Carnival Breeze Homeport Announced

June 28, 2010 -

John Heald

Having spent all of Friday having my medical and feeling invaded I was feeling pretty down in the dumps and so Heidi thought that rather than let me sit in my chair, watching football doing bugger all…………..that we should all go the beach.

I hate the beach. Everyone aged over 11 looks crap on a beach even if they have a Chanel bikini or a 6 pack. It’s a fact. Dogs look stupid in doggy clothes and adult humans look like idiots on beaches. We’re as badly matched as the French and bathing.

But Heidi must be obeyed and off we went to Southend’s finest beach. OK, Miami Beach or Seven Mile Beach in Grand Cayman (build a pier there you cheapskates and yes…………build one in Half Moon Cay as well………..that was just for Corvette Lady) but a beach it is because there is sand and there is water. And I observed and concluded that the only thing absolutely everyone wears to the beach is a scowl. Whether it’s from the sun or the wind whipping sand into all their orifices simultaneously, adults don’t enjoy the beach, but endure it. Tempers fray when babies pour sand onto sandwiches. How can anything involving sand equal a brilliant time?

Even Kye who on discovering that watching Daddy making upside down cones with plastic buckets is boring decided it would be more fun to eat the sand leaving Mum and Dad having to watch her every second of the day.

Yet we all conclude in the myth that beaches are “fun.” Why? I think my hatred for beaches stems from a holiday in Marbella, Spain, a few years ago when I found I’d been lying for two hours on a partially buried human turd.

Nope, having spent a few hours on the beach this Saturday I can tell you they are totally overrated. Families can’t splash in the water together because someone’s got to sit guarding the camera, Eye Phone, Raspberry and money. You daren’t take your eyes off your kid for a second lest they wander off and meet Mr P. Dophile, so you have to have a head like a ventriloquists dummy spinning 360% to watch everything your child does and just for good measure you get a melanoma and an arse that has so much sand in it that it becomes a bunker.

And worst of all this being Southend on Sea Essex and not Miami Beach there were no beautiful women in G Strings to lust over. The nearest thing was the lady who waddled past us. Yes, she was wearing a G String …….I think………except the string had long since disappeared into the Grand Canyon between her bottom cheeks. This was a big lady who had no more right to wear a G String (rope) than I do. If she had gotten on the scales I am sure they would have said “to be continued.” So, that was my day at the beach. I sang rock-a-bye baby songs and did my aeroplane feeding of mashed up banana. There were no Megan Fox type bottoms to look at ……. yep………the beach is a bitch and then you fry.

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

Blake Pruett Asked:
John, please reply

I’ve enjoyed your blog for some time now, and though I hate to interrupt your time at home, I have a question and I can’t seem to get a clear answer from anyone. I apologize if you’ve already responded to a similar inquiry. My family and I are considering booking a winter cruise on the Carnival Dream. The one hesitation we have has to do with the reports of a horrible smell onboard. We’ve read in a Cruise Critic review, that according to one of ship’s officers, a grey water vent is being re-piped and that should correct the problem. Is this accurate? Some members of our group have sensitive noses.

Thanks for the help, and all the best to you and the girls.

John Says:
Hello Blake Pruett

You will love everything about your Carnival Dream and I have read a lot of reviews about her recently as I am sure you have as well. These reviews show that just how superb this ship is and I hope you and your group do decide to experience everything she has to offer. There is no escaping the fact though that we have had some occasional concerns with odours. This has been well documented. The latest news as of today direct from the ship is great news because the hotel director has reported that the job was finished last week and since then there have been no issues with odour…..apart from one guest from France who downwind didn’t smell too good. Seriously though we are all very happy that this job is now completed. So, I encourage you to book this ship and I promise that you will have the very best of times. If you have any other questions or concerns please let me know.

Thanks for the kind words and best wishes to you all

Cruzin Man Asked:
Hello John, please reply.

Just off our sailing on the CARNIVAL DREAM 05/29/10.

She is a beautiful ship! Handles the water very well in my opinion.

However there was an embarrassing incident that I think you may want you to look into.

After boarding the normal for us is to head for the maitre d . After waiting in line for one hour we finally talked. My request to the maitre’d was if possible, may we have a table for two by the window. I explained that in seventeen cruises as platinum we have requested and were turned down in the past.  Maitre’D was only to happy to oblige us!

We were given table (667) My wife was ecstatic! We finally were going to enjoy our romantic table for two by the window. We had early dining before but this table came at a later dining time 8:15. We were seated and the waiter asked if we were at the right table, as he stated there was another couple there last night. I gave the waiter our card from the Maitre’D . He read it and smiled no problem. We had our drinks and were served our bread. With menu in hand we were ready to order. Our waiter returns and asks us to leave as we we’re at the wrong dining time and the couple that was sitting there the previous night requested, insisted on this table. Again I showed him the card that the Maitre’D had given us, as we had already been seated I think it was rude to ask. My wife was getting upset and embarrassed as well as myself. In the mean time the couple seems to have a laugh at our expense.

What happens next I assume is the Floor Maitre’D comes and ask us to leave as well, stating that we arrived at the wrong dining time. I again showed him the card with the 8:15 dining time from the main Maitre’D . He takes the card and leaves. Our waiter returns with a long list of papers very apologetic stating we were at the right table! Again the floor Maitre’D returns and insist that were at the wrong dining time. Long story short we did dine there but I honestly can tell you I can’t remember what the food tasted like. I think we ate in fifteen minutes and left as quickly as possible. We never returned to the MDR for the rest of our cruise. As a follower of your blog I have never requested anything from you. But I must ask you, can you please look into this matter and offer some closure. John, I’m not asking for an apology from you or the Maitre’D. It just put a damper on our entire cruise. I hope it doesn’t happen to other carnival cruisers.

Not to mention my wife in tears.  From a man with no romance ;-<
Johnny and Mary Jo Williams

John Says:
Hello Johnny and Mary Jo Williams

Thanks so much for taking the time to post this comment. It was so disappointing to read and it appears that there was a breakdown in communication. To read also that because of this you never returned to the main dining room for dinner is just terrible and I want you to know that I have forwarded this to our Vice President of Guest Services. I promise that someone will contact you and until then I want to offer you my apologies. You are a loyal Carnival guest and I hope that you know how much I appreciate that loyalty. Thanks again for taking the time to let me know and please remember if there is anything you need before you cruise with us again, let me know and I will do all I can to arrange this before your board. Someone will be in touch soon.

Best wishes to you both

Shenika Asked:
Dear John, (Please Reply)

It is currently 4:24 am here in Maryland and I have spent the last couple of hours catching up on your blogs for the week. I usually read daily but have had a busy week preparing for my little girl’s birthday party she tells me I can’t call her my baby anymore because she’s too old and she just turned 3! I love the list of 10 things you would like when you get home especially #9!

I have read a couple of the reviews on Cruise Critic about Todd and I have to say I’m surprised at how negative some people think of him. I sailed with Todd as the CD last June on the Carnival Freedom during your handover week and I thought he was brilliant! I know some say that he isn’t visible enough but I saw Todd plenty of times daily. It seems that he is more of a night person (as am I) because most of the time it was somewhere along the promenade deck, in the disco, piano bar and even a couple times on the Lido deck chatting with people late at night and in the wee hours of the morning. I was hoping he would still be the CD for my birthday cruise on My Carnival Dream this December but he will not. I sure that Butch will be great but I would have loved to sail with Todd again!

The comment about Todd has brought me to another one of my random questions. What was his original position when he started working for Carnival? During the deck party Todd sang and had the crowd on their feet singing along and it was such a high energy atmosphere that I was wondering if he was always in entertainment.

Thanks for taking the time to answer my completely random questions!

Best of luck on your flight home,
P.S. The picture of Kye in the window is beyond heart melting!

John Says:
Hello Shenika

I am sure by now your 3 year old has had her birthday party and I am sure she had loads of fun. Goodness me, reading my blog thingy at 4:24am…….I am sure that made you very sleepy indeed.

You know, being an entertainer on land or at sea means you are in the public eye and thus are open to praise and criticism. To me, there is no more passionate cruise director anywhere than Todd and as you said he loves being out with the guests and has a great voice which I always am encouraging him to use more. Todd stated as a social host and before that he was in sales but longed to get into entertainment. He joined Carnival and made his way to cruise director and delivered both the Carnival Spirit and your Carnival Dream. I am not sure what it is that people have written on Cruise Critic about Todd as I haven’t read the reports and I obviously they are entitled to their opinion. However, there are two sides to every coin and thank you Shenika for taking the time to praise Todd and the brilliant work he does.

Best wishes to you and the family

PipergirlKerry Asked:
John (Please respond)

Hi John!

That picture of Kye is truly priceless!! I have one of her little boyfriend the same way on the Glory. Hopefully, you get to spend an awesome time celebrating her 1st birthday (she won’t know you’re late, so it’s just as special!) Break out that Tickle Monster kit we gave her on the Bloggers cruise and recharge on all her giggles!!

OK, to the question…. we are going on the Freedom on April 9 and I notice no cruise director schedules out yet. I don’t imagine with the Magic being new we have a chance of it being you (or Ken Byrne maitre ‘d – ing either for that fact) Any idea who will be running the show then? Also, this makes our platinum cruise(finally!) and we are bringing along a few newbies who are afraid that 8 days and not great beach ports are gonna be too much. I hope not!

Enjoy your R&R … you earned it for sure!

John Says:
Hello PipergirlKerry

That is so funny. I have a ritual with Kye and bedtime that includes me making farting noises while tickling her with the tickle monster puppet you so generously gave her. I hope we do get to see each other on your Carnival Magic. I will be the CD and I am hoping that Ken will be the Maitre D. I am doing all I can to persuade him. He keeps saying he is too old but that’s bollocks. I would love to see him and Miguel as the Maitre D’s there. I would also love to see you and the family there as well and I promise that although you will be tired from all the exploring and all the fun…….that it will be the perfect cruise to achieve that brilliant platinum status. If you have any questions about the ports etc please let me know.

Best wishes to all

Froufie Asked:

As a loyal Carnival cruiser who frequently cruises solo I was shocked and dismayed at the very recent notice of a ‘new policy’ – that as of Monday, June 7th – all solo cruisers in 1A cabins would now be charged a 200% rate (rather than the current 150%). No notice given and very little information on why this is happening?

This will definitely affect my cruise choices in the future as well as others who cruise solo (and those who cruise with me as well). There is of course lots of ‘input on the CC boards regarding this unnannounced policy:

Can you please explain why this is being done? Why there is nothing on the website announcing this (I only found out thru a friend who got a call from his PVP) and who we can write to regarding out displeasure. There are so few 1A cabins (many of which only have one twin bed on the floor) that I can’t imagine this makes a huge revenue difference for Carnival.

I for one will be looking elsewhere if Carnival ‘solo/single’ fares no longer offer the ‘value for money’ they previously did. 🙁

Looking forward to your comments and response!


John Says:
Hello Froufie

I have just read the thread thingy you posted on Cruise Critic and it is obvious that a few readers of the boards and of this blog are not happy with this decision. I asked one of our vice presidents this morning what the official line was on this subject and this is what she said. “Earlier this month, Carnival Cruise Lines instituted a 200 percent single occupancy rate for category 1A (upper and lower berths) staterooms.  Demand for this accommodation type has resulted in the price increase. This change also brings our singles policy in line with our other competitors. We recognize that some of our single guests will have to pay a little more, but hope they understand that Carnival still continues to offer a terrific value proposition to our customers.”

Now, having read your comments and those to follow I will make sure that the people at the top understand how disappointed some are. I hope that you will take into consideration all the benefits of cruising with Carnival although it seems that most of the cruise lines have this policy.

I remain here at your service should you have a follow up.

Best wishes

Gillian Asked:
Hi John, (please reply)

Recently on CC a thread has appeared about Carnival no longer offering 1A’s for solo cruisers at 150%. Now solo cruisers will be expected to pay 200% fare price for those cabins. This really sucks. I have sailed solo with Carnival numerous times so this price increase is really going to affect my decisions on when and if I can cruise as much as I have in the past, I am platinum with Carnival now. Why has this been put into effect?

On a side note, we were lucky enough to recently sail on the Dream on the one cruise Ron Pass was onboard in the piano bar. He was absolutely phenomenal and we enjoyed every night in the piano bar because of him. We are hoping to sail again with him someday.


John Says:
Hello Gillian

I have seen that this is going to be the topic of the day and until today I was not aware of this change. Not to repeat myself or have anyone else do the same I will post the official response from our Miami office: “Earlier this month, Carnival Cruise Lines instituted a 200 percent single occupancy rate for category 1A (upper and lower berths) staterooms.  Demand for this accommodation type has resulted in the price increase. This change also brings our singles policy in line with our other competitors. We recognize that some of our single guests will have to pay a little more, but hope they understand that Carnival still continues to offer a terrific value proposition to our customers.”

I realise that some of our single cruisers will be very disappointed at this news and as I just said, I will make sure that everyone who needs to know your point of view will do so. Ron Pass is one of my very favourite piano bar players and I hope he will be with me on BC4 and on your Carnival Magic. Thanks for taking the time to write and I hope I will see you soon.

Best wishes

Bobbi Asked:

I received a call from my PVP regarding the discontinuation of the 1A single rate of 150%. I have cruised on Carnival 8 times in 9 years, but if I have to pay 200% to cruise in a 1A I will have to look elsewhere for my cruise fixes. What is going on? I planned on being Platinum for my 60th birthday on Carnival in 2012 but I cannot afford it a 200%. I prefer to travel solo with my own room, usually with a Cruise Critic group.


John Says:
Hello Bobbi

You are so close to Platinum status Bobbi and it would be such a shame if you cruise with someone else now. I know how disappointed you are and as you will see from the official line I just posted, this policy is in line with other cruise lines. As I promised those who have written on this subject already, I will pass along your thoughts to the top.

Best wishes

Wendy Potts Asked:

I need to organize a Cruise Critic meet and greet for the Valor in December. Can you do this? We have a roll call of 20 and its growing. I read that Carnival doesn’t give free drinks to Cruise Critic members like on other cruise lines which makes your line second best. Can you arrange this as it would be great for Carnival to do this and word would spread on the Cruise Critic boards? We are on the December 11 cruise and need a room on Monday at 2pm


John Says:
Hello Wendy Potts

I am sorry but we do not offer complimentary drinks to Cruise Critic groups however I would be honoured to help you and your friends have a meet a greet onboard the Carnival Valor. Please can you post again here on the blog on November 11 and I will ask the ship to assist you.

Best wishes

John R Asked:
Hi John, (Please reply)

First off let me wish you a wonderful holiday with your lovely family.

Thank you for having someone from the CARE team contact me regarding the FCV certificate program. I am working with her now.

On 3/29th you emailed me regarding a situation we had with some excursions while on the Carnival Glory and said that someone from the CARE team would be in contact with me but it’s been over 2 months and I have not been contacted. Just wanted to let you know.

Thanks for being you,
John R

John Says:
Hello John R

I am glad that our Guest Service Care Team called you regarding the FCV certificate. I am sorry that nobody has yet to call you though regarding the shore excursion issue and I will certainly ask them to do now. Please let me know what happens.

Best wishes

Nadine Asked:
John, please reply.

I was deeply disappointed to hear on a popular website (CC) that solo cruisers will no longer be able to cruise in 1a cabins at 150% –single supplement. It was bad enough when they changed the percentage after port taxes instead of before, but now people are being told by their PVPs that solos will have to pay 200% even for a 1a, which is not comfortable for that second person, essentially being punished by paying for a person that didn’t come. They said that the attitude of the PVP was “if you don’t pay for it someone else will.”  Please tell me this isn’t so and if it is, please ask Carnival to reconsider. I have been planning some solo cruises, but this takes away the incentive to book Carnival.

John Says:
Hello Nadine

I certainly understand your concern. With this rule that we have now adopted as other cruise lines have and I hope that you will remember all the benefits of cruising with Carnival. As other cruise lines have this policy already, please do a price and value match and see which cruise line comes out on top. We certainly hate to see anyone upset and I personally hope that we will see you on a fun for all ship very soon.

Best wishes

That’s all for today and I will be back with more tomorrow.

Can I apologize for Thursday’s blog and your Carnival Magic‘s cruise dates etc. I really messed up there and guess I was more concerned about having a camera shoved up my bottom than if the dates were correct. Anyway, they have been corrected now and my apologies once again for the wrong information.

I will be writing more soon about the ship herself and her ports of call but as I mentioned last week, I do want to make a few changes for the longer cruises and certainly the transatlantic crossing. One of those changes is to add paid lecturers to entertain you on the sea days of which there are many. But what do we ask those lecturers to talk about?

When I am on the ships in the Caribbean or in Europe I often get approached by guests who say that they are professional speakers and want to host a lecture while they are onboard. Most of the time they want to do this because they truly want to help entertain the guests. However, sometimes they ask to do this because they have something to sell at the end of the lecture, whether it be a book or some herbal tea that will make you crap continuously for 2 days straight!

Obviously as a CD my biggest concern is to make sure that the lecturer knows what they are talking about, that they are entertaining and that their subject matter is not going to be offensive. That’s why, for the most part I usually say “no” to these offers as I know little about them.

My nervousness in allowing people to host lectures without being pre approved by the Miami office stems from an incident on the Carnival Triumph. I met a guest who was rather demanding and insistent that he be allowed to talk about his career as a missionary in Africa and elsewhere.

What was I to do? This man seemed really sincere and I gave in and said yes.

This older gentlemen really wanted to tell his story but I knew on this the last day of the cruise that nobody would come. All I could do was give him a chance. Now, I must say that usually we require all would-be speakers to be pre-approved by Chris Prideaux in the Miami office. It’s not just the content we look at but if the speaker can hold and captivate an audience.

I have seen this at dinner parties before. Someone can have the table in stitches for an hour with stories that are generally funny.  Then someone else says: “Mmmm. That reminds me of the time when I was working as a simultaneous translator for special ops in Iraq and I had to disarm the trembler switch on the nuclear bomb just after the terrorist had put a bucket load of man-eating ants down my underpants.”

Eagerly we all gather round but by the time he’s finished, three of the party are asleep and six, to escape the tedium, have committed suicide by stabbing themselves with a steak knife. You see, it’s not just the content but the person who is delivering it. Anyway, I gave the guest a small lounge and at the debarkation talk mentioned he would be doing his lecture. I was a little concerned as it was the last day of this Caribbean cruise and I was worried that nobody would go. This fear was proven correct as he only had a very small group of people show up. However, half way through his lecture on saving the poor people of Africa he started shouting at his audience about them not doing enough to help those less fortunate than themselves and then started to read from the Bible about the end of the world and Armageddon. I will never forget the comments from the some of the guests who were there who blamed me for his outburst as it was me who had recommended him.

So that’s why we now make sure that all our lecturers are pre-approved by our Miami office. However, there is no doubt that a good lecturer can certainly enhance a cruise for many, especially on a longer voyage with that has lots of sea days. So I am working with Chris on this but need your help.

If you are going on your Carnival Magic‘s transatlantic I wonder what you would like to hear lecturers speak about. Here are some choices that we have and please vote now on today’s poll. Choose your top 3:

Those are just a few of the choices so please let me know what you would like and if you have any other subjects you would like to listen to someone talk about. Thanks as always for your input.

Now, I was talking to my friends Mr. and Mrs. Doctor who as you know are the doctors who worked with me on the Carnival Splendor and their Carnival Dream and who are hopefully  going to be with me on your Carnival Magic. They are currently on the Carnival Triumph and are absolutely fantastic and I miss Doc Dave and Doc Caroline very much. Anyway, when I was with them on their Carnival Dream they mentioned the number of severe sunburn cases they had seen. Now, this is not just a problem on one ship but across the fleet and I was asked by them if I could mention the dangers of this. And of course I agreed and after that conversation I mentioned it in every one of my travel talks. Well, these talks are now called Fun Onboard Fun Ashore presentations and you will now find that at each one of these the CD’s will mention the hazards of not protecting yourself in the sun. It has become such a concern that we have to do this and you will not believe the number of severe sunburn cases our medical staff see each and every cruise. And for anyone that has had severe sunburn you will I am sure testify to the pain that comes with it. I have seen it myself many times. A beautiful lady guest comes on a seven-day cruise looking like a goddess and leaves the ship looking like a leatherback turtle.

Many if not most of our guests head straight for the sun as soon as they are onboard and some go a wonderful shade of brown. Not me, though. I accept that I go the colour (spelt correctly) of a London bus and spend my time on the beach hiding under a huge umbrella. This is because, more than anything else, I loathe the way sun cream costs more than a bottle of decent wine and is so damn complicated.

You need wallpaper paste on your first day and you gradually come down to some Hawaiian deep bronzing thingy. This though must be topped up with a $50 bottle of Australian Gold made from kangaroo urine……..this apparently is called tan deepener.  What a load of bollocks. I don’t have time for any of this, and anyway is there really a difference between factor 3 and factor 9? Only in the same way that there’s a difference between semi-skimmed and skimmed milk, I reckon.

Then if I do find myself in the sun, I remain convinced that a UV ray that has travelled 93m miles through space and survived the Earth’s upper atmosphere is not going to be defeated by an invisible sheen of coconut oil. As a result, I panic that I’m burning, which is the third worst thing that can happen to a man………..after having a colonoscopy and catching your thingy in your zipper. So then, take my advice and remember rather than go to Lido Deck and burn, you might want to consider going to the casino — it’s cheaper, indoors, and much less complicated.

So, it’s been a strange few days. England got beaten by the sodding Germans in the world cup because the referee was in fact Stevie Wonder and because these overpaid nancy boys showed as much passion as a Benedictine eunuch.

And of course I had my physical. My sugar level HC1 was 6.0 which is excellent, my blood pressure was 122/81 before my stress test and 131/88 after it which the doctor was also very happy with. The stress test was ummmmm………stressful. I spent 30 minutes doing jogging on a treadmill and breathing into huge tubes. Technology was everywhere and after the doctor had looked at my results and examined all the monitors and bleeping machines he told me “You need to lose weight Mr. Heald.”

What a total bastard. Of course I need to lose more weight.

Do you mean to say I have just had all those tubes and monitors plugged onto me and your answer at the end of watching me run my fat arse on a treadmill for the last 30 minutes is “you need to lose weight, Mr. Heald”…..bugger me….I could have looked in a mirror and told you that.

However, he acknowledged that I had lost 23 pounds since the last time I had a medical ………… only 40 more to go he said!

However, all of this pales into significance to what happened next. The preparation for my colonoscopy was horrendous and I spent most of Thursday evening on the toilet. Now, I am not going to go into detail about the procedure itself except to say it was the most awful thing that has ever happened to my arse in the 45 years I have been on God’s green earth.

And that’s saying something when I remind you of the following experience when my best mate Alan sailed with me on the Carnival Splendor to Istanbul…………and this happened.

The person who gave me my bath was called Fatima. She was a cross between a sumo wrestler and a bulldog and, although I am not one to cast dispersions about others……..she had a face like a bag of wrenches. She poured buckets of soapy, slimy water over me and then brought out a broom……..yes a broom……….and started scrubbing me down like a bloody elephant at the zoo. The water was tepid at first then came the freezing cold stuff. If I was an elephant, thanks to the cold water………… I was one without a trunk.

Then she threw me (yep, she literally picked me up like a sack of feathers) and threw me around on the marble slab. Then it’s scrub, wash, soap, slap, and smack for the next 20 minutes. After the beating, she started giving me some kind of massage on my neck and as those two hands mauled me like a groping teenager…I started to cry……I said “Stop, it hurts” …. but the beast just smiled and kept going.

From across the room I heard Alan crying like a baby and through my pain that was the only thing that kept me going……….he was in as much pain as me. Finally, after 45 minutes of which can only be described as “humiliating,” she tried to insert a hosepipe up my arse ……..I looked at Alan on the slab opposite and as one we both jumped off our slabs and ran away……..very fast.

Until Friday that was the worst experience my bottom has ever been involved in and that includes countless curries and even a weekend in Paris. But now I have had a colonoscopy all of the above pale into comparison.

It was beyond humiliating and I really don’t have the words to describe how I felt as Dr. Ramitin shoved a Sony Camcorder up there………………just to look around. It didn’t hurt though …………. nope I………I didn’t feel a thing thanks to something truly wonderful called Demerol.

But my life and my arse have truly changed forever because after the 3 gallons of laxatives I drank and having had a video camera inserted in me…….. I can honestly say that I think you could dock your Carnival Breeze up there…………it would be the first ever Carnival ship to home port in……….Colon.

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.