start by sending our best wishes to your brother in law and our hopes for a full recovery. I am very happy to read that you will all be able to sail together and enjoy the Fun Ship experience.

Please don’t worry about the scooter incident I mentioned a few weeks ago. Although this was a terrible thing to happen (twice) to my good friend Empress Bee it was an isolated incident. Now, I would suggest that scooters be stored and batteries recharged in your cabin. Your personal scooter should be able to fit in a standard cabin: a 22-inch entry doorway unless he has Harley Davidson scooter. All will be well and if you have any problems or need help charging the battery please call the Guest Services Desk and they will be able to help you.

This will be a fantastic family cruise vacation and it won’t be your last………..we are as I said thinking of your brother in law.

Best wishes to all

Kim Risley Asked:
Dear John —>Message to John

Thanks for your help on the up sell department. But it didn’t work out. I did get a call but just couldn’t due to the amount that was being asked. A 9A was four dollars more then what we can part with at this time. There is always next cruise. 🙂 . So thanks so much for your help.

Sincerely Yours,
Kim Risley Carnival Valor, Sept. 6th
Personal comments for John.

John Says:
Hello Kim

I am sorry things did not work out and I am sure your cruise was brilliant. Please let me know the highlights etc. I remain at your service


Christy Asked:
Dear John (Please Reply),

I am sorry that people have been rude to you. Sadly, it is a reflection on society as a whole. We are now used to electronically relaying information; we sometimes forget that there is person at the other end receiving it. You are wonderful for what you do. I would long ago put on my pants and told everyone to “Bugger Off”. I do have a question but, I do not want anything for free 🙂 We are booked on the 9/12/09 Glory sailing. This will be my three year olds second carnival cruise! We have purchased the “French Beach Break” in St. Martine. We know that “European Style” bathing maybe observed but, we were wondering how common it really is? By the way, this is the second time we have cruised the Glory on this itinerary. You were our C/D back in 2005. A couple that we met on that cruise is joining us on this one. If only you were there, we could have a little reunion! Thank you so much for all that you do for us. Kye really is beautiful. I hope you are having a wonderful time with your girls!


John Says:
Hello Christy

I want to thank you so very much for the kind words of support but also apologize because as you can see I am answering your question the day after you boarded the Carnival Glory. I will answer your question anyway just in case you are reading this onboard the ship. You may very well see some ummm…………top bits while on the French Beach Break but while this is a probably the sight of bottom bits and anything that dangles is less of a possibility. However ………… be prepared to see things that you………….and I………..haven’t seen for a long time.

I wish I could have been there with you this week and I hope you all have (had) a brilliant time.

Best wishes to you all

Jane Smith Asked:
Hi John (please respond if you can)

My husband and I are booked on the Glory 10/31/09 booking # to celebrate our 24th anniversary. As I was filling in the information for the fun pass, I came across under my name, are you a past guest. Of course I said yes, since I am, guest #. It said that Carnival could not identify me. After hours on the phone with many different people, including my vacation planner at Carnival, someone finally found me. On my past cruises I never had a problem, but this time my date of birth was incorrect. No one I spoke to can tell me on how this could have happened. They could find my kids and my husband, and he has only been on cruises with me. Maybe it has to do with my name. Have you ever heard of this happening before? To be safe I am taking one of my old Carnival Sail & Sign Cards.

Hope your family is well.
Jane M. Smith

John Says:
Hello Jane

This is a great question and because I don’t know the answer and because I hate tofu and don’t have a beard I had to ask someone who does. ……… is their answer.

This happens quite a bit and usually the problem is with two users, husband and wife, using the same email address on One will register using their name and information, then either at some point decide they now want to see their partners information so they login and just change the information to the other person. The problem with this is that when the system runs its updates over night, it will assume that these are now the same person and merge the profiles into one eliminating the other number.

Not sure is that’s what happened in this case but she does have a new number and both profiles do have the same email address on them. Currently your husband Thomas has the email address above associated with his past guest number on To keep from happening in the future; each registered user should have their own separate e-mail address.

Now, I am not sure how practical each couple having a separate e-mail address is and to me the men and women with beards should be able to fix this thingy and I know they are now looking at doing this. Anyway, at least now you have been accepted as a loyal past Carnival guest.

I hope this helps and thanks for bringing this to my attention.

Best wishes to you both

Tucson Larry Asked:
Hello John, Please reply

I wanted to drop you a line. Our circumstances required us to cancel our trip on THE DREAM (about a month ago.) In the interim we have found a way to rebook the trip. I have opted to use my military discount and book an inside cabin (Susan really wanted to fish off the cove cabin balcony) I know that using the military option (lock and load) precludes us from being part of THE BLOGGERS CRUISE. We look forward to seeing you on board as well as Heidi and Kye (we hope) I am sure it will be a brilliant (very British) trip. The itinerary looks smashing (oops British) again. Tea party not withstanding (Not the current ones the first one) it is always great to see and greet our former rulers (could have been the French! Merde) and the cause of current state of confusion about which verb to use.

I would ask you a favor, if possible. Could you arrange for us to have the early seating / table for two? Eating too late gives me indigestion.

Susan & Larry Orenstein

John Says:
Hello Susan and Larry

Please don’t worry. I know that this bloggers cruise was arranged last minute and many had already booked using other rate codes. I will ask one of the 343 Stephanies to add you to the list so that you can attend all the events etc. Unfortunately Kye and Heidi will remain at home as it’s a little too early for her to fly TA. Also, may I ask you to send me a reminder at the start of November for the dining request and I will ask Ken to assist.

Thanks for all the kind words and see you soon

Best wishes

Marty Paul Asked:

Hello John. My girlfriend & I are booked on the Oct 15th sailing of the Carnival Dream in the Med. I am also a loyal “blogger” on the Cruise Critic roll-call for this sailing and we have quite a vibrant group (our group nickname is “Sogno, Sogno, Sogno” for the 3rd ever sailing of the Dream, Dream, Dream). A good question came up recently on the roll call- what live music will be offered on the lido deck while the ship is sailing in the Med? A steel band just doesn’t seem to fit. Also, will the ship offer the regular choice of “birra”, or since we’ll be sailing off of Italy, the bucket of beer will be replaced with the “secchio di vino”?

Marty Paul

John Says:
Hello Marty Paul

Great name for a group.

Carnival Dream Oct 15, 2009 sailing We will not have a calypso band on board until the ship reaches New York instead, we’ll offer a variety of music on Lido as nearly every group on board will be featured at some point during the cruise. As for the bar – all sales will be the same as on the present bar menu and that includes many international beers…….try the Boddingtons and Stella Artois!

Have a brilliant time and let me know if you need anything else.

Best wishes

Chris Virginia Asked:
John (reply if you can).

My family just got off the Carnival Pride on Saturday. What a WONDERFUL 8 days despite rough seas due to Hurricane Bill and Tropical Storm Danny.

And speaking of Danny, Dan was our cruise director. What a pleasure he and his team were! Their communication skills and energy were unsurpassed! They truly looked like they were enjoying us being on board.

Notably, the show band members were some of the most talented musicians I’ve heard yet anywhere (I’m a classically trained professional musician seated with a large national symphony so I think I have a point of reference on that.) Please forward on our kudos for a job very well done.

I was curious why I can’t find recipes from some of the dishes served on board. Most notably, the warm chocolate melting cake that has subsumed my wife and daughter since trying it for the first time. We are frequent cruisers, heretofore on other cruise lines, and have been totally sold on the Carnival experience. We’ll be back on board in a year’s time. If you could direct me to the recipe, I would greatly appreciate it.

John Says:
Hello Chris

This is great to hear and I will be featuring Dan shortly. I will be posting his bio later this week and also sending your words of congratulations to Chris Prideaux and Roger Blum whom the CD’s report to.

I love live music and Carnival is a huge supporter of this as well and once again the musical director will be honored to read your kind words.

As requested, here is the recipe for the world famous chocolate melting cake.

Chocolate Melting cake

Recipe By: Carnival Cruise Lines

Serving Size: 25 Preparation Time: 0:00

Categories: Desserts

Amount Measure Ingredient — Preparation Method

——– ———— ——————————–

2 pounds semisweet chocolate

2 pounds butter

19 1/2 each fresh eggs

1/2 pound sugar

2/3 pound flour

Melt Chocolate & Butter

Mix half egg & Sugar and whisk for few minutes & add flour. Then add the balance egg.

Add egg mixture to the melted chocolate mixture.

Pour the mixture in the ramekin cups.

Bake directly in the oven at 200 C° for 15 to 20 minutes.

Dust with powdered sugar and serve with vanilla ice cream in 2 oz ramekin cups.

Hope you enjoy the blog and best wishes to all.

SallyOwl Asked:
John Please Reply

John, while you’re considering non-smoking areas, could you please consider access to computer rooms as well? I’m particularly thinking of the Carnival Splendor, but understand that it is not the only Carnival ship on which the only computer room access is through the Cigar Lounge. I’m happy for people to smoke there – that’s what it’s for! – but unhappy with the asthma that flares up when I have to walk through residual smoke to send an email – the smell of a good cigar is delightful, but it lingers. Are smokers the only ones who should use the computer rooms? Look forward to your answer ALMOST as much as we look forward to the weekly Kye photograph!

Still waiting on a response.

John Says:
Hello Sally

I think it would be silly for me not to say that putting a smoking bar in direct proximity to the internet cafe’s was not one of our best ever decisions. I know that for some guests this is extremely hard to accept and for that I need to say how sorry I am that you have to endure this. I will re-address this again with our Miami office and let you know as and when any changes are made. I hope you enjoyed Friday’s photos of Kye.

Best wishes

Steveo Asked:
Hello John, please reply;

I have seen several posts where people refer to their Platinum status, I don’t recall seeing anything concerning how many cruises with Carnival are required for Platinum status.

Your daily blogs are a welcome daily read for me, the first thing I do when I arrive home each night. My wife and I have just 68 more days until we leave on our next cruise on the Carnival Destiny. Your daily humor, (spelt correctly) keep me in the crusin’ mindset until our next day in the sun!

This will be my 2nd cruise with Carnival this year and my wife’s 3rd….hopefully not too much longer till we get to Platinum status!! I currently have 7 cruises with Carnival, Michelle my wife has 9.

Take care and enjoy the time with your new babe!

John Says:
Hello Steveo

You have no idea how great it is to read how much you enjoy reading the blog and I will do my best to keep you informed and do my best to bring a smile to your face as well. To answer your question, guests receive platinum status on their 10th sailing so the amazing benefits that come with it are just three cruises away for you. I hope you reach your goal very soon.

I remain at your service and send my best wishes to you and your wife

Well that’s all for today. I answered a double load again there but as you can see I am so far behind and again I will continue to do my best to answer as many as I can as often as I can so thanks for your continuing patience.

Well, it’s going to be a busy and exciting week and it will be a different kind of week for the blog thingy. As you know I will be heading to your Carnival Dream on Wednesday when I fly to Italy. I will be filming lots of video for and the blog and of course I will be taking you behind the scenes of this incomparable ship.


I will as I said be very busy and this will affect the kind of blogs I will be posting………here is the menu







I will fly home on Monday so there will be no blog then and we will be back to normal on Tuesday. So while my usual rantings and ravings will not be present I will be posting daily interviews and fun stuff as filmed by Peter the Hair and Stephanie Leavitt on their Flip camera thingies. I will also continue to answer at least 10 questions every day. I hope you enjoy the fun.

I then of course fly to the Carnival Legend on the 27th and of course away from the girls……I am not going to talk about that just yet. I will though now not be able to come to the Carnival Holiday for her last cruise and quite honestly I am not a happy bunny about this. I have brand ambassador duties which I know are very important but I really wanted to see those who like me wanted to say goodbye………my apologies.

OK, let’s move on and do the news.

Let’s start with Laser Tag, the game that has been a huge hit on the ships that the arena has been placed on. Well, I am glad to say that my friend Tim Cabral, who introduced this amazingly fun family attraction to Carnival Cruise Lines, has informed me that arenas has now been placed onboard four more ships: Carnival Fantasy, Carnival Legend, Carnival Ecstasy and Carnival Inspiration. I hope you all take the time to have a go……..young and old……….you really have to have a go.

Now, as I always mention here on the blog thingy the world of Cunard is a very special world and a world that entices many famous people to enjoy the ambience and excitement of an historic Cunard liner voyage. Many of you enjoyed the James Taylor videos and recently a very famous movie director sailed on the Queen Mary 2……..Mr. Baz Luhrmann director of Moulin Rouge and Australia to name just two of his massive successes………… is what he had to say about the experience

Look at those names……..the names whose own magnificent careers have been enhanced by their time on the most magnificent ocean liners ………in the world. I really must sail with Cunard soon.

Well, in just two weeks time many of the blog readers will be embarking on their Carnival Dream for her first ever cruise with guests on board. I hope that the photos I have shown you and the videos that will be on the blog later this week have and will get you even more excited for the 21st to be here. I know I posted this photo on Friday but in case you missed it…… it is again …………… full glorious detail.


That was taken by our top photographer Radu and he will be sharing more with us soon. What a talented man he is….and what an extraordinary ship your Carnival Dream is…………have you booked yet?

OK, time to feature another of Carnival’s magnificent Cruise Directors…….my chum…… Butchy.

CD Butch2[1]


Butch Begovich

1. Please tell us about yourself and your journey to the Cruise Director chair.
I was born in Spokane, WA and grew up in Stillwater, MN.

I am a graduate of Simpson College in Indianola, IA where I studied Theater Arts and Corporate Communications. After graduating from college in 2002 I went on to work for Glimmerglass Opera in Cooperstown, NY as an event coordinator and in 2003 for Appel Farm Arts and Music Center in Elmer, NJ as an Education Outreach Coordinator serving inner city schools in Camden County, NJ.

I Joined Carnival in March of 2004 as a Social Host on the Carnival Glory, that is where in my first contract I met the great John Heald.…..Later I was honored to be a part of the start up team on the Carnival Liberty in the summer of 2005 working under John. On the Liberty John promoted me to Assistant Cruise Director and in the spring of 2007 was promoted to Acting Cruise Director. I received my full CD promotion August of 2008 while back on the board the Glory.

2. What ship are you currently serving on.
I will be returning to the Carnival Liberty after my vacation (Sept. 5)

3. Before we talk about you lets talk about the ship. What are you favorite areas of the vessel and what is it that makes your ship the best in the Carnival fleet.
Of course I love the main show lounge (The Venetian Palace) that is where I get to do most of the “fun” parts of my job. I also the love the promenade, that is where I get to interact with our guests one on one and I try to meet as many people in a single cruise as possible.

4. Can you tell us about your itinerary and please pick your favorite shore excursion from each port and tell us why you like it so much

The Liberty rotates eastern and western Caribbean itineraries. Our western run takes us to Cozumel, Ocho Rios, and Grand Caymen. Our eastern run brings us to Half Moon Cay, St. Thomas, San Juan, and Grand Turk.

Although it is a very busy day for our team members because they all have to work ashore, Half Moon Cay, is the highlight of our Eastern run. It is a private island that we basically take over for the entire day and is what I would describe as absolute paradise. Our guests can relax on the beach, go parasailing, and even rent private cabanas with special services. This is also Carnival’s only port of call where our guests can eat ashore at no charge, use their sail and sign cards for beverages, and enjoy entertainment and even spa services all from our ships staff.

5. If someone were to ask you ” what does a Carnival Cruise Director do ” how would you reply
As I Cruise Director, I am in charge of all of the on board entertainment and programming. In addition to managing all of the full time entertainers I am the voice, the face and the brand of the ship.

6. What is your most favorite part of the job.
I love people and every week I get to meet so many amazing and interesting people from all over the world. Just sharing my experiences and reveling in other people’s lives is a constant enjoyment for me.

7. If we were to sail on a ship where you are the CD what would be the must not miss activity or show that you host.
My crazy disco dance class has become very popular throughout the years and is also my favorite event of each cruise.

8. What is the hardest and or most challenging part of the job of Carnival CD.
Time Management! I don’t think that many of our guests realize the amount of work and time that is put in behind the scenes in our jobs. In addition to the great things our guests see our cruise directors do, we also are responsible for managing a department, being apart of a number of different safety committees on board, and serving the Captain as an advisor in our weekly senior officers round table meetings. Juggling all of these things and still being visible, while finding time for yourself in the day, just to eat, reflect, read, or send a personal e-mail to your family is really hard…….and finding time to sleep……I struggle with that one!

9. If you could sail on any other cruise ship ( not Carnival ) what ship would you like to sail on as a guest and why.
I would have to pick one of our sister companies: Costa. They have been described to me as the “Carnival of Europe,” and a majority of their itineraries are based in the Mediterranean. I fell in love with the med a few years ago during the inaugurals of the Liberty and have been dreaming of returning there ever since.

10. Finally – please fill in the blanks

Ricky Gervais

Diane Lane

Everything Disco!

Farris Bulers Day Off

Ryan Fitzgerald, also a great Cruise Director. I handed over the Glory to him earlier this year and I have never had so much fun in my entire life!

I am a huge fan Stuart Dunn……a few years ago I had the opportunity to work with him when I was an assistant. He is committed to trying to new things, not afraid to fail, and is passionate about being the best that he can be always.

Find a quiet place and take a nap!


Words cannot describe how proud I am of Butch and he is someone who was destined to be a cruise director………..or a soap opera actor………….or a model…………we are all glad he decided to be a CD.

Thanks by the way to Stephanie who showed me that I have an entry now on the Wikithingy……… it is……..

Heidi meanwhile has returned from our trip to Holland and has bizarrely gone into some strange “we have too much stuff we have in the house and we have to get rid of it” mode …… or………. “John, I won’t have your crap in the house anymore so get rid of it……”………mode.

This happened once before except she never told me she was going to through stuff away and I returned home to what I thought was a house that had been burgled. She had thrown away my signed photo of the cast of a BBC program called Blakes Seven and of course lots of my favorite clothes. I had left these things in the attic…………where all men leave things to die……..but in a fit of cleaning Heidi had thrown it all away.

At least this time she had given me notice that the boxes of “needless crap” had to go. Now, three of these boxes contained the complete and entire episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation on VHS as well as the complete and entire collection of The A Team…….also on VHS. “I want to keep them, I still watch them,” I cried……Heidi said nothing…………she just looked at me as she does………and it was then I realized that we don’t have a VCR anymore …………………bugger.

So, I needed to get to rid of this stuff or I would be sleeping with Captain Jean Luc Picard and the crew of the Enterprise in the attic.

What to do though……… would be a shame to throw them away………..and then……….I had a brain wave…………….it was time to do something I had never done before………….go on Ebay.

Now, you would have had a better chance of finding condoms for sale at the Vatican gift shop then me exploring Ebay. Spending hours every day on the computer for blog and work purposes, the last thing I want to do is shop on the damn thing as well. I also realize that I am crap at anything on the computer outside of word pad and sending an e-mail and if it doesn’t contain the words Latvian or Megan’s bottom, I have no interest. I also knew that I wouldn’t know how to use the damn thing anyway.

But, I thought, how hard can it be to put 70 odd episodes of Star Trek up for sale…….. well let me tell you……….as hard as an elephant’s thingy after he has just seen Mrs. Elephant wearing a silk thong and suspenders…………that’s how hard.

Have you tried using the auction site recently? The E Bay and this thing called PayPal making selling and receiving payment, or buying and sending payment, a process so bloody complicated that you worry for your sanity. Posting an advert entails navigating more options than those on a Starbucks menu, and it also says I had to write in HTML code, which I have no bloody clue if my lap top has…………why can’t I just type in ……..I don’t know…………ummm………..writing?

Because I made too many errors, I pissed off Mr. EBay and my account was frozen. This meant that I had to identify who I was by spending three light years answering questions via an instant message system about who I was. Ebay it seems offers the most frustrating technological experience this side of trying to record an episode of Grey’s Anatomy on your microwave.

Frankly nailing my bollocks to a climbing wall is preferable to shopping on eBay.

I will try again though as someone somewhere must want to see Captain Picard beat the Borg and crush the Klingons. And if I do manage to figure out who to do it…..expect a pair of my underpants to be up for an Ebay auction………starting bid…….$99……… will find them under “Hazardous Materials.”

Ebay………… arse

Your friends
John, Heidi and Kye

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.

58 Responses to Being Butch

  1. Dave Myerly says:

    After many different ships and different procedures on them for debarkation I feel a talk is absolutely needed.
    Since Carnival seems to be doing different things on many different ships we the cruising public need to know “What procedure are you usingh this cruise?”
    Until you get all the ships doing the same exact procedure for every cruise you must keep doing it.
    My thoughts.

  2. theeviltwin says:

    I think a video and/or flyer would be more than sufficient for the debarkation talk. Carnival could even go “green” and just provide the flyers upon request and have a stack available at guest services.

  3. Linda (Mom of DJ) says:


    It is a fine line that you must walk where “information” is concerned….but I would advice to error on the side of caution. You have to remember that cruisers have their “vacation brains” in gear….so a little extra guidance is probably a good thing.

    The last thing I want to do on vacation is “think”.

    Once you get on the Legend, you must take good care of my “cruise brother” (finally someone old enough NOT to be my “cruise son”) Tony Ray.
    He is a wonderful Promenade entertainer!!!

    Since the Valor and the Legend are both in Grand Cayman on the 29th….we will be having lunch with Tony Ray at the crew spot at 11AM!! (ship time)

    Linda (Mom of your friend DJ)

  4. kiciaski says:

    Hello John,

    Hope your back is not giving you any more problems.

    We usually don’t go to the debarkation talks since we do it so often. First timers should go but maybe it could just be written down and that would free up part of your day too.

    Thanks for Butch’s interview. Since we just saw him last week it was a nice reminder of the cruise. Can’t wait to see him again.

    Good luck on your flight to the Carnival Dream and we can’t wait to hear all the news about her.

    George and Linda

  5. hug71 says:

    John, Great interview with Butch. I took his Crazy Disco Dance class back in December on the Glory and it was great. You did a great job with him.


  6. Chris C says:

    John Please Reply:

    Thank you, thank you, thank you!!! The table you arranged for my husband and I on the Carnival Destiny sailing 9/7/09 was the most wonderful table we’ve ever had on our many Carnival cruises. It was in the Universe Dining Room, aft, on the upper level, in the very center of the ship, by the back window. The wake of the ship and sunsets were awesome. Everytime we sat down for dinner we gave you a word of thanks!

    Also, much to our suprise and pleasure was the bottle of champaign and Carnival Destiny trophy that were waiting for us in our stateroom when we returned from our day in Nassau. We enjoyed the champaign at dinner that evening. Thank you so much!

    We had a great cruise, our first one alone in 13 years. The ride got a little “bumpy” when the one engine went out (twice), but that didn’t spoil anything for us. Brent was excellent in keeping everyone informed as to what was going on.

    I hope your time home with “your girls” as been relaxing. I’m sure it will be hard to leave them again in a week or so. You’re a blessed man and a wonderful Carnival Ambassador. We hope to sail with you in the near future.

    Again, thank you for all you did to make our cruise memorable!

  7. Michael says:

    Dear John…please reply.

    Sallie and I had a great time on the Pride this past week and want to thank you for your all of your help. And a big THANK YOU to whoever came up with the idea of “Behind the Fun”! What a brilliant, to use your word, excursion. So much goes on that makes for a great cruise but the tour blew away one Myth. It’s not Homeland Security or any other reasons given for keeping the Bridge off-limits. From the moment that air-tight door is opened you can smell the air of Superiority…Coffee, real coffee that would have the bridge under constant siege where it known. (I won’t tell a soul). I have heard that Cunard still has bridge tours but I can’t imagine anyone going bonkers over the smell of…tea. I seem to recall we threw the stuff into Boston Harbor and off the docks in Chestertown, MD. (No offense) So, if you could find out the brand savoured, spelt correctly, I might even be willing to wear the nighty one more time. Thanks for all you do and our best to Heidi, Kye and the man in the Big Chair.


    I need your assist with this one John. I’m thinking about wearing a formal outfit for the special nights on the my cruise on the Carnival Dream. I checked out how to get a tuxedo but the problem is it doesn’t show any prices. Before I decide to get one I would like to know the prices on every little price thing, example: Pants, coat, shirt, bowtie, etc.
    Where to if I get the tux if I was to decide on getting it after I’m the ship. Also are there any surprise costs if I want to get a tuxedo. I want to make this cruise a special one.
    Also regarding the debarkation talk. When I was on my first cruise I think the talk was very important. After now I think those that have been on many cruises I think a sheet of paper about it would suffice and/or a video on the TV would be OK.
    In the future will Carnival cruise right through the Panama Canal from the Caribbean to the Pacific. I would love to take a cruise like that. If not I plan on taking ny next cruise on the Carnival Freedom that at least goes near the canal.
    Say hi to Heidi and Kye for me and I’m really looking forward to seeing you in January 23rd on the Carnival Dream. During the week do you have time to stroll around the promanade to visit with people?

    Paul F. Pietrangelo

  9. Mike Charters says:

    John, I am afraid that the only part of the debarkation talk I really paid attention to was the bit about the numbers. You know, the ones on the bags? And how we were supposed to arrive at the exit when that number was called?

    Since we were a “5”, we enjoyed a leisurely breakfast with our mates from Australia and only left the dining room when we heard “4”. By the time we had strolled forward to Atrium “5” was called and we simply walked off the ship for the last time. No fuss, no muss, no lines. Very painless. Isn’t it always like that?

  10. Brad says:

    Hello John.

    I think you have a great idea with the debark talk. A 5 min video is all you need really. However like you mentioned the crew parade is excellent and a good way for us to show our appreciation so you would have to fit it in there somehow.
    We just got off the Glory on Saturday and sat through the debark talk and we were getting ancy waiting for James to start actually talking about debarking.

    By the way- James did an amazing job as a Cruise Director!!

  11. LadyJag says:

    Dear John,
    You asked if a debarkation talk in the lounge was necessary or if a short video would suffice. Well, I have a confession to make. I totally skipped out on the talk and left my hubby hanging in the main show lounge while I shopped.
    On my last cruise aboard the Carnival Glory, I sailed with my hubby, my daughter, my mom, and our family friend. The last day of our cruise, we checked my daughter into Camp Carnival, then told my hubby and our friend to go ahead to the debarkation talk and we would meet them “in a few minutes” after my mom picked up her photo order at the gallery.
    Well, of course the gallery was pretty crowded on the last day, so it took us longer than just a few minutes to pick up the photos. The talk hadn’t started yet, but my mom and I exchanged a glance of “do we HAVE to?!?”
    “Well,” I asked my mom, “you want to check out the onboard shops?”
    “What about Alex and Joann?” she asked.
    “I’m sure they’ll fill us in,” I laughed.
    And we had a great time shopping while my hubby and our friend sat in the main lounge, and glancing back at the doorway every so often before finally accepting the fact that we “ditched” them.
    So I guess my answer is – a short video is more than sufficient.
    Thanks for the great blog!

  12. BILL P says:


    Hi John,

    I am a Platinum and then some member, as well as an IATAN member and always attend the debark talk. Things always are in a state of flux these days.

    Please continue the talks. Folks don’t read flyers, memos and suchlike. It’s just human nature. When this happens it just gets in the way and impedes those who are up to speed. I have gone from mellow to contemptious of these folks before leaving the Terminal.

    Port Talks are on point as well. Folks on the Boards ask the same questions year after year. There are many first-timer cruisers who also have never been out of country before.

    It is a service to warn of Mexican water, pickpockets & scammers everywhere & nasty hairbrading tools being used in Nassau/Freeport.

    Then there are the “Welcome to please have a Coral Necklace” guys. Of course they want $5.00 when taken.

    Preach On Brother…..Preach On !

    Bill P

  13. Marlene Dovell says:

    While a brief video and/or flyer about disembarkment is fine for all the other ships, I’d rather you do it in person as you could make our fun vacation end on a happy note with your 20 minutes of jokes.

    I’ll be looking for you entering the Legend as we exit the Legend on the 27th. I’ll be in your first blogger t-shirt, carrying your black blogger thingy backpack.

    So sorry you have to leave your two beautiful gals behind, but hope time flies until you are back with them again. Love the pictures of beautiful Kye. I saw her name on a car license plate here in Georgia a few days ago.

  14. stef aka hockey addict says:

    Hi John!

    My thoughts on the debarkation talk….. the video of highlights with the song by Green Day was a good way to reflect on the fun we had….. big surprise, I was crying watching it. I loved seeing the crew march thru the passengers as we got to give them a well deserved standing ovation. Also trying to understand the Captain with his thick accent….. I say keep it…. it helped us too on our last cruise as it was our first. We will be going again on our next cruise September 19th!!! (4 more days!!!!)

    I like your video blogs! I can’t wait! Have a safe- uneventful trip!!


  15. Kathy M. says:

    Hi John,

    Please reply, it is about a post you did on 09/14/09

    I know a way that you can solve the problem with E-Bay, find a local place that sells things on E-Bay for you. All you do is just drop the stuff off, tell them what you want for it and bingo, they do all the work for you. I know that they charge a percentage of the sale, but it sure is cheaper then the headache that E-Bay gives you. This way you can tell Heidi what she can get rid of, have her take it there and then just wait for your money.

    I am excited to watch the videos of the Carnival Dream this week. The name is perfect also, because for me, it will always be a Dream to sail on her that I know will never happen, but that’s ok, the West Coast has the Carnival Splendor (that name suits her as well also) so I am happy.

    Please give my love to Heidi and Kye.
    Best Wishes,
    from your #1 Bloggy Thinggy Fan
    Kathy M.

  16. futurecruisedirector says:

    Hey John –

    Love your thoughts on “beeping” and the idea that it seems that nobody is trusted to be able to do anything for themselves anymore!

    We really enjoyed the debarkation talks the first few times – the CDs made them fun! We eventually stopped attending after realizing we could recite stats such as the ‘number of Cuban cigars you can take anywhere near the United States’ from memory. However, this information is obviously important to 1st time cruisers.

    Having seen one of these ‘video’ versions on RCL, I’ll tell you that if your goal is to get the information out – and ONLY to get the information out – this works. Another benefit is that since the video is short (5-7 minutes), it also loops very quickly – so if you happen to miss something, it will be repeated very quickly. Meanwhile, while Carnival shows the Debark talk in the stateroom TVs, the 30-45 minute show obviously doesn’t give that 1 missing piece of information a guest might be looking for nearly as quickly.

    That being said, the video approach is BORING while the Debark Talk is FUN! At least at RCL, the video drones on in a voice nearly as monotone as most CDs use during the lifeboat spiel . . . and we all know how much fun that event is.

    Oh, and the Crew Members on the Stage thing IS a nice (and quite touching) event . . . . and so if Carnival decides to go the video route, I hope they find a way to put the Crew “Thank You” thing . . . live on stage . . . . at some other time.


  17. Jay (Cruise Addict) says:

    Hi John,
    (Please Reply)

    I posted a comment about a week ago and I must not have done it correctly as it never posted on the blog, or maybe I got bouncd, though I wouldn’t know why. But Any way Here Goes.

    I have been enjoying your “Blog Thingy” for the past four months or so and just wanted to let you know what a positive part of my and many others day you are.

    Your stories about events and strange happenings on board truly keep the excitement up for those of us who are awaiting upcoming cruises.

    I especially like reading about “your girls” Heidi & Kye.
    I know very well the feelings of leaving your wife and baby girl for long periods of time.
    Having been in the U.S. Army for 14 years, I too had to watch my daughter grow up via pictures and phone calls from God knows where.

    I’m happy to read that Heidi & you “keep the homefires burning” through your absence. She appears to be just the one for you.

    Though my marriage to my daughters mother did not survive my military career, my relationship with my daughter did, and for that I am eternally grateful.

    Now, I am hoping you could help me out with something.

    My “new” wife and I will be sailing on the Valor on November 15th to celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary. Aside from the “Steakhouse”(still like Supper Club better), which we are planning to visit on our actual anniversary (the 20th), what can I suprise her with, for not a whole lot of money, that would really make her feel special?

    John, my wife means the world to me, as Heidi does to you, but with the economy being as it is there is little extra monies to go around.

    This does not change the fact that my wife deserves the very best I can give her. She made me believe in love again, and gave me a new life that I thought I had lost forever. There is no way I could ever repay her for that, but I sure can try.

    So, whatever suggestion you can give me would be great, and I am thankful for your help.

    Below is the booking info if you need it:

    Thanks Again, John.


    Jay (Cruise Addict)

  18. jerry calvert says:

    The debark talk is unneccessary. Instructions that you can watch on TV or written instructions are fine.

  19. Mark W. Boyer says:

    HEllo John ( Please Reply)
    First I wanted to say thanks you for the lunch time entertainment Your Blog brings me. You say so many things that make me laugh.
    I wrote to you about 5 weeks ago about a suggestion for a night on the Carnival Freedom to eat at the Steakhouse for supper. Thanks I already prebooked that reservation.
    Also at that time I was requesting assistance with main dinning room seating and you said to write back closer to our sail date, so here 12 days before we sail. Is it possible to try and be seated on the main floor of the dining room at a small table for 2 in the middle of the room not under the balconies. My wife and I have been seated there in the past and enjoy very much.

    Also could you please suggest a beach on our stops that would be a little private or more adult less chlidren. Our sailing is going to Cozamel, Costa Rica, and Panama.

    We are dissapointed that we will not be entertained by John Heald Cruise director this trip but through this blog we have got to know Wee Jimmy alittle and are looking forward to meeting him..
    Thanks again for all the time sitting alone in your underpants.
    Mark Boyer
    Carnival Freedom 9-26-09

  20. JAS1178 says:

    John (PLEASE REPLY),

    Regarding your debark talk…We always attend even 5 cruises later. Most of the time it is for the humor, giveaways, and the Employee of the Month presentation. It adds finality to the vacation.

    On one cruise (I believe due to a CD handoff), all that was offered was the Video Debark Talk…I remember even noting this on the comment card that this was a disappointment.

    One other thing that seems to have disappeared from the debark talk is the “preview” of the Fun Ship Films where they took and edited it down to a 3 minute song. Ultimately it was just an advertisement for the video, BUT it also added to that finality of your vacation. (Kind of like the last evening of Camp…) It always brought some laughs, images of the “characters” of the cruise, and always had up leaving the room with a smile….thinking about booking our next Fun Ship Cruise (after of course we purchased our Video).

    So my question…were we just lucky on our first 3 cruises that we had the edited video as part of the debark? Was this fleetwide? Was it discontinued…or just something that some ships were doing?

    Looking forward to seeing you 10/11!!! Do you know if Legend will have the behind the fun tour by then?

    Thank you for the daily dose of FUN from your blog.

  21. Phil Imbesi says:

    YEAH!! BUTCH!!

    My wife and I have been waiting for his CD interview. We sailed on the Glory last December for 7 days over Christmas (It was our honeymoon as well).

    It was our first cruise ever and the cruise made us instant fans of Carnival and cruising and Butch’s abilities as a CD were an integral part in that!

    I’m shocked to hear that he’d only been a CD for 4 months as he seems so at home in the job!

    Please pass on the thanks and appreciation for making that time in our lives as special and enjoyable as he did.

  22. Frank and Bridie Rist says:

    What a great blog today. I understand how heidi feels about cleaning out the junk. As in our situation I am usually the one doing it to Bridie. We can’t wait to see the video updates, Hopefully from and about the dream. We still hope to see the cabins and hope you put up info. As for the debarkation we havent even gone too the last ones as we allreayd know the drill. Now we would if it were you as CD just because it was you.

    Big Fans as Allways,
    Frank and Bridie

  23. David & Lucy says:

    John, Carnival should continue the debarkation briefings regardless of what the other cruiselines do. Probably the only people that go are first time Carnival cruisers, but if you have a question that’s not covered, chances are other passengers also have the same question.

  24. dwa76 says:

    Hi John!
    Nice catching up with you since its been a while since we have heard from you.
    Love that night shot of the Carnival Dream.
    I personally think its a good idea to continue the debarkation talk since you always have passengers that have never sailed before. It doesn’t hurt reinforcing the information so that there are no surprises the next day.
    Love your Wikipedia page. That’s awesome.
    Hope all is going well.
    Say hi to Heidi/Kye.
    Take care!

  25. Maribeth Kring says:

    Dear John,

    I’m sorry about your back. I’ve dealt with a tricky back for years now and it never fails to amaze me what can hurt it. Lug huge bags of mulch around the garden….no problem….bend over to pick a piece of lint off the carpet….OUCH! Go figure…

    As for the debarkation talk, I never go. I find that the info left in the cabin is sufficient for me however it does seem to calm the first time cruisers. Perhaps we should go with the video thing (with a mention of it and what channel to watch in the flyer). The only exception to this would be that if there are any drastic changes to the usual routine such as when the ships affected by the swine flu had their itineraries changed and perhaps did not have to go through customs. Instead of having a special talk, maybe a quick overview of any pertinent info given after the final show of the cruise? And the parade of crew! You could announce ahead of time that this will be a part of the show.

  26. Maribeth Kring says:

    Dear John,

    Ooops didn’t mean to submit yet.

    Please give Jen and Tony Ray a big hug for me when you get to the Legend. They have been and still are making the Legend a cruise to remember for me.

    About your treasured videos……..perhaps a compromise…. I was forced to sell my treasured VHS collection of the series MASH but I found a solution… There are DVD recorders out there that will record from your VHS tapes to DVD. I know that falls under the tech gadget items you are now prohibited from buying but one of your family or your mates must have one that you could borrow to preserve your shows????

    Hoping to meet you on the Dream,

  27. Maria aka Elationismyship says:


    Great blog today . . . you pose a really interesting question. So seriously, do we really need to put on the outside of a McDonald coffee cup, caution, contents is hot. 🙂

    I think, the minute you don’t tell someone to not drink the water in Mexico and then they do . . . they will be on here or CruiseCritic bitching that no one told them not to drink the water. It’s a catch 22, damned if you do damned if you don’t. So, err on the side of caution and keep up the constant reminders. But, do continue to throw in the humor . . . . that’s what makes it all so bearable!

  28. Hay Top of the Morning to U, John, IF u dont want to spend a month on the Legend as cruise director Please just call Charla and I and we will do it for u. LOL LOL …. We were on here last Sept. and we fell in love with the Legend in just the frist few minutes we were there…. Do have one ? where is Tina Nobles
    She a Great Cruise Director.. thanks Dale and Charla

  29. Kate says:

    Dear John,

    Hello! Once again, I’d like to tell you how much I enjoy reading your blog. It has become a daily ritual for me!

    A couple of months ago, I wrote to you to tell you that my fiance, Jim, and I will be getting married on Sept. 19th and will be spending our honeymoon on the Sept. 21st Inaugural sailing of the Carnival Dream. You kindly gave me some tour recommendations and I thank you for that. You also asked that I send you our booking details about a week before sailing. Well, the time is here! I can’t believe it! Not sure what info you need, so our names are Jim Kanichirayil and Kate Child. I’m assuming that info won’t get published on the blog… I’m sorry that we probably won’t get a chance to meet you since you will be departing the Dream as we embark on it. Thank you so much!


  30. Erik Valentine says:


    You should sign them and then put them up on eBay, it will increase their value for collectors! *grin*

    Just a thought,

    Erik V.

  31. Jennifer says:

    John –
    Only been reading your blog for a couple months. Kye certainly is pretty. Glad relatives got to meet her.
    Are there plans for a college-age group? Both my kids had the benefit of kids’ clubs, but this year are too old. Neither kid is into the whole gambling thing. DD -18- wonders how much there will be to do. It is especially a concern since DS -19- suffers from “locked in syndrome” since he was 17. He is looking forward to going on a cruise again – booked HC on Glory in Dec. Will there be things onboard he can watch/listen to…before 10PM, wen he turns into a pumpkin?

  32. Hello John,

    Professionally speaking, I think you should keep the debarkation talk. Why? Because there are always new cruisers.

    Every time I book new cruisers, I find myself saying the same things…..pre-cruise registration, luggage tag explanation, passport information…etc. And I have to say these things because many people need to have their hands held when it is something new. I want my clients to be aware of exactly what happens during embarkation. And, at times, I tell them how to debark if they need to catch early flights or if they need special transfers…etc.

    Other cruise lines have the debarkation talks on TV, some write them up in their daily activity sheets, but I find that there are always some people that just need to HEAR it to understand it. It also gives them a forum to ask questions should they not understand something.

    Great blog as always and best wishes on all your upcoming travels!

    Nancy D’Andrea
    Topsail Cruises

  33. John,

    I am so excited about the Dream! Looking forward to sailing on her in just over two weeks. (October 3).

    As for the debarkation talks. I have been on 10 cruises with CCL and have only been to two of them. Once on my second cruise and once on the Splendor because I wanted to make sure things weren’t different in Europe.

    Honestly, I hate giving up 45+ minutes from my last day on the ship which could be spent in the sun or enjoying another CCL activity. Too the talk is played over and over and over again on the TV, so I normally skip them.

    Sorry about your Star Trek TNG videos having to go! I have all the seasons on VHS tape too and they do take up quite a bit of room but it is such a good show! A classic!

    Anyway…. Sorry you won’t be on the Dream when I am but maybe you will be CD on a future voyage.

    Best to you and the girls!


  34. Larry Meador says:

    John please reply:

    It seems that every week we hear (or see) you say that the next Bloggers Cruise will be announced shortly. However, every week it remains as elusive as a bar of soap in Paris. Please, please tell us when and where it will be. Most of us in the not so civilized business world must plan our vacations light years in advance.

    As always your blogs make my day and for a little while take me away from the hum drum of every day life. Keep it up!!!!!

    P.S. Back hurting too much for rumpy pumpy??? You need to diversify your methodology………….

  35. Cathy says:

    Regarding the drinking water in foreign countries – I recently was bragging up Carnival Cruise lines and the joys of cruising to a group of family and friends – and their first question was ‘ can you drink the water on all those islands’ Now as I don’t usually embark the ship to test the drinkable water, I have no idea. I have tested the margaritas in Cozumel – and we are good to go. So there may be value in the CD advising cruisers when to purchase bottled water from the ship. And if that is the only fear of cruising – what the heck are they waiting for?

    Can’t wait to sail on the Carnival DREAM.

  36. John, sorry to hear about your back and lack of rumpy pumpy.

    As for the debarkation talks I can say the line that is given by all CDs to our Canadian quests about cigars, “but your NOT getting off the ship in Canada so we will see you up by the funnel also”. I think there should be 2 different videos on the TV. One a quickie for us past cruisers just to cover items that are just for that ship. The second one a full version covering everything you should know about in detail. Run them on 2 different channels.

    BIG ED

  37. Dorothy says:

    Please reply

    I was looking at the drawing contest for the Carnival Dream and there are some really nice ones. I got to thinking why don’t Carnival have 2 Godchildren, one from the contest and the other from St. Jude Children Hospital. These kids are going through a rough time and I believe that at least one of them should also be Carnival Dream waterslide Godchild. I don’t know how you would pick the child, but one should be there on the Carnival Dream with the other child. I probably feel so strong about this because when my son was in the hospital years ago, we spent 3 months there and meet all kinds of kids, the ones that I mostly remember are the ones who had cancer, they were so brave and so young. I hope Carnival will think about this, I wish every child in the contest good luck.
    Love the pictures of our Ladies, they are very beautiful.

  38. That is so good to know! I am glad people care enough to do something helpful in this situation.

  39. Sarahbeth55 says:


    I like the idea of having it pre-recorded so that you can watch it in the comfort of your state on your own schdule. But I think you do need to have some kind of event were all of the guest get to say thanks to the crew too. I guess I wasn’t much help.

  40. Brian Broadwater says:

    Dear John,

    I was wondering. Im a young man. 19 years old! I was on a cruise in january of 2009 on freedom of the seas. And had richard spacey for a cruise director. he inspired me to want to become a cruise director. my question is to you how do become a cruise director whats your point of view on how to do this. I know i have what it takes because i love being entertaining and making people laugh just like you!!

  41. Jay (Cruiseoholic) says:

    Hi John,
    (Please Respond)

    This is basically a resend of a post I tried to send from my work computer and failed, so I’m trying my “laptop thingy”.

    I have been following your blog for some months now, and it has become one of those things I can’t do with out. it keeps me excited about my own upcoming cruise.

    Let me first send you my sympathies for your back injury. I agree it makes “Rumpy Pumpy” most dificult.

    I just wanted to tell you I know what it is like to be away from your family for long periods of time, and I commend you for being the best Daddy & Hubby you can be….sometimes a great distances.

    I was in the army when my little girl (now 23) was born and I know how it feels to watch your baby grow up in pictures and from phone calls.

    Though the traveling was too much for my daughter’s mother and we eventually parted ways, my relationship with my little girl remained good.

    But on to Happier Things!

    My “new’ wife and I will be sailing on the Valor on November 15th to celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary (Nov. 20th).

    We are already planning on visiting the”Steakhouse”(still like Supper Club better) on our actual anniversary, but I was wondering if you could suggest some more special things I could arrange as a surprise for her. I really can’t afford a lot, the economy being what it is, but I really want to give her something unforgettable.

    My wife has done more for me than I could ever repay. She showed me what love felt like again, and what it means to be cared for.

    I know you have all sorts of people asking you for favors, and I am not asking for gimmes, I just need some help figuring out what to do. Could you point me to the right person to arrange something?

    Our Cruise info is bellow if you need it.

    Thank you so much for any help you can give me!

    Take care of that back. Get a Latvian Supermodel to walk on it. It works, trust me!

    Hugs & Kisses to Heidi & Kye,


  42. Mark Ulrich says:


    i am a past cruiser 5 times and have just discovered your blog. Not much of a blogger myself but i have enjoyed reading your life time adventures along with that of other cruisers. I am looking forward to meeting in person on the December 3 cruise of the DREAM. At the time i booked it i wasn’t aware it was a blogger cruise, at that time i wasn’t even sure what a blogger was. Any ways to answer the question you have thrown at us about debarkation, i personally feel a newsletter or a commercial on the,,,, how do you over the pond say it…..the telly would reach just about as many people as the session held in the auditorium. i remember my first cruise, i was well informed by the previous cruiser i encountered during the 7 days a sea.

  43. Cruzin2some says:

    Dear John,
    Suuuuurrrrre you threw you back out carrying Kye. She weighs only a couple of pounds. You were away for several weeks and are now looking at being away for several months. You threw your back out trying to make up for the past and the future Rumpy Pumpy that you haven’t had and are going to be doing without. BUSTED!!!
    Keep the shows if for no other reason than for us to give the people that normally are behind the scenes a standing ovation. BRAVO!!!
    Looking forward to the video blogs. Have a safe flight and taxi ride.
    The Cruzin2some
    James & Nancy

  44. LorrieB says:


    In reading your blog thingy today I was a bit alarmed at the thought that you might stop the debarkation talk. First, let me tell you why the debarkation talk is so important.

    My first ever cruise was the Hurricane Ike Cruise on the Conquest. Jen Baxter was the lovely CD and very informative. Or so I thought. I went to the debarkation talk as instructed and paid attention to every word spoken by Jen. I didn’t want to do anything wrong. Jen made mention of a previous passenger who had packed all of her luggage and placed it outside her door forgetting to leave out clothing for the next day. Well, that got a big laugh from everyone. Jen then told us all to remember to leave out clothes. So, I leaned over to my husband who was napping and I told him to make sure I didn’t pack all of my clothes. He smiled that smile he gives when he is really not listening to me but dreaming of beautiful women on a deserted island with…. oh never mind! Anyway, the talk ended and we went back to our cabin. In the debarkation talk we were also informed that we would be getting rerouted to New Orleans instead of returning to Galveston which was at that moment ravaged by Hurricane Ike. We went through quite a few emotions as the news sunk in. First horror, then fear of the unknown, then excitement, and then elation. I mean really, how many people get to stay on board the ship using it as a free hotel with free food. I mean…. cha ching!!!!! But anyway, back to my reason for needing the debarkation talk. We were also told that everyone would need to debark in New Orleans going through customs and then those who wanted to stay onboard would be allowed to return back to the ship. So, that night, my husband and I pack up our luggage making sure to leave a change of clothing out so we wouldn’t have to debark naked. We put the luggage outside our room and just like the tooth fairy, the luggage was picked up by the wonderful staff and placed, who knows where until debarkation. My husband and I woke up the next morning, took our showers, straightened up and got ready to go eat breakfast when….. OMG!!!!!! I didn’t have shoes. Yes, John. I forgot to leave out shoes. Is it illegal to enter the country without shoes on? Well, I didn’t think so. I called the Pursur’s desk and ask if anyone there had a pair of shoes I could borrow or buy? Now, saying that I hear laughter on the other end is putting it nicely. I wonder how many times they got that call? So, I had to go through breakfast, debarkation, customs, and reboarding without shoes. I happened upon Jen during our wait for our Number to be called and told her that she needed to remind everyone to leave out shoes as well. Jen just about fell laughing. So you see John, there will always be a reason for keeping the debarkation talk. Just think about us poor fools who rely on you to tell us what not to pack. Had Jen made sure to tell us not to forget to leave out shoes, I would surely have been covered.

    Thank you!!!!!!!

  45. Peg Dunbar says:

    Sorry John, but I think it is imperative that you give the disembarking talk. Maybe put in a bit of humor, can’t imagine you not doing that, but do not think that people should know what they are doing to get off a ship even if you put it in back and white. Even during the talk people are going to screw it up. When Mike and I were on the Spirit last month, Chris was giving the talk with a HUGE SCREEN in the back of him telling us just what we needed to know. Some of us were getting off the ship and going to the Hilton for our 4 night/5 day land trip in Alaska. Well, a bunch of idiots on our bus did not read/hear what was going on and had it all screwed up where there luggage would be. Our guide on the bus started to say something bad about Carnivale and how they screwed. I told William, they did not screw up they told us just where our luggage would be; at the Hilton. We heard/read where our luggage was going to be and so did quite a few others. Never trust that your guests actually pay attention to what you are saying. Come to think of it, for some I guess it does not matter just what you say, they are not going to listen anyway LOL.

    I hope your back is getting better and that you will be well very soon.

    Could you please have an interview with the CD that will be on the Ecstasy in January. I am so looking forward to being on the Ecstasy on January 14. I would love to hear as much about the ship and the CD as possible.

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

    My best to Heidi and Kye

  46. Celine says:


    Hi John,

    This will mark the first time I’ve written on your blog thingy, but likely not my last. I genuinely enjoy your sense of humour (I’m Canadian, thus I know how to spell words like that correctly:) and truly look forward to your daily musings about life in general and Carnival information.

    Anyway… couple of things:

    1. How about offering an invite to the debarkation talk in the theatre to all guests who are brand new to Carnival, but allow past guests to opt out of the talk and have access to a video instead?

    2. We (my husband, two teen sons and I) are booked on our second Carnival cruise, the Carnival Valor in April of 2010. Our first Carnival cruise was on the Carnival Splendor this past April, and both my sons declared it to be the absolute BEST vacation of their lives. When I asked them the reason for this, they stated that Ashley, the O2 Club camp director, was the most amazing counselor and made the whole trip totally fun for them. When I finally met her on the last night to give her our thanks and an extra tip, I realized why they thought she was so awesome – that young lady is GORGEOUS, almost in a Megan Fox bottom kind of way!! No wonder all the boys in the O2 Club paid very close attention to everything she had to say, and every teen girl paid very close attention to all the boys, and as a result it was an incredibly well-behaved group of teens on that cruise!! My boys were wondering if it would be possible to find out if Ashley will be sailing on the Carnival Valor for our cruise next Easter.

    3. My husband and I are planning to try dinner in one of the supper clubs on the Carnival Valor, but I’m unclear on how the tipping works for the staff in those venues. I assume they are not part of the bigger tipping pool? And if I’m correct in that assumption, what would be the best way (and amount) to tip them to show our appreciation for their efforts? Do we give them cash at the end of the meal? Does the extra tip have to go on our on-board account? Just need a little clarity on this topic.

    Thanks for keeping me laughing on a daily basis, and best wishes to you and your lovely girls.


  47. Cruzin2some says:

    Dear John,
    Awhile back you had asked for ideas on names for the Carnival ships. Since the main organization is CARNIVAL, why not name the ships after the cities that celebrate carnival, ie.
    Carnival New Orleans
    Carnival Rio De Janeiro
    Carnival Martinque
    And so on. This would tie the names of the ships in with the celebration and fun that the Carnival Cruise Line is known for.
    James & Nancy

  48. jetskier says:

    Sorry to hear that you will not be joining us on the Holiday on her last sailing. Several of us was hoping you would be able to join us for the midnight farewell toast on the last night.


  49. Linda Hernacki says:

    I like Big Ed’s idea about debarkation talks, instead of having them live, put them on the tv’s in the room in two versions, for past guests, and new guests who already know the drill. Tell Heidi to have a garage sale, Mike did this weekend and made $675.00 for spending money on the Dream. We sold stuff that we will not miss! No one wants to buy vhs videos though, we had loads to sell and wound up giving them to Goodwill after the sale. Thanks for answering my blog email, can’t wait to see you in January too! It will be the day after your birthday that you start as CD of the Dream, will Heidi and Kye join you? That would be fantastic! See you before you know it! Linda & Mike

  50. Barbara Butler says:

    John please reply:

    I hope your back is feeling better, that land based work is difficult.
    I am writing to remind you that I am bringing my service dog Valentine onboard The Carnival Dream October 15. When I sailed on the Carnival Pride in May I met and spoke with Jamie. She said to let her know and she would personally be sure that all of Valentine’s potty needs were ready. (She knows how I worry). If you could remind her of this I would it wouldreally be appreciated. Jamie’s help while on the Carnival Pride was indispensible.

    On another note you mentioned a few blogs ago that you would get Valentine issued her very own Platinium card for this trip. That would be interesting indeed. She has expensive tastes so she will need a large shipboard credit. Ha Ha!!

    David and I are looking forward to see you when you come onboard in Bermuda. Tell Heidi and Kye hello for us and bring tons of pictures. We will be bringing something for Kye for you to take home.

    See you soon, on the ALL NEW CARNIVAL DREAM!!!!!!!!!!

  51. Gina says:

    Hi John,
    Can you please tell me what type of activities to expect on Halloween Day? We embark on October 31st on the Fantasy. This will be my 5th Carnival cruise. Also, what can we expect from our cruise director? I’ve never heard of him and it looks like he’s filling in for Risa Barnes. We enjoyed having Big Tex on our last cruise so theres some great expectations!!
    Hoping for upgrades and lots of sunshine!!

  52. Cheryl K says:

    First, last weekend here in Atlanta was a convention of some 40,000 people who gathered to share their love of all things Star Wars–many dressing as their idols. It was quite a sight to behold! I would be willing to bet you have something worth more than $99….

    Debarkation talks…..I’m on the side of put it on the TV or send me a flyer if you need to. I want to enjoy every last minute of the last day but wouldn’t want to miss you either so there is the dilemma.

    You are so famous now–you have to be proud!

  53. Tricee says:

    Dear John….please reply so that I know you received this message. My husband and I really enjoy reading your blog. Thanks for all that you do for us and the wonderful Carnival family.

    Previously, I have written you and you responded for me to remind you closer to the date. I am booked on the Carnival Dream for October the 3rd. There is between 100 and 150 of us that have met and communicate via the cruisecritic message boards. We would like to have an official Carnival meet and greet for our group on the first day at sea, Monday October the 5th. The name of our group is the Back of the Bus Dream Team. Please provide bar service so that we can purchase drinks during the event. We would like to reserve the space for 1 to 1 1/2 hours in the afternoon. We do not want it to interfere with any major ship board events, like behind the scenes tour, slot tournaments, etc. Also we would like to have one of the ship’s photographers take a group picture of us. Please post the event in the Carnival Capers along with the specific time for the photography session. I will send Todd a copy of this via facebook. Thanks again for all you do.

    Tricee….secretary for the Back of the Bus Dream Team

  54. Debbie says:

    About the debarkation talk??? DEFINITELY KEEP it!!!! It is VERY informative and also gives us one last chance to explode with laughter at your jokes!!! Seriously…if people do not want to attend it, they don’t have to. And it’s always shown on the Lido deck anyway….right??? Or replayed on the T.V. for those who do not which to laugh their arses off at your jokes. I always find it easier to follow instructions that are “given” rather than “written”. Keep up the great work you are doing!!!!

  55. Sally Breeden says:

    I only watch the debarkation talks on the TV to remember how to fill out the customs form. I think I have that down now. The jokes are so old after seven cruises that they have gray hair. Can we at least have new jokes?

  56. David Allen says:

    As long as the debark talk is replayed on the TV, there really isn’t any reason to attend in person.
    I always watch, mostly because of the jokes that are usually intermixed with the basic info. Therefore, a tape would suffice, I guess.

  57. Robert says:

    I don’t think we need the debarkation talk,

    A: it plays on TV..make a note in the capers about it for people who do not know that its begin show

    B: on the last nights capers some things you talk about are already listed there


  58. Pingback: An interview with Carnival Cruise Director Butch Begovich | The Flagg Agency

Copyright 2017 John Heald. All Rights Reserved