Double Trouble

May 11, 2010 -

John Heald

Please forgive me if the start of today’s blog is ummmm…… a bit…..ummm…well you will see…….. but I have to tell you about what happened to me early this morning. I was talking a few days ago about the Serenity deck and how I had decided to do my very best to stop the seat savers. Anyway, I had made a quite strict sounding announcement on the PA system and had added the same verbiage in the Capers basically telli……..oh bugger……… the Funtimes basically telling everyone that anything used to save a seat would be confiscated……….even though there was no chance of that happening as honestly…….just between me and you………..we don’t have the man power….or woman power. Anyway, I decided that after my Fun Ashore and Onboard presentation that I would go and have a look at the Serenity deck and see if my forceful announcements had worked. Actually they had……….as you will see now from the photos taken by me………..yes not Radu but by me at 11:45am.

Well as you can see there were few chairs with seat saving material on them. Anyway, as I took these photos I realized that a lady was suddenly moving towards me with great purpose.

And she was like nothing on earth and again…….please forgive me if you think I am sexist here but this is honestly what happened. Let me start with her breasts. I have written in and deleted the words massive, vast, humongous, ginormous and bloody huge ” here and deleted them all because there is no word that I know that will convey the scale of ummmm…them. When she chose them from the catalog, she’d probably been tempted by the ones marked “massive”. But in the end she’d gone for the top of the range. The ones known in medical circles as: “Oh………. my……….. God………..they’re moving towards us.” The area underneath them had its own climate and could possibly be where Osama Bin Laden is hiding.

Suddenly she pushed herself up from her sun bed (that’s no mean feat considering the two sumo wrestlers nestling in her bikini top) and started waving her hands around like one of those people that guides aircraft to the gate…….very strange.

I thought nothing of it until I saw the incident report this morning.

Guest: Ms ———Ref: 802051238A
Cabin: E4 Booking#: 11N4Q7 Added-Changed: 05/09/10 – 05/09/10

Guest called the GSD from ext 0074 and said that a male guest had been taking photos of her on Serenity in the sun. Guest said that this should not be allowed. Ms____ also said that there were two children there and it was supposed to be for adults only.

GSA spoke to security and pool supervisor.

Oh, my goodness she thought I was taking photos of them……I mean her. …………I am in the incident report……….bugger……..bugger………..bugger.

Now, this was getting ridiculous. What should I do? Call and apologize ………or hide under the bed?

Answer?……………….It’s dark under here and I just found a pair of socks I left back in 1993.

Seriously though my dilemma is…….should I call and apologize to them…….sorry………..her……….or hope she doesn’t recognize me? What would you do?

By the way, I do have one photo of them……sorry……….her………..and once a few weeks have gone by, I may accidently post them………sorry………it.

I had better get on with today’s questions don’t you think?…………….off I go.

Emily Asked:
(PLEASE REPLY…or please forward to whomever is appropriate!)

Dear John, hello! So glad to hear you are going to be able to stay on one ship for the Fall, so your beautiful girls can spend some time with you!

I have a suggestion I was wondering if you would mind sharing with someone with a beard…would they please add Sparkling Cider to their list of items available for purchase through the Bon Voyage site online? I am sailing on the Carnival Paradise on June 4th, for a girls-only weekend to celebrate 25 years of friendship, and wanted to have something bubbly waiting for us in the cabin to toast to our departure…but I am a bit of a teetotaler and the only non-alcoholic option I found on the site is Coke (which, while tasty, doesn’t really have the same celebratory quality). I was also going to check and see if I was allowed to just bring it with me onto the ship, but I will be flying in and realized the airlines aren’t going to let me through with it. Do they have Sparkling Cider available for purchase in the on-board Celebrations shop? Being a very family-friendly cruise line, I thought the addition of sparkling cider could also be promoted (maybe in combo with a bottle of champagne) as a way for both parents and kids to be included in the fun!

Thank you for your time and all of the laughter you add to our days!

John Says:
Hello Emily

Thanks for the kind words and certainly I am very much looking forward to having more time with the girls for the rest of this year. This is an excellent idea. I recently asked them to add sugar free products to the Bon Voyage site and certainly a non alcoholic sparkling wine makes absolute sense. I can’t promise that it will be online before your cruise next month but certainly it makes sense to do this. You can bring one bottle on with you in your carry on so that will be fine. Thanks again for the great idea and I wish you a brilliant girls weekend with your friends.

Best wishes to all,

Lynda Asked:
Hi John, please reply.

Great news about you being on the Splendor. We were on the last Holiday cruise because you said you’d be there and then you couldn’t. I understand. But we made plans to be on the Splendor in September because we have to be on the west coast for a family wedding. So I said to hubby why not take a cruise out there since we cruise from Florida and the Gulf Coast all the time. So we booked a cruise right after the wedding.
We were on the Carnival Liberty trans. with you in 06. I’m sure you remember that cruise. So I can’t wait to see you again.

I’m sure there will be a lot of bloggers on these cruises but I’d like to a least be able to say hi to you sometime not in a huge line. If you think that will be okay, I’ll send you our cabin # and exact cruise date later.

Thanks for making my day,

ps. We leave for the Carnival Elation Panama Canal cruise in two weeks. We have never done the Canal so it will be great to do something new. We’ll try to say hi to Mr. Radu for you.

John Says:
Hello Lynda

I am so sorry that my plans changed last year and I was not able to go with you for that final Holiday cruise. I would love to meet you on the Carnival Splendor and maybe you could leave me a note at the guest services desk when you arrive so I can give you a call. I am sure that you will be reading this after you return from your Carnival Elation voyage which I will be showing more spectacular photos of in a moment.

Thanks for all your kind word and I will see you soon.

Best wishes,

Tim and Diane Asked:
John, Please reply

Sorry that this reply is coming so late, been very busy to read you daily so now it is catch up time for us.

RE Price increase, it’s all due to supply and demand and we all know that the most popular cruise line in the world has the best prices, well almost most of the time. So, if you don’t book early you are not going to get a good cheap price.

Blogger cruise. Don’t take it to heart. You can please some of the people some of the time but not all of the people all of the time.

Keep up the good work.

John Says:
Hello Tim and Diane

Thanks so much for the kind words and indeed bookings are going very, very well at the moment and I still personally believe that the value for money we provide on our cruises is simply the best in the industry.

I hope I see you both soon.

Best wishes to you both.

Gina Asked:
John, (please respond)

I was very glad to read that you will be the CD on the Splendor. I am already shopping to find the best dates for me to go. However, before I make my final decision, I was wondering if you were planning an informal, mini-blogger’s cruise. You had mentioned it in a previous blog and I was wondering if that was still in the works.

Thanks so much!

John Says:
Hello Gina

Yep, I am all confirmed for the Carnival Splendor and I am excited to be seeing the ports for the very first time and I am looking forward to seeing one of my favourite ships again. I don’t think there will be an official bloggers cruise there as everyone seems to be booking at different times. I do hope you will come and see me and I promise that I will do all I can to make it your best cruise ever.

Best wishes

David Asked:
Dear John, (Please Reply)

I hope you know the tune “California Here I Come” and are not getting on the edge with the crew on this ship. Have a great time, and we wish you all the best out west. Don’t be alarmed if the California ground shakes, it’s not you, it is just the way it is out there. You have been our CD on 3 cruises, and we hope to cruise with you another time. But I must say, that Tory, Paul, Malcolm, Danny & others whose names I don’t remember, all did a great job. We really do like Tory, so much energy in one person, she was the talk at our table.

Now for my questions. We are taking a cruise on the Carnival Freedom on August 22, and now that I know you will not be the CD, do you know who it will be? I did read that they are working out the schedule now, so maybe when you get to this you will know. Also, this will be our third time to Jamaica “Man” and other than the Waterfall Climb, or Zip cord, do you know something that 2 young grandparents can see while there? Something that won’t include Red Strip Beer or Jerk Pork / Chicken.

Best to you and your girls. I love the blog, and look forward to reading it every day.

John Says:
Hello David

It was great to read your words of praise for my fellow Cruise Directors and I shall make sure they get to read your testimony…..especially Tory who will be thrilled. I hope you have seen the Cruise Director schedule which I posted a few weeks ago and that Ryan Fitzgerald will be the Cruise Director and I know he will also join your list of favorites. As you know, I am a big fan of Jamaica and Ocho Rios and without a doubt I would suggest the River Rafting on the Martha Brae. This is the most relaxing of excursions. You sit on a big bamboo raft on a ” love chair ” while a handsome Jamaican man punts you down the river. The scenery is astonishing and there is no white water……it is just peace, love and tranquility. If you want something more exciting then we have the river tubing which does include a little bit of white water stuff. Maybe also think about the Mystic Mountain bobsleigh strip…………Cool Runnings Mon.

Have a think about those and if you have any follow up questions please let me know. Hopefully the earth won’t shake when I am in California.

Best wishes,

Miss Lily Asked:
John – Please Reply

I hope this is the right way to do this.

We were with you on the maiden voyage of the beautiful Carnival Splendor and are currently looking at the upcoming voyages of the Carnival Magic.

We would love to book another European voyage and my question is, when will you be the CD? I recall reading that you will be there in July but we are looking at August or later.

Thank you in advance.

Your friends from Arizona
PS – We also just love the Conquest.

John Says:
Hello Miss Lilly

Thank you so much for writing and I am hoping that I will be seeing you on the Carnival Magic and showing you Europe again. I will be the Cruise Director from April to October with maybe a cruise off in August. I don’t have the date of that yet or if indeed I will be taking time off but I will be there from the start pretty much all the way through to the transatlantic crossing. I hope I will have the honour (spelt correctly) of seeing you there.

Best wishes,

gammy3 Asked:
Dear John (please reply)

For those of us who can’t cruise as often as we wish, I was wondering how hard (or expensive) it would be for you (or one of your Stephanies) to do a video of a week at sea? Something like … A day in the life of Senior CD John Heald… A day with the crew… A day of relaxation on the different decks… A day at port… I’m sure you get the ‘gist’! Then put it all together on a CD or DVD that we could ‘pop’ into our DVR’s or Laptops to watch when we are feeling down and need a cruise ‘pick-me-up’!! I know I would be willing to send money to contribute to this fund! Think about it please… You would be doing so many of us a great favor (and honour (sp correctly!)).

Thanks John! From a great fan of yours… gammy3

John Says:
Hello Gammy3:

We have to do more video. I know that many of you would appreciate this. While filming what I do is easy, the problems seem to be in downloading, uploading or sidewaysloading or whatever loading thingy is needed. But………I recently spoke to one of the 344 (remember we have a new one) Stephanies and she agreed that we will make this happen and you can expect more video of my silly life very, very soon. Thanks for all the support.

Best wishes,

Elissa (Crazy for Koko) Asked:
Dear John, ( please reply if you dare!)

The ‘OFFICIAL Cruise critic’ roll call of the ‘maiden’ voyage of the Carnival Miracle on 10/18/2010 to Grand Turk, La Romana, Aruba and Curacao would like to formally request your presence as cruise director for this all brand new itinerary!!

Not only do the ‘Official’ CC roll call folks request it, but the ‘step cruisers’ (those who will be taking this cruise but didn’t book thru the official TA) thinks it would be pretty cool to have you aboard as well for this all important sailing!!

Hope you can join us, but if not, we’re sure that whomever Carnival places on this voyage will try hard to please!


Elissa and Andy, and first time cruisers…Steph and Caity!!! Traveling with teenagers..what where we thinking??!?!

John Says:
Hello Elissa (Crazy for Koko)

Ahhhh, Aruba……oh, the memories I have of Aruba. I wish I could be with you for this great cruise but I am going to be on the Carnival Splendor. However, if you wish me to arrange a meet and mingle thingy I would be happy to do so. I promise that you will have a great time and my best to you and all my Cruise Critic friends. By the way……..who is Koko and why are you crazy for him, her or it?

Best wishes to you and all the family,

Nadine Asked:
Dear John (please reply)

I just wanted to tell you how excited I am about sailing on the Magic with you next year (May 10) as I have yet to have the pleasure of having you as my CD. I was on the (true) inaugural of the Dream last year in the Med and had so much fun that I simply had to do it all over again.

The friends who accompanied me are not returning, but a dear friend is coming with me and it will be her first cruise. I just wanted to tell you how excited we are to be on the upcoming cruise with you.


John Says:
Hello Nadine

This is wonderful news and later this year I will start writing about the ports and will also be visiting the ship as well. It will be an honour (spelt correctly) to meet you.

See you soon.

Best wishes,

Joyce Asked:
John-please reply!

When are you going to give us the pre-announcement of the Carnival Magic TA? Please get 007 on it! Many people are pressuring me to book the RCCL Liberty TA, and I can’t hold out much longer!!

John Says:
Hello Joyce

Soon Joyce……..very soon. I know many of you are waiting for this news so please hang on a few more days and the news will be here. I am waiting for super spy PA 007 to let me know ahead of time if she/he can. It will be worth waiting for, I promise!

Best wishes,

That’s all for today. I do want to talk a little about the ongoing subject of items that are not allowed on board. It is ongoing and that is our fault as we have yet to finalize the list and make it public. I know this is a hot topic over on the Cruise Critic boards and my mate Host Mach has informed me that some are accusing me of ignoring the issue or refusing to post comments about it. That is absolutely not true. Unless the post is a personal attack on someone (apart from myself which you are all free to do) the Stephanies will post every comment. I say this because “Cruisinmomma” sent me an e mail marked “urgent” with a  link to this thread thingy today and I wanted to address it.

In this regard, I wanted to talk directly to Tom and Cheryl from cruise critic who are valuable past guest cruisers. Please, if you have a concern about this, send me a comment and I promise it will be posted. I know that you do not agree with the policies regarding the power strips and I think maybe I should explain again as obviously before I made a hash of it.

You see, it’s not just the power that these strips take……….nope…….the major concern is the condition some of these power strips and cords are in. While yours are in an excellent state, I am sure many are not. I know this because I have seen the reports and photos of some that are definitely not in a good state and a bad power strip could cause a spark and a spark can cause a fire and………well…….the rest is obvious. We make no apologies for thinking of the safety of the ship and all on board.

Tom and Cheryl………you have cruised with us many times and I would hate to think that you would consider not doing so again because of a power cord. Please write to me if you wish to discuss this further as your loyalty means a lot to Carnival and to me.

The final list is not ready yet. There is a final meeting on Thursday and then soon after I will publish the list here. Until then I remind you that chargers for Eye Pods and other electrical items are fine and if anyone has a medical reason to have more, than please add a note in your baggage stating this.

I promise we will get this resolved once and for all and that a clear and present clarification is posted for all.

Time for a break………and, as always, we go to Radu for this and his spectacular photos of the Carnival Elation entering the Panama Canal………here is one of the 343 Stephanies to put them into a slide show thingy. But first… is Radu……… in his own words.

Dear John,

Today we just finished the Panama Canal crossing, and after we left the ship with the pilot boat at 5:30 AM, near the Bridge of the Americas, in Panama City, Tom and me we went to heliport, and we had the chance to film and photographed the highlights of this unforgettable crossing. And what a Sunday day it was, sunny and clear, just good for my camera.


Fantastic once again Radu……thanks so much.

One of today’s questions involved a request for more video on the blog thingy and I agree…we need to do more. Meanwhile, Cunard are very good at this and Alistair Greening the Entertainment Director who writes a fantastic blog, of course, has a new video clip on his site which I think you should see. It features the incomparable Archbishop Desmond Tutu who talks about another icon, the Queen Mary 2, and who he would invite to his own “Captain’s Table. I think the answer will surprise you ………. and as our friend Peter Shanks says, “I promise it will bring a smile to your face.” ……………here is the link thingy.

As you cruise on the various ships across the Carnival fleet you may notice that while some continue to have my colleagues host a debarkation talk live in the theatre, half the fleet will not being holding one at all. I have spoken here on the blog thingy before that Carnival is the only cruise line that still has their guests come into the theatre for a 30 minute or more briefing and that maybe we needed to change. Certainly if you look at my debarkation talk it is 35 minutes of which 20 minutes of that are jokes and funny (or not) stories. And so we are going to see what happens when half the ship does not have a talk at all. This has been in operation now for a few weeks and let me explain a little more about what is going to happen.

Some ships still have a debarkation talk. For example, the Carnival Fantasy still has one while her sister ship the Carnival Paradise has none at all. All the ships, though, regardless of whether they have a talk or not, will have a pre-recorded video made by the CD that plays from the afternoon of the last but one day of the cruise and throughout the final day on the state room televisions. These videos are plain and simple, joke free, infomercials on how to disembark the ship and the documentation needed, etc. Basically, what we are doing is seeing if the ships that do not have a live talk have a smooth a debarkation system as the ships still hosting a live one.

Now, I know that many of you enjoy the presentation of the crew and the Captain at the end of the talks and so the ships that are not holding a live talk will incorporate a similar presentation on the last sea day. This will last 15 minutes or so and will include the Captain’s farewell message and the Captain’s “Ciao for now.”

So, we will try this for a few weeks and see what happens and once the people with beards have sat around a plate of tofu sandwiches and discussed what the final decision is…………I will let you know. If you have any thoughts on this, please let me know here on the blog thingy.

I am really enjoying myself here and I noticed that the people who cruise from Alabama really like to dress up on elegant night. I would say that for sure the ratio of people dressed for dinner was higher than any of the other Carnival ships I have been on recently…………..and unlike on your Carnival Dream, the Carnival Legend or the Carnival Conquest………….they stay dressed until night’s end. It was great to see.

However………..there is always an exception…………… is yet another T-shirt guy.

This was taken at 11:45pm outside the show lounge on elegant night by me and my raspberry. At least when I asked him to put his T-shirt on he didn’t invite me to have rumpy pumpy with myself.

I realized yesterday that I spend an awful lot of time here on the blog thingy talking about………ummm….me……….and sometimes I forget to talk about some of the brilliant crew who I have the privilege to work alongside. So, in the next few day, I will be highlighting some of them, especially the ones with an unusual story…… this chap………Pool and Deck Supervisor “Ravis”………from Latvia………..all 6 foot 9 and half inches of him.

Ravis is tall and thus every guest asks him if he plays basketball. In this case the answer is an absolute yes!

You see, Ravis played professional basketball in Latvia. He played for the Latvian side in the Beijing Olympics and was one of their star players. Unfortunately, he blew out his right knee and had to stop playing. I sat and chatted with him as he told me how he could not get the surgery he needed to continue playing and that was the end of his career. He had a dream of playing in the NBA and had been approached by a few teams but that dream finished when he rose to block a shot during a game against Croatia and his knee blew out………….and his career was over.

And here he is on the Carnival Fantasy, a pool and deck supervisor and probably the most photographed crew member on the ship. He is tall, blonde and handsome (bastard) and has a smile that lights up the entire Lido Deck.

I asked him who is favourite NBA team was.

He told me the Lakers.

I then asked if he knew that the Chairman of Carnival Corp was also the owner of the Miami Heat.

He didn’t.

I asked him again what his favourite NBA team was.

He said to me……….”The Miami Heat.”

I also asked him……………if he had a sister!

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.