I Give Up

February 12, 2010 -

John Heald

As you know I like the occasional cigar but having recently had Kye come into my life and the ban on smoking in public places and the misery of being forced to stand outside like a cocker spaniel that has been punished for crapping in someone shoe……. has pretty much forced me to give up.

I remember the days when smoking my cigar in a friend’s house was commonplace just as if they wanted to smoke a cigarette at my house. Saying to your friends that you are not allowed to smoke would have been as alien as not being allowed to use the toilet. Now, most people I know run a fresh-air policy and they would rather have you wet yourself on their new couch than smoke a nice Monte Cristo.

Even worse though is that when you do smoke people around you make you feel like you shouldn’t. That if you do, you’ll be the only one. Lighting up a big fat stogie is a bit like standing there with your underpants round your ankles singing MC Hammer’s Can’t Touch This.

My great friend Big Ed recently brought an electric cigarette on the Bloggers cruise. Sucking on it delivers a hit of nicotine and causes the tip to glow red. It’s like the real thing in the same way that having rumpy pumpy with Megan Fox is like having rumpy pumpy with Judge Judy……. but like me, he respects the smoking regulations on board and it seems to be catching on as this cruise I have seen others smoke these things especially in the casino.

So, why am I writing this? I promise you it’s not because I am complaining about these rules…….absolutely not. But here on my Carnival Dream there is the Lanai. A place where outside on deck 5 aft, smokers can gather like lepers…….secure in the knowledge that smoking a cigarette, pipe or cigar will not offend anyone.


Guest: Mrs. ———- Ref: ______
Cabin: ____ Booking#: _____Added-Changed: 02/11/10 – 02/111/10

Guest came to the GSD stating that she had walked past the Ocean Plaza Lanai and found the Cruise Director and officers smoking cigars. Guest said that they blew smoke all over her and that she felt that this was not appropriate.

Note: Guest was on the smoking (port) area of the Lanai.
Tasked to CD and HD

Having read this early this morning I went through a roller coaster of mixed emotions. Firstly, I was upset at her. What right did she have to complain? I was smoking a cigar outside, on the smoking side. Then, I calmed down a bit and thought…….. mmmmm …….. she’s the guest………she doesn’t like smoke………..she pays my salary…………I should respect that.

Then I had a thought and looked up her security photo, you know, the one we have embedded in the Sail & Sign card. And sure enough, my suspicions were correct and my roller coaster went from……I understand and must be more careful…. to … what a bloody cheek.

You see, this lady was indeed walking around the Lanai with her husband. She saw me … deviated to the left to where we were sitting and came to speak to me. She then told me that the music was too loud in the show……but……how she had enjoyed the entertainment. Then, she asked me about the debarkation process on Saturday as she needed to get to a hotel where they had parked their car for the week. While we chatted I stood, placing my cigar in the ashtray and I am positive that the two very senior officers I was with had made sure they didn’t puff huge clouds of smoke into her face. I stood, listened and helped her for a good five minutes or more……and then she goes and complains.

I discussed this with my colleagues today and we all decided that our cigar days are pretty much over. I won’t smoke one in the cigar bars on the Destiny and Conquest and Splendor class anymore because I understand that guests have to pass through there to get to the internet cafe. And certainly while they may their fellow guests from smoking, it certainly isn’t OK to have to walk through smoke given off by me.

And here is another thing. Since the smoking ban, no one has given up cigars. They’ve just given up buying them, and this is the most annoying thing in all of human history. I should make it plain that I’m not a selfish person. I give to charity every year. Heidi and I sponsor a child in Darfur and a donkey in England. I am always buying drinks even though I don’t drink myself and the amount of money I have lent to crew members over the years and have never been paid back would probably buy me my much converted Aston Martin. I would give someone my last penny and my last pair of clean underwear. But my last cigar? ………how about bollocks.

Last week I was sitting outside on the Lanai with my great friend and Carnival’s 343rd best comedian Al Ernst. I took out a perfect Cohiba Siglo 6 from my cigar case and Al, seeing that I had another one in there said. “Shoot spit (he’s Southern), can I have one of those?” And because I am not a mean person I gave him one………even though one single cigar cost $30. The only thing Al has even given me ……….is the flu.

So, what with guests complaining, having nowhere to smoke, a beautiful new daughter, cheap friends and yes…..yes for my health…………I have hereby decided to quit smoking cigars…….except after rumpy pumpy……………which means I will have two cigars a year.

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

Misty Asked:
John (please reply),

Over on Cruise Critic, there has been a discussion lately regarding babies not being allowed in the pool. As with most forum discussions, the thread has taken some twists and turns, but something that came up in the discussion was the issue of (lack of?) chlorination in the cruise ship’s swimming pools. It has been stated, in that thread, that the pools on the Carnival ships are not chlorinated. I find that hard to believe, considering how easy it would probably be to have a salt water chlorine generator work its magic on the incoming water. I know that all the water on the ship comes from the ocean and goes through some purification processes, but I’d like to know if it is true that there is nothing added to the pools and spas for sanitation purposes.
Thank you,

John Says:
Hello Misty

Thanks for taking the time to write about this. The reports on Cruise Critic is wrong. We do indeed chlorinate our pools at the levels determined by United States Public Health and these levels are strictly monitored onboard. As for babies in the pool, we do have a rule that states that children must be potty trained (no diapers, even swim diapers).

I hope this helps and please can I kindly ask that you add this to the thread thingy over on Cruise Critic.
Best wishes

John and patty Asked:
John please reply.

We have not received a posting all this week. Last one was on 1/15/10, I am not sure as to what the problem pls. re send the postings I missed if possible thank you!

John Says:
Hello John and Patty

I did take a few days off just before I returned to work to spend time with Heidi and Kye. Here is the link thingy to the blogs I wrote around the time you mentioned. I hope you have been receiving the blogs OK since then and that you are enjoying them.
Best wishes to you both

Stephen Asked:
Please Reply.

Just a short email John, thanks again for making our trip on the Valor last year even more memorable. Me and my sister are going to be on the Carnival Splendor in July around Mexico and are departing on the 11th, the day of the World Cup Final. Do you think they will be showing the final in one of the bars onboard John, if not, could you pull some strings for me so I can hopefully watch England lift the world cup. Thanks again,
Ste from Liverpool

John Says:
Hello Stephen from Liverpool

“Calm Down, Calm Down,”……….sorry everyone…….that’s a little Liverpool humour (spelt correctly) just for Steve. I am sure you are excited about your cruise and the great news is the World Cup Final will indeed be shown onboard all our ships. And on the vessels that have the Seaside Theatre Big Screens of which the Carnival Splendor is one……..it will be shown in all its glory so you can watch England beat Germany 5-0.

Have a great cruise and best wishes to you and your sister.

Janet Asked:
Hi John,

I will be cruising the Valor again this Sunday, January 24th with my favorite cruise travel buddy Raymond Wheeler. Ray and I actually met on the Valor in Sept 2006 thru a Cruise Critic roll call meet and greet and have been cruising together a few times a year.

Ray is an AVID Carnival fan and platinum cruiser with around 15 cruises (or so?) under his belt. This cruise is extra special cuz Ray will be celebration his big 50 birthday and I am happy I will be there with him to celebrate (and take him to dinner at Scarlett’s of course!)

I wonder if you could send a message along to Big Tex to let him know about Ray’s celebration? Maybe a mention during his ’show’ or a note in his cabin? Or?? I know it would mean so much to him (and to me too of course!).

Hoping you can make this happen (or feel free to drop Ray a note yourself if you have the time?)

Ray will be in Cabin 1212.

Thanks so much for your great work on Carnival and for being so helpful to us Carnival Cruisers!
Janet Baskin Brunette

John Says:
Hello Janet Baskin

I am so, so very sorry that I received this comment after your cruise was over. Please forgive me and I hope that you both had a great time and that you were able to celebrate with Ray on his landmark birthday.

Once again, my apologies.

Peg Dunbar Asked:

Before I tell you all about my cruise on the Ecstasy, I wanted to thank you for whatever part you played in Carnival going back to Europe and on the Magic. I can’t tell you how excited I am to be going and have you as our Cruise Director once again. We will be traveling with our friends that went to Europe with us on the Splendor in September 2008. I have booked our cruise and we have a great Aft Stateroom. I am looking forward to seeing just what the Magic is going to look like. Please keep us posted as to everything that is going on until the day she sails.

Now to my review of our January 14th Ecstasy:

First I want to thank you for making the arrangements for my friend who had to have the special diet. She was very happy that she was able to enjoy her cruise and not worry about what was in her food. Thank you for the fruit basket you sent, that was so thoughtful of you. It was so nice to see your name on the card.

The Ecstasy is a lovely ship. She may not be the biggest or the newest Carnival ship, but she really is a beauty.

The Cruise Director, Steve Cassel, as you know is an amazing talent. We loved his fiddle playing and juggling. I had a chance to talk to him for a bit and he told me that you had a very nice write up on your blog about the Crystal Eagle Award that the Ecstasy had won for the second time in the last two years. From our Stateroom Steward, our servers, all the kitchen staff, the dancers, the entertainment they provided which was just amazing, the comedian, guest services and every other staff member on the Ecstasy are very deserving of this award. I could not have asked for a better cruise. It was just a short getaway but everyone on the Ecstasy made it very special for all of us.

Thank you again John for all you did to make this cruise special for us and we look forward to sailing with you once again on a new ship and ports we have not been to. I am so thankful that we are not on another cruise line and that Carnival is once again going back to Europe and on a new ship the Magic. It will be a wonderful cruise and because of you it will be very special.

Keep smiling John; you truly are one of the good guys.
My best to Heidi and Kye.

John Says:
Hello Peg Dunbar

Thanks so much for taking the time not only to write a review but also for taking the time to say thank you for the fruit basket. It’s always nice to know that when you arrange things for people that they are received. I am so glad you enjoyed the incomparable Steve Cassel. He is as you say truly talented and is a brilliant fiddle player and his juggling show is both amazing to watch and funny at the same time. He is indeed totally unique and it is often overlooked that he is our longest serving Cruise Director.

I will make sure that he and the rest of the Carnival Ecstasy team get to read your words of praise.
Best wishes to all

Kathie Kennedy Asked:
Hi John, John please reply.

First let me say you are the best cruise director! We (24 of us) were on the Legend on the 10/11/09 sailing. You might remember my father-in-law – Dick Little. He was a real VIP that week. When we were leaving, he was given a DVD of his participation in the talent show, but we were disappointed to find that it did not contain the initial show of the first evening (not sure what it was called). Is there any way we would be able to get a copy of this show? If so, how? Thanks for any help you can give. It was the best show I think any of us have seen!

John Says:
Hello Kathie Kennedy

I remember your father in law very well and I hope he enjoyed his VIP status. I am though bitterly disappointed that you were given the wrong DVD and that becomes even worse when I tell you that after checking with the ship, they no longer have the master copy.

Please accept my apologies and please all tell your Father in Law that he was and is a superstar.

Please also let me know if he or you and the family cruise again so I can make it up to you.
Best wishes to you all

Kathie Mauldin Asked:
John, please reply.

My husband and I are interested in the transatlantic cruise on the Magic. We were on the transatlantic Dream cruise it was one of the best cruises we have ever taken. We want to repeat the experience along with the 3 other couples we were cruising with. I have called Carnival but was not able to get any info. We wanted to take advantage of the pass guess savings. Thanks for any info you can give me.

John Says:
Hello Kathie Maudlin

As you know we have just released the details on the Carnival Magic‘s European season in 2011 and it has caused much excitement. In the coming weeks we will be announcing the trans-Atlantic cruise information which will coincide with details on her North American home port. I will ask our Super Spy PA 007 to look into this for me and see if he or she can break that news soon. I am sure that just like the time on your Carnival Dream that you will love the trans-Atlantic crossing on the Carnival Magic.
Best wishes…………..and watch this space.

Christine Asked:
Please Reply

SO happy Carnival is helping!!!
John, can you please confirm for me you will be on the Dream for the March 20th sailing getting off with us March 27th?
Christine in New York

John Says:
Hello Christine in New York

I am so sorry Christine but March 20th is the day I leave my Carnival Dream and head to Texas and the Carnival Conquest. I hope I haven’t disappointed you too much and if there is anything else you need please let me know.
Best wishes

Melissa Ramsay Asked:
Please Reply

Hi John- I know you replied to me about a question I asked and you said you would get back to me about rates for the destiny I was booked on 1/7/10 and believe I replied how well it went, and I will have you know I have just booked the Destiny again and will be leaving in 2 weeks 2/4/10. This will be my platinum cruise!!!! I have a favor to ask, I had a wonderful time in the Galaxy dining room table 111 with our waiter Ricky. I would love to be seated there again, this time I am bringing my son who is 11 instead of all the girls, but would love it if I could have the same seats. If you could set this up for me that would be great!!!

John Says:
Hello Melissa

It’s always wonderful to see that people request specific waiters who obviously have made such an impression on them the last time they sailed. I have sent this to the Carnival Destiny Maitre D who I know will do all he can to accommodate your wish.

Have a great time and best wishes to you and the family.

Mary (Mrs. Shy) Asked:
Dear John, Please reply

Great news about the Magic…both for the passengers and for you! I see that Carnival has not announced the transatlantic voyage yet. Perhaps because the US homeport has either not been determined yet or Carnival is not ready to announce it. When do you think we will hear about the TA itinerary? Sounds like it will be Oct.28, 2011 as that is presently the end of the last Mediterranean cruise announced. The TA on the Magic is the one I am looking forward to. We would have loved to have booked the inaugural cruise from Venice to Barcelona but hubby’s 60th is on May 2nd and we will need to stay home to celebrate with family and friends. You may say, bring them all but since that is not logistically possible, we will look forward to the TA in October (guessing the date, of course).

By the time you read this, you will have been the CD on the Carnival Dream for awhile so hope you are enjoying it and looking forward to your girls joining you.
“The Shy One”

John Says:
Hello Mrs. Shy

You are correct when you say that you though the TA itinerary had not been released yet because we have not released her homeport information. As I just mentioned above, PA 007, our Super Spy, is on the case and he or she will let me know as soon as possible.

I know you like the longer cruises so I am sure you will be one of the first to book when we do announce the details.

My best wishes to you and Mr. Shy.

Stacey Asked:
John (please reply),

Can you tell me when the Liberty will be going into dry-dock next, and what upgrades she’ll be getting? Based on observations regarding when she was last serviced, we’re guessing late 2010, early 2011.

Also, can you tell me when the Liberty webcams will be fixed? Looks to me like it’s been months since they’ve been out of commission.

John Says:
Hello Stacey

I just checked the Carnival Liberty webcam and it seems to be working. I know that our web cam system is not the most reliable in the world and I promise that we are working on this. Anytime you see that they are not working on any of the ships that have them …… please let me know. As of now there are no confirmed details for the Carnival Liberty and another dry dock and when those changes I will let you know.
Best wishes

That’s all for today.

Here is our friend Vance with details of the grand official opening ceremonies for the brilliant new Mahogany Bay facility in Isla Roatan, attended by many local officials, dignitaries and VIPs.

Grand Opening Ceremonies Held For 62 Million Mahogany Bay Cruise Center

Well it’s Friday and that means of course a shorter blog than usual. It’s 7:25am and me and my underpants are sitting here and writing to you. And let me tell you………it’s not a good day to be my underwear. I am so nervous about Heidi and Kye who right now are 30,000 feet in the air. Horrible thoughts keep going through my head and honestly …….. I have no idea how I am going to get through the captain’s meeting, the debarkation talk, my marriage show and my live afternoon show.

Apart from the fact that they are in a metal tube 30,000 feet in the air I also worry that Kye’s ears might be hurting her and right now she is keeping the entire plane awake doing her Ozzy Osborne impression. I worry that by the time Heidi gets off the plane her clothes will be covered in sick and poo and that she will smell so bad that US Immigration may not let her into the country because they think she is French……. it’s no good………….I can’t concentrate……..let me see if I can change the subject.

The guests this week have been superb and the response at the shows and the comments I have received as I walk around have been very positive. Today, I will once again promote both the barbecue on the Lanai and the brunch. Talking of the brunch, I have added live music and now you will find a superb guitar/vocalist called Kevin playing there. I hope this adds to the atmosphere and attracts more people to try the superb menu.

Still thinking of Heidi and Kye.

Ok, let’s try some photos……….have a look at these two great shots taken yesterday as we left Costa Maya taken by Tharesh our Photo Manager.

Bloody hell…..this is ridiculous……concentrate John………all I can see is some angry passenger fed up with Kye singing her version of Iron Man trying to put her in one of the overhead lockers. I feel so guilty letting Heidi experience flying with my 9 month old beautiful daughter on her own.


OK, as I said, the guests have had a lot of fun. The Super Bowl activities went well. Ante and Klaudio the new Maitre D’s here are doing a marvelous job and the comments on the food were better than the ones I have read from the start up period.

We will also be saying goodbye tomorrow to Doctor David and Doctor Caroline. This husband and wife team are going on holiday tomorrow. They have been here since the ship started her life back in September 2009. They have saved lives…….literally saved lives …….they have been a confidant to the crew…..and have been great friends to me. I wish them both a very happy vacation and thank them for all their hard work. A special thank you to Doctor David for taking a special and close up interest in my hemorrhoids.

Bugger…….sorry……I can’t write anymore……..not until my girls are safely on the ground and I know they are both well.

I will write to let you know that they are.

Talk to you soon

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.