Kentucky Fried Medicine

March 8, 2010 -

John Heald

And so it begins…

Guest: Mrs. ______ Ref: 846006032A
Cabin: ___ Booking#: ______ Added-Changed: 03/07/10 – 03/07/10

Mrs._____ said that she had read the Capers but had not seen the Oscars being shown tonight. Guest said that she had been promised by her travel agent that this would be shown. Guest was quite upset so GSA called CD but he was at his TV morning show.

Well apart from the fact that I need to remind the guest services associates that the Capers have ceased to be and are now called Fun Times (although I said Capers many times last week) how would this lady’s travel agent be able to promise what I am going show on the big screen. I guess that’s a subject for another day.

I haven’t had much luck with the Seaside Theatre Big Screen. I have advertised a hockey game that was canceled and moved to MSNBC to make way for some men in Lycra mincing around on some ice and now this. I had forgotten about the Oscars and had advertised our normal Sunday line up of movies — Ice Age 3 for the kids and Angels and Demons for people who like Tom Hanks and nuns.

So, I had to make the decision to either postpone the movies for another day and play the Oscars ……..or tell this guest that her travel agent had told her we would show the Oscars in the same way Tiger Woods told his wife he was just popping out for a round of golf with his mates. But after careful consideration, planning and thought……..or “tossing a coin” as it’s known………I decided to play the Oscars.

So with an apology announcement to the guests over the PA system for the change I later went up to deck 10 to see if it had been the right decision. There were about 150 guests outside watching, though some were wrapped in blankets and others keeping warm by cuddling up to Johnny Walker, Jack Daniels or Bud Wiser……… was only 68 degrees ………… GWMA!

Oh by the way, we gave all the guests watching this sheet here to fill in and then the guest that gets most right will win their own plastic Oscar

I watched for 5 minutes …….but honestly……it’s not my thing……..I would rather watch the Miami Heat beat the Los Angeles Quakers.

However, the one part of these award ceremonies I do like is that brilliant moment when the nominations have been read out and 4 famous actors or actresses are sitting there waiting to find out whether they have won or lost. I wonder if they think about what face they are going to pull when the envelope has been opened and the winner has been revealed and it’s not them……….but Meryl Streep……….again. I would think it would be easy for those nominated at the Oscar’s though, because grinning is what they do for a living. And because they’ve been nominated for the biggest grinning prize of them all, we can assume they’re very good at it.

Then there are the winners. They’ve got to look proud, a little bit startled, a little shocked and happy, but not air punching delirious as though they just got back to their hotel suite to find 4 naked Latvian women waiting for them. That’s a hard one to pull off, even if you’re George Clooney or Denzel Washington, which, presumably, is why they usually stand there sobbing like great big girls.

It’s easier to get your face right if you lose, but there are still pitfalls. Who can forget the time when Colin Welland, who wrote Chariots of Fire, was halfway out of his seat to collect a best film award only to find he hadn’t won it? He didn’t look like he’d lost. He looked like he’d been kicked in the bollocks by a horse wearing stiletto heels.

Surely then given the choices, losing is better than winning, and not only because it’s easier to pull the right face. If you win, you’ll have to make a speech, which, and this is a promise, no bugger wants to hear. They can see on the plinth that there are 207 more awards still to be handed out and that if everyone rambles on like a cruise director on speed…….. They’re never going to get to Elton John’s after Oscar’s party to drink Dom Perignon from Angelina Jolie’s belly button.

One thing that does make me laugh is how each “mega star” has to show up in the most impressive car. Stretch Limos, Rolls Royces, Bentleys and other exotic vehicles. I think Leonardo De Crapio arrived in a Polar bear saving Toyota Prius but like most Toyota’s the breaks didn’t work and he missed the Oscars completely and is reportedly somewhere in Utah…………….. Still going.

Yep, the stars all wanted to outdo each other and if I was rich and famous and attending the Oscars I would arrive………in Megan Fox.

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

Elizabeth Asked:
Please respond–

John, do you still speak with a Proper English accent or has the contact with Americans spoilt it? I hope you still have it.

John Says:
Hello Elizabeth

Well that is a good question. I have to admit that my Brit friends do say that I have a “twang” and although I certainly don’t sound like a character from the Dukes of Hazzard I have, over the past 22 years, picked up a few Americanisms. However, once home in Essex for a few days my English accent returns. Obviously I still (much to the disgust of my father who definitely speaks the Queen’s English) find myself saying certain words in the classic American style. I say “garbage” instead of “rubbish” and only a few days ago I asked Heidi where my “Vi tar mins” were instead of “Vit a mins.” You see we have the same language but with major differences. My friend and Carnival’s Vice President of Public Relations Tim Gallagher tells the story of how he was in London a few years ago and got on one of those red double decker London buses.

There were no seats except for one which was taken up by this English lady’s little lap dog. Tim asked if she might move her dog so he could sit down and the English lady said, “No, I will not move my dog because my dog is better than you Americans.”

Well, Tim who is usually the most passive chap you will ever meet, opened the bus window …….picked up the dog……..threw the dog out of the bus window and sat down.

An Englishman sitting across the aisle looked over at Tim and said,  “You Americans, you do everything the wrong way round. You drive on the wrong side of the road……you eat with the fork in the wrong hand…….and just now you threw the wrong bitch out of the window.

Thanks for the spiffing question.

Best wishes

Irma Moore Asked:
Please respond

Dear John, we love your blog! Please tell the wonderful wait staff on all Carnival ships that we also love being treated to fantastic service that is not hurried (If you want to hurry go to Mickey D’s). We are so fortunate to be going on our third Carnival cruise within the last 6 months and we got the upsell call so it will be our first suite. We will be traveling on the Sensation, March 7th with my niece and her husband to celebrate her 49th and my 63rd birthday. We would love for you, Heidi and Kye to jump ship and join us but we know that you are required elsewhere. If possible, would you send a note to say Happy Birthday to my niece? Her name is Kimberly N. Sanders.

Here’s hoping you are having a wonderful day and that Heidi and Kye have a wonderful flight.
Irma Moore

John Says:
Hello Irma Moore

Thanks so much for the kind words for the blog and the service from our staff in the dining rooms. I hope you have a great time and I will be honoured to send Kimberley a note for her birthday. I hope you and the family have a great time

Best wishes to all

Ronald & Sharon Asked:

I hate to ask for favors, I know you have so many requests. We are sailing on the Elation on Oct. 4, 2010. Ronnie’s Birthday is on Oct. 4, and our granddaughter’s is Oct 16th. This is her first Cruise.

We are taking her for her 13th Birthday. We have a party of 5. If it is possible could we get a table for 5 on the lower level first seating in the middle?

We love your Blogs. We know you will be so excited to see you’re Two Girls.
Love to You, Hedi & Kye

John Says:
Hello Ronald and Sharon

Please don’t feel bad about asking me for things as that is part of what this blog is about. Please can I ask that you send me this again on September 1 with your cabin numbers and I will be sure to ask the Maitre D to assist you?

Thanks for the kind words

Best wishes to all

D.J. Patrick Asked:
Dear John,

First. I wanted to take the time to tell you how much I have been enjoying your blogs. My husband and I are going to be celebrating our 20th wedding anniversary onboard the Carnival Legend the week of October 17th. It will be our first cruise. It is going to be a very long year. I also wanted to tell you what a great vacation planner you have in Diane Coto. She has been a great help. She has got me so excited about the cruise I have been driving family and relatives crazy. However through this I know have 4 more people coming along to celebrate with us. Sorry to ramble. Can you please let me know who I can contact to make sure Diane gets the recognition she deserves for her work and dedication in making my first cruise a memorable one? Thank You in advance for your help. Looking forward to your blogs.


John Says:
Hello D.J.

It is always such a pleasure to read nice comments about our shoreside staff who, unlike the shipboard teams, don’t often get the recognition they deserve. I will be sure that Diane and her managers get to read this posting.

Thanks to you and the excitement you have shown for your October cruise I see that 4 more people have caught Carnival fever and are coming with you. That is absolutely brilliant. If there is anything else I can do for you before you sail please let me know.

Best wishes

John Jordan Asked:
Hi John,

Well…finally after 10 years we have booked our second cruise and will be sailing on the Carnival Splendor on March 14th. I am not sure that 10 years ago we even knew anyone who had ever taken a cruise…and we really didn’t know what we were doing. It ended up not being the best experience. It all started when we missed the boat due to flight delays in Saint Louis…so instead of a 5 day cruise on the Imagination out of Miami to Jamaica and Grand Cayman….we ended up on a 7 day Eastern Caribbean cruise out of Puerto Rico on the Inspiration. I had everything planned perfectly (ahem)….except when none of it happened. Did I mention we were traveling with a 7 year old…and a 2 year old? You can imagine all of the trouble we had…including trying to find diapers in Guadalupe (which we didn’t). We had less than an ideal…really no fault of Carnival, but just trying to deal with all the crap…well…you know what I mean. 😉

It has taken quite a while to take the plunge again and schedule a cruise. I want it to go smoothly, well actually perfectly…and I am incredibly apprehensive. I am reading everything I can get my hands on from cruise tips and secrets…to a blog by this really quirky cruise director who apparently does all of his writing in his underpants. Can you believe it?

Anything you can do to help make our second adventure on Carnival great would be appreciated. I want my wife and sons (Now 16 and 11 (turning 12 on the cruise) to have the best time ever. Just some advice would be great…the options are overwhelming…and from the looks of it everyone else who writes to you is on their 32nd cruise!!!


John Says:
Hello John Jordan

Just 9 months ago I would not have truly understood your diaper dilemma but no Kye has entered my life I know exactly what you mean and feel your pain. I hope that this coming cruise on the Carnival Splendor will go much more smoothly than your first time. I can’t believe there is some idiot writing a blog in his underpants……what is the blogging world coming to?  Please don’t worry about planning too much and don’t stress. A lot has changed since you sailed last and I know the crew on the Carnival Splendor will make sure this is a cruise that will rejuvenate your faith in family vacations and give you all so much fun. Try and find one night where your kids can enjoy Club O2 and Circle C leaving you and the Mrs. to enjoy a romantic meal for two at the Steakhouse. You can expect a little something from me as well.

Please send me a review if you have time and I wish you all a brilliant time.

Best wishes

SoBelle129 Asked:
Dear John: Please reply.

I have two questions for you and one favor to also ask. 1. I’ve always wondered why ships are registered either in the Bahamas, Liberia or Panama. Is it due to taxes? 2. Do you know where I can obtain a Carnival Festivale ship pin? I sailed on that ship years ago and need that pin to complete my pin collection. I’m a Platinum Carnival Cruise Line member. 3. I wrote to you some time back that I have a client who is going to be on the Carnival Dream with you on the April 17th sailing. He is 28 years old and is an orphan at his young age. His Dad passed away two months ago from cancer and his Mom died when he was ten years old. The client was also under the impression that the Dream would be stopping in Nassau and was surprised that the itinerary changed from the time he booked and paid for the cruise. Would you be able to get him and his girlfriend a dinner for two in the steakhouse during his cruise? I would really appreciate that very much if you could do this for them. I’m also their travel agent who booked this cruise for them. I would appreciate your reply to my two questions and my favor that I asked of you. I know that you are looking forward to having Heidi and Kye sailing with you on February 12th.

Best regards,

John Says:
Hello So Belle 129 – Leslie

Let’s start with your first question.  Yes, most cruise ships operating in the U.S. fly a foreign flag to comply with government regulations that states U.S. flagged ships must either be built in the U.S. or have an American staff.  And since most cruise ships are built in Europe and have international crews, most cruise ships fly a foreign flag.

As for the pins, well I am working hard to get the onboard shops to make them for the ships that have left us….Mardi Gras, Carnivale, Festivale, Tropicale, Holiday, Jubilee and Celebration. I will hopefully have news on this soon. I won’t be able to give your clients a dinner for two at the Steakhouse. I hope you understand but once I open this door its one that will never close and as much as sad as I feel for his loss, I can’t do this. I will though make sure I send them something to their cabin so please provide me with their last name or cabin number and I will do just that.

I look forward to hearing from you and my best to you and all your clients

Thomas Asked:
John – reply to this post

I was just on the Conquest and had a good time except there were no tables for 2 left at dinner. I suspect this is because you have given them all away on your blog. This is unfair and while you help those that pretend to be your friend and then ask you for things the rest of us who do it the proper way get nothing. What do you have to say?

John Says:
Hello Thomas N

The good news from your posting is that you had a great cruise and that is good to hear. I am so sorry that you did not get the table of your choice though as that has clearly upset you. I doubt that the reason there were no tables of 2 was due to the blog though but demand. Were you on Your Time Dining or assigned seating? Please let me know.

I won’t comment on your last statement because obviously you are upset, but let me say that I am here should you or anyone else ask me for help Once again I am glad you had a great time.

Best wishes

Paula Asked:
Dear John, Please respond.

We were on the Jan. 23rd Carnival Dream cruise. We had a terrific time, thanks to Todd, and our wonderful wait staff, table 641, Scarlett Dining Room, early seating–Guillermo and Norman. We missed seeing James and Captain Queirolo. Is Captain Q okay? Our last cruise on the Freedom was the best we had ever been on due to Todd, James and the Captain.

Your ride on the slides with G. Cahill motivated my husband and me to try them. We loved the Twister.

I was so excited to see you outside the Encore Lounge that I barged in on your conversation with another guest. You were showing pix of your gorgeous Kye. I am sorry if I seemed rude.

I wanted to ask you why, as Platinum cruisers we did not receive our Carnival Dream pins? This was our first VIP cruise and we were looking forward to them. Our cabin steward was not the most efficient and had to be reminded about the special logo frames two times before we got them. I am hoping he just forgot to leave the pins in our stateroom. Weren’t we supposed to get them? I was wondering if you could let someone know that we didn’t receive them and perhaps have them send them to us. Also, we have cruised with Carnival 3 time in the last 16 months and haven’t gotten our Currents magazine in over 2 years. Help, please.

I wish we could have seen your bedtime story. Perhaps next time. When will you have your ship assignment schedule?

Keep on doing what you do. I love your sense of humor(spelled correctly).


John Says:
Hello Paula

What a great review and one that I will make sure that everyone you mentioned gets to read. I have seen now for myself just how wonderful the crew of your Carnival Dream is and it has been an honour to work alongside them all. I am glad my poor attempt at the water slides gave you both the inspiration to try them and I should point out while action man Gerry “Iron Man” Cahill was loving the experience…..I ruined a good pair of underwear.

Please don’t apologize for interrupting the conversation I was having. You certainly were not rude by doing so and I am just happy we got a chance to meet. OK, Carnival Currents has ceased and has been replaced by an online site called “Funville” which is much more current. Here is the link thingy –

As Platinum guests you are indeed supposed to get the pins and I have no idea why you did not. I will make sure that this is taken care of and apologize that you were over looked.

Thanks so much for all your kind words and for your loyalty to us here at Carnival and I will get you those pins

Best wishes

Tracy Asked:
Please reply

can u also tell me who’s the cd on the liberty Nov 27th. ty

John Says:
Hello Tracy

We have not yet completed the schedule for the rest of 2010. It is a work in progress and I should have this ready to post by the end of March.

Best wishes

Marty Paul Asked:
Hi John (please reply, if you have time),

Well, I must have “Carnival cruise fever” after sailing on the Carnival Dream (10/15/09) in the Med, because I just booked another Carnival cruise.

My fiance, Jeanne & I will be getting married later this year, so I wanted to keep “in- check “(both time & money), the vacation with my 2 boys (Ryan-12 & Colin-9) this summer.

Perfect answer was the Carnival Ecstasy out of Galveston. We are booked for the 5-day West Carib on July 10th.

My question is, I would love to show my sons the behind the scenes of a large commercial ship in operation (I have a maritime background). I am sure they are not getting any exposure or encouragement in the maritime field from my ex-wife out in San Diego. Does the Carnival Ecstasy do the “Behind the Fun” tour?

We have booked one of the new balcony cabins and I am really looking forward to seeing how the ship looks after her Evolutions of Fun upgrades. Heck, I was impressed with the ship a few years back when I took Jeanne on her first cruise, the 4-day “weekender” out of Galveston to Cozumel. The condition of the ship was excellent in view of her age and I noted that the crew was constantly cleaning, making repairs, maintaining, etc throughout the cruise. By the way, I had sailed on her maiden West Carib voyage out of Miami in 1991, so I’m very familiar with the Ecstasy. She has followed me to SE Texas (I live in Houston)…

Thanks for your wonderful blog AND you’re sense of humor (spelled correctly)! You are a perfect fit for Carnival because fun & humor go hand-in-hand!! Keep up the great job and I hope we can sail with you someday. I am also a cigar enthusiast, so maybe we’ll enjoy a cigar together someday. Take care and best wishes to you & your family (especially with their long flight across The Pond”).

Marty (& Jeanne)

John Says:
Hello Marty Paul and Jeanne

You sound very excited to be sailing on the new Carnival Ecstasy complete with all her brilliant Evolutions of Fun upgrades. I am also sure that with your sea going past you will be thrilled to show your family what goes on behind the scenes which you will be able to do on the ship during the “Behind the Fun” tour. I just spoke to a friend of mine Host Mach and I posted his review of the ship and he was flabbergasted by the way the ship looked the facilities and her crew so I am sure that you will be just as thrilled.

Thanks for the kind words and hopefully we will get to smoke that cigar one day. Please send me your son’s names and cabin one month before you sail so I can send them a welcome aboard gift.

Best wishes to you all

That’s all for today. Thanks to all of you who voted on the poll on the side of the blog thingy. If you haven’t had a chance to do so yet please do so if you have time. I am getting a little confused as to where this blog should go next or if it should remain as is and your thoughts on this would be most welcome. Thanks again for all the great comments.

Heidi and Kye made it home OK and I have asked Heidi to write a little blog thingy about her flying experiences so look out for that later this week. Later this week there will be a great interview with our Chief Marketing Officer Jim Berra which you will all want to read and tomorrow our man in London Mr. Peter Shanks has a very different kind of blog to share………..and you will love it.

Talking of Mr. Peter Shanks who is of course not only our man in London but also is of course President of Cunard. And talking of Cunard here is a stunning photo of the incomparable Queen Mary 2 arriving majestically into Sydney, Australia.

There are many ships sailing the world, some bigger and some with more gizmos and gadgets. But is there anything that at sea that can start the heart beating faster than the sight of the Queen Mary 2? Let me answer that question myself. …………..No!

That photo is worthy of being a screen saver. Here are today’s random photos taken be me which are worthy of bugger all.

So here I sit……….in my underpants……..heading to Cozumel and while I am in the Western Caribbean my friends James Cusick, the Executive Chief Purser of P&O’s beautiful Arcadia and fellow blogger, is down under in Australia.

Thanks to his blog we can all experience what life is like for his passengers and his fellow crew members. So, while make myself a cup of tea why not pop on over to where you will find James’s  blog and much more including photos of the stunning new uber luxury Seabourn Sojourn.

Just before I write about this cruise so far I wanted to recap last week. You might remember that I had a strange feeling that some of the guests were maybe not as happy as I would like. It was a feeling based on the fact that unusually, when I would say hello or good morning etc, some would not reply or even acknowledge me. Well the only way to truly know if this feeling was a correct one or not was going to be in the guest comment card results. And those showed that 98% had a great time and would return for another Carnival cruise. However the individual department ratings dropped an average of three points. I wonder why?

Anyway, I thought you might like to see a few letters from last week’s Morning Shows including some sketches by my blogger friend Mrs. Funk who captured some of the cruises highlights through her brilliant sketches. These included a couple whose jeep got stuck in the sand and oh yes… and Mary from the bedtime story. Anyway, here they are and one or two other stories.

Now you may have noticed the letter from the lady who had received a “Dear Jane” text. Her boyfriend of three years dumped her on Friday and when I called her live on the Morning Show she not only told the rest of the ship his name…..but also his phone number and begged the guests to call him and tell him he was “a heartless sh*t.” My Morning Show had suddenly and without warning turned into the Jerry Springer Show.

I wonder if anyone called him……apart from me.

OK, now we can move on to this cruise……voyage DR7030610

TOTAL GUESTS                                           4,038

NON US CITIZENS AND CANADIANS      317 – 81 from UK, 76 from Germany.

PAST GUESTS                                               2401

PLATINUM AND MILESTONE                   163

MOST CCL CRUISES                                   Mrs. Marcia Good – 43.

Under 2 Years 11
2-5 Years 67
6-8 Years 64
9-11 Years 80
12-14 Years 77
15-17 Years 79
18-20 Years 140

And while we have no specific large groups it is the beginning of spring break and while the vast majority are great kids we, like all cruise lines and land resorts will no doubt have one or two who will do what spring breakers do. Have too much to drink and then wake up the next morning realizing they have just spent all their money and it’s only the second day of the cruise. We had some obnoxious 20 something’s at Karaoke last night who felt it would be really “cool” to swear on the microphone. The microphone was immediately muted and the culprits told to leave. Now, this was just a small group of 7 guys and two girls and all have since been warned that their behavior will be monitored and any further problems could result in their Sail& Sign cards being canceled and further action if necessary. Since their bollocking by our Chief Security and Hotel Director …..there have been no further problems. I wonder though how they will be after Cozumel today …….and $5 Margaritas the size of gold fish tanks!

The rest of the 4,000 guests have been just brilliant so far and at the Welcome Aboard Show I chose a guest to come on stage with me who will be forever memorable to everyone onboard this week.

His name is Willard Hammond who is 78 and has been married for 59 years.

The conversation went like this:

ME                                          WHATS YOUR NAME


ME                                          YOU HAVEN’T WHAT?

GUEST                                   WHAT?

ME (LOUDER)                      YOU DON’T HAVE WHAT IN

GUEST                                   MY AID ……….points to his ear.

ME                                          OH, I WILL SPEAK LOUDER THEN

GUEST                                   I’M A LITTLE DRUNK AS WELL

ME                                          DRUNK

GUEST                                   WHAT


GUEST                                   YES I AM…….BEEN AT THEM RUM DRINKS

ME                                          WHAT’S YOUR NAME

GUEST                                   WILLARD HAMMOND

ME                                          WHERE ARE YOU FROM

WILLARD                              WHAT?


GUEST                                   STINKING CREEK, KENTUCKY

ME                                          WHAT?

WILLARD                              DID YOU FORGET YOUR AID TO?



ME                                          IS IT A NICE PLACE

WILLARD                              SMELLS THE SAME AS MY DRAWERS

ME                                          (10 MINUTES LATER AFTER LAUGHING HARD)



ME                                          THAT’S FANTASTIC

WILLARD                              YOU AIN’T TRIED HER COOKING

ME                                          IS SHE A GOOD COOK

WILLARD                              WHAT

ME (LOUDER)                      IS SHE A GOOD COOK


As you will see from the photos now……….I just sat down and let him talk.

Willard was a truly funny guy. It wasn’t an act, he was just naturally funny. He really is just a naturally funny guy. We learnt later that this is the first vacation he has ever been on outside of fishing trips. Ever since the show every guest I speak to all ask me “where’s Stinking Creek?” and there is no doubt that he has become an idol here this week.

The audience laughed and laughed and there was one person at the show who needed that laughter more than anyone………me. There are no words to describe the loneliness of an empty cabin. It had been full of laughter and giggles and pooey diapers and love. And now there is just me. As show time on Saturday approached I felt sad, empty and truly did not feel able to go out and be funny for an hour. And admittedly for the first ten minutes I was on total auto pilot. But then……….I met “Stinking Creek” and I realized once again what a wonderful job I have and how important it is for me to forget my troubles, count my blessings and be the best Cruise Director I can be. It’s not always easy ……………and I do miss the girls more than words could possibly describe. But laughter as I have always said is a great medicine and thanks to “Stinking Creek” I got some of that medicine for myself…………………….and I feel so much better for it………..I was rejuvenated and reborn thanks to a Stinking Creek.

As you can see the 343 Stephanie’s have added a few balloons to the header as it’s our anniversary. I still can’t believe that you all wake up each day and read this blog thingy………………..six million times. Thank you all for your friendship and as long as you want me to and as long as I have a pair of underpants………….I will keep on blogging.

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.