Mixed Emotions

October 7, 2009 -

John Heald

As I waddled to the computer in my underpants this morning there was a spring in my step. The sun was shining, we had arrived in Cozumel and the Enchantment of the Seas had buggered off to a pier far……..far away.

As I sat down I was as happy as someone who had woken up next to Megan Fox’s bottom and discovered they had won the lottery the night before. Then I turned on my computer and my mood changed and suddenly I was as happy as someone who had woken up next to Judge Judy’s bottom and discovered that they were………….French. Let me explain.

Last night during the show I noticed that there were two young men wearing full dress blue military uniforms sitting in the audience. This was unusual because normally this is reserved for elegant night which is when we tend to see serving military men and women in uniform.

So, I decided that maybe this was a good time to do a bit of honoring…………….so I invited all those people who were indeed active military personal to join us on stage.










As you can see, lots of young people joined me on stage representing the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and National Guard. The two men in uniform were Marine Michael and Army soldier Travis. The reason they were in dress blues was because Michael had been married that day in the Chapel onboard the Carnival Legend. Michael and Travis were best friends with Travis telling us he had recently returned from Afghanistan and that just three weeks after being married Michael (pictured with me above) would be returning for his second tour of duty there.

And so all the guests on stage stood tall and proud and I saluted them for the work they do……………and so did the audience………….who gave them a standing ovation……..an ovation from the heart.

Yet, it appears that not everyone is happy with my tribute to these young people as you will see now and will read just why my mood has changed this morning.

Guest: Mr.———–e Ref: 829110151A
Cabin: ____ Booking#: _______ Added-Changed: 10/06/09 – 10/06/09


Mr. and Mrs. _____came to the desk to request a meeting with the Cruise Director. Guest told GSA that he was offended by comments made by John at the show. Guest was angry that he had made all the soldiers stand on stage and force the audience to applaud. Guest said that he and many others did not support the war and that it was wrong to mention them. He also said it was inappropriate for them to be wearing uniform.
GSA apologized and arranged meeting with CD.

So, now you can see why my mood changed. I called the guest and tried my best to understand his view. I won’t spend too much time talking about what his view is but it is one that nothing I could say would change his anti war, anti military beliefs. I did though find myself apologizing but then realized that hey……………hold on……………..you don’t have any apologizing to do………….but you know me…………….I apologized for offending him anyway and after organizing his fruit basket I sat down to think.

Actually, it didn’t take long. There were moments I second guessed myself especially after the chap had “damn it” posted on that comment saying he was offended at our playing of Anchors Aweigh. But then, I said “bollocks” to myself and while the last thing I want to do is upset a paying guest I truly believe that our soldiers, sailors, marines and airmen put their lives on the line for us. When they return home, sometimes physically injured or with severe mental scars, it is our duty to ensure they as much thanks as we can give them…………………..don’t you?

Time for today’s questions….here we go.

Lisa Asked:
It was recommended I contact you for help on my upcoming cruise. No one at Carnival has been helpful at all. Before I post my issue for all to see, perhaps you can help me?

John Says:
Hello Lisa
I was sorry to read that you have not received the help you needed. Please post another comment and let me know what your concerns are and meanwhile you will be contacted in the next 24 hours by a member of our care team to see what we can do to help.
Hope to hear from you soon
Best wishes

Steve Teter Asked:
John (Please Reply),
On January 11th, my wife and I will be cruising on the Carnival Destiny to Grand Turk, Nassau and Half Moon Cay. We’re technically traveling as my 40th Birthday present but it’s honestly a well-deserved break from the rigors of work and child-rearing! This will be the first time we’ve been able to do anything for ourselves in a very long time so I want to make the trip as special as possible for my wife. She’s a great Mom and works nearly 60 hours a week at her job.

Is there anything you can do to help me surprise her? I’ve already booked a balcony state room for the very first time!

Thanks and keep up the great work on the blog. I look forward to reading it every day!

Guest would like your help in surprising his wife with something special on their cruise on the DE 01/11/2010.

John Says:
Hello Steve
Thank you for booking such a special cruise for your 40th birthday but asking to make sure it’s your wife to receive a surprise. It sounds like she deserves a rest and some fun and if you can remind me a month before you sail I will happily have something sent to her cabin from me and you.
Thanks for the kind words about the blog and don’t forget to write with that reminder.
Best wishes

The Harmons Asked:
Evening John, please reply-
Quite the Tease indeed, we have been waiting since the countdown hit zero today, and the Dream sailed away, to see new pictures and videos uploaded!

We will keep eagerly waiting, until June 2010 when our turn to climb aboard comes around. Thanks for the blogs and great updates you and your spy have been sending out, it makes the waiting much easier to bare when new things are always happening!

A quick question, why is there a little tiny 🙂 smiley face at the bottom of carnival pages, and your blog?!?

Just being curious, and wishing for the warm Caribbean weather as the hubby and I watch winter roll into our Colorado town.
Best of wishes and safe journeys~
M & J

John Says:
Hello M and J
Your Carnival Dream is now well and truly in operation and it will soon be your turn to enjoy our new flag ship. I will be back onboard for the naming ceremony and then for the bloggers cruise so you can look forward to more photos and videos then. I had no idea about the smiley face thingy and after asking one of the 343 Stephanies I was told that this is actually something from WordPress the system they use to handle the blog thingy.
Hope this helps and my best to you both.

Bobby Asked:
Dear john Please respond.
Just to let you know I booked an eastern cruise for June 5th 2010 for the dream, I hope you will be the cruise director when we go…
Your friend

John Says:
Hello Bobby
Congratulations on booking your Carnival Dream cruise vacation. What a ship she is and I know you will have the most brilliant of times. Unfortunately I will not be the CD. It will be Todd Wittmer who is our number one guy and someone I know you will love. If you have any questions about your cruise I will of course be here to answer them for you.
Best wishes

Bill (Zydecocruiser) from ZydecoCruiser.com Asked:
John, Please reply
Hi John,
I’m having a senior moment. Is/will the duty free liquor store be open on the 3 Carnival Dream Mediterranean cruises? I’m pretty sure it will be for the TA but not sure what the EU rules are these days?

John Says:
Hello Bill
Yes, the liquor store will be open and I thought you might like the following information mate.
Duty-Free Liquor / Euro Exchange Fee






So, basically no customs and or paper work is involved if you are in direct transit back to the States and not staying in Europe. Please let me know if you have another “senior” moment and I will try and help you out. Please would you send my best to Elizabeth and can’t wait to see your photo journal of your Carnival Dream adventure.
Best wishes

Marcia VanLuvanee Asked;
Dear John, (please reply)
Started to read your blog as I am sailing on the transatlantic crossing of the Dream, so excited about it. One thing that hasn’t been discussed, or I missed it, is that Halloween is during the cruise and I was wondering if Carnival does anything special on that day. Looking forward to seeing you after Bermuda.

All Carnival ships will host Halloween activities that will include a Halloween Party and costume contest for guests of all ages. Children and adults are encouraged to bring a costume for this occasion. In addition, children can participate in Trick-or-Treating throughout the ship.

John Says:
Hello Marcia
All Carnival ships will host Halloween activities that will include a Halloween Party and costume contest for guests of all ages. Children and adults are encouraged to bring a costume for this occasion. In addition, children can participate in Trick-or-Treating throughout the ship. Did you see yesterday’s blog? In it you would have seen the dates when the parties will be held and more information about them.
Have a happy Halloween and best wishes

Jeanette Asked:
John-reply or don’t reply, it is up to you!
John, from the deepest part of me 40 year old heart I want to say THANK YOU for the gift you left for me in my spa suite on the Splendor last week!!! I was totally surprised and I thought for a moment it was my travel agent, who also knew it was my birthday cruise. To my amazement and joy it was from you!!!! Thank you once again. I can safely say it was very good and I enjoyed the whole bottle to myself. Cabo was a very good day, especially from 4:30 on when I popped it open. None of my table mates (all four, er, three after one was medically evacuated on Wednesday 30 minutes after leaving Mazatlan–he was fine, doc on board felt he was better cared for in a real hospital with tests n stuff). found that out on Thursday at lunch from Miguel (a soft cuddly South African Teddy bear of a Maitre’d) and a dear sweet man!!!! Please do email Miguel to do as he promised and do tell him I think he looks fabulous in the evening dining room wear. Alex K does white very well, ok, so he’d look good wearing a paperbag!!!!!
My birthday was extra special cuz A) I turned 40, B) I had a bottle of bubbly to celebrate, C) Miguel made me feel like a queen, and D)Creepy, in a sweet way, Jeff (medivaced) was not at the table. He made me feel uncomfortable cuz he kept on asking me if I wanted to spend time, even after I told him in the nicest way that I was there to be by myself and enjoy the occasional company of my Cruise Critic folks from the meet n greet I ran into/hooked up with when we’d run into each other. I certainly doubt he could have kept up with me as I was did several circuits of the ship (most open space decks) several times a day and made sure I had the best time I possibly could have. I spent whatever time I could spare to hang out on the suite’s balcony, at least when it wasn’t too hot. I must comment my cabin Stewart Zoran and Jefry (I think that is how it was spelled) who treated me better than the Queen of England could have been treated (and I truly let them know with a little extra something for them!!!!).

Once again, thank you thank you thank you!!!! You are too kind and I hope Heidi gets rid of the dog house cuz you are too sweet to ever get stuck out in the dog house if you do something wrong….Kye is one lucky little girl!!!!!

John Says:
Hello Jeanette
What a wonderful review of your Carnival Splendor cruise which I will be honoured (spelt correctly) to send onto those mentioned. I am glad that you were treated better than “the Queen of England.”

Not sure who Jeff is but sorry he was a bit “creepy” and it sounds to me as though it will be a birthday you will never forget. Thanks for taking the time to write and happy birthday once again.
Best wishes

Elinor Asked:
Hi John (Please respond),
I am so excited to be sailing on Carnival Dream on December 3rd. And since I can’t wait I’ve been checking your blog religiously to get the latest scoop on all things Carnival Dream. However, I am also worrying a lot because this will be my first cruise with my baby. He will be 18 months old when we cruise. I was wondering if you could help me with securing an early dining time for my family of 5. I am currently waitlisted for the early dining time and am worried because my baby will certainly not make it to the late seating. He will either be extremely cranky if we eat at 8pm or asleep. I would really appreciate anything you could do to accommodate us.
Thanks again!

Wanting to get early dinning; she is currently waitlisted but has a small child that would be asleep by late seating. Sailing DR 12/03/2009

John Says:
Hello Elinor
I am glad you are excited about your Carnival Dream cruise and I can understand why you would like early sitting. I will e-mail my mate Ken and I know he will do his best to try and help you with your dining request. I will see you soon.
Best wishes to you and the family.

Irene Garner Asked:
Hi John….Please reply
Just got back from a wonderful cruise on the Carnival Valor. A huge thank you for the gift that finally reached my grandson on the second day. Gary wrote a lovely note with it, so that will be treasured.

My daughter and her fiancé have just enjoyed a fabulous cruise to Alaska on the Carnival Spirit. They attended the scrap booking class and they had Baltic scrap booking supplies for the class. Has Carnival sailed to the Baltic, and will they be doing it again? That’s where they want to go on their next cruise, and have already started saving, but it would be a shame if they had to use a different cruise line.

Thanks….and just figuring at how soon I can go on my next cruise.
Irene (still hooked on cruising)

John Says:
Hello Irene
Welcome home and I am glad Gary took care of you. He is a great CD a certain star of the future.

We did have a brief trip to the Baltic in 2002 on the ship I am on now, the Carnival Legend. Then of course we had a full season in 2008 on the Carnival Splendor where we visited St.Petersburg, Russia, Tallinn, Estonia, Amsterdam, Holland, Helsinki, Finland and Copenhagen, Denmark. It was a great cruise. Carnival does not have a ship scheduled for Europe in 2010 but I am hoping that 2011 will see us return. I will let you know as soon as I hear anything. Hopefully you and your friends will be able to see Europe from a Carnival ship one day.
Best wishes

That’s all for today. May I kindly remind you that if you have a question or comment you wish me to reply to, please mark it JOHN PLEASE REPLY. Thanks in advance

Let’s do the news.

I have been privileged to interview many of the industries top executives here on this blog thingy. From Gerry Cahill to Cunard’s Peter Shanks and from Holland America’s Stein Kruse to Big Ed……..yes, they have all gone down on bended knee and begged to be featured on the 703rd most read cruise blog in the world.

There are two people in the industry who so far have escaped me…….Johnny Clooney the ridiculously good looking President of Costa Cruise Lines. …………………. and of course a man who rarely gives interviews Mr. Micky Arison. The world’s foremost publications are always trying to get him to comment and if and when he does grant an interview it is usually to publications like the New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Miami Herald, The Financial Times, Newsweek and Big Jugs magazine. So the chance of Mr. Arison granting this blog an interview are about the same as finding a Janet Reno range of beauty products. But………..when he does grant an interview………….the travel industry sits up and listens. I think you will find this interview he gave in Barcelona recently ……….fascinating.

Arison Interview

Carnival Corporation chairman Micky Arison ruled out his company building ships as large as rival Royal Caribbean International.

Speaking at the Travel Convention, Arison said the world’s leading cruise line preferred to operate ships that offered flexibility in terms of ports they could visit.

Royal Caribbean will launch the &&&&&&&&&&&&&&5,400-passenger Oasis of the Seas in November, a ship that is 40% bigger than those in its fleet that currently hold the title of the world’s largest liners.

Asked by conference moderator Jeremy Vine if he ever gets ship envy, Arison said “no”.

“The largest ship we have ever built was the Queen Mary 2 [for Cunard], and that will probably be the largest ship we ever build,” he said.

Arison said he had no intention of building anything larger for the Carnival Cruises brand than its newest ship the Dream or anything larger for UK market leader P&O Cruises than the 3,000 passenger Ventura.

“We are happy in that size range,” he added. “We can deliver the type of consumer service and value we want, that’s not to say there is anything wrong with larger.

“There are people who want to spend their vacation on Mall of Americas and there are people who want to spend their vacation on a cruise ship.

We try to build ships that have the flexibility to visit ports such as Venice. When you get to a certain size you start to limit the flexibility of the ship.”

Arison admitted he was worried about the state of the global economy last year when dire assessments in the US gave consumers the impression the “world was about to end”.

But he said the trading environment had dramatically improved since then and Carnival was now able to access banking facilities that were closed down to it at the start of the credit crunch.

He said although volumes remained strong, pricing was still down but he was optimistic prices would soon return to pre-recession levels.

Although Carnival reported $1 billion profits in the third quarter, he said that had to be looked at in the context of the returns on invested capital and yields which had gone down dramatically.

“If you take that into account we have a long way to go in terms of where we want to be,” he said.

Carnival’s response to the downturn was to suspend its shareholder dividend and to cut prices to make cruising “irresistible”, Arison said.

Asked about the impact of discounting and price cutting, Arison said although it might mean reduced revenues for the line and agents, it did have the positive effect of bringing new people into cruise.

Carnival has eight million customers worldwide annually, three million of which are new to cruise.

He dismissed the suggested that price cutting was the cause of the unrest on a P&O Cruises’ Christmas cruise on Ventura last year that led to reports of it being a “chav cruise”.

“That happened on a Christmas cruise which means it was one of our higher priced cruises,” he said. “When you carry eight million guests a year you expect anything.

“Cruise ships are a microcosm of any city or any location and stuff happens. The negatives of discounting might be less commission for agents and less revenue for us but the positive is it opens up the product to a wider audience.”

Arison said this desire to broaden the reach of cruising was one of the biggest single reasons for the success of Carnival which was set up by his father Ted in 1972 with just one second-hand ship.

Let me say two things here. I thought I had better give you some help with the word Chav which was used above and which referred to some British cruisers causing a few concerns last year on the Ventura.

A Chav is a term applied to certain young people in the United Kingdom. The stereotypical “chav” is an aggressive teenager or young adult who often engages in anti-social behavior such as street drinking and rowdy behavior. Stereotypical “chavs” typically wear tracksuits and hoodies made by sporting brands such as Nike and Adidas and listen to mainly gangster crap……sorry……..rap. I guess that there were a few people on a cruise that caused a few problems allegedly pushing over a Christmas tree which of course made news in the some of the red top newspapers in the UK. What amazes me is that this interviewer had time with the world’s most important and influential cruise industry executive and he asks him about a one off incident that happened months ago and was as news worthy as my underpants.

However, he did ask the question that many want to know. Will Carnival Corporation enter the race to build a ship bigger than the Mall of the Seas (I am done being nice to them now) and I think the answer was frank and honest………….” No.”

The interviewer asked Mr. Arison if he suffered from cruise ship envy…………….I wish he would have asked me that……………..envy my arse!

I really would like to interview Johnny Clooney from Costa. He is for sure one of the faces of the future of Carnival Corporation and I would like to ask him about his career. He lives his life and runs his cruise line with that Italian Dolce Vita and if I had my way I would interview him………and then smack him in the face with a frying pan. He is far too good looking……………..I will see what I can do to get him and his Armani suit to grace us with his presence.

As for Mr. Arison………well………there is much chance of me interviewing him as someone building an uglier ship than the Norwegian Epic.
One person who did agree to be interviewed is the Cruise Director of the ship currently docked on our starboard side…….here is Carl with a K, CD of the Carnival Imagination.

aprilmay09 New kids 5

Karl Blackjack King 2

Last evening Paradise 2

1. Please tell us about yourself and your journey to the Cruise Director chair.
My first love was Sports, so I went to school and college to train to be a sports teacher. All the way growing up I have always had an interest in Entertainment performing in school plays , local shows and charity events. My first break through was at a famous resort in England called Butlins ( a type of family entertainment center): Singing, Dancing, Comedy, Presenting even DJ’ing. During the winter months when the resort was closed, I also started creating a few of my own shows of singing , impersonations, comedy etc which I took round the clubs to keep myself busy. I then got my first cruise contract in Europe from Cyprus in 2000, as a production singer. I applied to Carnival with whom I joined in Nov. 2001. From learning the ‘ropes’ as a Social Host I then progressed to Assistant Cruise Director to finally being full promoted from Acting Cruise Director to Cruise Director whilst on the Liberty last August. It has certainly been a very interesting eventful but most of all very rewarding and enjoyable journey to where I am today.

2. What ship are you currently serving on?
I am currently on the Carnival Imagination and scheduled to leave on October 26th sailing out of Miami on 3 & 4 day cruises.

3. Before we talk about you let’s 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.
I feel very lucky to be on this particular ship because it is what could be said the ‘Guinea Pig’ for the fleet where we get to try lots of new things onboard first. We have just recently received a new Laser Tag Arena which is proving very successful, a new break dancing team called ‘Fun Force’ which is getting rave reviews, new events such as ‘Rockin the Promenade’ a great musical event on the first night and also such things as a ‘Behind the Fun’ exclusive ship tour. Last year the ship was one of the first also to get a refit with the new Waterworks Water park which is fantastic. It can be said it keeps me very busy but also extremely fun and very interesting at the same time. All in all over the last few months with the incredible team we have onboard, we have managed to create many new ideas and really get the ship into a real ‘fun ship’ environment with all guests having an amazing time, which makes us who work here enjoy it immensely too.

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 Itinerary is a 4 day cruise from Miami to Key West and then Cozumel. In Key West I would have to pick the ‘Thriller’ Boat Adventure. It is a great adrenaline rush and is just a like a rollercoaster on water. I managed to do something similar in New Zealand on vacation there and so jumped at the chance to do it again here. It is full of twists and turns and 360 degree spins. What a blast.

In Cozumel there are so many to choose from, Tulum and Dolphin swims always are an amazing once in a lifetime chance, but my family came to sail last week so it made me really decide what my favorite was to take them on and that was the ‘Deluxe sail and snorkel catamaran. To me it is just a great all rounded tour. A really nice Catamaran to start with then takes you to a great snorkeling location for the day, spending plenty of time to explore before taking you to a fantastic beach where they have open bar, floating icebergs, trampolines, kayaks to make the most of your day. To finish off it then brings you back still with open bar whilst dancing the afternoon away to the fun team who are full of great guides and activities.

We also do the 3 day trip to Nassau for a full day there on the Saturday.

Again numerous choices but judging on where I took my family we just had to do the Aqua venture Water park at Atlantis. My nephew has not stopped talking about it. If ever in Nassau, of course Atlantis is a must but the water park just took it even further. Full of great water slides, lazy rivers, the day is full to the brim of great memories.  One slide even, ‘Leap of faith’ is a vertical drop where you pass through a shark pool, the ticket also includes access to the beach, a lunch coupon and the aquarium which is always fantastic. Atlantis itself is a huge hit and is a great spot for celebrity activity and we were actually there when they were holding the ‘Miss Universe’ competition. Unfortunately didn’t manage to bump into any of them – maybe they saw my terrified reaction as I went down the ‘Leap of Faith’ slide and thought that I might be a bit of a wimp!

5. If someone were to ask you “what does a Carnival Cruise Director do” how would you reply?
Everything! Well sort of but of course in a fun way, he he. It is one of those fantastic jobs and opportunities where I get to do all that I love and all that I have spent my life learning and training to do. It is generally speaking the Head of the Entertainment team but also the voice of the ship. I am responsible basically for the activities and events onboard. With the Entertainment team I am responsible for a team of around 40-45 people (schedules etc, and also dealing with a various personal things as well so I have to be very approachable). It really is a full rounded and multi-tasked position so flexibility is a must. There is a lot of administrative work too, where I receive around 50-75 emails a day to get through. Announcements and even the daily capers (daily guides) are part of the job too along with a very important role as a key member of the safety team onboard. I am not saying it is all ‘plain sailing’ (sorry about the pun) just like any job there are many challenges but the rewards you get when you see people having fun and smiling outweigh everything else.

6. What is your most favorite part of the job?
My favorite part of the job has to be out with the guests, mingling, meeting and having fun with them. I really have learned about the world and especially the states from all the amazing people that I have been lucky to meet. My life never seems dull and its the way I love it. I also of course love the stage part, no better feeling then hearing the sound of laughter at something you have said or done and I also love to do singing when and where I can which I am lucky enough do a lot of, in the position I have. My creative side is always something I get to use a lot of too so as you can see I get to do just about everything I have always wanted.

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.
Singing is a love as I mentioned, so part of my own show that I got to be able to develop from my earlier days, I actually get the chance to do onboard. It is a skit with impersonations and is a favorite which the guests seem to love. I also wrote a few other story/skits which allows me to be very improvisational (I think that’s the word!) For example my Pirate story, so again I love that and the guests are really involved.

Generally where I get to party like the new ‘Rockin the Promenade’, ‘Monster Deck parties’ and opportunities that I can entertain the guests and see them just letting their hair down are all fantastic events not to be missed.

I get a chance to sing with all the bands and performers onboard so look out for me there too!

8. What is the hardest and or most challenging part of the job of Carnival CD.
I think the ‘unexpected’ is in some ways the most fun aspect but also at the same time the most challenging. People stop and ask me a lot ‘ do you every get bored on a ship for 6 months’. My reply is simply that you never know when you wake up that morning what is going to happen during that day. Yes you have a schedule but you never have the same group of guests and also at sea you never know what can happen. We are currently in Hurricane season and that is always a challenge with the conditions and missed ports etc which means the whole schedule goes out the window and you have to work hard and fast to come up with Plan B. 99% of guests are always understanding and great but there has, being honest, the odd percentage who don’t always see eye to eye with the reasons you do things, missing ports etc (like recently not being able to visit Mexico due to swine flu outbreak) so it certainly keeps you on your toes but again keeps it interesting.

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 am known for being hyper, full of energy and I love to keep this going for as long as I can. After the end of my 6 month contracts each time I go home and it feels like I just sleep for weeks! I go from one extreme to the next so for a break after working hard I would have to say something like a Windstar yacht or the Cunards Queen Mary (yes I know both part of the Carnival Family! He he), just so that I can be pampered on and chill, like I would at home. Don’t get me wrong I am a party animal but I think that would suit me after a long stint of Cruise Directing.

10. Finally – please fill in the blanks

Ben Stiller

Sandra Bullock

Michael Buble

Wedding Crashers

Lee Evans – British Comedian who has also appeared in various Big Movies (Something about Mary). Lucky enough to see him live last year!

Wee Jimmy is always up there as we have been good Mates for a long while now. We get the chance to tell each other anything and everything which helps as sometimes it can be a lonely job.

Even though he has retired form Cruise Directing one of my best friends is Mark Hawkins and I will always be grateful to him for the time he spent in helping me develop into a Cruise Director. He taught me so many things from the sides of the gig that I wouldn’t have even thought about and I would say that he is who I have learnt the most from. We always keep in touch and get to play golf when we can. He still owes me $20 I think from the last time, so if you are reading Mark….please can I have it back!

That’s a great question…mmm…an easy answer would be to sneak into our head office and listen in on what the company has planned for the future and the new things scheduled.

From a personal side it would probably be to make a trip to the White House and see the personal side of President Obama. I think he is amazing and being a positive person myself I would love to hear what he has to say outside of his work. Learn from him and feed off his energy.

Thanks Carl with a K. Look out for this chap everyone. He has that cheeky smile and sparkling personality that will take him to the top of the CD tree for sure Well done mate.

I have started my Morning Shows again and they continue to produce lots of letters from guests. Amongst the usual dedications are the ones that are written from the heart and ones that are somewhat unusual. Here we have someone who was bitten by a spider in Ohio and lost the ability to walk to someone whose family suddenly disowned her.

Letter 1

Letter 2

Letter 3

Letter 4

It never ceases to amaze me what guests tell me in their letters. I spoke to the poor lady whose family upon realizing she was a “Step Child” disowned her. She was so grateful that I had read her letter out and that I had sent a gift to her new adopted family. A sad story with a happy ending. And how about that poor chap who while camping in Ohio was bitten by a spider and could never walk properly again. I guess Ohio is another place Heidi will never visit after reading this………..although I don’t understand how she can take boiling hot wax, pour it over her legs and rip the hair out by the root and still be afraid of a spider.

Talking of Heidi, we both appreciate your support of the difficult decision not to post any more photos of Kye for a while. However, Heidi will be writing something for the blog every week charting Kye’s life and hopefully one day soon we can return to posting photos.

The comments are starting to come in from guests who have recently sailed on your Carnival Dream. Please take the time to read them and I will be highlighting them soon on a forthcoming blog thingy.

So, on the Spirit class the Cruise Director has a balcony. I remember using it only as a punishment the last time I was here. I say punishment because back in 2002 wee Jimmy was part of my Entertainment Staff and each morning we would start the day off with a meeting. Each staff member would arrive prepared, with pen and paper and Carnival Caper in hand……..except Wee Jimmy……………who would come to the meeting with a plate of bacon, eggs and toast in hand. I warned him that the next time he forgot his pen and paper etc that he would be punished.

Sure enough he forgot a few days later………so I put him out on the balcony…………locked the door and closed the curtain. That may not sound much of a punishment………except the ship was in Iceland………and it was bloody freezing outside. It was only after 20 minutes that I let him back again and his nose had icicles hanging from it and if wee Jimmy’s thingy was wee before…….after 20 minutes on a balcony in Iceland……..it was even more wee.

He never forgot his pen and paper again……………….actually that’s bollocks ……………. because he forgot the next day as well.

However, last night after a long day of a Senior Management meeting, an afternoon show, two past guest parties, two shows and a walk about I needed a cigar. I have not smoked one since I have been onboard and as you know there is not a specific cigar bar on the Spirit class. You are able to smoke in the Sports Bar but it’s different to the cigar bars on the Destiny and Conquest class. There. I can sit in the dim glow of the lights and listen to some wonderful live music and get that hour of relaxation I need. Here, the sports bar is brighter than Richard Simmons underwear and therefore I decided to sit on my balcony and have a small cigar. I have the Staff Chief Engineer next to me and knowing he is a smoker I didn’t worry about the aroma of my cigar bothering him. And so, I sat there and for the first time in all the years I have been doing this I began to truly appreciate why so many people love the experience of a balcony stateroom.

Just out of curiosity I checked our A Pass machine which registers how many people are ashore and onboard. It’s 1:30pm and out of 2,200 guests only 214 are onboard. That means that most are enjoying their tours and it also means that the majority of the ship are eating Mexican food for lunch.

The restaurants on the Puerto Maya pier here in Cozumel always do a roaring trade. They have great names like The Three Amigos, Pancho’s Backyard and of course the infamous Carlos and Charlies.

He seemed absolutely delighted to see us, crouching down to tell us about the specials and craning his head around the cut-out cactus scenery to check how we were enjoying our meal like an uninhibited nine-year-old at a fancy-dress party.

Their menus are not terribly adventurous — a mixture of nachos, guacamole, ribs and fajitas……..but then these are places for fun comfort eating…………not challenging cuisine.

Wherever you eat in Cozumel the wait staff all seem to have the larger than life cheeriness of Mexican cartoon characters. They dress as cowboys with Elvis sunglasses and neckerchiefs and all the restaurants have the same cardboard cut-out cactus scenery. Of course things have changed here since I first came to Cozumel on the Holiday in 1987. Margaritas were $1 a glass and the legal drinking age was 7.

So, everyone’s happy, The Cozumel restaurants are happy…….2,000 guests are happy eating Mexican food and in fact the only person not happy………….is the ship’s plumber.

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.