Bottoms, Breasts and Magic

June 24, 2010 -

John Heald

For those people who couldn’t care less about my life at home and read the blog thingy for the Q and A’s and the stuff about cruising, I kindly invite you to scroll down a bit as this morning I need to talk about being a parent.

I do this through eyes that feel like they have Warren Buffet’s bank account hanging from them because poor young Kye had a bad night of teething last night. Now I should point out that she never cries…………I mean never. Everyone tells me that she is the most contented baby they have ever met and certainly she is the most contended kid Heidi and I have ever had. There are only two things that make her cry………….her teeth coming through……………and when I fart…………she doesn’t like that at all.

So last night she was dribbling and crying and pulling her ears as two more bastard teeth made their arrival and as any parent will tell you……………it’s very stressful indeed.

So what do you do when a baby cries?

Well there is a huge Queen Mary 2 sized library of “self help” titles available to help the worried Mums and Dads. These have titles such as The Baby Whisperer, The No-Cry Sleep Solution and Will You Shut That Damned Baby Up So I Can Watch The Bloody Football. These books are part of the self help era we live in that if take up more shelf space in a Borders than the fiction section. It seems to me that they hook nervous, exhausted, rumpy pumpy deprived parents like dealers hook drug users.

Heidi and I took an early decision to ignore the child gurus and do what came naturally. Actually, that isn’t true. Heidi suggested buying these books and when I saw how much they cost I said, “Bollocks, no we are not”……..and that was that. And I knew that if we had bought these books she would have expected me to read them and unless the first line of a book is something like “Nick Stone just had time for some rumpy pumpy with a Latvian spy in the back seat of his Aston Martin before racing off to shoot a terrorist in the head” I am never ever going to read it.

Now here is the main reason I am writing about this today. So there we were last night trying to comfort poor Kye and her bastard teeth. We had decided to bring Kye into bed with us. We do this a lot when she wakes up early in the morning. This is the big one, the one that makes people lick their teeth angrily and look at us as if we’re serial killers, but we did this from day one and even though she sleeps in her own room, if she cries or is upset………..we bring her in with us. Now according to Supper Nannies and Baby Whisperers this is only one step away from truly horrible things like making them watch the Teletubbies.

So anyway, there we were last night, the three of us at 3am. While Heidi gave Kye teeth medicine and powder stuff, cuddled her and told her “Mummy’s here” I did the only thing I could do to help……………..I turned the TV on. As I flicked I came across the most outrageous and under the circumstances quiet an apt program…………it was called……….Extraordinary Breastfeeding!

This was a program in which hardcore, tofu-eating, sandal-wearing hippies were still suckling their eight-year-old kids. We could only watch it for a few minutes before we both went “ugggh” and turned it off. Show me zombies eating human flesh, a man having to saw his thingy off or even the Norwegian Epic and I won’t vomit……………but the sight of an eight-year-old lad being breast fed………….well dinner was nearly served…………..for the second time.

So we didn’t get too much sleep last night and this morning Kye is back to her old self again, smiling and playing. But I have found it difficult to get that breast feeding thing out of mind and in fact the only way I was able to do so was to close my eyes………………and picture………………a rather plump 45-year-old boy …………….suckling on Megan Fox’s breast.

Time for today’s Q and A………off we trot

Sean McGrath Asked:
John, Please reply when you can.

Thanks for getting back to me on my previous posting. Unfortunately I put a typo into it by accident, my apologies for the confusion this caused you, so you have no need to apologise, the fault was mine.

I asked if debarkation night was open seating only in the MDR now. What I meant to ask was, since the introduction of any time seating, has Embarkation night been changed to anytime seating only with no traditional seating’s? So is this the case?

Thank you for your comments on what is best for solo cruisers in the MDR and my eternal gratitude for your kind offer to contact the Maitre’d on my next cruise. If I get a chance to take one I will definitely take you up on your offer.

Unfortunately the old economic downturn and an incompetent Irish government, (I believe you are familiar with those types of government), have had a negative impact on my ability to cruise right now. Even at Carnivals industry leading reasonable rates.

The airfare is the real stopper, so if you want to put a good word in with the beards, who think they are more important than you but aren’t, about home porting a Carnival ship in Dublin or Waterford, please do. I would recommend that any cruise line avoid Cork, as you see, while it has a port, it is full of Cork people, which might be a bit like being from Wales, or somewhere like that.

Anyway, thanks for taking the time to read this and I as usual look forward to your continued blogs.


John Says:
Hello Sean

If it wasn’t for the 344 Stephanies and 1 Vance this blog thingy would be full of typos so no need to apologize for one in your posting. The Your Time Dining and assigned seating options are available on every night of every cruise including embarkation. I think I am right in saying that we do not have any open sitting dinners anywhere in the fleet at the moment and unless there are unexpected circumstances that we will ever need to do this again. I know things are very tough in Ireland and if they improve I will be here to help you arrange your cruise. The Carnival Legend docked in Cork in 2002 and the guests had the most fabulous time and I hope one day I can persuade Terry and his bearded staff to take a Carnival ship around the UK. I know many of the blog readers would love that.

I hope you continue to enjoy the blog thingy and I remain at your service

Best wishes

grizel robertson Asked:
John, please send a brief reply.

As I only arrived back in Scotland on Tuesday & returned to work today, Thursday, I am dog tired but I just have to say that my BtoB on Carnival Victory from 16 to 30 May was a blast.

Brad was an excellent CD & I missed some of the shows only because I was so active during the day that the combination of heat, humidity etc. had me nearly falling asleep at late dining. Vroom was a fantastic show with excellent vocals & you must include Queen music on Magic in Europe. Captain Messina has got to be a top choice for being Captain of Carnival Magic as the ship will dock in Messina, Sicily

Have still got the scars from capsizing & losing my inner tube in the rapids in the river in Dominica (got back on & finished the course) my DVD of swimming with the dolphins in Tortola (a recently added excursion which entailed going through British Customs on arrival then through US Immigration fingerprinting & all on return to St Thomas) & many more exciting experiences that I shall write about later.

However, my most unexpected experience occurred on my overnight in the Sheraton in San Juan prior to joining the ship. Having got to my room about midnight after spending almost 24 hours en route from home, I was overtired & just dozed until I felt that a freight train was passing & shaking the bed – I thought that I was hallucinating & that somebody had spiked my iced water on the flight from Newark to Puerto Rico.

I only discovered, when I was talking to a Canadian couple in the lounge at the pier next day that I had endured & survived an earthquake of 5.8 magnitude. I had thwarted the attempts of the Icelandic Volcanic Ash to spoil my travel to my 14 days of Fun only to be punished by another Act of Nature that truly made the Earth move for me. It was the explosion which kick started a wonderful holiday.

I could write a book about my trip because this was the best to date. Take good care of Heidi & Kye on your short trip home.

I have booked the Bloggers Cruise for 27 Feb 2011 & the following week on C Glory to recover from the hectic activities that will be part of your BLOGGERS experience.

Regards to Heidi, Kye & you for a happy family reunion.

John Says:
Hello Grizel Robertson

And from Ireland we go to bonnie Scotland…….today is truly an international Q and A session. It sounds like you had a brilliant and adventurous cruise and congratulations on surviving the earthquake. You know, I absolutely love reading about what people do on their cruise and more and more these days I am reading about people who are really doing things for the first time like swimming with dolphins and inner tubing. Everyone should have a bucket list of things they have never done before while on a cruise. Go down the waterslides, take a dance class and sing “Piano Man” as loud as you can with your new friends in the Piano Bar. Go parasailing or one of the breathtaking canopy excursions.

I will see you on BC4 and until then start writing that book.

Best wishes and see you soon

cruisin’lovebirds Asked:
John Please Reply

Thank you to Peter Shanks for the first peek at the Carnival Magic. Where are you, Orlando voters: what could be more natural for ORLANDO than the MAGIC. Hello!

Good news with Sexy Craig moving to the Carnival Legend with Wee Jimmy, who is trying valiantly to be known as Ralph Valente. John, Wee Jimmy was with you on the Carnival Glory’s inaugural cruise, and so were we. That’s what hooked us on Carnival. We’ll be on the Carnival Legend 9/19 and looking forward to this team!

Will you please let me know what “personality item” might suit each one as a small gift? When we sailed the Carnival Triumph in 9/09 we brought Jorge Solano some local hot sauce called Slap My A** and Call Me Sally. Now there’s a gift for someone you never met! Janet and Gary

John Says:
Hello Cruisin Lovebirds

Well as you will have read your Carnival Magic will be going to Galveston and I will be talking more about that in a moment. I spoke via e-mail yesterday to both Ugly Craig and Wee Jimmy and both are doing well and loving life on the Carnival Legend and thanks so much for thinking of these chaps.  Mmmmm …….a gift for Wee Jimmy. Well, he loves cuddly toys and has a huge bear collection…….no really……..he does and maybe a local bear from where you live would be superb. As for ugly Craig………….a paper bag would be good……………if not that chocolate ……….. anything chocolate.

I hope you have a brilliant time and maybe one day we will get to recreate some of the memories we shared together on the Carnival Glory.

Please remind me a few weeks before you sail with your cabin number.

Best wishes to you both

Mike Sealy Asked:
John (Please reply)

What ship is taking the Fantasy’s place when she goes into dry-dock later this year?

Also where does Carnival send their ships for dry-dock? I think the Inspiration was here in Charleston here a few years ago for repair.

I took the 7 day cruise on the Fantasy last week (see post}.
Thanks Mike North Charleston SC

John Says:
Hello Mike Sealy

There won’t be a replacement ship while the Carnival Fantasy is in her dry dock but she will be back straight afterwards looking fantastic from her two weeks out of the water. In addition to Charleston, our dry docks take place in places such as Freeport and Mobile, among others.  If you would like to find out more about what happens there have a look at this link which is from Holland America’s Facespace thingy page and tells you something about what the Westerdam’s time in dry dock. Here is the link thingy.

I will be asking for photos and stories from the Carnival Fantasy while she is in her dry dock and will share them with you here on the blog thingy. Please let me know if you have any further questions.

Best wishes

Frank Lopez Asked:
Please Reply,

Dear John,

My wife & I will be cruising for the first time on the beautiful Carnival Dream July 17th 2010; this trip will be our first vacation since we have been married 16 years ago. I have been reading your blog religiously since we’ve booked our trip over a year ago (you give such insight to cruising). We have booked one of your fantastic looking Cloud 9 Spa balcony cabins #11245 and are so excited!!! I was wondering if it was at all possible for us to have a table for two with a window view in the dining room, as this will be our “honeymoon” vacation. I wish you were the C.D. on our cruise it would have been an Honour (spelt correctly) to meet you! Please give our best to Heidi & Kye! We hope to cruise with you sometime soon! Thank You for the informative Blog John, keep up the Good work! Carnival Cruises should be PROUD to have a brand ambassador like you!

Our Best
Frank & Kathleen Lopez

John Says:
Hello Frank Lopez

A Spa cabin on your Carnival Dream is a superb way to spend your honeymoon cruise vacation. I will certainly ask the Maitre D’s to assist with your request. Have a fantastic time and tell us all about it when you get home.

Best wishes to you both

Laura in Baltimore Asked:
John (please reply)-

Having recently gone on my first Carnival cruise and having another coming up in August, I have been spending way too much time on a certain website (initials CC) and have read sooooo much about a guy named John Heald. So, I started reading this blog and was not completely ‘sold’ right away. However, this John guy has grown on me- I was especially swayed by the ‘Marlboro man’ story. Anywho….I have one very simple question and that is…when is CCL going to come out with the itineraries for the Pride past April of 2011? We are planning to book another cruise for July or August of 2011 (on our upcoming cruise) and are anxious to see what Baltimore’s Pride has to offer. Many thanks, Laura

John Says:
Hello Laura in Baltimore

My thanks to my many friends on Cruise Critic who pointed you in the direction of my little blog thingy to which I bid you a big welcome? Placing the Carnival Pride in Baltimore has been a huge success and a success that we will continue to build on. Although I have no news at this time on what’s happening past spring 2011 in Baltimore as soon as I do I will let you know here. Please keep reading the blog for all the latest news and of course if there is anything I can do for you please let me know.

Best wishes

RonRN Asked:
Please Reply

Hi John,

First the Medical crew are fabulous, I have a story I will send separately about how great they are.

Second, on prohibited items, I went to the link you posted in your answer to Judy above, which is a Carnival FAQ’s page on prohibited items. This is a copy/paste from the Carnival page:

Electrical devices such as fans, power strips, multi plug box outlets/adaptors, and extension cords will be removed if determined to pose a hazard and returned the last day of the cruise prior to debark.

It seems these are all the items I see mentioned the most in complaints and questions regarding the banned items, They are clearly not banned and will be removed from the cabin if deemed unsafe, as they should be.

The page seems to be pretty self explanatory and reasonable. Maybe one of the 344 Stephanies can post the link on the side thingy and our cruise critic friends can post the link when a new question/complaint is posted there.

Have a great vacation, look forward to reading about all the ways you manage to get in the dog house.

Ron (looking forward to BC4 and meeting the rest of Big Ed’s Evil Crew) RN

John Says:
Hello Ron RN

Yes indeed the ship’s medical staff are brilliant and thanks so much for taking the time to mention them. It took us far too long in my opinion to get this list out to the public and to do so in a format that everyone could easily understand. But eventually we did and hopefully now everyone understands. As I said, we messed up in the beginning and I include myself especially. With that in mind here is the latest link which is from which you cut and pasted correctly from.

If anyone has any more questions or concerns about this please let me know.

Thanks so much for the kind words.

Best wishes

Senda Shultz Asked:
Dear John,

(Haha…sounds like a movie)

My grandson…Wesley Shultz is onboard the Carnival Fantasy with you right now. Room U204 (I think). I miss him something awful!

His “Paw & Grandma” had to stay back this time. We have been on 18 Carnival Cruises, and our goal is to make it on every ship!

Wesley is 2 years old, and he loves our “Ships on a stick”…they were going to try to win one for him, but I’m not sure they have made it. They are really not easy to get. I was wondering if there was any way you could get him a “ship on a stick” – I would be MORE than happy to pay you (or Carnival) for it, if you would just let me know how to do that.

I read you blog all the time…I told my son I couldn’t believe he was on a ship with you – and I haven’t even done that – yet!

This is a huge favor for me – and if it wasn’t for Wesley being my grandson – (his 1st cruise & his birthday is this month)…I would never ask.

Thank you for all that you do…I don’t know how you put up some some of the stuff that you do, but you always seem to handle it well. That’s why you’re the best!

God Bless,
Senda Shultz

John Says:
Hello Senda

Oh I am so sorry but I am reading this now, here in the UK and not on the Carnival Fantasy. I am about 3 weeks behind with the answers marked for my reply and so I am too late to get your grandson Wesley a trophy. Please forgive me. I hope he had fun though and I promise that next time he will get one for sure.

Best wishes to you all

David Binder Sr. Asked:
Hello John (please reply)

I love your blog. You are so funny. I need your help. I am going on the Carnival Pride on July 18th 2010. We book two cabins. We have early seating at the Main Dining Room. I would like to know if you can help me with this. My wife and I are let’s just saying we are built for comfort. I would like to know if you help us out with getting a table rather than a booth. It would be a table for 4 people since I will have my two children with me. If you can help us with that I would be very great full. If you need my booking number I would be happy to give it to you. I just do not know where to send it to you is just put in on this blog thing. Thank you for all of the funny comments and if you can the help


John Says:
Hello David Binder Sr.

Thanks for the kind words about the blog and please don’t worry. I too am an extra medium as Big Ed would say and I will certainly ask the Maitre D on the Carnival Pride to assist you accordingly. Have a brilliant cruise and if you have time please let me know all about it.

Best wishes to you and the family

That’s all for today. Just a quick reminder to the newcomers to the blog that if you have a question that requires a reply please mark it accordingly and if you have a time sensitive question or request, please allow me 3 weeks to reply. Many thanks.

Being in a shipyard and watching a ship being born over 18 months is an astonishing experience but one that most never get to experience. However, you can if you click on this absolutely brilliant time lapse video which shows how to build the world’s most luxurious ship……in just a few minutes

And so it seems that for the most part the news of your Carnival Magic being home ported in Galveston was met with huge excitement. It is certainly a reward for the dedication and loyalty to the people of Texas and the surrounding area for their support of Carnival Cruise Lines that we have given them our newest and largest vessel.

I was surprised though when my mate Host Mach told me that a few CC readers were disappointed that they were losing both Carnival Conquest and Carnival Ecstasy which are heading to New Orleans. I know that your Carnival Magic will be doing the popular itineraries that the Carnival Conquest was on but I hope the fact that the ship itself will be a major destination will sooth those few troubled brows. Honestly, this is going to be our best ever ship and I am having to stuff an old pair of my underpants ion my mouth so not to blab about all the new features Galveston’s ship will have.

And the Carnival Triumph will be doing 4 and 5 day cruises which will give us the possibility to have fantastic 9 and 10 day cruises from Galveston………..but ssshhh……..that’s just between me and you and I will wait for our super spy PA 007’s to give me news on that.

But as I said, for the most part the news has been met with Texan whoops and hollers matched only by Cajun whoops and hollers from the people who will now have two ships to cruise on out of the Big Easy. So, Florida got their Carnival Dream and Texas got their Carnival Magic ……….. I wonder which city will feel some Carnival Breeze?

Let’s talk a little more about your Carnival Magic while I am here. You see, although I am on vacation I am working a lot as well and one of the jobs I have is planning the entertainment. I have to decide what how we will have when and what performers we will use. Let’s have a look then where the ship is sailing in Europe starting with our first 9 day cruise.

And our first 12 day cruise

And our first 12 day cruise with a calls to Marseilles and Mallorca instead of Dubrovnik and Monte Carlo

And our first seven day cruise

And our Trans Atlantic

So, I will choose which entertainers we will use to compliment the brand new shows our production team are already working on. I will try and get a mixture to compliment the ports and the ambience they create and taking into mind that we will have some international guests as well. I will be using some of Carnival’s established entertainers as well as working with an agent friend of mine in the UK who we use on the Carnival Freedom and Carnival Splendor. For those who cruised with us on these ships in Europe you may remember acts like Penny Matthisen and Gronway Thom plus the brilliant instrumentalists and vocalists we had there. I will also be hoping that we have the Comedy Club as well which should give us a wonderful variety of onboard entertainment.

As you can see we have 9 sea days on the TA and we really have to get this right. I am not sure if I will be the CD for this but whoever is we need to make sure that we have the biggest variety of entertainment and activities we have ever had for this voyage. I will be talking more about your Carnival Magic’s time in Europe much more toward the end of the year. I truly hope some of you will join me.

Let’s move on and answer one more question from today’s Q and A session

Wayne and Francis Millner Asked:
Please reply John

We are going to be taking our second cruise with Carnival in July. Last year we went on the Elation but now are going on Splendor in August. We are booked in your steak restaurant and wondered if you could recommend what to have. We love your funny blogs and are going to be with you on the Splendor which we are excited about

Thank you for the laughs
Wayne and Francis

John Says:
Hello Wayne and Francis

It will be wonderful to meet you both in August on the Carnival Splendor and I promise you a brilliant time. Let’s have a chat about the Steakhouse. I love the Porterhouse but then again I love the Rib Chop as well. I crave the Crab Cake as an appetizer but ohhh……….mmmmm………the Onion Soup (I refuse to write French Onion Soup) is also scrummy …………so usually I have both…….because you can……….at no extra charge. I wonder what the bloggers enjoy the most. OK bloggers, Wayne and Francis need your help…………what’s your favourite dishes? Can you pass on your recommendations and to help you all………………have a look at these.

Now that should really whet everyone’s appetite especially the Millners to whom I wish a fabulous cruise.

So tomorrow I won’t be writing a blog. I wish it was because I was going down the pub or playing with Kye at the park all day or going to a Latvian pole dancing club or something enjoyable ……….but I can’t. Because tomorrow from 11 am to God knows when I have my medical/physical exam. I am doing this for two reasons.

First of all each and every crew member has to have an annual physical to comply with both Carnival’s medical rules and regulations as well as those of the United States Coast Guard who make sure each and every crewmember who works at sea is able to be healthy enough to look after themselves and the passengers in case of an emergency.

Secondly I am as you know diabetic so every time I am in the UK I see a specialist who will check me over. So tomorrow these are some of the various tests that await me.

Chest X-ray

Blood tests

Sugar level

Kidney test

Liver test

Cholesterol test

Eye exam

Feet exam

Blood pressure

All of the above are fine and compared to what I am writing about in a moment are nothing. Peeing in a cup and having a small prick…………well that’s a piece of cake. Because the doctor has told me that now I am 45 I have to have something called a stress test which apparently will involve me running on a treadmill while connected to tubes and machines. Well, the sight of me running on a treadmill in a pair of shorts is surely going to be the funniest sight Dr. Rammit in has ever seen. But that’s not the worst of it…………….oh no………because my Doc has said that I must, repeat must……………..have a colonoscopy.

When I found out that I needed one, I wasn’t even sure I knew what it was. Apparently it’s a procedure that examines the lining of the colon and small bowel, diagnoses gastrointestinal problems and screens for colorectal cancer (thanks for that description Uncle Google) .I think that not knowing is a British thing or maybe it’s just that we Brits don’t talk about such things. If there’s one thing I have learnt since being a Cruise Director is that Americans love discussing medical procedures. I mentioned it today to someone at Carnival’s office in Miami, who just turned 45 who told me he has had one every year since his 40th birthday.

“You’ve never had a colonoscopy?” He said, sounding shocked. “It’s a piece of cake.” You’d think he was talking about getting his his hair cut.

So for the last few days I have been doing what the Doctor told me and changed my diet and once I have sent this blog to the 344 Stephanies I will be drinking something called Picolax. This is what it says on the instructions.

“Picolax is a strong laxative which will cause diarrhoea and empty the bowel.”

I bet it tastes disgusting and as I have proven many times a curry from my local Indian restaurant has exactly the same effect and tastes a damn sight better.

Now, please don’t worry. Come Monday I shall not be telling you all the grisly details but I will say just one thing. My bottom has a huge “exit only” sign hanging over it and if they want to shove a camcorder up there, they had better give me a sedative strong enough that would allow them to drive a Range Rover up there without me feeling it.

Think of me and I will see you on Monday…………..a few pounds lighter. I know it could save my life…………..but between me and you………..I’m a bit scared.

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.