New News On The new Niew Amsterdam

June 3, 2010 -

John Heald

I have some disturbing news to report to you about Hennie, the new Cruise Director of the Carnival Fantasy. Yep, I am sorry to have to report that like Goose, Todd, Chris, Brent and others…………..he is I am sad to say………..a metrosexual thingy. I wrote about my colleague’s preference to lotions, manicures, moisturizing and waxing around their baby makers ……………and Hennie is part of this horrendous cult.

While he is doing a great job and showing bags of confidence he is also spending as much time choosing what to wear on stage as he is preparing his Fun Onboard and Ashore talk. I just don’t get it…..but then again…………I have never and will never understand fashion.

I don’t do fashion and I dress in what fits and what’s comfortable……..that’s it…..the end. Obviously the women reading this will be in despair of what I am saying here and they would be more so if they could see that I am writing this dressed only in my socks and underpants.

Heidi is always asking me “Does this dress go with these shoes?” and of course men don’t care…..maybe the metro sexual ones do……but most of us don’t……we pretend maybe……. but deep down we just want you to bugger off so we can continue watching Sports Center. When men look at women, they just see wrapping. When you say, “Do I look nice in this?” he’s thinking, “Not as nice as you’d look out of it.” Or, if you are married to Judge Judy, “Please, God, don’t take it off.”

Ladies think that clothes have a life of their own, that their dresses talk to each other in the closet, that their underwear could blackmail them. Clothes, for them, are a thing like a dog or a Facebook friend. And our new breeds of Cruise Directors are the same. I know one Cruise Director whose clothes are more important to him than being funny on stage. I know women who love their shoes more than their husbands.

I guess the closet thing I have ever come to anything like that is many years ago when I owned a pair of “score” underpants. This was a pair of blue and white Calvin Klein underpants………..yes…………I used to fit in a pair of Calvin Klein’s…………….which I used to wear anytime I thought I had a chance or a girl talking to me and anytime I had the ridiculous belief that a female would want to have rumpy pumpy with me. On the very rare occasion that this happened I always said a quiet thank you to my “score” underpants. Looking back now I realise that this was bollocks. I am sure if I asked those poor unfortunate two or three spa girls and one dancer why they entered a relationship with me they wouldn’t say, “Well actually Johnny boy, I didn’t actually find you attractive, until I got a saw your underpants and then it was as if forces beyond my control were wanting me to have rumpy pumpy with you.”

Yep, the Cruise Directors of today are out of control. Todd Wittmer, the brilliant Cruise Director of your Carnival Dream travels with at least 20 pairs of shoes and Goose the super CD of the Carnival Splendor, does the same. I have two pairs, one black, one brown and the black ones I have had for years. My wife on the other hand worships the Shoe God. Her closets are full of shoes and she can say “I am just popping out for some groceries” and always come back with a pair of shoes.

The problem is though that like Paul McCartney’s ex wife Heather Mills………she only wears half of them!

Let’s do some Q and A…….off we go.

Shane Asked:
John, please reply,

Wondering if there is anywhere to get the Carnival horn sound, available at the web site as a ring tone? Looking forward to cruising with you on the Splendor this fall, and the Magic next fall. The short visit on the Dream TA was not enough.


John Says:
Hello Shane

We did indeed post a link to the Carnival horn sound which I think a lot of people down up or sideways loaded as a ring tone. I will ask one of the 344 Stephanie to post it here again for you. I hope it’s what you were looking for.

Ship Horn

It will be an honour (spelt correctly) to see you on the Carnival Splendor and on your Carnival Magic. Please let me know if you need anything else.

Best wishes

Jim Asked:
John Please Reply- (ok… you don’t have to reply but I need you to read this.)

John I have written to you a couple of times recently about you going to the Carnival Splendor and that we will be on the ship. It will be our 20th wedding anniversary cruise (August the 4th) etc etc..

I told you before I don’t expect you to give us a gift and despite that you said it would be no problem for you to do something. I was reading your blog tonight and realized there is something you could give us that would me a lot to us. We took our first and honeymoon cruise on the Carnival Fantasy. We were looking forward to being able to cruise on the Fantasy again since she was ported in Mobile which was close enough that we could easily get there for a cruise. But now they moved her to Charleston. Which for us would be very difficult to get to. We have been collecting the “genuine 24 Karat gold…. plastic trophies” on every cruise since but we did not get one from the Fantasy. (When you are on your honeymoon you don’t spend a lot of time at the trivia contests.) I know it would be one more thing to lug around with you (and let’s hope the airlines don’t consider them as dangerous as a finger nail clipper) but since you are on the Fantasy now, is there any chance you could bring us one when you come to the Splendor? I would truly understand if you can’t but it would be a small token that would mean a lot to us.

I know you normally say to write again a month before sail date but I think you will be on holiday (hopefully with your girls) in between the Fantasy and the Splendor and it would be too late to ask you.

Jim C

John Says:
Hello Jim C

I have asked the Assistant Cruise Director here to send a trophy in our internal mail to the Assistant Cruise Director on the Carnival Splendor. Her name is Stephanie and she will also be my personal assistant when I get there in August. Please drop me a note when you are onboard with your cabin number so I can have the trophy delivered.

I am looking forward to seeing you soon and hope you enjoy the trophy.

Best wishes to you both

Sierra Asked:
Dear John (please reply),

First off, a HUGE THANK YOU for writing this blog. I love your writing style and am always impressed with your love and devotion to cruising and Carnival. It is so nice to read about someone how is passionate about what they do. So thank you!

Forgive me if this is a little long. I’m a total cruising newb!

After reading your blog thingy and the Cruise Critic message boards my husband and I decided to book our very first cruise (ever!) on the Carnival Valor!!! Actually, I decided and worked really hard to get Jason (DH) to agree. You see Jason is NOT a boat person and prefers to be on dry land. He finally relented when I told him I wanted to go for my birthday in October and this would relieve him of celebration planning duties. So we’re booked for the 10/10/10 cruise. Hurray!

Enough background, here are my questions:

1. Is there anything you suggest for alleviating sailing fears? He’s pretty convinced the ship will sink the moment he sets foot on board.

2. My actual birthday is 10/15 (Friday) is that a formal night? If not, we might give Scarlett’s a try. Do you have any other recommendations for making this evening/day special?

3. DH is a beer guy. He likes unique microbrews. What kind of beer is available on board? Are there any great brewpubs in Grand Cayman, Cozumel, Belize or Roatan that we should try?

4. I saw on your lovely spreadsheet that Big Tex is taking a break from his CD duties on 10/3. Will he be back on board for the 10/10/10 cruise? I’ve heard such wonderful things about him and loved your YouTube interview!

5. I would love to meet Big Tex but don’t want to be like Tarzan when you were trying to run on the treadmill. Are there appropriate times where I can walk up and introduce myself or should I just let him get on with his job? I want to meet him and chat, but I don’t want to be a pest.

Thank you so much and please keep up the excellent work!

John Says:
Hello Sierra

What a great posting and how honoured I am that this blog thingy has persuaded you to take your first-ever cruise. I have no fear of saying that I know for sure it will be the first of many and that you like many, many thousands of people will be hooked on the terrific value for money, fun for all vacation that we offer. OK, let me answer your questions for you.

1. Hello Mr. Husband……….I couldn’t quite bring myself to call you Darling Husband. Please don’t worry about sinking. The only sinking feeling you will get is when you walk off the ship and back to the real world. Cruise ships are safe and please pay bugger all attention to what thoughts Leonardo DeCrapio may have put in your head. For the most part you won’t even know you are on a ship.

2. OK, back to you Sierra. Here is the itinerary for your cruise and I have included the elegant nights and two recommendations for you to enjoy the incredible Steakhouse experience.

3.  Regarding beer, there is a pub right on the water front in Grand Cayman called the Landmark which serves many British beers and ciders. I think your husband will enjoy that. I am not sure about Belize and Honduras but I know they have local beers. As for the beers onboard …………here is what we serve.

Domestic beer
Bud light
Michelob Ultra
Miller light
Coors light
Blue Moon

Non alcoholic

Imported Beers,
Foster’s lager
Guinness Pub Draught
Bass Ale
Corona Light
Stella Artois
Heineken Light
Dos Equis
Pilsner Urquell
Amstel Light

4. Big Tex will be on vacation and the Cruise Director for your cruise will be the one and only Goose. Here he is.

You will find him to be a great host and I know you will have fun with him. He is very much a CD who is always around so anytime you see him please go and have a chat and please also send him my regards.

So, there you go. I hope you are ready for the best vacation of your lives and if you have any further questions, please let me know.

Best wishes to you both

Liz Tomor Asked:
Please reply.

Dear John,

Have been following you for years and you make me laugh so much that my sides hurt!

I’ve sailed on numerous Carnival ships as well as other Cruise Lines. I read reviews on Cruise Critic and notice that a complaint about the pools being small on The Dream comes up on nearly every review. I am sailing onboard the Dream on the 29th May and was looking at pictures that a passenger had posted. Ok, I’ll get to the point! On Princess, for example they fill the pool so’s that the overflow fills the surrounding area and guests can sit in the few inches of water to cool off, read books etc. RCI is the same. On the Dream and a few other CCL ships this isn’t done. Why? Seems a waste of pool space to me! Can you look into that for me, please? Thanks and keep up the good work. p.s Sailing on the Miracle in Nov. and see that Malcolm will be the CD…WooHoo!!! Love him.

John Says:
Hello Liz Tomor

Thanks for taking the time to write. I know that some of the Cruise Critic reviews can be quite negative at times which is a shame but hopefully you have read the ones that also commend the brilliant fun that you can find at our water park. I hope you are going to try all the water slides, if I can do it………anyone can. Unfortunately, the design of the pool on your Carnival Dream does not allow for the beach effect you are talking about although the Destiny and Conquest and Spirit class do have this. It is a shame I will admit that the Dream class does not have this but there is an area around the water park where you can go paddling.

I am sure that Malcolm will be ready to give you a woohoo time once again. Here he is. I

Have a great time on your cruises and I hope you will write a review for the blog thingy……. and please…………try all those brilliant slides.

Best wishes to all

Katiel53 Asked:
John & Topman G, (John Please reply)

We have sailed many a cruise on RCCL and have attended many Meet and Mingles. In all our times with them, never, I repeat never, have we been served cocktails at no charge.

They do have juice and coffee along with pastries or something of the like, but no free cocktails. Usually, the meetings are held in a cocktail lounge, and most times there is a bar tender on duty, so should anyone wish to BUY a drink, one can. I don’t know where people are coming from saying there are free drinks. Two weeks ago we were on Freedom of the Seas and once again, NO FREE COCKTAILS. I think someone is just trying to start trouble.

John Says:
Hello Joan and Topman

I really appreciate you taking the time to tell me this. It seems that the person who wrote to me saying that Royal Caribbean offered complimentary cocktails for all Cruise Critic meetings had their facts wrong. Part of me thinks like you that they were either looking to cause a problem or blatantly lying just to get me to hopefully ask for free drinks at the similar functions on Carnival ships……but surely nobody would stoop that low… would they?

Thanks again for taking the time to set the record straight.

Best wishes

April Z Asked:
Dear John (please reply),

Hey buddy! I just wanted to check in and see if Heidi liked the dress I gave you for Kye. 🙂

Thanks for everything you do!
April Z

John Says:
Hello April Z

Like it……she loved it and as soon as I get home I will post a photo of her wearing it. Thanks so much for your kindness.

Best wishes to you and your family

Charlene Szwec Asked:
Hello John, Please reply

This is the third time I am writing you. I forgot to ask you a question the last time. My husband and I are doing a back to back on the Carnival Dream, June 12, 2010 – June 26, 2010. I asked you about the open seating menu but forgot to ask how the gratuities are done for the open seating. I know that gratuities are put on our Sail & Sign but doing the open seating I am sure we would have a different waiter every night. How is this handled.

Also, June 13th is our 40th anniversary and I was wondering what special thing I could do for my husband besides you know what. We already have a reservation for the Steak House on the 13th but I would like to do something else for him. He is such a wonderful guy and I am very lucky to have him.

Can you recommend anything else. He does not like massages.

Thanks for your time and I look forward to a response

Please send my love to Heidi and Kye.
Charlene Szwec

John Says:
Hello Charlene Szwec

I bet you are getting very excited now as your back to back cruise on your Carnival Dream gets ever closer. Please don’t worry about the gratuities on Your Time Dining. They are put into a pool and at the end of the cruise are divided out between all the waiters who have worked the YTD sections. This dining option is getting more and more popular as people begin to realize that choice is important. I will be sending you both a little something for your anniversary and congratulations on 40 wonderful years together. Buy him a nice card, hand it to him at the table at the Steakhouse and let that card say how much you love him.

Have a great two weeks on your Carnival Dream.

Best wishes to you both

Sean McGrath Asked:
John, please reply, but take your time, I’m in no rush.

As ever, thanks for the blog thingy.

To be honest I quite like to hear your comments on the new UK government, watching Sky News the night that Cameron became PM was fascinating, so I hope positive change comes from it and will be extremely interested to hear any comments you have about it, especially once you are back in the UK.

Secondly, I have heard that since the introduction of anytime dining that debarkation night is anytime dining and the set seatings are not available. Is that correct and fleet wide?

Finally, as a solo cruiser, at least until I can find a girl willing to come with me, I feel that set dining is the best for my situation. Are you aware how the solo cruisers have been fairing since the introduction of anytime, have any of the Maitre’d’s made comments about this or anything?

Thanks very much in advance and sail her easy.

John Says:
Sean McGrath

Thanks for the kind words and we shall see if Mr. and Mrs. Cameron can repair the damage that our previous Prime Minister Susan Boyle inflicted upon us. I am not sure if I understand your question correctly but if you are asking that on the last night of each cruise we do not offer Your Time Dining or that somehow tables are not available that is definitely not correct.

If I misunderstood your question I apologize and please let me know if I did.

The single traveler is always seated as much as possible with other single guests and certainly age is taken into consideration here as well. If you book a cruise please let me know when you are sailing and I will do my bit to try and get you seated at a table I think you will enjoy. Certainly, as a single traveler I do think assigned dining is the best option as you will be with the same group for the whole cruise and you can then make friends that much easier.

I hope this helps

Best wishes

Brenda Asked:
Please Reply.

Hello John. My daughter (the hairdresser) will be going to the Carnival Pride late September. I have spotted that there are no sailings shown after those to Bermuda in April next year. Do you know where the ship will be going – or is it a secret?

Best wishes,

John Says:
Hello Brenda

I hope your daughter is enjoying her time working onboard and please send her my very best. Carnival Pride has been massively successful sailing out of Baltimore and there are no plans to move her from there. As to where she will be sailing this and the rest of the fleet deployment past April 2011 will be announced very soon. Please keep reading the blog for more details and make sure you get a free haircut.

Best wishes to all

SeatoSea Asked:

Cruise Critic members have been discussing not cruising Carnival ships again now that you have decided to ban power strips

Your thoughts?

John Says:
Hello SeatoSea

Respectfully……..anyone who bases their vacation around a power strip really needs a vacation ………….a Carnival one………….and pretty bloody quickly.

Best wishes

That’s all for today. Back with more tomorrow.

I was horrified to read that in the quite villages of Cumbria back home in the UK that a lone gunman killed 12 so very innocent people.

Shootings are extremely rare in Britain and previous rampages have led to gun laws that are among the toughest in the world. However, even with these tough gun laws some 100,000 people legally own shotguns. Usually these are used by farmers and country folk who like clay pigeon shooting. I am sure there will be a reaction from the government that will ban these as well. My thoughts are with the families who lost loved ones yesterday.

Moving on………..actually…………let me take a break …..yep…………it’s that time ………. sorry…….I just had a cup of tea and it has moved me………so while I pop to the loo I will leave you with some stunning photos of the soon to be Holland America flagship ……. the brand spanking new Niew Amsterdam. I accidently posted these yesterday but in case you missed these stunning shots…….here they are again

Those are brilliant photos and I am very excited that I have been invited to the naming ceremony this July and that means of course I get to take you all with me.

One last photo for today and it’s a photo of the Carnival Fantasy, Carnival Glory, and Carnival Fascination in Nassau. Now if Mickey…….the mouse……..not Micky Arison ………..were not in the way, you would see the Carnival Sensation too.

Just like last week the weather has been glorious and here we are in Key West and the sun is with us once again. The guest profile is quite interesting though with lots of families but also lots of retired folks as well and so far the popularity of these Charleston cruises is clear for all to see.

Now you will also find it interesting that last week after my blog about the chap who was refused entrance to the dining room because he was wearing what he bizarrely called a “wife beater” that someone high up with a beard read that blog and sent out a memo to the fleet reminding all the maitre d’s that the dress codes must be enforced.

This is important for you all to know, not because any of you will wear one of those shirts that show a Brazilian rain forest hanging under your arm but to let you all know that if we have not been enforcing this  ………that we will be from now on.

In fact…… is proof from the Carnival Fantasy’s incident report from yesterday.

Cabin: __ Booking#: ______ Added-Changed: 06/01/10 – 06/01/10

Gsts commented they were disappointed as their male Gst was not allowed for breakfast in the Dining room as he was wearing a sleeveless T-Shirt. Gsts stated that at restaurants where he lived that he could wear what he wanted. Mr._______ said that he has paid lots of money for his family to cruise and was very shouting at GSA. GSA explained that we have Lido breakfast available.

I contacted a few of the other ships and found that this is a re-occurring concern. It seems our guests do not realize that we don’t allow this type of clothing in the dining room and that means that we may need to do a better job in getting this message out pre cruise. I have therefore asked the right people to see if they can help with this. The GSA did the right thing in mentioning that we have Lido deck breakfast were there are no dress codes.

So, as I have said before, the blog is read by the people at the top at Carnival and they do review and act on what you and I discuss here. What I would like your help on is telling me if this dress code is being enforced. I expect that it will certainly be so but your reports from now will be most useful.

OK, let’s talk about confiscated items……….no not power strips, hair dryers and leaf blowers…….. But alcohol. I know that there are some professional smugglers that have ingenious ways to get their liquor onboard but then there are those who are pretty new at this and think that they are the first to try filling up their water bottles ashore with rum and vodka etc.  From the last cruise there was one couple who tried to pass 9 water bottles full of liquor through embarkation.

You might expect that the occupants of this stateroom were college kids ……….umm no…….they were a married couple in their late thirties. That’s one cabin, on one ship, with 9 full bottles of liquor. And while some may not agree with our policy regarding power strips, surely there are very few who do not understand that our liquor policy was done in the interest of guest safety.

So I have been watching and helping Hennie who is doing a fine job so far. We spoke about scheduling music and activities today and did some work on using the PA. If someone were to ask me what the most difficult part of being a Cruise Director was, high up on the list, just before the certainty of getting hemorrhoids………..using the public address system is close to the top of the list.

I know that the PA announcements that Cruise Directors make provokes mixed reaction amongst guests and on the blog and on the cruise boards. Let’s cut to the chase here. The CD is responsible for promoting the various offerings on the ship and that includes the bar, casino, shore excursions, gift shop, spa, and bingo, among others. . While many guests like hearing these some I know do not and finding the right balance is the secret. But before CD’s need to think about what they are going to say over the PA system and how long to make the announcements, they should, in my opinion consider how they are saying it.

To me, they have to be entertaining, full of fun and that you have to be prepared before you start. There is nothing worse than listening to a CD stammer and stutter and “er” and “umm” every other word. This is more difficult to do than on stage because when you use the PA system you have no audience and thus no feedback on. You have no idea if people are listening to you or are shaking their fists under the speaker system shouting “I wish that fat English bastard would shut up about that Inch of Gold.”

But the announcements are here to stay for now and that’s why I think as important as me helping Hennie with his stage and management skills, it is just as important for me to help him with his announcement technique as well.

Yesterday, I posted a very important poll about where you would like to see your Carnival Magic call home. The choice of home port will be announced soon and we wanted to find out where you would like to see her based. And therefore, just in case you missed it and have not voted yet………here it is again………please vote now.

I shall miss doing the bedtime story this cruise. Last week I presented the bedtime story which was as funny and as painful as always. My broken little toe was battered some more thanks to Mary. The character of Mary was played this last cruise by a wonderful lady called Rachelle. Here she is in action.

As you van see we became really close and she became a star. That was last week and due to the busy life I lead onboard I had pretty much forgotten about Mary and in fact I never even knew that Rachelle was her real name ……….until she sent this posting to the blog which I wanted to share with you all.


It’s Mary here from the night time story on the Fantasy and where you made me famous. I mean everyone was hollering Mary Mary around the ship even in land in Grand Turk shopping mall. Passengers were taking photos with me and I gave an autograph to some kids as well.  Thank you John for making this so special for me and I wish my husband could have seen me because he wouldn’t have believed it was me doing this show with you. I lost him in 2008. Daniel and three of his unit were killed by a roadside bomb in Afghanistan. He was in the Military Police 118th Military Police Company, 503rd Military Police Battalion, 16th Military Police Brigade

Three weeks before he was killed he had gotten his stripes. The ladies I was with on the cruise were his two sisters Latisha and Leona and we all had so much fun and laughed more than a long time. I got the things you sent and will have a girl’s night next week and will show the DVD of me sitting on you. Thank you again for getting me and my sisters to laugh because it was a long time we didn’t. Thank you for making me famous. I will be reading your website every day now.

Mary. My real name is Rachelle but ever since the cruise Latisha and Leona call me Mary.

I won’t be ever forgetting my cruise.


Hello Rachelle – AKA Mary

Finding the right words to express both my thanks and my sympathies for the sad loss of your loving husband Daniel are extremely difficult. You were a star, a real star and you truly threw yourself into the part of Mary and left a permanent impression on the rest of the guests………and a permanent impression on me as well!

And your husband Daniel and his colleagues who gave their lives so that we may all continue to enjoy the freedom to cruise and have fun……..well they have left a permanent impression on the world we live in. A few days ago I wrote here on the blog about how we must never forget those who have served, are serving and those who paid the ultimate price so that our freedom can continue. And while the thousands of people who read this blog may have given a collective thought for the many today those thousands of people will be able to give a name to those thoughts of remembrance…..and that name is Daniel, your husband whom I know you must be so very proud of.

I am sure had he seen your performance he would have laughed out loud and had tears in his eyes just like 1,000 people did last week.

It was an honour to be thrown to the floor by you and it is an honour to ask my blogging friends to remember your husband Daniel.

And on that note, I think it’s time to go…………..please remember Daniel tonight.

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.