Fun Times Are Just Around The Corner

February 2, 2010 -

John Heald

The entertainment techs here on your Carnival Dream along with a splattering of musicians and others within my department extremely excited. I saw some of them gathered around a laptop backstage yesterday and judging by the “ooohss and ahhhs” they were I thought looking at close up photos of Megan Fox’s bottom. But they weren’t.

Because on closer inspection their sounds of lust were because Apple had launched another sexy must-have product thingy……… the Eye Pad. I don’t bother finding out what Apple things do any more. I just know they’re shiny and anyone with a beard has to have them. I stood and watched the circle of beardies backstage watch a video of the launch of the Eye Pad by the distinctly un-shiny and unexciting Apple big boss, Steve Jobs. As it appeared on a screen behind him there were whoops from the assembled geeks, and one of my musicians even let of a wolf-whistle………..what a load of bollocks.

I realize I know bugger all about anything technical but I just don’t get it. You see, I asked the techs and musicians what the Eye Pad does and they told me that it was a “tablet” which in English means it’s a portable screen that is the same size as a laptop but doesn’t have the protective top to cover it. To me it looks as fragile as I would be wearing high heels. But the beardies insisted this was a huge breakthrough in the geeky world because “You could surf the net on it, read newspapers, play games and write e-mails.” ……ummmm……….now I may not be Bill sodding Gates ………..but isn’t that what I can do on my existing lap top and my raspberry thingy? So then ………isn’t the Eye Pad an Eye Phone on steroids?

I don’t have an Eye Phone. My friend Nick has one and watches basketball games on it and has an app that tells him where the nearest Latvian lap dancing club is. I would buy one if it had a built-in Star Trek phaser which would allow me to stun the guest who yesterday sat with her bare feet up on the stage while I hosted my new What’s My Line game. I also noticed that so many people have Eye Phones now that they don’t talk to each other and that the art of actual conversation is all but extinct.

However, I am sure in the weeks ahead I will be surrounded by Apple Heads telling me how brilliant this Eye Pad thingy is and that’s what gets on my bloody nerves. You see ………people with Eye phones are never content just to enjoy the product. They have to spread the word. They are Apple missionaries, determined to convert the PC savages …………… it is slowly becoming The Planet of the Apps!

Time for today’s questions………….lets crack on.

Angela Guptill Asked:
John please reply:

Love the new advert and appreciate the slide shows/pictures/videos etc. All of these things help us decide where to go next year on our Carnival Cruise! However, in Canuck land, we do not see the Carnival adverts. Also you wanted me to remind you re: our friends (their first cruise) that we convinced to go cruising with us, that it will be their anniversary on Feb. 16th. Would it be possible for us to just have a table for 4 by a window? I know this is a huge request to expect and if it cannot happen, we certainly understand. We have the 6pm seating. Also, haven’t heard from the lady (sorry can’t remember her name) re: my husband sending his CV in for doing chaplain duty with Carnival. Thank-you and all the crew at Carnival for making memories for my husband and I 🙂
Angela Guptill

John Says:
Hello Angela

Can you remind me of their names and the ship they are sailing on as I can’t remember? I will then ask the Maitre D to try and help with their dining request. I realize that in Canada you are not seeing these commercials and that is a real shame. I am not sure what the plans are for that but I will certainly find out as I know we have many, many faithful Canadians who love the Carnival product.

Please send me the names of the guests and I will also ask Mary to get back to you regarding your offer of hosting religious services.
Best wishes to all

Mount Sinai Cruiser Asked:
Please Reply

John, Happy & Healthy New Year to you & your family. I reviewed the piano bar list of entertainers. What happened to Ron Passalacqua?

John Says:
Hello Mount Sinai Cruiser

Ron P……oh how we miss him. The last I heard he was playing at a major resort somewhere on the Mexican Riviera but I am not sure, maybe blogger Laura (Divetrash) knows. We all hope he will return to the fun for all ships soon as he certainly was one of the very, very best.
Best wishes

Ken Stevenson Asked:
John – (please reply),

Perhaps others would be interested as we are to know the ultimate fate of the former Carnival ships that have been retired from Carnival’s fleet. Do you know if they have become scrap, were used as passenger carriers or what? Thanks.

John Says:
Hello Ken

That’s a very good idea. Let’s start with the Mardi Gras which was a ship I never had the fortune of working on. She was originally called the Empress of Canada before the incomparable Ted Arison bought her and named her Mardi Gras. She left the Carnival “Fun Ship” fleet in 1993 I believe and was sold to a Greek shipping company called Epiri …… Epiri ……….something Greek….anyway, I can’t remember the name. I do know that after giving thousands of passengers the cruise vacation of a lifetime as the corner stone of the fleet she was sadly scrapped in 2003.

Then there was the ship I served on as Assistant Bar Manager and my first ever ship as Cruise Director…the Carnivale. She was originally called the Empress Of Britain and was the sister ship of course to the Mardi Gras. I had so many fun times there and although she was small compared to today’s mighty vessels she had a tremendous feeling both amongst the passengers and the crew. She joined the fleet in 1976 and sometime in the early nineties (not sure of the exact year) we changed her name to Fiesta Marina and marketed the ship for Spanish speaking guests for a short period.

She was then sold………..I think in 1995 but I could be wrong and I think she went to that Greek line I mentioned earlier. However, unlike the Mardi Gras which I never saw again after we sold her, I did see the Carnivale again because the Greeks sold her to British tour operator Thompson and when I was on the Carnival Triumph and during our Millennium cruise to Barbados…………there she was……….my old gal the Carnivale……….now called the Topaz. She still looked fantastic. After that …………I have no idea what happened to her. I think someone told me she was a hospital ship or a mercy ship for a charity but again, I am not sure.

Then there was the Festivale. If you talk to many of the long time Carnival employees both shipboard and shoreside they will tell you that their favourite of the older ships …….. was the Festivale. Again, I never had the honour (spelt correctly) of serving on her but from what I heard she, more than any other of our older ships…….felt like a true ocean liner. There was lots of creaking wood and lots of brass and….well……you get the picture. She was named the Transvall and I think I am right in saying that she came to the fleet in 1977 but again…….people with beards may correct me of course. I do know that she was sold to Thompson and then to Premier Cruise Lines and now ………… sadly…………..she has been scrapped. She was by all accounts………..a magnificent lady.

Next up ….the Tropicale which was the first purpose built brand new ship for Carnival. Once again she was a ship that I never served on and after wonderful service to Carnival she was sold to P&O Australia where she became the Pacific Star. I think I am correct in saying that she now sails under the Pulmantours flag but again I am unsure of her new name.

My first ever ship was the Holiday which I boarded in August 1987 as a young and devilishly handsome bar waiter and because she was my first ever ship and because I returned to be her Cruise Director in 1992 …….she will always be one of my favourites. Of course she was the first of the Holiday class ships and joined the fleet in 1985. This 46,000 ton ship summed up all that was good and all that was fun about Carnival and I loved her. I remember sitting at the bus stop bar eating the late night bacon and scrambled eggs served from inside a bus on Promenade Deck as a 24-year-old CD and feeling on top of the world. She was retired from the Carnival fleet last year and is set to join the Iberocruceros line sometime this year as the Grand Holiday.

You know, until very recently I always thought that the Jubilee was the same size as the Holiday. However, I learned that in fact she was a little bigger with a tonnage of 47,000 and change. My service on the Jubilee was also a lot of fun. It was the ship where I worked as Social Host under Gary Hunter who was and always will be the greatest Cruise Director Carnival has ever had. I never got be CD there though but I have wonderful memories of that ship. ………..her name was Sara………she was a massage therapist.

The Jubilee is of course now the Pacific Sun and she is having even more fun now sailing as part of the brilliant P&O Cruises Australia line.

Finally, we have the Celebration. I was Assistant Bar Manager there and a Social Host where my Cruise Directors included Eddie Capone and some nut job called Gene (won’t write his last name) who believed he was Elvis Presley. He was fired mid-cruise for something I can’t write about here but his quick and sudden departure gave me my first opportunity to be a CD even if it was just for three days when Gary Hunter returned.

Somewhere in the annals of this blog thingy there is a blog about my visit to the Celebration in Genoa. She had just completed her re fit and was now called the Grand Celebration. The old aft lounge had been turned into a fantastic Spa and under the Iberocruceros line and she is in great hands.

So, there you go. Some of the dates may be wrong but I think most of that information was correct and I hope you enjoyed that trip down memory lane.
Best wishes

Melissa Asked:
John (Please reply)

I hope you get this in time to answer before we leave. We will be joining you on the Carnival Dream in 36 days!!!!!!!!Yeah!!!! A few months ago I asked if you could give us an approximate count of kids on board for the Feb 13, 2010 sailing. My 6 and 3 yr olds are both excited to be coming and I would like to know that the are going to have plenty of new friends on board 🙂 . Thanks John and I hope we get to meet when I am on board in Feb.

John Says:
Hello Melissa

You will be sailing here on your Carnival Dream with 351 children. I don’t have the breakdown of the ages just yet but I am sure your kids will make loads of new friends. This is such a superb ship and the facilities for our junior cruisers are extraordinary.

Looking forward to seeing you soon.
Best wishes to all the family.

Joyce geraci Asked:
John, please reply

I’ve been working with some wonderful people over at one of your sister cruise lines, Costa. One of them is Debbie in reservations (I don’t have her last name). The other is Angela Caicedo in the deviation department. Thanks to both of them, my GD & I have a wonderful trip planned for this summer on Costa in the Med. How do I let Costa know what a great help they have been to me? Could you either forward this on to the appropriate people at Costa, or let me know how to do it? As you might remember from previous postings, I was a bit leery going outside Carnival for this cruise. I’m glad I took your advice, as they have been excellent.

John Says:
Hello Joyce

I wanted to take the time to say thank you for telling me about my friends over at Costa Cruises who right now are celebrating the launch of their new ship the Costa Deliciosa. I am so glad that you found their shoreside service so great and I know that you will find the same onboard when you take your cruise with them late this year. I will send this onto a friend of mine called Maurice who works at Costa and whom I know will be thrilled to read your words of praise.

Have a great time and I am very happy that my suggestion for you to cruise with them has been worthwhile.
Best wishes.

Chris Asked:

My brother and I are sailing on the Carnival Triumph with our parents next month for winter break and the last two years we’ve had a table in the dining room in the corner where we couldn’t see the “entertainment” or much of anything else.

My mom said you might help. I was hoping you might send a request for us for either a window table aft or a table on the main floor in the center. Our booking numbers are 44MH16, 44MH11. It doesn’t really matter if we are with others, or not.
Topher (ChrisTOPHER Webb)

John Says:
Hello Christopher Webb

Thanks for writing to me and I have in turn written to the Maitre D on the Carnival Triumph to see if he can help with your dining request. Have a wonderful time and best wishes to all.

Ducky Asked:
John please reply

“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”.

I know exactly how you feel John. It is exactly how I felt when I discovered, to my horror the jazz trio in the Destiny cigar bar had been replaced by a salsa band.

I realize that this is probably more of a revenue earner, but I really missed sitting with friends and enjoying a fine cigar and beverage in relative serenity.

Not all “Fun” need be loud and boisterous. Is there any chance that this trend will be reversed?

John Says:
Hello Ducky

Sometimes decisions are made here at Carnival that I don’t agree with but such is life of course. One of those was the cancellation of the Jazz Trios and the decision to replace them with the Salsa Bands. Now, I understand why they did this. Latin music is as popular as Jazz if not more so and the Latin trios are much more flexible in the mood they can create around the ship. But being a cigar and a jazz lover……well…….I was sorry to see this change and I don’t think we will be changing it back anytime soon. Hopefully though one day we will get to enjoy a cigar together. By the way, smoking a cigar out on the Lanai here on your Carnival Dream is absolutely superb and the delights of the fresh air, the stars and long ashes are something every cigar lover should experience.
Best wishes

Carla S Asked:
Please reply

John, words fail me when it comes to the terrible service I received from Carnival following the Dream missing San Juan. I had expected 25% off a future cruise as I had received once from Norwegian but all I got was a letter saying how Carnival regrets what happened. This does not make up in any way for this situation and I think I speak for everyone who was on that cruise when I say we should get money back or a discounted future cruise. Missing the port ruined the entire cruise for me and hundreds of your passengers.

John Says:
Hello Carla

I was onboard during this unfortunate incident and I know how disappointed many of our guests were that we did not call at San Juan due to our error. And while I certainly understand your disappointment I was surprised to read your statement that it “ruined the entire cruise” and certainly the many, many guests I spoke, while disappointed yes …….. certainly did not allow it to spoil 9 wonderful days onboard their Carnival Dream.

Anyway, once again, please accept my apologies and I hope you will forgive our error and join us again onboard one of our fun for all ships very soon.
Best Wishes

Janet Sammons Asked:
Hi John,

Well it’s almost Feb. 20, 2010! That’s when me and 137 of my closest friends, along with the other passengers will get to finally experience the Dream in person!! We are so excited!!
I sent a message to you a couple of months ago and asked if you could attend our Cruise Critic meet and greet on Feb. 21st. And you told me to remind you in January.

Well, it’s January, and I am reminding you!! LOL

We have our meet and greet all set up for Feb. 21st, at 10 am in the Burgundy lounge. We would really love it if you could come by and say hi. We will be there until probably 11:30 or noon because we have lots of fun things planned. We should have an attendance of about 100 people or so, and we would love to get a group photo with you.

Thanks so much for your time!
Janet Sammons
Cruise Critic group leader.

John Says:
Hello Janet – Group Leader from Cruise Critic

As I have the memory of a piece of Swiss cheese, please could you leave me a note when you board at the Guest Services Desk and I will be honoured (spelt correctly) to come by your gathering. You will love this ship.

See you soon
Best wishes to all

anita barringer Asked:
hi john, would love a reply..

my sister and I are booked on a cruise for jan 15th. She became very ill and I was informed today that because we chose to buy our tickets so early we would NOT be allowed to do a name change for her ticket. I don’t know why this would ever be a part of the rules that if you buy your ticket TOO EARLY that you would not be able to take someone different. Carnival got the money for the ticket… plus the 50 extra dollars to change the names so why this be a problem for carnival?
sincerely anita barringer

John Says:
Hello Anita Barringer

I just wanted to take the time to say thank you for letting me know about this and I have sent this directly to our CARE Team who will be in touch. I hope that your sister has made a full recovery.
Best wishes to you both

That’s all for today and I will be back with more tomorrow. By the way. I understand that our friend and long time blogger Linda – Mom of DJ has not been well. Does anyone have news on her and I ask you all to please remember her in your thoughts.

Last week my mate Tim Cabral was sailing on the Carnival Inspiration with none other than the great Lynyrd Skynyrd band who were part of our fantastic continuing relationship with Sixthman (

I thought you might like to see these photos taken by Sixthman’s Will Byington of what looks like a truly fun for all voyage.

There are more photos and information on future events on And thanks to Tim for sending me these shots and for all his hard work.

As you may know the latest Fantasy class ship to get her new upgrades was the Carnival Fascination. Our friends Stephanie Leavitt and Peter the Hair went along to film some behind the scenes footage and I think you will love what they came back with. Here is the link thingy:

Once again Carnival continues to invest in the fleet and once she comes out of dry dock I will post photos for you of the new……….Carnival Fascination.

Carnival Cruise Lines continues to help some of the neediest people in the world and has sent over the first shipment of supplies to the people of Haiti.

Here is our friend Vance to tell you all about it.

Carnival Cruise Lines Ships 2,000 Pounds of Relief Supplies to Haiti

Thanks Vance and thank you to everyone involved and let’s keep the people of Haiti in our thoughts and prayers.

Well, it’s been a fantastic few days here on your Carnival Dream. The weather has been beautiful sunshine wise although yesterday while at sea high winds forced us to cancel one or two events. This included the barbecue which unfortunately had to be canceled because the Lanai was windy and then I got this e-mail:

Sent: Monday, February 01, 2010 10:19 AM
Subject: “Twister & Drainpipe” slide closed.

Good Morning to All,

Please, be advised that big slide is closed due to strong wind (38.6 mph) until further notice. “Racers” and Kids slides are open.


Olena Ginzhelyuk

That’s a shame but understandable of course. The Twister and Drainpipe slides are very high and with nearly 40mph of wind up there obviously it becomes a safety hazard. We are in St. Thomas today and the slides are all open. By the way, I have to tell you that an extraordinary amount of people have told me that they saw the video in which I kicked our President and CEO Gerry Cahill’s arse in a race on the slides and how seeing us do it inspired them to have a go. And indeed I have seen people of all ages having a go…. and that’s just brilliant.

OK, let’s take a break and show you some letters. For the new bloggers amongst you I should explain what these are. During the cruise, I host live morning and afternoon shows. These are shown on channel 6 of the stateroom TV’s as well as live on the Seaside Theatre Big Screen. The show allows me to share special letters of dedication of which I usually get 50-100 per seven day cruise. Anyone who sends me a Dear John letter gets a gift for doing so plus hopefully the thrill of having their dedication read out… The show then loops all day on the cabin TV.

So, now and then I get letters which are truly inspirational and occasionally I get ones that basically tell me that I am an idiot. And so I like to share some of these with you now and then. Today, I want to share just two letters, both of which I know you will enjoy reading.

So, there we have a lady who has lost an incredible 190 pounds and a man who has waited 14 years to take his wife and the mother of his children on honeymoon and having read that letter it seems nobody deserves a cruise vacation more.

I will share more letters with you in the days ahead.

As I said we are in St. Thomas today and we are not alone. We are sharing the port with the Costa Atlantica, The Norwegian Pearl, The Carnival Freedom and the Monster of the Seas. How many passengers is that…..ummm……ummmm……I make it…….. ummmm ……….thousands. There is no doubt that St. Thomas has the infrastructure to handle so many cruise ship visitors and I guess it is testament to the popularity of cruising that each ship is here today.

The guests are having a great time and there have been very few issues. I did get a comment from a guest saying that the Comedy Club was too small and there were no seats. Well, we do perform these shows in the Burgundy Lounge which seats 425 and we have 5 shows a night……that’s three PG 13 shows and two uncensored shows.

This means there is plenty of opportunity for guests to see the superb comedians like Al Ernst and Lewis Nixon who are here this cruise. They then leave today in St Thomas and Marvin Bell and Mike Macy will join us and perform 5 shows per night for two nights. The other point here is that if you place the comedy club in the main lounge you lose that comedy club feeling which I believe is really important.

Well, it will soon be time to say goodbye to a Carnival icon…… ……not the solid gold plastic trophy…….no…..not the hairy chest contest or Fun Ship Freddy …………. nope ……. I am talking about something that has been with us from the first cruise on the Mardi Gras . I am of course………….talking about the Carnival Capers.

I am proud to announce that like many aspects of today’s Carnival they have been modernized, streamlined and some of the content has changed for the better. Tell you what …………rather than me waffle on, why don’t I let you have a look at the new Carnival Capers ……or as they are called now………….Fun Times.

As you can see they are cleaner, easier to read and overall I think you will all agree they represent today’s Carnival brilliantly? They will be introduced on the Carnival Liberty, Carnival Ecstasy and Carnival Sensation this week and should be fleetwide in the coming weeks. Please let me know what you think.

Meanwhile I will tell you what I think about the wonderful British government …………. they are nuts……..totally nuts. Every morning I plod from the bedroom into the office section of my cabin………….in my underpants…………and make sure the curtains are closed before sitting at the computer and reading the news from the great BBC.

This morning the Beeb (as they are known back home) informed me that the British government has announced new guidelines about sex education. From now on, children at primary school will gain “a basic understanding” of where babies come from and learn “the correct names for parts of the body.” Seven……seven years old. That means in less than six and half years my daughter Kye will know what a “thingy is”…….no way is she getting a Ken doll.

Oh by the way……..and I am not making this up …….check with Uncle Google …………… our Education Minister……… called…………Ed Balls!

Honestly…………how crazy is this idea. When I was seven I had just learnt to poo in the toilet rather than my underpants. It’s bad enough getting seven year old children to do their math’s and biology homework…….but teaching them about rumpy pumpy? Maybe this will be explained by a game on their Nintendo BS thingies Super Mario Penis ……. or something like that. I don’t actually remember sitting through any kind of rumpy pumpy education when I was at school. The closest thing was a biology lesson on rabbit reproduction when we were about 14. The class was taught by Miss Melling who had breasts bigger than my head…….and we honestly didn’t care about the damn rabbits when she was teaching a class.
No way am I letting teacher do this………..nope………….I am going to teach my daughter myself.

Where do babies come from……..well Kye, they come from 5 minutes of exercise when Daddy does press ups on top of Mummy…….and then a baby will pop out of Mummy’s tummy…….and that’s where babies come from……unless you are Madonna ……. in which case they come by mail order from Africa.

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.