Idols and Animals

October 9, 2009 -

John Heald

When I was a wee lad and anyone asked me “John, what do you want to be when you grow up?”……I would always say a policeman. My father found the ambition to be not of a high enough standing and kept on at me to upgrade to brain surgeon……or chairman of a leading cruise line.

As I got older I wanted to be a vet, a spy, a pilot, a novelist and a porn star. As I reached the age of 18 it was obvious to everyone that I had neither the brains nor the equipment to be any of those. And so I flirted with Customs and Excise. Had a brief affair with Lloyds of London until I buggered off and HOORAH………unless you’re my father, whose still dreams of me holding a scalpel — a Cruise Director. My sister wanted to be a horse riding thingy and a fashion designer. She could have done either but ended up being a banker ……..a highly sort after head hunted banker with a beautiful family.

My mates were the same. Ask Danny, Alan and all my friends what they wanted to be when they grew up and they would have probably said “a businessman,” a pilot, an astronaut and in my best mate Alan’s case…………….a ballerina.

Now. I admit that I did go through a faze when I had rock star dreams but they involved singing into my sister’s hairbrush in the privacy of my 80’s rock bedroom……….I was Mick Jagger, I was David Coverdale (White snake) and I was Ian Gillian (Deep Purple) ………………little did I know I would end up looking like sodding Meatloaf.

Let’s leave the time when I would be singing “Smoke on the Water” into my sister’s hairbrush in my underpants and arrive at the present day.

Last night I hosted the Guest Talent Show and before that I had been under immense pressure to allow a 14 year old boy to take part……… is the build up to all of this.

Guest: Mr. ——Ref: 828020270A
Cabin: ____ Booking#: _______ Added-Changed: 10/08/09 – 10/08/09


Guest came to the desk to ask to speak to Cruise Director. Guest was very angry and shouting that her son was 14 and she had seen in the Capers that the minimum age was 16. Mrs. ___ said that her son was a professional singer and that he was going to be famous and that Carnival must have him in the show. Guest refused to leave the desk until CD spoke to her.

Guest was requested to lower her voice as she was disturbing other guests. CD was called and spoke to the guest. Tasked to CD

Well, as you can see I went down to the desk and was met by 300 pounds of very upset Mum. I tried to explain that we had a Circle C/Club O2 talent show later in the cruise but then she launched into another barrage telling me her son was too good and that ……….. and she truly meant this………..that her son would be a future American Idol winner for sure and the next …….and I quote “Kelly R.” Now…………apart from having no bloody clue who Kelly R is my experience told me that in this case it was probably best to bend the rules………calm her down……….and let Kelly R Jr have his day. And of course, if he was a future Simon Cowell cash machine……..then that would only make for a better Talent Show. So, I said……………… “Yes we can.”

And so I let him perform and the kid was good……….he wasn’t brilliant and he certainly has a nice voice but………..well………….to me there was no X factor at all. The audience applauded graciously but they erupted to a huge standing ovation when a young lady sang “I will always love you “later in the show………she was extraordinary.

Back to Kelly R Jr. I felt sorry for him. When I interviewed him after his performance I asked him what he wanted to be when he grew up………..he said one word …………. “famous.”

And that it seems is the way of the world. It’s not just that people want to be TV stars or pop stars instead of doctors or teachers ………it’s that they want to be these things even though they don’t have even a dollop of what’s required to reach their goals. I mean, look at the thousands and thousands of people who line up to audition for American and British Idol programs. Every one of them believes that they will win…………become famous…………..and become rich.

In Kelly R Jr’s case I think Mum was living her dreams through him. I am sure she thinks she is being kind, loving and supportive when she tells him he can be famous and win American idol………….but it’s not exactly telling him the truth, is it? I felt very sorry for the young man.

I still have dreams of having my own TV show but I know that there is more chance of President Obama winning the Nobel Peace Prize during his first year in office than that happening…………oh hold on………………bugger.

One thing is for certain…………writing this blog has transported me back to my youth so before I answer today’s questions………….where’s the hairbrush?……… it………..right ………….time for a break………..while I jump around in my underpants , banging my head and singing “Smoke on the Water”………..come on everyone………join in.

OK, now that’s over lets crack on with today’s questions……….here we go.

Kathleen Asked:
Dear Mr. Heald,
Please Reply,

I know that the Cunard Line still in a way does the First Class, Second Class and Third Class categories, so my question is, Will the Britannia Club be for First Class passengers who can afford the staterooms that go with it, or will any passenger be allowed into that Club. Just wondering.
Best Wishes,

This is the first time I have posted, but I have been lurking for over a year. Love your blog.

John Says
Hello Kathleen

Thanks for saying how much you enjoy the blog thingy and I am glad that you have decided to post a comment. Britannia Club is one of three levels that Cunard offer along with Princess Grill and Queens Grill Suites. The Britannia cabins offer the following amenities.
• A full bottle of sparkling wine upon embarkation
• Single-seating dining in the Britannia Club
• 24-hour room service
• Interactive TV with multi-language film and music channels
• Direct-Dial telephone & data port outlet
• Daily shipboard newspaper
• Fine linens
• Pillow Concierge Menu
• Terry cloth bathrobe & slippers
• Nightly turndown service with pillow chocolates
• Refrigerator, safe, hair dryer
• 220V British 3-pin and 110V 2-pin sockets

Guests dine on special a la carte specialties with a select few fellow guests in the intimate single-seating Britannia Club and it is very special. Regardless of where you dine on Cunard ships the experience is truly second to none. First class passengers are seated in the Queens Grill. I hope this answers your question and I am very jealous that you are taking a Cunard voyage. It is something that I hope one day; I will be doing as well.

Please let me know if I can help further
Best wishes

Debra Asked:

I really enjoy your blog and have had a brilliant time catching up on of the past posts and have shared the fun with my cruising compadres. Can you please direct me on who to contact to set up a meet and great for our CC group that will be sailing on the Spirit on 11/3? We are a lively group and have been discussing on meeting once on board.

Thank you so much…and keep doing what you’re doing!!!!!!

John Says:
Hello Debra
I took the liberty of sending your request to the ship. They will arrange a lounge on the first sea day in the afternoon for you. Please look for a note in the Capers that says “Cruise Critic Meet.”

Thanks for the kind word and best wishes to all

Barb Asked:
I need some help! We were on Carnival Destiny sailing from Miami on 9/12/09 and we had our itinerary switched from Ocho Rios & Grand Cayman to Key West and the Bahamas. This would have been no big deal however we were going to a memorial for my late father in law in Grand Cayman and we were taking my mother in law who was upset the whole trip. We contacted Carnival customer care who actually could care less about the situation. We were offered a 20% discount off of our next cruise before May of 2011 which we won’t use. Carnival refused to offer any other compensation as they felt this was good enough. Do you know if we have any recourse to settle this dispute with Carnival? It’s bad enough that we didn’t make the memorial but we feel the cruise to the Bahamas cost much less then what we paid for our original itinerary. And to boot we were VIP’s! Not that anyone at Carnival cared. Can you offer any advice? I won’t step foot on another Carnival cruise after the way we were treated.

John Says:
Hello Barb
I was so sorry to read and let me start with an apology for the distress of not being able to attend your father in law’s memorial must have caused. We do reserve the right to change the itinerary, it’s an industry standard that we all hope never has to be applied. I have sent your comments onto the CARE team and someone will indeed be in touch with you soon to see what we can do to assist with your concerns. Please let me know what happens and my apologies again to you and all the family.
Best wishes

MelanieG Asked:
John please reply

Not sure if you will get this in time. We leave for Italy next week and for the October 3rd sailing of the Carnival Dream. I was thinking about tipping room service and normally have always used dollars. Do you think the crew would prefer the Euros or shall I just use dollars? I am hoping to use room service ALOT as we sit out on our aft balcony # 8466.

John Says:
Hello Melanie G
While the Euro is the currency used in the ports (except Dubrovnik, Croatia) the dollar is fine to use as tips as is indeed the Euro. The crew will be happy to receive either or and it is so gracious of you to ask.
I hope you are having a wonderful time
Enjoy the champagne
Best wishes

Dave (reply please) Asked:
Hi John,

Quick question for you. The deck plans for the dream show the two 9A aft wraps on deck 8 as having full wraps (cabins 8466 and 8473) looking at some hi def pictures I found, it is clear that these cabins are not wraps at all, in fact the cabins “behind” them 8462 and 8469 have wrap balconies.

Now are my eyes deceiving me or is the Carnival deck plan wrong?

John Says:
Hello Dave
WOW – you may be right. I just read this and know I am not sure. Let me contact the ship and see if the balcony divider can be moved or not and what the correct information is. Thanks so much for bringing this to my attention and I hope to post the correct information in the next 24 hours. In fact……….I just received an immediate reply from the ship and this is the story.

According to the Guest Services Manager this was brought up to the ship yard yesterday in a meeting they had as you are correct. They are not wrap around balconies and therefore they are discussing with the shipyard ways to change this. Meanwhile guests who have booked these cabins based are being compensated accordingly. Hopefully this situation is taken care of quickly and I will let you know accordingly.
Thanks for bringing this to my attention
Best wishes

Julie Mendenhall Asked:
John (please reply)

I have to say Kye is adorable…simply stunning! My question is do you know the dates you will be on the Carnival Fantasy? Since she is coming to Charleston (my homeport!!!!) I really really really want to sail with you as my CD. Thanks for all you do for us. I have to try my best and book for when you will be on the Carnival Fantasy!

John Says:
Hello Julie
Thanks so much for the kind words about Kye and there will be an update on her very soon. I will be on the Carnival Fantasy from May 3rd to early June. We are all very excited about cruising from Charleston and maybe I will be lucky enough to welcome you personally onboard.
Best wishes

Charlene Asked:

Why did Carnival do away with the topless deck? My husband and I have been on 8 Carnival cruises and we totally enjoyed sunbathing up there. The last cruise we were on, the Miracle, last year we were very disappointed because we could no longer sunbathe on the topless deck because it no longer existed.

We have reservations for a back to back starting on June 12th, 2010, for our 40th anniversary. Does the Serenity deck have any topless bathing allowed?

John Says:
Hello Charlene
Well, you know what. I think you are the first person to mention the old topless decks here on the blog thingy since I started writing. Yes, we did have topless decks and while in the carefree 80’s and 90’s they were maybe used somewhat by the guests (mostly our European guests) their popularity got less and less. In fact, it was mainly the dancers who used them and that meant we took away lots of deck space for only a few guests. We also had the concerns of people going up there to see……..well………..once you have seen one you have seen them both……….if you know what I mean and for these reasons and to move with the times we stopped them. The Serenity decks are for adults only and are wonderful places to relax and soak up the sun. Topless sunbathing is allowed………for the men………but not the ladies.

I hope you are not too disappointed and I hope you have a brilliant anniversary vacation on your back to back cruises. If you have any other comments or questions, please let me know.
Best wishes and a very happy anniversary to you both.

D. Bowen Asked:
Dear John,
Thanks for keeping the blog up to date with all the information. You have no idea how much that helps us plan our future cruises. I just have a quick question, I have read where some people were able to purchase a certificate for $100 of their next cruise (for $100) and get some OBC during their present cruise. Why don’t they sell these on all cruises? We were on the Glory last year and would have bought a couple if we had the opportunity. Again thanks for all your information. Have a great week!

John Says:
Hello D. Bowen
Thanks for taking the time to write. The certificates you are referring to are part of a program we placed on some of our ships. Guests purchase the certificate for $100 onboard as a deposit on a future cruise. Then you get a bonus of “up to” $200 Onboard Credit depending on the cruise duration. The program has certain restrictions, such as not being combined with other promotions etc. It has proven to be very popular and we are looking at putting this on other ships soon. It is currently on the Carnival Valor, Carnival Conquest, Carnival Liberty and Carnival Freedom.

I hope this helps and I remain at your service
Best wishes

Billy G Asked:
I’m so sorry that Tampa is not being good to you so far (between the evil Sheraton check-in clerk and the snatcher of your box of cigars)…I hope that things have turned around for you by the time this comes up for reply, and that you are having a great time on the Carnival Leg End!

I had a quick question about the Behind the Fun tours…I recall a few months back that you mentioned that all of the ships in Carnival’s fleet would have a version of the Behind the Fun tour in place by the end of the year.

And as I will be enjoying my first ever Carnival cruise on the Carnival Inspiration at the end of November, I wondered if you could confirm if the Behind the Fun tour will be available on that ship by then?
Thanks in advance for taking the time to check into this, and for all of the time you put into your vastly entertaining blog thingy!!!

John Says:
Hello Billie G
I never did find my cigars and I am sure there is a baggage handler or dare I say a Boarder patrol official enjoying a fine cigar on me somewhere either in London or Tampa……….bastards.

I will get to see my first Behind the Fun tour myself on Saturday. It has sold out here on the Carnival Legend and it will be interesting to see the tour and how it works. I will report back of course here on the blog thingy.

The Behind the Fun tour will indeed be implemented on the Carnival Inspiration before you cruise so please enjoy it and let me know what your thoughts are. Was it worth the money? What was the highlight?
Thanks for the kind words
Best wishes

Sheshasmomma Asked:
John (please oh please reply)
I am a newer reader of you blog and you just crack me up, with your stories!

Good thing all the people who follow to airports like you, hope that ex Rumpy Pumpy partner (now nun) doesn’t go nutty as fruitcake and find you one day.

I have a question or two; we are part of a group going on the Inspiration on Jan 2, 2010. Why oh why did they change to one dinning room to open sitting and the other to a fixed time? We are 39 in all, some have early dinning but most of us are on a waiting list. What are the odds of all of us getting it? This cruise is a family reunion of sorts (not all can make the cruise), my husband comes from a big Italian family, most of us are from the states but a few are traveling from Italy for this cruise.

Do they still have a Captain’s dinner or meet and greet type thing? I always thought is was nice that some of the officers would take the time, but they must be bored of it….lol

John you have a great time on your travels but please stay safe and stay clear of nuns ;-p

John Says:
Hello Sheshasmomma
Welcome to the blog thingy and how good it is for me to read that it brings a smile to your face. The Anytime Dining option has proven to be immensely popular although I don’t think that an entire dining room on the Carnival Inspiration has been devoted to this. Please don’t worry about your group. Did you book as a group or as individual bookings. If it is the later then please let me know a month before you sail and I will ask the Maitre D to try and assist you in being seated in the same section of the dining room. We still have the elegant night dinner preceded by a chance to meet the Captain and senior officers and don’t forget the Farewell celebration at the end of the cruise featuring complimentary cocktails.
I will be here should you need further help
Best wishes

Michelle Mann Asked:
Hi John – Please Reply

Glad 2 have u back, missed your blog these last few days.
My youngest son David is now in his final year at school (yippee) and has to make some important choices about what he wants to do. We have had scuba diver, underwater welder, underwater filming/photo, underwater welder, anyway you get the picture, well last week he has decided it’s a teen host on a carnival ship (water in there somewhere!!). Please could you let me know who to contact for details on joining the youth/teen staff. Royal Navy or Carnival, I know which one I prefer.
Take care, love from a sunny Thorpe Bay

John Says:
Hello Michelle
Oh how I miss Thorpe Bay, I could do with an Oriana fix right now and a frapacrapacino from Ciao. David sounds like whatever he decides to do he wants to do it near water. Start him off by reading all about the position of Club O2 Director by looking at

Then, if he is truly interested I will pop over and chat with him when I am home in December. Let me know if this is OK or tell Heidi the next time she pops in for a decaf something.

Best wishes to all and please can you show this to the lady at Oriana – ITS THE BEST CHINESE FOOD IN THE WORLD – and that thousands of people just read that. Maybe I will get free spring rolls now.

Chuck Freeman Asked:
Hello John…

My wife Tiffany and I are booked on the blog cruise on 12/03/09. We have always followed your blog. It’s great! I have two questions?

How do we get signed up for the events for the bloggers? If any? and… This is our 5th Carnival cruise and we always see people taking bridge tours. How do we get signed up for that?

Thanks again for always taking time out of your day to make us laugh! I know how much time you must spend to do the blog thingy! LOL You are a very busy man!

John Says:
Hello Chuck
The bloggers cruise will soon be here and it will be terrific to show you all around your Carnival Dream. Did you tell Stephanie that you were part of the group? Did you book with the fare code? If not, please send her a comment marked for 1 of the 343 Stephanie’s attention including your booking number and state room and one of them will add you to the ever growing list.

The bridge tours are unfortunately no more. The days of us taking hundreds of guests to the command center of the ship have since gone. Now we do have the new Behind The Fun tour which we charge for but……….it allows 16 people to see the bridge, meet the Captain, see the engine control room, meet the Chief Engineer and a chance to visit other areas usually marked “crew only.” This will be available on your Carnival Dream. I hope you get a chance to go.
See you soon
Best wishes

Mona Asked:
John, please reply,

I have heard that ‘On Deck for the Cure’ is not currently being supported on the Carnival Splendor. I have participated in 10 60 mile walks over the last 8 years to support breast cancer awareness and treatment, and would love to be able to add an ‘On Deck’ activity to my repertoire. My sister and I will be celebrating her 50th birthday on the Carnival Splendor for the 18 October sailing. Is there any way to get an “On Deck for the Cure” event scheduled for that cruise?

I’ve been a frequent reader of your blog since before Kye was born, but never written in before. Thanks for keeping us all entertained with your musings and responses to so many questions. Congratulations on your beautiful little girl!

John Says:
Hello Mona
Thanks for taking the time to write. The On the Deck for the Cure is offered on most ships on most voyages. I just checked with the Cruise Director ………whose name is very unusual…………Stephanie…………and she told me that they will indeed be doing the walk during your voyage. I am so glad that you and your sister will be celebrating her special landmark on the Carnival Splendor and I wish her a happy birthday and you both a wonderful cruise.

Best wishes and thanks also for the kind words

David Binder Asked:
Please Reply Back. Fist off welcome back to the states. I love your Blogs. I get a great laugh when I read them. I am going on the Pride in July of 2010. I would like to know who would be the CD then, or if you can’t tell me, when will the list be out for next year.
Thanks John, and I am glad you are back.
David Binder

John Says:
Hello David
Thanks for the nice words, its always rejuvenating when I read that people like the blogs and it gives me encouragement to sit here in my underpants and keep writing… The Cruise Director schedule is not yet complete for 2010. It will be soon and once Mr. Chris Prideaux has done it he will send it to me and I will post it here on the blog thingy. I am sure you are looking forward a lot to your Carnival Pride cruise and I will let you know who the CD will be as soon as I can.
Best wishes

Julie Anne Husbands Asked:
John (please reply),
Welcome to Tampa!
I have 4 questions:
1. I wrote you some months ago about an issue with past guest numbers for my mother and I. You said some one would contact me about it, but I haven’t heard anything yet and our cruise will start October 24th. We’re on the Carnival Freedom and it involves my mother (Evelyn) and I. Could you get your new team on this and make sure we’re both shown as Past Guests?

2. You said to remind you a couple of weeks in advance, and we’re still 25 days out, but you seem to be a little behind, but we’d really appreciate being assigned a table fairly near an entrance. My mother will need to bring her scooter within 10 feet of the table, and based on past experience there aren’t a lot of “parking spaces” in the dining rooms. We love meeting and eating with new friends, just don’t want to create a traffic jam for all the other guests.

3. I’m trying to decide between two shore excursions in Panama. 1) Panama Canal Tour or 2) Two oceans by Railroad. Which do you think is better? Are there any shore excursions that are handicapped accessible for my Mom?

#4. I live in Tampa is there anything you’d like me to bring you? Maybe some diet root beer or other treat? If so, how could I get it to you onboard?

(I do have a local source for PG Tips or canned Spotted Dick if you’d like a taste of home).
Thanks for everything you do for us!

John Says:
Hello Julie Ann Husbands
I am pretty sure I replied to you as I remember the question very well. Never mind, I am sure it’s lost out there in blog space. I have alerted the ships cruise director Wee Jimmy and he will make sure both you and Mum get an invitation to the past guest reception which I know you will both enjoy. I have also copied the Maitre D to make sure you have a table close to the entrance so Mum will be comfortable.

With regards to the tours you mentioned I would definitely go with The Two Oceans by Railroad. I think Mum will be far more comfortable on the train than the boat and the views from this tour are spectacular and there is not too much walking. If you have any doubts, please speak to Wee Jimmy or one of the Shore Excursion staff………but for me, it’s the Two Oceans tour.

You are so kind to offer to bring me gifts. Luckily, Heidi packed all my favorite goodies but your kindness is so wonderful.

I hope you will both have a brilliant cruise
Best wishes

Cheryl K Asked:
I am so happy that you finally had an uneventful flight so that in itself should have tipped you off that something would go wrong. What a nice thing for your fans to greet you and make you feel welcome even if immigration didn’t. I know it must have been awful having to leave your girls behind.

My question is about Radu. I love the ship photos he takes and the Carnival Dream leaving Venice is beautiful. He has taken photos of the Carnival Splendor going under the Golden Gate Bridge so if he is taking photos of the ship sailing either into or out of each new port from vantage points high above the ship, is he traveling on land to get from one place to another? I thought he was also sailing with us in South America but maybe I was wrong. I love the webcams too and was so excited this weekend to see the Carnival Dream webcam working on a beautiful day in Venice. Why do only the newest ships have them?

It seems the entire fleet of Princess has them and it’s has to be a marketing draw to have people look at them and see them in places they would love to go. Holland America doesn’t have any. I’m sure there is expense involved but it is so much fun to look at them especially when you are booked and it isn’t your turn yet!

I cruised with Brad on the Carnival Splendor and he was lots of fun and I’m happy for him.
Kye just seems from her photos to be such a happy baby and her smile just makes you smile. Thank you for sharing your girls with us. I look forward to her photos each week to see how she has changed like I do seeing my own grandchildren.

This past week Carnival has had a media blitz here in Atlanta but my favorite is still the horn on the Carnival Splendor with Capt. P. which has been on a couple of times.

John Says:
Hello Cheryl
It was indeed amazing that some Tampa bloggers gave me the warmest of welcomes, I felt so honored. Radu is an amazing artist and his photos are actually for sale on many of the Carnival ships. I will be featuring more of his work when your Carnival Dream gets to New York. The web cams are very popular and the technology for this is still pretty new if you come to think about it. I think………I am not sure……….but the first ship we put it on was the Carnival Liberty but you make a good point, we should have it on as many of the carnival ships as possible. I will bring this to the table.

Great to hear that you enjoyed Brad and I will pass on your congratulations. Thank you for your continuing support of Carnival and for those beautiful words about Kye.
Best wishes

Debra Asked:
Submitted on 2009/09/28 at 8:38pm
Please reply….John, did I just read that you will be on the Spirit in November??????? I am so excited. Can you help my c.c. group set up a meet and great? We have been talking about it on our thread but no one has taken the reins yet. Can you suggest a good meeting spot or tell us who to contact to set something up.

I love the blog and have so much fun reading your posts…..keep doing what you’re doing…you have us smiling from coast to coast.
Thank you.

John Says:
Hello Debra
I hope you didn’t get too excited too quickly. I will be on the Carnival Spirit but in November …….2010. Regardless if I will be there or not I will be honored to set up your Cruise Critic meet and greet for you. Just let me know.

Thanks so much and I hope you keep reading the blogs
Best wishes

That’s all for today. The comments have been coming in thick and fast. Thanks so much and I will continue to answer your questions as quickly as possible.

I just wanted to update you on some special activities surrounding the arrival of your Carnival Dream. Although much of the info is still hush-hush, I did want to let you know that we are planning some exciting activities in New York City that will be fun for the whole family and, I’ll be hosting a bloggers get together the morning of November 7. We’ll have additional details shortly but mark your calendars for what is sure to be a terrific event.

Time for today’s photos featuring the beautiful Carnival Legend. These photos were taken by the photo manager of the Holiday when the ships were together in Cozumel.







Well, I think the first week here on the Carnival Legend has gone well. It took a few days for me to get back into the groove and also it took some time for me to get used to the flow of guests on a Spirit class ship. The shows have gone well and last night I performed the bedtime story which, even though I personally think is a little dated now, still seemed to be as popular as ever. The staff here is excellent and having a personal assistant has proven a godsend. Craig is doing very well and has taken a lot of my plate. He liaises between all the departments, produces the Carnival Capers and makes sure the department is for the most part taken care of. I know that I would not be able to manage the blog and all the other projects I have without an assistant and Craig joins Stephanie, Jaime and of course Heidi whom I have to thank so much for their outstanding help.

Here is a short bio from Craig.

Heya John,

Just a few bits about me over time?..hmm ill try to keep this short.

I grew up in the Seaside holiday town of Margate England. I have been in Entertainment my whole life, starting from a young age, to the fine age of 23! With huge love of live stand up Comedy. Over years my talents and love for the stage have developed into strange habits to be able to play great practical jokes and quote random movies lines.

I graduated from College in Performing Arts and then graduated from De MontFort University Bedford England with a BA in Theatre & Contemporary Arts. I first Joined Carnival in Nov 2005 and have not looked back since. My first Carnival ship was the Celebration which opened the doors to the cruise life & industry. Over those nearly four years with the company I was given a nickname which stuck from ship to ship ,with both guests and crew, this was to be da da daaaa….. ‘SEXY CRAIG’. Long story behind this…

I have one younger Brother (Tom Tom) & older sister (Kelly) and Mum and Dad (Paul and Maureen)..Yes I have middle child syndrome!!!!….and a dog called Gracie

PS the photo was my CV piccy when I was job hunting before Carnival!! Ha ha ha and yes it’s taken inside a shed in the back garden…

Craig Johnson CV photo

He will be covering the ship as CD when I leave until after the CD conference when Jen Baxter will return to glitterworld.

While Craig is in some aspects the Cruise Director behind the scenes, I am still responsible for the staff and being a manager as many of you will know is never easy. It is specifically difficult when you are managing 60 entertainers who need constant care, love, attention and who are some of the most highly strung insecure people in the world. Entertainers are artists and have to be treated with kid gloves………..and that is never easy.

I have had two calls this week from other CD’s who needed the advice of their Senior Cruise Director which of course I am always happy to give. One CD is having a problem with one of his assistant managers and although I can’t go into details of course there is often one factor in these situations that is always relevant. You see, in most jobs there is a time, when at the end of the day and in some cases at the weekend, when you close the office door, say goodbye and you don’t see that staff member until the following day. On a ship there is no escape. You work with the same people 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for up to 6 months at a time. You work, play, eat and socialize with the same group of people. On land, if you have a personality clash with someone you can choose not to go out for a drink or see them at all out of working hours………..that of course are not the case on ships. And therefore, these situations can escalate quickly because there is not that outlet. Anyway, I gave him the best advice I could and hopefully they will be able to work things out.

As for me. Well, I love my job, I truly do. But as I have mentioned a few times before, coming back to an empty cabin on the high of a show is deflating and quite honestly ………lonely. And I think if you talk to many of the CD’s they will tell you the same. You see, while some Cruise Directors will socialize every night with their staff in the crew lounge, many, like me find that this becomes detrimental. It’s hard to be the boss and lay down the rules when you have been dancing around the crew lounge with an ice bucket on your head singing “I’m a little teapot” with them the night before.

Luckily most Cruise Directors have their wives or girlfriends or both living with them onboard………………actually I must be politically correct here……….and say……..some have their boyfriends living with them……….I always forget we have lady Cruise Directors and George Solano.

Seriously though………….coming back to an empty nest is not easy and I still and probably never will get used to that.

Anyway……….let’s move on.

Overall the guests have been amazing and the incident report has been as small as I can remember it. Do you remember the poor lady who had Mr. and Mrs. Rabbit in the stateroom next to her? They were having very loud rumpy pumpy and having it often ………..well……….the lady has complained again and coincidentally we had some guests disembark yesterday in Belize for an unfortunate medical situation………..the guest is fine by the way but needed immediate surgery.

Anyway, we moved the guest away from the Rabbits and as I read the report that we had done so I thought I would check to see if the rumpy pumpy couple were honeymooners ………..and they are not………Mrs. Rabbit is 49 and Mr. Rabbit………is 53 …………………… lucky bastards.

So, that’s it for today. On Monday I will be posting an update from Heidi and even though there won’t be a photo of Kye she will let you all know how she is doing.

Next week we have the Goth group. I am prepared for that having painted a cross on my cabin door and have cloves of garlic standing by. I will leave you today with a comment from our incident report. Thanks for joining me this week and see you all on Monday.

Guest: Mr. ———Ref: 828010169A
Cabin: ____ Booking#: _______ Added-Changed: 10/07/09 – 10/08/09

Chief Security informed Guest Services Supervisor that Mr.______ had tried to board the ship on return from Cozumel with a lizard. Security had seen the animal when it passed through in a bag the x ray machine. Guest was told he could not bring it onboard. Mr. ______ was very upset as he had paid $40 for it. The ships agent took the animal back to Cozumel. Guest is demanding $40 be paid to him by Carnival.
More to follow.

Rabbits and Lizards…………welcome to the M/S Carnival Ark.

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.