Come Back Maggie

May 4, 2010 -

John Heald

Sometime last year a blogger called Nanci Nurse wrote a post that said I would have made a great politician. I think I laughed that one up but as my country is three days away from a new Prime Minister maybe she was right………maybe I should run for leader of the United Kingdom. I mean, you look at the three candidates we have. A Scottish chap who looks like Susan Boyle and who has the led the country to economic bollocks. A private school educated snob who maybe be intelligent but has the personality of a cauliflower while another chap who is only mildly popular because everyone hates the other two so much.

I am sure one of them would be more popular if they just told a joke or two, smiled and tried to make the voters laugh. These days people need to laugh.

Your politicians on the other hand are naturally funny with they mean to be or not. Has the wonderful world of comedy ever brought us anyone more hilarious than Sarah Palin, whose answer to a question from Katie Couric during the presidential campaign about which newspapers she read to keep abreast of current affairs (“All of ’em, any of ’em that have been in front of me over all these years”) became one of the most watched YouTubethingy clips?

And how about the much missed George W Bush. Whatever you felt about him politically you always looked forward to anything and everything he did. Picking one of Bush’s TV bloopers is like asking me what my overall favourite Carnival ship is. It’s like shooting fish in a barrel ……… bloody hell………even Dick Cheney couldn’t miss. My favourites though were the photo of him surveying the badlands in Iraq through a pair of binoculars with the lens caps still on.

And I had to go to Uncle Google to get the next quote right so….here it is: “Our enemies are innovative and resourceful, and so are we. They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we.” …………………absolutely bloody brilliant.

Of course, only in America could an actor become a high profile, massively powerful political operator…………..yep…………..I am of course talking about Arnold Schwarzenegger We all know how complicated economic forecasting can be, so it was reassuring to hear the Governor of California tell the 2004 National Republication Convention, in simple everyday language: “To those critics who are so pessimistic about our economy, I say, ‘Don’t be economic girlie men!’” And he is surely the only politician in the world have undergone regular bikini waxes and posed in public wearing nothing more than a film of baby oil and Speedos the size of a postage stamp.

Yep, we have nothing like them in the UK and that’s why I dread the next few years. Whoever wins the election they will have bugger all personality and their promises will be as total bollocks as Tiger Woods wedding vows.

What we need is someone special………we need President Bartlett, played by Martin Sheen.  The West Wing brought so many brilliant characters to our screens. In the episode “Two Cathedrals,” the second season finale, President Bartlett is wrestling with his conscience over whether to run for re-election after his disclosure that he suffers from MS. He was so jaw droppingly awesome I am sure that had Sheen run in real life…….. he would probably have been elected.

We in the UK have only one hop……………..brings back Maggie Thatcher……………….she would have lined up all the bankers who lost my money………and tasered their testicles …..  Until they paid I and everyone back.

I miss her.

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

Marty Paul Asked:
Hi John (reply only if you have time/space);

I saw that comment from the West Coast blogger on CC about you not considering/doing a BC on the west coast. Take it as a compliment John–> that blogger was like a spoiled baby who wasn’t getting what he wanted (kind of like how you are feeling now that Carnival has blocked your website “”). You are in demand…on both coasts!

Also, I also commented on the Great Lakes suggestion and thank you very much from me also on forwarding the idea to the bearded ones. Does Terry Thornton have a beard?

Interesting that Carnival had already looked at the Lakes. Yes indeed, the Welland canal can only accommodate ships up to 740 ft in length and the Fantasy class are 855 ft and the Spirit class are 963 ft.

The only one that would’ve fit was the Holiday at 728 ft. It’s amazing how today’s ships have outgrown the canals…the Welland, the Panama.

Again, thanks John for asking and thanks to Carnival for the answer! Looking forward to our July 10th cruise on the 855 ft Carnival Ecstasy!!

Marty Paul

John Says:
Hello Marty Paul

I am glad you got to read Terry Thornton’s reply on the Great Lakes. He does not have a big beard, just a small one but he does have a brilliant mind and he is a big blog reader and as you can see takes great interest in what you all have to say. It is a shame that our fleet is too big to sail the Great Lakes but I can tell you that he is working on lots of ideas for different destinations. I will let you know what’s happening on that front soon.

I am now booked for 4 months on the West Coast and hopefully this will give all those folks who I have never had a chance to meet the opportunity to come and cruise. I see some have already booked the Carnival Splendor which is great.

Thanks for the words of support.

Best wishes

Sandy Pickett Asked:
Hi John Please reply when you have time.

I just wanted to thank you for answering my letter about the port protocol when you do a back to back cruise especially since I didn’t put in please reply. We did book the Carnival Glory for next January 16 and then the 23rd.We are very excited and can hardly wait. I really just wanted to know what happens on the bloggers cruise that’s making everybody nuts. I’m guessing they get to spend time with you which of course would be great .I have a suggestion, would it be possible for carnival to Skype or put some kind of live web cam thing on the ship you are on and have a live feed to be shown on the big screens .This could be shown on all the ships. More people would be able to interact with you. It wouldn’t be as great as meeting you in person but might be a kind of solution for everybody that would like to meet you. I think you do a terrific job just trying to answer all these questions. Thanks for your blog and cheering so many people up every day.

John Says:
Hello Sandy Pickett

This is a really difficult one to answer. I have tried to answer this here but keep deleting it because I sound pompous and big headed. I will say that it is a wonderful chance for the community of people who have read this silly blog thingy to actually meet and become friends. For other reasons apart from that, the gifts and private activities and events…….why not pop on over to Big Ed’s Evil Krewe site and ask some of them. Or maybe a few bloggers can explain why. I hope to see you one day and congratulations on booking a back to back on the Carnival Glory.

Best wishes

CarolD Asked:
John Please Reply

Hi John, I felt so sad after reading your blog 4/9. Please try to ignore the negative comments and focus on the positive. There are so many who love your blog and what you do. You will never be able to please everyone. Just be true to yourself.

Now on to my Victory review and questions. What a wonderful cruise this was (my 3rd Carnival). As you know this cruise is unique in that there are no sea days. This made for a very busy cruise. Karl is a great cd. (Yes as you would say an ugly sod! haha). Have you done a profile on him yet? If not perhaps you should. Who knew he could sing? He was very entertaining. This was the first time we tried your time dining and it was great. We usually ate around 7-730 and never waited for a table for two. The wait staff was awesome! We had different ones each night and all were great.Ellin and Betty in the casino bar were great. They always had a smile and friendly conversation no matter how busy. It seems they were the hit for many guests as people kept coming by to say hello! Now my questions. Does Carnival put their best waiters in the your time dining room? It seems they have a much harder job serving courses at all different times. Do they switch back and forth from cruise to cruise? What do you think the average number of chocolate melting cake served per cruise? I had it 5 out of 7 nights myself! Hope this review helped cheer you up. Take care and keep doing what you do. Thank you for all you do. Looking forward to my 4th Carnival cruise this fall!


John Says:
Hello CarolD

Thanks so much for the kind words of support, I truly appreciate them. It is time I revisited the CD profiles as we have a lot of new ones and I will indeed make sure the fantastic Karl is amongst them and thank you for taking the time to write about him.

I was also glad to read about your positive Your Time Dining experiences and the along with the comments on Ellin and Betty I will pass them along to the ship. The waiters are on a rotation and will work both YTD and assigned seating. We have found this is the best way to keep everyone on their toes and so far and as you have proved the comments have for the most part been very positive indeed. As for your question on Chocolate Melting Cakes, I asked the Chef on the Carnival Conquest and he told me the answer is a staggering 6,900 were served on the last seven-day cruise ……………….wow!

Thanks again for the wonderful review.

Best wishes

Caroldlr Asked:
John please reply if you have time.

Okay John stop beating yourself up over not being able to be in 5 places at once or do whatever is asked of you by the inconsiderate people who really need to get a life. You are the most amazing person I know and there is no other thing I can say but thanks for all you do. We are finally home from our 3/21 cruise on the wonderful Carnival Conquest and I have to say it was the most rewarding time I have had in my life. (I tried to hide in a lifeboat awaiting chocolate melting cake delivered by you, but my DH just wouldn’t let me.) I do want to thank all that made our cruise so great, from you’re number one for arranging our dinner for 10, to the following (2. Jeorge our Cabin steward, wonderful meticulous person that made us feel at home every minute of the cruise, 3 Iggy our waiter and all of his staff, wish I could have taken them home with me, they made all of us feel so comfortable and relaxed, that I was afraid they may kick us out of the dining room every night, we just didn’t want to leave. 4. Alexandria our Dining room hostess, Carnival has a very special person in her. We had one of our group that has a allergy to Gluten. Her and her DH were first time cruisers and Carnival now has loyal customer’s thanks in large part to the care and attention that Alexandria gave them. They were totally blown away that Carnival would care so much about a single passenger. ) The list is long and some names I can’t remember, but I have to say there was not one crew member that I was not thankful for all the hard work they do, I am constantly in awe of the smiles and courteous service 24 hours a day and I do mean 24 hours a day.

Few other comments: Tell the guys in the Beards to please not do away with the live Jazz band in the Cigar Bar, that was one of our nightly rituals and it is so wonderful.

Cruise director was really good, he just wasn’t John Heald, but I think he did a wonderful job with the glitches he had to overcome, (medical emergencies and late departure from Grand Cayman).

Is there any way that we can get a special and personal note of thanks to Alexandria that helped our niece so much.

I was so lucky to be able to take the “Behind the Fun Tour”, great experience and I encourage everyone to make this part of their next cruise.

Okay this is turning into a book, instead of a quick note. Thanks again for all you do.

Love to Heidi and Kye and a special thank you to them for sharing you with us.

Carol DLR

John Says:
Hello Carol DLR

That’s weird. Two Carol D’s back to back with different e mail addresses so obviously different Carol D’s. I guess you didn’t take my advice and hide in the lifeboat then. Anyway, I had a great time on the Carnival Conquest and it sounds like you did too. Thanks for the kind words about the crew and their friendly and fun service. They will be thrilled to see their names in print. I know Mark the CD had a tough first cruise and he will be pleased that you have taken the time to acknowledge them. Live music is very important and we rotate jazz, Latin and more in the cigar bars on the Conquest class as we know how much people enjoy that.

Thanks again for the great review plus the kind words for Heidi and Kye and I hope we get to sail together soon.

Best wishes to you and all the family.

Kathy M. Asked:
Dear John, Please reply if you want to.

John, please accept my apology for the posting that I put on your blog about not wanting to be a CD on the West Coast. I honestly thought that you got to pick where you wanted to go, I did not realize that it was not of your choosing. I think I got that impression from different times when you have said that you have requested certain ships and have been placed there, so I just thought that you got to say where you wanted to be.

I am truly sorry that because of what I said that you would second guess yourself and please accept my apology for that too,, but please no matter what I say, or what a few others say, JOHN, YOU ARE STILL THE BEST CD THERE IS OR EVER WILL BE!!!

Please give my love to Heidi and Kye,

Kathy M.

John Says:
Hello Kathy M

There is absolutely no need to apologize. I have been and always will be your friend.

Hope to see you soon.

Best wishes

Elisabeth Hayer Asked:

I have really enjoyed reading your blog and am looking forward to my first cruise with my husband out of New Orleans on the Triumph Sept 11-18. I have tried to call and email customer service regarding an issue that I need to make sure is made aware of before the cruise, with no avail so I am hoping that you can help me!!! I am DEATHLY allergic to chocolate and so would appreciate no chocolate be placed in my room or used on my plates as decoration. I tried to enter this when I was booking but could not do so.

Elisabeth Hayer

John Says:
Hello Elisabeth Hayer

Thanks for the heads up Elisabeth and please do not worry. I have copied this to the right people and so you have extra assurance why not remind me with another posting one month before you sail. You will have a brilliant first cruise and it will be the first of many I am sure.

Best wishes

Terry Dunning Asked:

I realized that my previous post did not have pls reply. I’m sure you may have read it so I won’t repeat. What I do want to know is if you will be the cruise director on the Fantasy for the June 11-16 cruise out of Charleston? If not, I guess I miss you again….

take care,
Regards, Terry

John Says:
Hello Terry Dunning

Hopefully you will have seen the new CD schedule which is now posted on the right hand side of the blog thingy. If you have any other questions please let me know. I am here on the Carnival Fantasy now and you will love it here I promise.

Best Wishes


Can you explain how the ANYTIME Dining works??? We will be on the Carnival Miracle next Feb and chose anytime dining as we don’t like the HAVE TO BE THERE AT 6 dining. What are we to expect????

John Says:
Hello Judy SHARUM

On the Carnival ships we call this dining option “Your Time Dining” or YTD for short. Basically, the top level on the starboard side is reserved for those guests who have requested the YTD option. You can go from 5:30pm – 9:30pm and for the most part you will be seated straight away. There may be times when you are asked to wait and this is usually between 7:30pm and 8:15pm which is the most popular time. If you are asked to wait you will be given a beeper thingy which will beep and vibrate as soon as your table is ready. You can request a table just for your party or the Maitre D may seat you with other guests. So, as you can see, it is very flexible and is now as much a part of the Carnival dining experience as assigned seating.

Please let me know if you have any other questions.

missingthesmokefreeparadise Asked:
My dear friend John – Please reply

>>> I was due to be the CD on the Carnival Pride.

Now, it truly disheartens me that you have chosen to forsake the magnificent Port of Baltimore. IMHO, you should assign yourself to be the CD on the Pride during the months of December and January, so that the chances of arriving home to 22 inches of snow become more realistic.

Seriously, I applaud you for two things – giving thought to our brethren bloggers on the West Coast and wanting to facilitate more time with your family. I only hope that your dreams become reality and that the Captain of the Splendor decides that you deserve his accommodations. I mean, seriously, you are the Senior Cruise Director, Brand Ambassador and Plenipotentiary for Carnival Cruise Lines LLC. One must insist on his station in life.

Finally, whatever the decision on Bloggers2011, I (and the Mrs.) will seriously consider taking the cruise, then cruise vicariously through Sarge and the Empress Bee (most likely).

Missing your company, I am


John Says:
Hello LookingforwardtoourplatinumcruiseontheCarnivalGlory6June

I was wonder if you and MrsLookingforwardtoourplatinumcruiseontheCarnivalGlory6June will be joining me on the Bloggers Cruise next year on the Carnival Glory. It would be great to see you both and congratulate you in person on your Platinum status?

Thanks as always for your continuing support.

Best wishes to you both

Elizabeth Asked:
Please respond…one way or another.

While you are on the Conquest could you check the volume of the band (from below) in cabin 6363?

We were there and felt the vibrations of the band on the floor. We heard every note. We complained politely. The CD asked what time we go to bed and looked at us strangely when I said 10:30. We were moved to another lovely, quiet cabin. And were compensated although we did not ask for it.

I wrote you about this. Someone called and said that we or our TA should have looked at the deck plan and seen that it would be loud. We did and I still can’t see it. I would rather not have talked to her than be told what we were. The attitude of the woman made it much worse. I do not know her name.

So now I am afraid of the Conquest. We will be on the Ecstasy in May. But the Conquest??? Can you help?

John Says:
Hello Elizabeth

I am not sure that we should expect our guests to check the deck plans and try and decide which cabins are or are not above or below a live band. Maybe our PVP’s can do this and some of the better travel agents but we should not be asking our guests to do this. I am glad that we were able to accommodate you in a different state room. Carnival Ecstasy has no such issues that I am aware of and I know you will have a great time. Please don’t worry and my apologies for the inconvenience you encountered on the Carnival Conquest.

Best wishes

That’s all for today……………………..AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH……………………my cursor keeps jumping up the page…………..come here you aggravating bastard.

I saw a posting on Friday’s blog thingy that I wanted to comment on. Here it is.

Hi John

John, my username on Cruise Critic is Chacooe. I want to let you know that I DID NOT SEND YOU THAT MESSAGE and I do not know who did, but I am furious over it. Someone on Cruise Critic asked me if I was Kathy M. on your blog and I replied “yes” which I see now was a big mistake since this is the results of being honest… So please in the future, DO NOT REPLY TO ANY messages with the name of Chacooe or Chacoee, because they did not come from me.

I know that you and I have has some misunderstandings in the past (all of them on my part not yours), but as you know when I was wrong about something I apologized to you about it, but to send you a message like this one, I could or rather would not send you a message like that. You are such a caring and loving person to all and when I read that message I just cried that someone would stoop so low as to use my username to send you such a nasty note. If you still have the email, check the return email address and you will find it is not mine.

Please give my love to Heidi and Kye,
From your Number 1 Bloggy Thingy Fan,
Kathy M…

I just told Kathy that there was nothing to apologize for and I truly mean that. However, whoever stole someone’s screen name to use to write a negative and somewhat nasty comment……well you have lots to apologize for and I hope whoever it is gets seasick and lock jaw at the same time. The skeptic in me thinks it may be someone from another cruise line who wants to cause a “problem on the seas”……….whoever it was ……………..bugger off and don’t ever come back.

Let’s take a break and as requested by Laura aka Divetrash our Chairlady of the Piano Bar Entertainers………… is the latest list.

IS Rick Atha 04/24/10
DR Barry Miller 04/24/10
FS Bruce McGhie 05/01/10
EC Lorraine Ingle 05/10/10
FA Richard Canter 05/15/10
SL Agustin Villarin 05/30/10
LE Milburn Dumas 05/30/10
MI Duane Lewis 05/31/10
TI Peter Rossetti 05/31/10
GL Jason Davis 06/06/10
PR Roger Concepcion 06/13/10
PA Jordan Heppner 06/14/10
LI Brad Alexander 06/19/10
SE Tom Riccio 06/20/10
VA Laurie Anne Gardner 06/27/10
EL Michael Lee Smith 07/03/10
CQ Jason Martin 07/18/10
VI Angela Johnson 08/15/10
IM Tom Grable 09/03/10
FD Robert Crucilla 09/19/10
SP Peter Brenner TBA
DE Bill Barclay TBA

Thanks again Rob King for doing this and thanks to all of you who support our Piano Bar Entertainers.

And so here I am back on the Carnival Fantasy and let me tell you right now………she looks fantastic. I was here for the Bloggers Cruise of course but that feels like so long ago and it is so good to back. This afternoon as I waited for a cabin I sat with the Cruise Director Risa Barnes in her cabin. At one point she was chatting about the coming change to Charleston but I have to admit my mind wandered I went back to the days when I was last here as Cruise Director.

The year was 1992. I was ummm………..young………..and skinny and dating a dancer called …….. well that doesn’t matter. There were no security guards, no X ray machines, no coffee shop, no sushi bar, no Mongolian wok, nothing in fact on Lido but hot dogs, burgers and fries……………in fact I don’t think the 24 hour pizza had come along yet but I maybe wrong there. The belly flop contest, the beer drinking contest and the male nightgown contest were the most popular activities. These are no more of course thanks to the people with beards and high visibility jackets.

Yep, that was a long time ago and as Risa chatted I drifted back into the arms of ………. ummmm …………someone………….and all the memories of days gone by. The ship has changed so much since then of course and so has the home port. And just as the Carnival Conquest is a massive hit in Texas, Carnival Fantasy has been a huge success here in Mobile.  In fact the people of Mobile are very sad to be seeing her go but are excited that the Carnival Elation is on her way.

So, here is the schedule for the next few days. I have 5 boring days of handover thingy and then I start as CD. We will sail on a seven day cruise………..the ship’s first from Mobile. Here it is:


I then have two more cruises before I head home. I have lots to so of course because I have to organize schedules and Capers for three different………………bugger……………..I have to organize schedules and Fun Times for three different cruises, so busy times ahead.

Let’s take another break and go back to talking about the Carnival Elation and her voyage to Mobile. Here are more stunning photos taken by the totally incomparable Radu.

Please take the time if you can to thank him for these and all the great photos to come. What a talent he is.

OK, back to the ongoing topic of power strips, cords and chargers and other items which cannot be brought onboard. There was a big meeting in the Miami office yesterday where important people reviewed the list of what items cannot be brought onboard along with some provisions for medical grounds. I am waiting for the top beard to tell me it’s OK to post this and once that approval comes I will make sure you all see it. We really need to make this clear and easy to understand because I don’t think so far……….we have.

This new computer is going to be swimming with the fishes if the cursor doesn’t stop flinging itself all over the sodding page.

Well, here I am then writing to you but not in my underpants. I am in cabin E116 which is a cabin where the guests have not shown up and it’s a handicapped cabin which means I have a chair in the shower……..very nice. I have asked the Guest Services Manager to make sure that there are no other guests onboard who may need this but so far I have not heard anything. It’s an inside cabin which like all the state rooms here have benefited from upgrades and it is very comfortable. I am though, I must admit, sick of packing and unpacking and while it has been treat to go ship to ship……….I am looking forward to 4 months on one ship the next time.

So, here I sit, in the conference room writing to you. Everyone has been very nice yet as has happened in past months I am treated like I am someone important and that means I ate alone last night on Lido and again this morning while various junior management hovered around in case I should ask for some sautéed peacock. I may be older, greyer and more cuddly but I am still the same chap who was here 20 years ago……………..I really am.

I have met some blog readers already though and that along with some crew I have not seen in years (I will tell you about them tomorrow) which has been nice but already…………..I am bored ………I want that microphone……………give it to me now.

I am sure that Texans and Alabamians don’t think that are alike in any way, shape or form but to me….the guests on the Carnival Conquest and here on the Carnival Fantasy talk, look and act essentially the same. Remember, this is a Brit talking whose only previous education of the south came from American TV imports such as Green Acres and Daisy Dukes bottom.

Here on the Carnival Fantasy just as the Carnival Conquest the guests, most of which don’t know I am a crewmember are more hospitable and welcoming than people I’ve known for many years back home. “Where y’all from? You sure are a long way from home. Is it your first cruise?”

My goodness they are so amazingly polite. “Yes ma’am, no ma’am, yes sir, you surely can” and as I stood at the coffee shop on Promenade this morning, a lady needed some sugar and as she went to take it she said, “Pardon my reach,” an expression I hadn’t come across before.

One other thing has struck me both here and on the Galveston based ship and that is more than I have ever seen on other vessels clothing, advertising a wearer’s participation in Korea or Vietnam, is commonplace.

Anyway, the people are mostly as polite and as fun loving as you can imagine and I can’t wait to entertain them.

Oh… might have noticed I just used the word “ most” in that last sentence because as always………..there is always an exception.

Last night I was sitting on the Promenade Deck with Mark the Hotel Director. It was 7 pm and as we chatted a chap in his early 20’s walked towards us. He had a pair of shorts on……but no T shirt, his nipples on display for all to see.

As he approached Mark politely said:

“Young man, please put a shirt on”

The young man looked at Mark and without breaking his stride said in the strongest of southern accents.

“Fuuuuuuuuu*******kkkkkkkk yooooouuuu” and kept walking.

Mark and I looked at each other……………and then laughed out loud.

Your friend


Rick Atha



Barry Miller



Bruce McGhie



Lorraine Ingle



Richard Canter



Agustin Villarin



Milburn Dumas



Duane Lewis



Peter Rossetti



Jason Davis



Roger Concepcion



Jordan Heppner



Brad Alexander



Tom Riccio



Laurie Anne Gardner



Michael Lee Smith



Jason Martin



Angela Johnson



Tom Grable



Robert Crucilla



Peter Brenner



Bill Barclay


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.