January 7, 2010 -

John Heald

A few weeks ago lots of bearded scientists along with Prime Ministers, Presidents and a dwarf from France decided, over a delicious lunch that they needed to do something about global warming.

And so just after dessert they stood in a circle and even sacrificed a goat. No, not a goat. That would be un-vegetarian and against a goat’s human rights. A virgin then. Or a turnip. Whatever …….I bet something was stabbed in jubilation. They then announced that we should all go to work on a bike and burn our cars to save oil and to save the polar bears. They then got in their chauffeured Bentleys and Mercedes which drove them to the airport where they boarded their private jets and buggered off home. I mean…….Air Force One doesn’t exactly run on camel urine now does it?

OK, this blog isn’t the for me to go on about global warming but it is quite funny that days after many millions of dollars was spent flying scientists and politicians to Denmark much of the world was flung into the coldest winter in many years. Here in the UK we had temperatures of minus 15 last night and this morning I woke up to another 20 inches of snow. Thousands of schools are closed and many roads are undriveable. It’s much the same across Europe and it was officially announced today that this is the coldest winter in 44 years. Even the Polar Bears at London Zoo said bugger this, put on a North Face jacket and buggered off to get warm inside the tropical plant greenhouse.

It’s not just Europe that has been plunged into the ice age. Here is an e-mail that I received from a British friend of mine who now lives in Miami.

Hello John
Last night it went down to 39 degrees here in Miami and it was hysterically funny.

The funny part is that Miamians are very good about showing as much skin as legally possible most of the time (nothing wrong with that) but when the temperature goes below 85 degrees; they raid their closets for the most ridiculous outfits.

They bring out jackets designed to climb Mt Everest that they bought the last year’s thanksgiving in New York. We saw a girl with a wife beater shirt, knee high boots and a scarf … anyway you get the point!

Stay Warm

Heidi’s Mum was supposed to fly back today but of course Easy Jet canceled the flight as there was too much ice under the wing. Air France canceled their flights as there was too much hair under the wing.

So the coldest weather in Europe for 44 years and frozen orange juice in Miami and my mate Chris, someone who has lived in Miami for many, many years even told me he had used his heated seats in the car for the very first time.

I tried to stop myself but I just can’t and therefore I have to say…….Global Warming…… my arse!

Lets crack on with some questions…… we go.

Jeanette Asked:
John, reply or not

You best get a photo of you, Kye, and Heidi in the snow. You never know when or if it will snow like that again.

Snow is a fact of life in Western Canada. You don’t know what it is like until you have to trudge though a foot of snow in a raging blizzard and they are saying it’ll be around all day and night! Cold, that is another factor why so many of us want to leave for warmer climates. You haven’t lived until you’ve lived through a week or two of -36C to -48C temperatures……downright balmy!!!! (If you’re wearing two layers under your triple goose down filled jacket and can’t see anything past your nose because the scarf you’re wearing only has a narrow slit for your eyes).

John, you must experience a Canadian winter to know how bad it can be!!!! Better yet, go to the corner of Portage and Main in Winnipeg in winter to see how truly cold winter can be!!!!!
Damn, 28 days until I leave for my cruise!

John Says:
Hello Jeanette

It seems the snow is here to stay and we took more photos this morning of Kye looking rather puzzled as snow fell all around her. I know that you Canadians are the champions of winter survival but us Brits are just useless. I have to say though that even with all my extra padding that having some “x’s ” on my clothing labels provide…..last night it was – 15 and even I was as cold as a witches boob as we say here in the UK (well, we really don’t say boob but you get the point) ….. Not long now and you will be cocooned in the warmth of the sun on your Carnival cruise.
Best wishes

Ernie Asked:
Dear John, reply if you wish!!

I was on the Carnival Dream when the Menorah was set up and all of the Hebrew/Jewish people preformed the Hanukkah candle lighting ceremony, I felt that it was a very moving ceremony that was well attended. I as a Christian was happy that the Carnival Dream would open minded to allow this to happen, as well it should.

I was disappointed that there were no Christmas decorations or trees at that time. I do understand that the ship was decorated for the trip after ours.

Have fun with those 2 adorable ladies of yours and a Merry Christmas to the Heald family. Bah Humbug to those who do like Christmas music or parades etc.

John Says:
Hello Ernie

I wonder if you read my thoughts on the Christmas decorations in yesterday’s blog? I did mention that I thought that they could be more festive and I will be mentioning this to folks in the office to see if we can improve next year. I know that your Carnival Dream did not get her decorations until the 12th of December which was due to the fact that she was in transit from New York to Florida which is where the professional decorators we use are based but you are correct ……… would have been better if they went up earlier. I was glad to hear that the Hanukkah service was well appreciated.
Thanks for taking the time to write
Best wishes to all

Elaine Asked:
John, Please reply…

First, just in case you missed my earlier post, thank you soooooo much for the great picture of Daddy & Daughter. I truly understand protecting our kids, but I was getting Kye withdrawal and the picture of the two of you has helped… Please also thank Heidi for sharing it with us. Don’t really know how far behind you are with the posts, but I hope the HEALD Family has/had a VERY MERRY XMAS and A HAPPY NEW YEAR…

Now for my question…We are just minutes away from booking our 18th Carnival Cruise (23rd for Naomi & Marty, the grandparents) on the Freedom, March 27th sailing. Can you tell me a bit about the CD who I believe will be Ryan Fitzgerald? Also, can you please share with all of us, what, if anything, will be done, or has been done as far as changes in the Platinum Program… Please at the very least tell me that we’re not going to get our 5th Picture Frame EACH!!!
Thnx again for all that you do….

John Says:
Hello Elaine

I am glad you enjoyed the photos of Kye and I will be posting another one before I return to work. I hope you booked the Carnival Freedom which regular readers of the blog will know is one of my favourite ships. The Cruise Director will be my good mate Ryan Fitzgerald who is currently serving on the Carnival Glory. There have been no changes to the Platinum program despite various scaremongering by some rock wall climbers who post silly stuff on the cruise boards. Only a few days ago someone posted that we had canceled the priority tender service which of course was utter nonsense.

I know that we are though working on the gift which I hope to bring you news of very soon so please stay tuned. Thanks for all the kind words and I am here should you have any further questions.
Best wishes

Carla Strong Asked:
Hi John,

I have been reading your blog thingy every day – you are a “hoot”! As to your question about posting the piano bar entertainer’s schedule, the answer is YES!

We are waiting for Vince to find out when and where he will be on board in the spring before booking. Needless to say without knowing when and where he will be leaves us unable to take advantage of any early discounts and special “deals”, and difficult for those who want to cruise with us who have work commitments and such. (We are retired but not all our friends are who would LOVE to see Vince).

Please reply and thanks for writing such an entertaining blog –
Carla Strong – the Mom

John Says:
Hello Carla

Thanks for reminding me about the Piano Bar schedule as I had forgotten about this and I will post it within the next few days. Vince is indeed one of the best and I have asked Rob King who is in charge of all our musicians for the most up to date schedule. Thanks for recognizing him and highlighting our iconic piano bar entertainers. You must be very proud of Vince, he is an extraordinary talent. I am glad you enjoy the blog so much and I hope that continues for a long time to come.
Best wishes

Richard Lorbeer Asked:
Dear Sir:

I’m not sure where this question will end up if anywhere but thought I’d give it a try and if someone receives it where it doesn’t belong maybe they’d be kind enough to forward on to the proper person to answer my question. I’m booked on a W Caribbean cruise my 5th on Carnival next May 29th. One of the stops on the itinerary is to Belize. I know I’ve read in the past the popularity of the cave tubing shore excursions at that stop from previous cruisers visiting there. But do not find that available on my cruise this coming May can it please be explained to me or if my family and I should risk taking that type tour with one of the independent excursion operators that I’ve found that have numerous complimentary testimonials. Thank You again.

John Says:
Hello Richard

You came to the write place and I am glad to announce to you and to everyone else who has missed this brilliant excursion that Cave Tubing is once again offered to all our vessels that call at Belize. I spoke to Martin in our Shore Excursion department and he confirmed that it is available to pre-book on line as well as from the shore excursion desk on board. Have a fantastic cruise in May and enjoy the cave tubing experience. If you need anything else please let me know.
Best wishes

divetrash Asked:

Yes! Yes! Yes! I would love for you to post a Piano Bar Entertainer schedule on here. Especially if it will include future dates. I’ve been asking for a long time. I even asked Chris Prideaux on BC2. He seemed to indicate that it would not be possible.

But if you could you would make many people happy. I keep my list as up to date as possible, but now people want to know who is on their ships months from now!
So yes, please!
Warm regards,
Laura (aka divetrash, aka Princess Laura of Big Ed’s Evil Crew)

John Says:
Hello Laura

You want me to post the Piano Bar schedule? You ? Wow………what a shocker. Now for those of you who don’t know, I was being sarcastic there because Laura (AKA Divetrash) is the biggest supporter of our piano bars and I don’t think there is a single piano bar entertainer who does not know of her. I just e-mailed Rob King and asked for the most recent schedule and as soon as I get it you will see it posted here on the blog thingy. I hope you are continuing to grow from strength to strength following your surgery and thanks for your continuing blog thingy support.

Please send my best to Chef Kevin.
Best wishes

Kim Risley Asked:
John’s Attention Please

Dear John, I haven’t been on your web site in a while… We are working out butts off to be able to pay for another cruise. LOL.

I read your blog on the screaming baby. Although I have run in to those flights also. I guess we are lucky as we have our own plane and fly mostly in the South East and don’t have to par-take in commercial flts. unless further then what we want to fly our plane.

But I do understand why those babies cry. Personally people shouldn’t bring there kids under a current age on planes, being the fact they can’t deal with the air pressure change. I know “some” adults have had problems with this. Me for one, this happen one time when I had a “head” cold. Being a pilot I should have known better then to fly. But I don’t turn down a flight.

When my husband got to our destination. We had to descend and my ears felt like they were imploding in my head. It hurt like a “B@$%^ch”. I had to deal with until my ears cleared. I knew we had to descend. The problem is a baby has only one way to say I’m hurting and that’s crying.

I know some people have to “travel” with theirs babies. But it is something to keep in mind. Personally I would “medicate” a baby because of that. Those medications have so many “side effects”. To me to give a baby medicine just to keep him “calm” is a scary thing.
Yours Truly,

John Says:
Hello Kim.

First of all can you please send your plane to England to collect Heidi and Kye and then fly them to Orlando to meet me on my Carnival Dream? How amazing it must be to have your own plane and I can imagine that this must make flying so much more enjoyable. I am very concerned about Heidi and Kye flying alone for 9 hours. Kye is a very content baby and Heidi is the best Mum in the world but 9 hours will surely test her patience and those of the passengers seated around her. Thanks for the advice on the ears and I will make sure Heidi takes appropriate action. Please let me know if you have any questions or need my help before the next time you cruise.
Best wishes

Cindy S. Asked:
Hi John, Please reply.

I love your blog thingy and especially enjoyed it today. I have a camera with film, a land-line phone, and an address/phone book I write in. I do have e-mail, but no cell phone, no digital camera, no raspberry or blackberry, and I mailed Christmas cards this year (as opposed to e-mailing them).

One of the things someone wrote about but didn’t address is the propulsion problem on the Destiny. My 11 year old and I will be taking our first ever cruise on the Destiny in July and I’m a little concerned about this problem. Has it been fixed?

I’ve also read so many wonderful things about Carnival and can’t wait for our cruise!
Wishing you, Heidi and Kye a wonderful Christmas and looking forward to your response.

John Says:
Hello Cindy s

I am very grateful to you for saying that you love the blog thingy and how lucky you are not to have a raspberry or a cell phone. What a peaceful world you must live in. There were indeed some propulsion concerns on the Carnival Destiny which were well noted on the cruise boards and here on the blog thingy. Since then appropriate maintenance has been carried out and the ship is back to her advertised schedule. Thanks for all the kind words and my best wishes to you and your family.

David Davison Asked:
John, Please reply.

Just wanted to say how much of a pleasure it was for Diane and me to finally meet you on the Dream Bloggers Cruise. It added a lot to an already fun honeymoon. A big round of applause to you, Stephanie “Go Hooters” and the rest of the gang for the events on the ship and the surprises we got in our cabin (wish I could have gotten a gold plated plastic ship on a stick, but hopefully another time). I must say, the Dream lived up to her name. She is a wonderful ship with a great crew and captain and we are looking forward to sailing on her again. From Todd to our waiter (Camillo) to our room steward, we were pleased beyond means. The food was fantastic. I really enjoyed the pasta bar and the pastrami/corned beef sandwiches we got at the deli counter at the stern. We went to the Steak House twice and the experience was fantastic and well worth the extra money. Diane and I are looking to book our one year anniversary cruise for the Western Caribbean and it will either be on the Dream or on the Legend. Since you take requests, could we ask you to be the CD on one of the above ships when we sail next September?

I know you will hear loads of people complain about various things and conspiracy theories about Carnival (and the Dream). I know I heard one lady saying we didn’t go into San Juan because Carnival wanted to make more money from the bars and the Casinos. We could have put her in the life boat (if necessary) that would have been damaged by us docking there. Our feelings are, it’s Murphy’s Law and if something doesn’t go wrong (no matter how small), it is not a vacation or an adventure. For instance, we were in the elevator when the Captain came in. We of course asked him who was running the ship. He pressed the button, the elevator door closed and it sat there unmoving for about 30 seconds. He said “interesting” or maybe it was bullocks in Italian. He pressed the button and opened the door, closed it again, and then the elevator moved off. Had we been stuck there, at least no one could say it was the Captain’s fault.

My only issues with the Dream would be The Air Supply elevator music in the Scarlett Dining room and the uncomfortable bar stools at the Piano Bar. Can I put in a request for some some Jimmy Buffett (or Ken) and some Preparation H and a chair donut for our next trip? lol.
Thanks again John and we really look forward to sailing with you again. Give Heidi and Kye a hug for us.

John Says:
Hello David

It was an honour (spelt correctly) to meet you on our recent Bloggers Cruise and thanks so much for the great review. I know many people were disappointed that we didn’t get to go to San Juan and as I have said many times here on the blog thingy, it was our fault, our mistake and that’s that. However, to suggest that we did this on purpose so that guests would spend more money onboard is outrageous and thankfully those sorts of comments were few and far between. I am working on the elevator music fleet wide and will be writing more about this in the days ahead. Once again thanks so much for the review and I will make sure all those mentioned get to see your words of praise.

I hope to see you both again soon.
Best wishes

That’s all for today and there will be more answers to questions marked for my reply tomorrow.

Today’s photos feature your Carnival Dream and the port of St. Thomas. These were taken by my good friend and professional photographer Andy Newman who has been photographing our vessels for many, many years.

Thanks for sending those Andy and for all the great photos you have taken over the years.

Tomorrow, I will be showing you some wonderful photos of the Carnival Sensation.

Time to blow our own trumpet a bit……………….actually………….let me have our mate Vance do it.

John Heald’s Blog Named Best Cruise Line Blog in Porthole Editor-in-Chief Awards

The blog of popular Carnival Senior Cruise Director John Heald has been named “Best Cruise Line Blog” in Porthole Magazine’s 2010 Editor-in-Chief Awards. Since its debut in March 2007, Heald’s blog has received more than 5.5 million hits, with its popularity continuing to grow with more readers tuning in for his humorous and insightful posts on “Fun Ship” cruising and various other topics.

The blog has even spawned the “John Heald Bloggers Cruise,” which provides Heald’s fans an opportunity to sail with him and fellow blog enthusiasts and participate in a variety of exclusive events and activities. The most recent Bloggers Cruise took place aboard the new 130,000-ton Carnival Dream last month and a 2010 Bloggers Cruise is in the planning stages.

Thanks for those kind words Vance and my thanks once again to everyone who helps put this blog thing together and most of all to you………for taking the time to read it each and every day.

Actually, while we have Vance with us let’s ask him to tell us about William Filomena, a loyal Carnival guest who as you will see has achieved something quite remarkable.

He Did It! Loyal Carnival Guest Sails on All 23 ‘Fun Ships’ in One Year

When loyal Carnival supporter William Filomena boarded the Carnival Miracle in late December, he accomplished what no other guest has done in the company’s 38-year history – he sailed on all 23 “Fun Ships” in a year. Filomena’s unique achievement began with a seven-day cruise aboard the Carnival Spirit in fall 2008 and, over the course of the next year, he sailed aboard every “Fun Ship” in the fleet.

Although Filomena has already earned a place in the Carnival record book, he continues to sail with the line and already has 12 cruises planned for 2010!

Filomena (second from left) is pictured here on the Carnival Miracle’s bridge with the ship’s officers, including Captain Rocco Lubrano (far left), Hotel Director Pierre B. Camilleri (second from right) and Guest Services Manager Phil Holmes.

You may have noticed from today’s Q& A that someone mentioned about the Musack in our elevators. It was bone crushingly boring while I was on the Carnival Legend and I raised the flag and got it changed and I suggested that it be done fleet wide.

You see, why I think we get the music right on the open decks and in the lounges we, like many of the restaurants I have eaten in on land………….sometimes get it hopelessly wrong.

I also wanted to share this comment with you.

Hello Mr. Heald
I have never cruised with you or on any boat for that matter but my Father has and he remembers you very well. A friend of ours sent me a bit from You Tube and I was so shocked to see my Father had been made star by you. I surfed more and found you on this web site and I hope my writing gets to you. I have sent this and the You Tube bit so you can remember my Father. He and my Mother are going on your Triumph ship in March and want you to be there.

Please remember him.

Thank you very much
Sally Lee

John Says:
Hello Sally

I didn’t know that this video was on You Tube but having watched it I certainly remember Mr. Lee your father and I know everyone who was onboard that cruise remembers his wonderful personality as well. I am sorry to say that I will not be on the ship with him in March but I know he will have a great time and please send him and your Mother my regards.
Best wishes

Have a look at the video by the way everyone…………he was so cute……….and so funny.

I have been on Carnival ships to find the music of Bali playing while our guests enjoy lunch on Lido deck…….in the Caribbean. Some people find the music of Bali relaxing. Not me. It’s a lot of percussion gongs, chimes and rattling cymbals. Why would we play that on our ships? OK, it maybe OK if you are having a massage or are suffering from a particularly nasty case of constipation and you need to breathe through your pain before your next push…….but on a fun for all ship………nope………it doesn’t work.

So then, what music should we play there and what music should we play at dinner time in our restaurants? Country music, pop, Sinatra, Pee Diddly, rap, drum and bass, hop hip …what about some Ratt, Poison or Iron Maiden?

Before sending in your suggestions…………….here’s a thought. Why do we need any music at all?

It’s hard to find a place to eat out where there isn’t some sort of music playing. What’s wrong with eating in silence? Does everything have to have a soundtrack?

I was thinking about this a few nights after Christmas when Heidi and I went to dinner leaving Kye with Grandma and Grandpa so we could have some “us” time. We went to a fantastic Japanese restaurant as Heidi had a hankering for Sushi and I love Tinpanyuki……. Tincanpanacki ………Timpannacki…………the think where they chuck a load of beef and shrimp on a hot plate and the chef does a Bruce Lee impression with his knifes.

However, our enjoyment was soon brought to a screeching halt when we saw that they had a “live band.”

I can understand going to hear a live band in one of our onboard lounges or at a club and I can understand going to hear a live band play at a venue that serves food, but there’s something so disheartening about showing up at a restaurant and seeing the empty drum set and microphone set up in the corner.

You know it’s only a matter of minutes before they begin. I have to think of everything important thing I want to say so I can get it out before they start. This of course is impossible …………….. Unless I am sitting in a different restaurant, I’m not going to be able to talk.

Heidi and I decided to stay because we had driven 20 miles to get there “How loud can it be?” Heidi said.

Turns out, loud. So loud, that after I’d ordered my food I had a sore throat. And this was before the 15 minute solo on the bongo drums started. Yep…….I said bongo drums because at the Japanese Restaurant where that Bali bollocks music may have just been OK…..they had a live Salsa Band.

Every time the band would end a song people would clap. I wanted to call out, “Take a break!”

But there were no breaks. Not once. They went from one number into another for over an hour. Didn’t they allegedly play non-stop loud music at Guantanamo as a form of torture? It’s not that the music was bad…………’s that it was loud, and it was relentless. It made it impossible to have a conversation. But I guess that’s why people loved it. I looked around. No one was talking.

Hearing live music while having dinner is ideal for people who have nothing to say.

Our entire conversation consisted of two questions: “What?” and “Did you hear me?” Once I added: “Why are you nodding if you didn’t hear me?”……..Heidi threw a Californian roll at me.

So, here is my question. Unless Ken is singing or unless we bring back the live duos in our Steakhouses which I must admit I do miss…… you need to have music while you are eating breakfast, lunch and dinner? And if so……..what? You can forget that Bali bollocks though. I would rather eat deep fried kangaroo anus and share my dinner table with a naked Judge Judy and be served by a Frenchman who hasn’t bathed in three years ………than listen to that.

Your friends
John, Heidi and Kye.

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.