Sitting In The Wrong Room

October 2, 2009 -

John Heald

As you know Carnival have been wonderful to me by agreeing that in order for me to provide you with five or six weekly blogs of the highest order and entertain the guests onboard as Cruise Director that I………should get a personal assistant………and he arrived yesterday in the shape of a young man called Craig.

Now, I will be honest when I say that I was hoping I would get a PA with a face like Megan Fox and a bottom of the same………but instead I got someone who likes rugby and heavy metal music ……………bugger! I will introduce you to him later in the blog but first……….I need some help …….. because what exactly does a PA do?

There are two schools of thought about the role of PAs:…………… the first being that their duties should be strictly restricted to fixing appointments, making travel arrangements, screening phone calls, doing e-mails and so on………..the second being that they should assist with anything and everything, up to and including washing my underwear and buying Heidi an anniversary present.

I thought, as a man, that I’d be in the former camp, that I’d find it difficult to palm off menial tasks on someone capable of so much more, but by the end of the first day phrases like “can you do me a favor?” and “could you hold on to that?” and “a cup of tea would be nice” were tripping off my tongue as easily as “bugger.”

By the end of day it was taking a considerable amount of effort to resist asking Craig to trim my nose hairs and rub Preparation H into my hemorrhoids.

But for me it wasn’t having someone around doing menial tasks that made the real difference. The thing that made the real difference was simply having another human around. You see, I spent most of this week onboard the Carnival Legend alone. Yes, there were lots of people around but for most of the time I was working on my own. This is something that makes one prone to taking unnecessary daytime naps, having long, unnecessary conversations with anyone you can, going to bed early, talking to yourself, loneliness and watching reruns of The West Wing. But having a PA is not only an antidote to the isolation, not only does it mean there’s someone around to laugh at my jokes, but, crucially, it forces you to behave sanely.

And of course he has already started to arrange everything for next week when I take over as Cruise Director. It is easy for a CD to come on to a ship and want to change the world but as I will only be here a short time and because everything is running well, I don’t have much to change. However, I still need Craig to add all my shows to the Capers and make the changes that the department heads send in every day. You won’t believe the amount of Caper changes a Cruise Director gets each and every cruise. I would say the average is 30 per week and that in itself is a lot of work. Then of course there are the emails… least 100 hundred a day which need to be answered and then your answer is answered and then you have to answer the answer and it keeps on going until one of the senders dies. Craig will be looking after the e-mails. He will also be undertaking the safety inspections which are held twice a week plus making the schedules and looking after 50 staff.

What then you ask will I be doing. Will I be lying on my sofa, being fed pieces of sugar free chocolate by a Latvian woman in suspenders……….ummmm…………….no. Apart from the three to four hours I spend blogging I will be hosting the following.


Plus of course while Craig will be answering and managing the internal and office e-mails that come to my ship account, I have the 50-plus a day that come to my raspberry address…….oh yes…….and twice a day every day I have to sing “did you go bouncy , bouncy, bouncy bouncy?” down the phone to Kye.

So thanks Carnival for giving me a PA. In fact I have two………..Craig who is with me onboard and PA 007 who works in the office……I have never met PA 007 by the way……….we only correspond in e mails from their private account. I have no idea if she is a he or he is a she …… I already have one male PA in Craig…………..I can only hope that PA 007 is a beautiful lady with a bottom like Megan Fox……………hope springs eternal.

Time for today’s questions………… we go.

Debbie Robberson Asked:

Dear John…please reply
Do you have any idea when the 2010 CD schedule will be out? Looking to plan another family vacation and both my kids want to pick a ship based on the CD…namely you! You have won the hearts of the young ones too. Thanks….

John Says:
Hello Debbie
Thanks you for writing and the full 2010 Cruise Director schedule is still being completed and hopefully will be available by the end of October. I will of course post it here on the blog thingy. As for my schedule, well here is the tentative list of ships I will be Cruise Director on next year.


That’s the schedule as it is so far. Thank you for the very kind words and hope to see you and the family in 2010.

Best wishes

Frank & Bridie Asked:

John Please Respond,
John can you tell us if the Dreams cabin doors are metal like the rest of the fleet? We like to do Door decorations. When we went on the Miracle in April we did decorations with magnets and they worked great.

Big fans as always,
Frank and Bridie

John Says:
Hello Frank and Bridie
Great to hear from you again and yes, bring your magnets. The doors are indeed metal. See you soon and best wishes to you both.

John Friedmann Asked:
John – Please reply

Great blog – I can now see the videos and you are great, as always.

We just got off the Liberty after a wonderful week. I now can speak with authority about how wonderful the medical staff are as they treated me for Atrial Fibrillation as well as could be done.

I wanted this cruise as you had recommended going to the Grand Turks. My wife was anxious to get around and took a discovery, shopping and beach tour for 2 1/2 hours. It cost $59 and was a joke – there is nothing to see there, shopping was a couple of tents, and the beach was walkable from the pier. The cost should have been $19-29 at the most, and we have taken Carnival shore excursions all over the world, and know what they should cost. This tour was not worth half the money it costs.

I have written a letter to Carnival expressing my views, but I also have an idea for you. Couldn’t Carnival come up with a “consumer satisfaction rating form” — a little 3 question form that could give a score for people to evaluate an n excursion before they spend so much money on them? Just an idea, but I think – I know – I would appreciate it. What do you think?

Our best to beautiful Heidi and Kye. – Mark and Mary

John Says:
Hello Mark and Mary

I hope this blog finds you well after your medical concerns during your cruise. Thank you for mentioning the way you were taken care of by the Doctor and nurses onboard the Carnival Liberty and I shall pass your words onto them. It seems that this particular tour in Grand Turk needs to be looked at and so I sent your comments to the shore excursion department in Miami……… is what they said.

Thanks! Great idea! Actually, we’ve been looking to implement this recently. As soon as we get a status update, we’ll pass it along to you for the blog.

Thanks Mark for that idea and hopefully we can implement this very soon. As for the tour itself I have asked someone from our CARE team to contact you and have passed your comments to the VP of Tour Operations as well.

I hope you are feeling better and please let me know once someone has called so I know it’s being looked at.

Many thanks and best wishes

Trent Asked:
John, please reply

I know you are heading to the Carnival Legend in a few weeks. I was wondering if you could do me a favor. I seem to have misplaced a few hundred dollars aboard. I last saw it at the craps table. Please let me know if you are able to track it down.

But on a more serious note, I really enjoyed my week aboard the Carnival Legend a few weeks ago (departed 8/30). This was my 6th Carnival cruise and 2nd aboard the Carnival Legend. I will have to say, out of my 6 cruises, our room steward Abdullah was the best we have had. I had never really noticed before, but he did all the “little” things that make a huge difference. In the past, I’ve never really noticed the stewards for better or worse, but Abdullah definitely fell under the “for better” column. I included him on my comment card, but I felt the need to recognize him again!

Now, a suggestion. This isn’t really Carnivals fault, but I’d be interested to hear your thoughts on the issue. Our group was a few young couples (25-30) who have cruised anywhere from 0 to 10 times previously. We always request late dining, which we received on this cruise. We absolutely love the dining experience that Carnival offers. For the first time on my 6 cruises, our table was situated next to a group with a few very young children. Now, this in itself isn’t a bad thing. However, the parents did not seem to know how to control their children. The ran around, yelled, cried, and generally disrupted the meal for all those around them. Our waiter team did a good job serving us, but the dinners were nowhere near the usual experience due to this disruption. What would you think of suggesting somewhere that the late seating be for children of a certain age? Or finding a way to recommend any families with late seating utilize Camp Carnival (which I’ve heard great things about). Maybe I’m in the minority, but I feel like the late seating especially should be reserved for a more formal atmosphere.

P.S. Most of our group had the pleasure of cruising with you aboard the Carnival Legend in 2005. To this day, that cruise is still my favorite cruise. I really appreciate the time you dedicate to this blog. It helps me get through the year as I wait for our 1 annual cruise. My favorite part (I am semi-ashamed to admit) is when you display the absolutely crazy dumb things that a few passengers complain about. I really hope I don’t fall into that category!

John Says:
Hello Trent

Thank you for that very insightful posting and I was thrilled to read such high praise for one of the Carnival Legend crew, your stateroom steward Abdullah. I will make sure both he and the Hotel Director see this.

I am not sure how or indeed if we would want to limit children to the early sitting dinner. This would be very difficult to do and of course not exactly the family friendly atmosphere we advertise. I think that this last time you were unlucky in being seated next to parents who as you said did not control their kids. I can imagine how disconcerting this must have been. It is not a common complaint and I think it’s reasonable to say that most families with younger children do take the early dining option rather than feed younger kids at 8:15pm.

Now of course we have the anytime option which may suit you and your friends so you decide when and with whom you eat. Anyway, I am sorry that you had to endure the naughty kids and their naughty parents and hopefully this will not be repeated.

I will be back as CD in a few days and I am sure there will be more stories to tell so please keep reading the blog thingy.

Best wishes

Kathy Asked:
Dear John,
Please Reply,

I am not a happy camper with Carnival at all. The East Coast now has over 18 ships while the west coast will only have 3, I think that there is something wrong with this picture here. Carnival should just pull all of their ships out of the west coast and move them back east, it seems like you want to cater to them more than us out here. You took the Pride last year and now the Elation, enough is enough. They could have pulled one of the ships leaving out of Florida instead of San Diego.

I for one will now sail on another cruise line (which will be one that Carnival DOES NOT OWN) that appreciates the customers of the west coast.


John Says:
Hello Kathy
I was so sorry to read how unhappy you are at the decision to remove the Carnival Elation from California. There are many reasons why we did and we’re sorry to disappoint our friends from the West Coast. Remember though you still have the Carnival Splendor, the second newest ship in our fleet along with the Carnival Paradise and for the later part of the year the Carnival Spirit. The fun is still there on the West Coast for sure. We do appreciate you I promise and I know how angry you are but………….please remember the other ships I mentioned and the value for money vacation they provide compared to others.

I will be here should you need to vent some more or if you have any questions.
Best wishes

Terzado Asked:
Hi John hope you are liking the carnival dream! I just wanted to know my son loves laser tag and can you tell me what ships have the arena?

John Says:
Hello Terzado.
Carnival laser tag is currently offered on the Carnival Victory, Carnival Elation, Carnival Valor, Carnival Imagination, Carnival Conquest, Carnival Ecstasy, Carnival Fantasy, Carnival Inspiration, Carnival Legend and Carnival Triumph.

It will go on the Carnival Fascination 10/3, Carnival Freedom 10/12, Carnival Glory 10/13, Carnival Splendor 10/18, and Carnival Paradise 10/19.

All ships will have Laser tag, with the exception of the Carnival Spirit, by the end of November.

Laser Tag is offered throughout the cruise, and is a brilliant activity for all ages.
Best wishes

Marilyn Asked:

Hi John,
Please respond…
We had the immense pleasure of sailing with you on the first voyage of the Freedom in 2007. I have heard you will be filling in for Todd as C.D. of the Dream in early 2010. Please let us know what the specific dates will be as we are eagerly looking forward to having the opportunity to relive the wonderful time we had with you as C.D. in Europe.
Thanks so much,

John Says:
Hello Marilyn
I hope you will be able to join me next year on your Carnival Dream. I will be there from January 23rd until March 20 although that first week starting the 23rd I will not be the CD. It would be great to show you this brilliant ship.
Best wishes

Lruss71 Asked:

John, (please reply) I am doing the Happy dance here in Atlanta!! Charleston is a great city and another option for us here in the ATL… I am also dancing that the casino will be Smoke Free for the most part on the Dream. I am looking forward to spending some time there next June on my cruise. I really hope the entire outdoor area of the Lanai will not be smoking. Do you think they could make it one side of the ship only? Also, can you let us know where and which dining room the anytime diners will be placed? Also my friends have booked a Spa Suite for our cruise and are wondering if their 17 year daughter will have same access to the spa area as they do?

Hope you all have a great time on my new Carnival Dream!

John Says:

Hello Laurie
I wish I was there to see you dancing. Anyway, you asked about the dining so let’s start with that. Your Time Dining on your Carnival Dream is in the Crimson Restaurant on the upper level on deck 4 forward.

As for the Lanai, the port side is smoking and the starboard side is non smoking so this way we can allow everyone to enjoy this gorgeous area.

The rules regarding the spa are that only 1st and 2nd guests in the Spa stateroom will receive the access and fabulous amenities. I hope this helps you continue your dance.
Best wishes to you all

That’s all for today, there will be more questions answered very soon so please keep the comments coming.

I hope you all enjoyed the video yesterday of Gerry and I on the slide and my apologies to those who were eating or had just eaten and then saw me with my shorts round my ankles …. and you thought I was kidding when I said I had left a trail for everyone to follow down the slide.

You also saw the video of the two young kids and their reaction to seeing their drawings on the Morning Show. With that in mind I wanted to show you what Jack and Mike have made for me following a design that was sent in by Carnival’s Special Projects Manager Tim Cabral.

Jack and Mike are the owners of Scenery First. You may not be familiar with their names but you are familiar with their work. That’s because anyone who has seen our main shows onboard the Carnival ships will have marveled at the amazing scenery and stunning set pieces. These were all designed and made by Jack, Mike and their team. You know, my Dad’s favorite TV show is something called The New Yankee Workshop………well Jack and Mike are our own Norm Turners and look at the backdrop that they have made for my Morning Shows !


Thanks Jack, Mike and Tim and I can’t wait until it gets here and I can start using it….I wonder if they could make a special cot for Kye………mmmmm.

Time to meet today’s Cruise Director and this time we meet someone who I know Host Mach and the big Cruise Critic group really enjoyed. It’s time to post Kyle Post.



1. Please tell us about yourself and your journey to the Cruise Director chair.
Kyle:  First of all my name is Kyle Post, I am from the frigid cold state of Minnesota. I remained there until I was 20 and moved to Florida where I went for my Hospitality based career at the Rosen School of Hospitality Management at the University of Central Florida.  I started my career with Carnival back in March of 2004 as a Social Host on the Carnival Imagination, I was promoted to Assistant Cruise Director during my contract on the Sensation, where I decided to stay for over a year and learn from Matt Ross (former CD).  Over time people kept noticing my enthusiasm for my job and how well I worked with the guests so I got my chance to take over as Cruise Director on the Sensation for my first time in 2007 and  have had a fantastic opportunity to take over here and there since then and now here I am today.

2. What ship are you currently serving on?
Kyle:  I am currently on the Carnival Conquest out of Galveston, Texas.

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.
Kyle:  Well I really enjoy the Latour Wine Bar.  It is a central location on the promenade and I really enjoy people watching.  You would be amazed at the things you see during the evenings.  Plus, Janenna makes a good Caramel Apple Martini.  I would also say the Point Supper Club.  I LOVE the lobster, Shrimp Cocktail and the Spinach and Mushroom Salad. Yummy!!! The Conquest is an amazing ship, it has a beautiful interior, the most amazing crew ever and the Texas crowd is a tough one to beat.  They are so polite and friendly.  The Senior Management onboard are really fun.  We are The BEST!!!!

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.
Kyle:  We do two different Itineraries on this Ship.  The Western doing 7 day cruises to Montego Bay, Jamaica, Grand Cayman, and Cozumel, Mexico with alternative Eastern cruises to Key West, Fl., Freeport, Bahamas, and Nassau, Bahamas.  On the Western Run my favorite Shore Excursion would be in Jamaica and there are two of them, First would be the Zip Line Tour cause nothing is more thrilling than flying over the Canopy of the Jungle, also I really enjoy the Horseback Riding as well.  Just something different to ride a horse on land and in the ocean as well.  I have never laughed so hard in my life seeing horses race in the ocean.  Too Funny!  On the Eastern run I would have to say that Atlantis Aquaventure in Nassau.  I was there when the premiered the new water park and I had such a good time.  I have been back numerous times and I like being lazy in the mile long lazy river.

5. If someone were to ask you “What does a Carnival Cruise Director do ” how would you reply?
Kyle:  I tell them that I am the person in charge of all onboard entertainment and activities.  You will see me hosting the shows, interacting with the guests and assisting wherever someone needs me.  We are all around type of people.

6. What is your most favorite part of the job?
Kyle:  I absolutely love interacting with the guests as I am walking around the ship.  You will always see me out and about.

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 .
Kyle:  I would say to definitely come and see the Marriage show.  The guests are so unpredictable with their answers that you never can tell what is going to happen.  I would also say to join in on the Deck Party as well.  The entire team  are all involved dancing the night away.  It truly is a great experience.

8. What is the hardest and or most challenging part of the job of Carnival CD?
Kyle:  I would have to say the most challenging part of this job is when technical issues happen.  As a CD you always want the guests to get the best show possible, but we work on a ship that sails 365 days a year and unfortunately things are going to happen.

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?
Kyle:  I would love to sail on the Queen Mary II.  I have heard that it is an amazingly beautiful ship on the inside and for the longest time wanted to know what it looked like.

10. Finally – please fill in the blanks

Kyle:  This one took me quite a while, I really like Leonardo DiCaprio.

Kyle: Sandra Bullock.  She is beautiful

Kyle: I have a lot of Dance Music. I love to dance!

Kyle:  Basketball Diaries with Leonardo DiCaprio

Kyle:  My friends make me laugh.  You need to have people that can take you out of a bad mood at a moments notice.

Kyle:  I would have to say that’s a tough one as I have worked with and experienced many talented Cruise Directors but my favorite would be “Butch,”  he is such a talented person with a big heart.  He can make me laugh for days, plus he is a fellow Minnesotan!!!

Kyle:  Oh a tough one as well, I would have to say that I would sneak into the areas where the President keeps all the confidential paperwork for the US.  I really do want to know if there are aliens at Area 51.

I understand that Kyle is another rising star and congratulations to him and I hope his dream of sailing on the Queen Mary 2 come true one day.

“Are we there yet” is a question I am sure Kye will be asking me in years to come. Parents have to endure this time and time again and after a long journey or flight to reach your embarkation port you then have to endure the check in process which is sure to have the kids repeating the statement even more…………….” Are we there yet?”

But now, for kids at the Port of Miami that question will be replaced with……“can we go and play “and the answer as our good friend Vance is about to tell us…… a big happy “Yes.”

Carnival Cruise Lines Opens First Children’s ‘Fun Zone’ At Port of Miami Cruise Terminal

Great stuff and I am sure the kids will be very excited about this as I am sure will Mum and Dad.

Well, the Carnival Legend has had an interesting week. We have had three medical debarkations where guests needed immediate medical attention ashore including one today in Belize. None of these of course had anything to do with the incident yesterday which I am sure you have read about on Twitter, Facespace, Cruise Critic, Cruise Mates, Cruise Missile, The USA Today, Anita’s column , Soldier of Fortune, Big Busted Latvian Babes and of course the blog thingy.

Well, we had a full safety inspection today which we passed of course allowing us to continue cruising while make repairs as we do so. The crew have been brilliant and the engineers, joiners, welders etc have already started to make things right. The work on the port side midship area will begin tomorrow when we will dock in Roatan, the first time we will be alongside since the incident with our new best friend the Enchantment of the Seas.

Here are some photos of the work already underway to repair the damage.



I want to thank Mr. Gene Sloan from USA Today for including my blog coverage of this unfortunate event on his Twitter thingy which I know many of you read. Here is a link to his page.

Also a big thank you to Host Mach for placing my review on the Cruise Critic page.

I want to take this opportunity to dispel the rumors that as the Carnival Legend got closer to the RCI ship that our Captain rolled down the window on the bridge …….stuck his head out ….. and said to the Captain of the Enchantment………..”Excuse me, do you have any Grey Poupon?” ……………..that rumor is total and utter bollocks.

I mentioned a few weeks ago that I had been speaking now and then via my Facespace page thingy with my ex fiancé who you may remember saw me naked and became a Benedictine nun. Well, now I have been contacted by yet another blast from my past as some of my old school class has been in touch.

The other day I had Facespace correspondence with this girl — a woman now, of course — which, among other things, informed me that she’s married and a mum. I mention it because we exchanged more words in the space of a few minutes than we did in six years of being in the same class together.

But it isn’t just friends who get in touch nowadays, it’s people that you barely knew 25 years ago. It’s the kids who smeared bubblegum on the back of my school uniform It’s the friends of your friends from 20 years ago. No relationship, however small or non-existent, is unworthy of being revisited. That’s something I see on the ships as well because last night the Carnival Legend held an 80”s flashback party in the disco……………and it was absolutely packed.

Indeed, you could say we live in the age of the comeback. Lance Armstrong is racing again. Bill Clinton is representing America on the international stage again, any number of old shows, from The A Team to Knight Rider, are being played on an endless loop on various satellite TV channels. Aha, The Specials, and Duran Duran have returned as have Spandau Ballet. The radio is full of Michael Jackson tracks or tracks that sound like Michael Jackson, and new versions of Fame, Dirty Dancing and Star Trek are playing in the movie halls.

So, next week, on the back of all this nostalgia I will make sure we have lots of theme nights and also………..I think its time to bring back ……………a true hit of the 80’s and 90’s …………. The Male Nightgown Contest.

In the course of writing this blog I’ve received a “friendship request” from someone I last met when I was 15 called Doug Shaw who, if memory serves, once punched me in the face and threw my school books into a puddle of water. It was accompanied with the frankly bewildering question: “Hey John — what you been up to?” I sent him a message that suggested he go forth and multiply……….. and I declined the friendship request…………….friends reunited my arse.

Well, that’s it for today. Please join me Monday as I tell you all about my first day as Cruise Director of the Carnival Leg End. I will report on my morning show, welcome aboard show and we will return to the blogs usual format. I hope you will join me.

Oh……… last embarrassing toe curling admission from me before I go…Remember first of all that in my defense I have not been on a Spirit class ship in eight years and am still very unfamiliar with the layout of the Carnival Leg End. Anyway……….that’s my excuse for what I am about to tell you.

Last night I had a meeting with the Hotel Director and Food & Beverage Manager to discuss the new style Captain’s Elegant Night Celebration and during the meeting which was held on very comfortable seats by the coffee shop on deck 2 forward………..I got the call of nature.

Now, I know that it is highly unusual to discuss my bodily functions on the blog but honestly I have to tell you how vicious and sudden the onset this movement came. It was so severe that I was concerned I might have a tooth growing down there. And so excusing myself from the meeting I did my Charlie Chaplin impression into the port side bathroom just outside the main theatre. That’s where the male toilet is on the Destiny, Conquest and Splendor class ships ….. which have been my home since 2002…..except ………..bugger……on the Spirit class ships it’s the ladies bathroom which is on the port side and such was my pain and anguish to get rid of the tooth and the rest of the head which had grown inside my bottom……..I had waddled into the wrong bloody bathroom.

As I sit here in my underpants writing to you I am trying to remember when it was that I realized my huge mistake. It may have been the clip-clopping of high heels against tiles. Or the unnaturally sweet smell in the air. There were several layers to the horror…… the blind panic of wondering how to escape without being spotted by guests or even worse a crew member who would then spread the gossip that the new Cruise Director is either a lady boy or a pervert.

I also have to mention how much cleaner women’s toilets are than the men’s.

I sat in there for at least 20 minutes until I heard nothing but silence and then I ran out faster than Usain Bolt with a cattle prod up his arse.

Your 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.