The Dating Game

December 2, 2009 -

John Heald

Last night the crew of your Carnival Dream let their hair down and had a crew party in the disco. They have worked so very hard and that work started many weeks before the first sailing back in September as they prepared the ship for three Grand Med cruises, a 16 day trans Atlantic voyage, the naming ceremony, a 2 day VIP cruise and then 2 cruises from New York…………………and so they had their first night off and a good time was had by all.

As you know I am not a big fan of discos mainly because of the music and because they make me feel very old. However, last night I decided to do the right thing and make an appearance. So I braved the sounds of Pee Diddly and walked the dance club shaking hands with my fellow crew members. Many knew me from past new ship deliveries and it was extraordinary how many wanted to have a photo with me…………..I felt very humbled…………….and a little “rock-starish.”

I then stood back and watched nature take its course and by that I mean……………….I watched the crew try and form …………ummmmm………….relationships……………..and as they did I felt so happy that I am out of that game. I was never any good at talking to girls and spent most of my dating years asking girls out and then asking my Mum to wash their vomit off my clothes.

Honestly…………the crew are no different to any dance club on a Friday night………….man wants woman…………..woman wants man…………………yet their are two very different ways that they want to be courted………….and there were many different messages coming from the packed Carnival Dream dance club last night.

There were a few girls who seemed to be very good at telling the male crew how sexy they are…….”Check out my bottom in these leather jeans. Could be your lucky night”……..these girls were mostly surrounded by the Italian officers.

Then there were those male crew who were trying to let the female crew know they could be interested, but were still deciding whether they were worth the effort……..These were the ones who kept checking out their hips and trying to squint down their bras…………mostly this was being done by the Italian Officers.

But unlike when I was a young stud muffin its not all down to the man to make the first move ……..because these days the ladies seem to have no problem in making the first move. However………..there is an art form to this and so to all the lady bloggers reading this here is John Heald’s guide on how to pick up a man.

First of all if you are relatively beautiful and he is relatively not, almost any technique will work from a slight smile to the worst chat-up line ……………“If you were a new burger at McDonald’s, you would be McGorgeous.”……….. If you are relatively ugly and he is relatively not, you’re going to have to hope he agrees that personality is more important than looks…………….and although every man says that’s important……………….he is actually talking utter bollocks.

However, you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to cheat the system. You can rely on alcohol, but I wouldn’t recommend it. While beer goggles can lead to magical nights in strange beds, going home with George Clooney and waking up next to me…….naked……snoring……and dribbling slightly.

However ladies……… thing is more important for you to remember than anything else …………….. men are more desperate than women. When you talk to us at parties and in the ship’s Piano Bars, we find this really exciting, but we are also suspicious. Why is she talking to me? Is she trying to win a bet? Does she want to have rumpy pumpy with some other guy I am standing with and using me to get to him?

Oh and there are some other rules to remember. So, some quick rules. Dress sexy …………… and most importantly…………don’t make us dance………………please don’t make us dance.

It’s time to answer today’s questions…………….here we go.

Tracy Asked:
Pls Reply

Hi john I got our cabin number remember u were gonna help us get the balcony booth in the dining room back of the ship. It’s better that way with a 4 yr old. Please respond cabin number 8376.

Tell Heidi hi and hug the baby for me. Tracy

John Says:
Hello Tracy

I will be happy to help if I can Tracy. Please though send a quick reply marked “attention Stephanie” and include the date of sailing and the ship as I can’t remember when and on which ship you are sailing on. Please let me know and thanks for the very kind words.
Best wishes

Flipflopcruisequeen Asked:

You are too much, and again I must thank you for your dedication to all of us here in blogger land. I only have one request, and one that I think could be rendered quite easily. That being, if they could lengthen the ships horn on all of the Carnival videos. The horn, which is one of my most favorite sounds, is way too short at the end of the videos. When I hosted one of the Carnival Fun parties, I had downloaded and recorded the ships horn over and over again and would hit the “play” button on the cd system at opportune moments during the party. It was a huge hit.

John Says:
Hello Sheryl

Thank you for letting me know about this great idea and I have sent this comment to someone in our technical services department. I am sure he is currently scratching his beard trying to figure out how to get this done. The Carnival smokestack has always been an icon and now of course it has become the new and official logo on our all merchandise and advertising and the sound of that horn………….is the sound that the fun has begun and I think it should last longer as well.

The Carnival Fun Parties were a huge hit and that was to thanks to people like you. I hope this event is something that we can repeat next year as well. Thanks for the great idea and I will let you know what the beardies can do to make it happen.
Best wishes

Rick Asked:
Please Reply

Hello John, Great blog again, you still make me laugh when I read your posts. The owner’s suite looks fantastic; maybe one day Jeanne and I will find the door open also 😉

We are off on the Conquest again the 29th of November. As this is a special anniversary for the two of us I would like to ask your help, John. Our booking information and cabin number are listed below.

Would it be at all possible for you to arrange for the two of us to have a table for two in the main dining room?

I would also like to order some chocolate covered strawberries and flowers for the room again but the last couple of times they have been a bit of a disappointment. Is there someone in the bon voyage department that might be able to make certain everything is fresh?

Any help will be deeply appreciated by us both.


ps: Our best to both Heidi & Kye

Richard & Jeanne ODonnell
Conquest Sailing November 29, 2009

John Says:
Hello Rick

I am happy to read that you enjoy the blogs and that they make you laugh and I hope that they continue to do so. I know that you will probably end up reading this when you disembark the Carnival Conquest and I am so sorry that it is a late reply. I did send an e-mail to the ship and hopefully they were able to help you and that you enjoyed the little gift I sent you.

Please let me know how the cruise went and I look forward to reading your report.
I am sure you had a brilliant time.
Best wishes

Debbie browning Asked:
Dear John. Please reply although you may not want to publish my report.

I have just arrived home from my carnival dream t/a cruise my cabin number was 8462. The first 3 days there were workmen in the balcony changing the partitioning. I booked that cabin for the longer balcony as I enjoy sleeping out there .I could have been informed of this. The net curtains at the door were frayed. There was a very sharp edge on the bathroom door where I cut myself. I reported this to a steward (not mine as he was not there) he put some gel and a plaster on my finger and said he would report it. I am afraid the food in the dining room was cold, Myself and the other couple complained, in the end I did not want to eat there and had our meals upstairs. On that subject it would have been nice if the officers used the hand gel and trays that we were all told to use. I am a smoker and there was ample space to smoke, However when the weather is bad that is a different story. (We are asked not to smoke in our rooms.) I think that should be addressed. Deck 5 was nice but most people thought it was the joggers track and all you could hear was squelch squelch of the trainers, they should have been on deck 12. The door to the ocean plaza from the lanai was too heavy even for staff.

I was so looking forward to arriving in New York at 09.00 as advertised but I overheard staff saying that we will arrive at 3.30am I went to the pursers office and was told no way we will arrive at that time. Again I heard we were going to arrive at 3.30 and again I went to the office when paying my Sail and Sign account I was told we would arrive early to allow the ship to get ready for the naming ceremony I told them I was not happy and wanted to log a complaint. So after staying up to see the Statue of Liberty and approximately 2 hours sleep I was kicked off the ship. In a City I have never been to, I managed to get a taxi to our hotel but we had arrived so early that we had to wait until 1pm for a room to be ready. I paid for 16 nights on board in fact really we only got 15. I am not a winger John but you were also on that ship you must have noticed some of my comments. As a platinum member I have done many cruises with Carnival this was the worst I have ever done.

John Says:
Hello Debbie

I was so disappointed to read your comments and let me start by saying how sorry I am that the cruise in part did not meet your expectations. I will address these issues with our care team and someone will be in touch with you very quickly. I won’t go through every comment individually except to say that I agree with you about the arrival into New York. The brochure did say that we would arrive at 9 am and I know how many of the guests were disappointed that this was not adhered to. We really messed up there because in reality the Captain would never be getting the ship in at that time because that would mean debarkation would not start until 10 am and finish until lunchtime which would delay the departure of the next cruise. The brochure was therefore wrong and that’s something that I must apologize for. I was on the last three days of that cruise and I was one of many who were disappointed.

The other issues are ones that as I said will be addressed by the team here onboard and ones that I know we can improve on. Please let me know if you have a follow up question and as I said someone will be contacting you soon.

Best wishes and thank you for your loyalty to Carnival Cruise Lines.

Bill (Zydecocruiser) from Asked:
John, Please Reply

Hi John,
With all due respect to Mr Zonis, we are seriously disappointed that there has not been a peep out of Carnival on the passing of Chief Engineer Raimondo Nicita, who passed away June 19th, 2009.

This complete lack of respect for a man who gave so much to Carnival will not be forgotten.

If you cannot convince corporate to do the right thing, then I would like to think you would dedicate a blog commemorating the man who did so much for, and loved, Carnival.

Best Regards,

John Says:
Hello Bill

Respectfully I would like to point out that I met and worked with Chief Engineer Nicita just once and that was back in 1991 on the Carnivale. Therefore I did not consider myself in a position to write a memoriam piece about him. However, internally the years Raimondo gave Carnival Cruise Lines was honoured both in writing in our internal Seaview Magazine and by a letter from our Senior Vice President which was posted on every notice board on every ship. There were several individuals in our operations department who also attended his funeral service in Italy.

I knew and worked with Mr.Zonis a lot over my 22 years at sea and he had a profound effect on my career and those of many thousands of Carnival shore side and shipboard employees and as I have said his influence on the entire industry was immeasurable. I want to thank you for posting your thoughtful words on your site and I know that he will be sorely missed.
Thank you again for your kindness.
Best wishes to you and Elizabeth

Laura Asked:
Dear John (please reply),

I am glad to see that ship pins will be available for those ships that do the shorter cruises (i.e. Paradise, Sensation, etc) but I do have a question about past guest parties. Why are they not offered on the shorter cruises? Does it have to do with not having enough time? I have been lucky on that my two longer cruises I was able to attend the past guest parties, but I have two short cruises coming up in 2010 and feel sad that I won’t be able to attend one. My mother will be sailing with me on one of those cruises and after she enjoyed being my “guest” at the party on the Elation, was really looking forward to receiving a past guest invitation of her own. Maybe this is something that can be discussed during the CD conference going on right now? Thanks!

John Says:
Hello Laura

The pins are now in every onboard shop and I hope that even though some of you have to pay for them that the fact that are available again is appreciated. The past guest parties are indeed offered on cruises of 5 days or more and it is indeed a question of time and economics that that they are not offered on the shorter cruises and I am sorry to say that there are no plans at the moment to change that. Please let me know three weeks or so before you sail next year and allow me to send Mum something to make up for not getting an invitation.
Best wishes to you both

John, Please reply.

Sorry about Friday November 13 on the Dream, I was feeling very sick. Hope you liked the Fire Department patch I gave you. It was a pleasure to finally meet you, even though it was so short.

John Says:
Hello Tim

I am so glad that you have written because when I met you on deck 10 and you said you were going to disembark because you felt unwell I was so very worried. What happened…………did you disembark………..are you ok now? Please let me know. The patch was very special and will be something I will always cherish. Please write soon and let me know you are OK.
Best wishes

Andrea Budd Asked:
Please Reply, Dear John.

I just read a post that you will be coming on board as our Cruise Director on the Carnival Dream January 30 to February 6, 2010 I hope I read that right. I have read your blog for a long time and it makes me laugh I read it every day with my tea. Great blog today that is a great idea to have a FB page for CDs it would be nice to keep in touch with people you meet. Fantastic….. I see you are from Essex? that is were my Dad is from and my Grandparents lived, well it will be wonderful to meet you and we cant wait to relax and have Fun on the Fun ship Carnival Dream maybe we will meet on the slide if I get the nerve and I seem to be a little scared but well our Son will be going down it and maybe hubby. But for sure I will be playing mini put it looks fabulous…..

Can’t Wait To Meet You
Love to your family

Best Wishes and Take Care
Andrea, Robert, Bobby
Nova Scotia, Canada

John Says:
Hello Andrea

It will be an honour to meet you and your family next month. The cruise of the 30th will be my first as CD on your Carnival Dream and it will be an honour (spelt correctly) to meet you and your family and they must all have a go on the slide. If I can do it………………anyone can.

Look forward to seeing you all soon and talking about good old Essex.
Best wishes to all

Matt T Asked:
Hi John (please reply),

I hope that despite how busy you were, you were able to enjoy yourself. I can’t wait to sail the Dream on our cruise over the holidays in December.

As for what makes a great cruise director: originality (not using the same jokes over and over)… at least some originality, personality and personability (both on stage), and lastly…. visibility (I know there is paperwork, but maybe someone else can assist with this so the cruise director can walk around more and have the ability to both meet and entertain guests).

Two questions:

-On the Dream in December, we were wondering if we will see one of our favorite employees (on any cruise line not just Carnival) – Roberto Dejesus. He was the best waiter ever, and I was wondering if he’ll either be on the Dream for the holiday sailings or if not, on another ship that might dock with the Dream.

-I have been skimming some Dream capers, and I do not see any reggae bands. Maybe this is because the ship has not entered the Caribbean? My one concern was that the big screen would take away from the live reggae band, and I hope this will never be the case. This is our favorite thing about cruising. I also hope the reggae band will not decrease in size or hours (some have said the “bands” are down to two people with a few hours a day, but again, maybe this is only the case on other lines…?) There’s nothing like laying out with a drink listening to the live band play some Bob Marley favorites.

Thanks so much John. I can’t wait for the next blog. Safe travels, and speak to you soon.

-Matt T

John Says:
Hello Matt

Thanks for your thoughts on what makes a great CD and I think with the current crop of young ladies and gentlemen (and the older ones like Steve, Lenny, Paul and …..ummmmm…….me ) we have the best in the industry.

I checked with our personnel department and Roberto is currently working on the Carnival Valor. I will make sure though that he sees your comment about him and I know he will be proud to read it. I am also sure that your dining room team here on your Carnival Dream will make sure that you have another wonderful dinning room experience.

We did not have a reggae band while in Europe but there is a great calypso duo on here now and they along with the other musicians and bands will make sure your time on Lido Deck is a memorable one. The recent survey I asked for on the blog thingy proved that you and many others love the reggae, calypso sounds while out in the sun and we have no intention of changing this in the future. I hope you have a brilliant time on your Carnival Dream.
Best wishes

Tricia Peterson Asked:
John (would love a reply…),

I just got off my 1st cruise, aboard the Splendor, and I have to say for the most part I had a great time. I look forward to many more cruises and meeting more Cruise Directors – Goose was very funny and grew on me as the week progressed.

Ordinarily, I would never comment on a blog but my curiosity has got the best of me. We were in an inside cabin, 1371, and for the most part it was great, except every morning we were woke up by noises from under us (I think) that sounded like hammering, grinding and sawing of some kind. I wanted to take the Behind the Scenes tour to see what was going on down there, but tried to register and was too late. Any idea what would be in this area of the ship that would cause the noises I described?? A) I’m very curious what in the world they were doing all day down there and B) would this be an isolated area on the ship? I loved the general location, but I hate waking up so early, so for future bookings I’m interested in where to avoid. Any insight you have that helps satisfy my odd desire to know everything about my surroundings is much appreciated!

John Says:
Hello Tricia

I am so glad that you had such a great time and that you enjoyed Goose as your Cruise Director, I will make sure he gets to read your kind words.

I checked with the ship and the cabin is under what we called the “Marshaling Area “This is the area where we place all our stores during the loading process and where the joiners and carpentry and engineering workshops are located. While there may have been some residual noise during the day as work was carried out it should not have started until 9 am. This is very important and I apologize if this was not the case and I have immediately sent this to the ship for their information and correction. I am glad you took the time to tell me and I hope it did not cause you too much disturbance and if you have a follow up to this please let me know.

Thanks again for posting this comment and I truly hope you had a great time.
Best wishes

Joe M Asked:

John, I read with great trepidation your comments on the November 17th blog indicating that the Serenity Deck may be used for night time parties. I desperately hope that’s not true.

We have booked our first Carnival cruise for the Carnival Dream in May. We specifically booked a Spa Balcony on Spa deck so that we would be far from the action. If we’re going to be subjected to party noise and cigar ashes drifting down from the Serenity area above, I’m really going to be regretting that my Early Saver booking is non-refundable.

Please, John, remind the powers that be that some guests prefer to have some areas of the ship that are peaceful and quiet. Especially if that area is actually NAMED “Serenity”.

John Says:
Hello Joe M

The Serenity Decks will be used for nighttime activities but you have nothing to fear. These will be held in the early evening and will feature sunset parties, Mojito hours etc and if there is music it will be soft and mellow as the location depicts. There will be no late night parties or functions and I promise these activities will only enhance your time onboard. Please don’t worry and let me know if you have any further questions. You will love this ship and your Spa Cabin experience will be something you will really enjoy.
Best wishes

That’s all for today and I know I am repeating myself but please would you allow me three weeks to reply to your questions. I hate being late and missing them so please do what you can to get these questions and requests to me as soon as you can and I will do my best to help you.

Yesterday your Carnival Dream left New York and is currently heading for Port Canaveral. Before I talk about that I thought you might enjoy more stunning photos of our departure taken by Radu.

Radu mate… are so very talented and thanks again for sharing those terrific photos with us all.

And talking of great photos everyone you MUST have a look at this amazing slide show of the sail out of Holland Americas new ship the Niew Amsterdam……… is the link thingy and I must say I love the way they have done this.

P&O has a new Managing Director the wonderful Ms Carol Marlow. Carol has worked in travel & leisure – tour operating, hotels and entertainment – for over 20 years. In 1997, she entered the cruise sector as Managing Director of Swan Hellenic Cruises, and 2 years later also worked for P&O Cruises as Sales & Marketing Director. She then became UK Director for Princess Cruises, and in addition in 2004, Carol took over as Director for Cunard Line in Europe, Middle East and Africa. In November 2005 Carol was appointed President & Managing Director of Cunard Line worldwide and held this position until July 2009.

Carol is now Managing Director of P&O Cruises, Britain’s favorite cruise line and she has started writing a blog as well which I think is just brilliant. It is never easy for a company executive to write a blog but Carol does so with ease. I have sent her some questions to answer for an exclusive look behind the scenes at her new position and to talk about P & O’s new and exciting ship the Azura.

She is currently posting on James Cusick’s blog but I hope she gets her own blog address thingy soon. Anyway, look out for her interview very soon and after you have read her first blog posting please read the comments posted underneath which like the passion and love you all have for Carnival show why the same passion and love for P & O make it Britain’s Favourite Cruise Line. Here is the link thingy.

After last night’s party the crew are back to work preparing the ship for our arrival into Port Canaveral tomorrow. The ship is currently doing 19.5 knots and doing so in pretty rough sea conditions. As I sit here ……………… my underpants………………we are off the coast of South Carolina and the wind is blowing at 30 – 40 knots and we have 8 foot waves coming from the east.

The sea looks like old Neptune has taken a big egg whisk to it but your Carnival Dream is big strong lady ………………….think Lady Russian Shot Putter……………..and she is holding her own and handling the conditions with ease. The Captain has told me we will be at the Port Canaveral pilot station tomorrow morning at 9 am and alongside at 10 am. The Hotel Director has therefore said that we should be able to start embarkation a little early hopefully. I will give you the cruise specifics of how many guests, kid count etc tomorrow. I know many of the bloggers are also Platinum guests and I promise we will do our best to get you onboard as soon as we can.

We have just had our pre bloggers cruise meeting with all the department heads and talked about the activities, cabin deliveries and other important aspects of the cruise and with the team we have here on your Carnival Dream I know everything will be smooth. Tomorrow I will post a copy of the special activity sheet so you can see what everyone will be enjoying and of course I will make sure I post daily blogs about what’s been happening.

My one fear is that like the last two bloggers cruises I will have guests telling me mid cruise that they are bloggers and want to come to the events and while this is OK with me the one thing I will have to say “no” to is when they ask for the gifts. The 343 Stephanies were very strict about the fact that everyone had to pre register and I will have to adhere to this policy otherwise I will find myself with not enough gifts for those who have registered. The final count is around 200 and I will confirm this tomorrow.

The festivities will start off with a welcome onboard cocktail party and Peter “the Hair” Gonzalez who films and produces all the great videos on and the blog will be on hand to capture and post lots of video footage throughout the nine days.

Also joining me from the Miami office is the shy and sometimes bearded Jordan Corredera who is the Director of Internet Marketing and is responsible for the entire contact of He has agreed to host a Q & A session about the cruise industry’s most popular website and I am sure his fellow bearded bloggers will find this fascinating.

It will certainly be a very busy time for me and I promise that there will be blogs on Thursday and Friday and then as usual Monday onwards.

This Wednesday morning I am in a state of panic because I realized that it was nearly Christmas. I suddenly realized this thanks to the Christmas advertising on the TV and the commercials showing the perfect family unwrapping their gifts on Christmas morning made me realize I had bugger all for Heidi…………and worse…………..buggger all for Kye.

Ok, let me deal with rationally……………..Kye first. Well obviously is too young to appreciate Christmas and if Daddy is a cheap bastard or not so I when I get home I will go to the Everything Is a Pound Store (the UK equivalent of the Everything’s a $1 store) and buy her a plastic something she can bite on. OK, that’s her sorted.

But what about Heidi. Last year you may remember I bought her a new Espresso machine and that was me spending Christmas day in the doghouse. I have therefore learned my lesson and I know I must and should never buy Heidi my beloved wife anything that needs a plug…………….so what in the name of Rudolph the Red Nose bloody reindeer am I going to get her. I have no chance to go shopping in Miami as I fly straight home after the bloggers cruise so I will have to have a look in the gift shops here on your Carnival Dream.

Ahhh yes………….perfume……………but hold on……………which one. Have you actually been into the perfume department of a shop recently? Not only do you have the traditional choice of about 10,000 from the well-known names such as Chanel and er . . .bugger…………that’s all I can think of……………..but now you have celebrity-endorsed products as well.

Does your wife want to smell like Celine Dion………….which is a French Canadian mix of Moose and Garlic? Or would she like to spend the year strutting around with a whiff of Judge Judy behind her ears……….which has the wonderful mixture of sweat and fear?

OK………….no to the perfume thing then. OK, clothes. I can buy her a Carnival Dream sweatshirt etc ………..but hold on………….since Kye popped out of her lady garden I have no idea what size she is and this is an even bigger mistake because I am sure to Buy the Wrong Thingy which is the Wrong Colour and to make matters worse I will Buy the Wrong Thing in the Wrong Colour and in The Wrong Size. ………………bugger.

So, jewelry then. Well, no, because for reasons I’ve never fully understood jewelry shops onboard and on land never advertise their prices. Which means you need a basic grasp of the Professor Bollocks technique as I try to pretend the reason I don’t want the necklace is because Heidi won’t like the clasp, not because it costs $18,000.

Personalized luggage may be a good idea. I can buy her Carnival branded bags and suitcases but bugger again because American Airlines will charge me three billion dollars for every extra bag when I fly home.

At round about this point the modern gentleman will start to think about getting some candles which of course because of fire concerns are banned on the ships. Heidi loves candles but I don’t understand why like to spend hours having baths in the semi-darkness…… bugger to that idea as well.

I’m afraid I’m similarly selfish when it comes to music. My wife is forever buying CDs by bands I’ve never heard of and I know she loves Leona Lewis and Shakira, but if I were to buy these for her she’d play it and then I’d have to listen to it as well.

But its nearly Christmas and as I have no intention of spending my vacation wandering around the shops at home listening to Kenny G Carols in shops that have the heating turned on to Gobi Desert levels, I need to get her something. And then suddenly………..this morning……………I struck gold………….because there in the gift shop window was the answer to my prayers and what to get my wife for Christmas. It was in the end perfume………………..a perfume by Megan Fox…………….and quite fittingly………… was on the bottom shelf.

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.