Here To Help…Clothed…Or Naked

August 3, 2010 -

Steph H

Sometimes my fellow cruise directors come up with brilliant ideas and sometimes they come up with ideas that boarder on total lunacy. Take this e-mail that I received yesterday……… protect the poor sod that wrote it I have deleted the stupid bugger’s name.

From: A. Sillysod
Sent: Monday, August 02, 2010 11:40 AM
To: Distlist Onboard Cruise Directors

Subject: Idea

This may sound off the wall but I just saw a calendar made by a firefighter friend of mine from New York.  His ladder company made a calendar with them all naked apart from a helmet placed over their hoses! They sold 3,000 copies with the money all going to charity. We should do this and the money goes to charity.  What do you think?

Mmm, let me think about this for a moment. Would I like to parade my arse, alongside 20 other naked cruise directors while Radu snaps away with his wide angle lens? Yes, I’m up for that. In the same way I’m up for boiling my penis in a vat of acid…

I am sure the Gooses and the Todd’s and the Jefferson’s and the rest of the metro sexual clan of CD’s would happily do this and I am all about supporting a great cause……but come on……who the heck is going to buy a calendar full of the bits and pieces of Carnival cruise directors…… apart from the CD’s themselves that is. I can think of nothing more vile than on July 31 turning the calendar page over to August 1 to find a George Solano naked, covering his thingy with a lifesaver mint.

Well, look. I’ve got no problem with public nakedness in small quantities and I have seen them on the beaches and of course we have charters of nakedness on the ships now and then.

It’s not the dangly bits themselves that are hilarious, but the polite exclamations of “Good morning!” as if we all stand at the Lido Deck breakfast buffet with our thingies out and our lady gardens on display. How can you have small talk when you are at eye level with someone else’s privates?

You know what they say……nudists are people that no one wants to see naked. And that definitely includes me and my fellow cruise directors…… Anyway, where would I keep my cabin key?

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


John, I’ve been with you on this blog from day one. I’ve helped you make this blog that was to last only a month go to almost 7,000,000 hits. I was the one the suggested the first bloggers cruise. Now all I ask is for a couple tickets to a Heat game right before or after BC4, PLEASE. I’m sure Micky will be glad to meet me in his suite for a game. Unlike those from CC I did say PLEASE.

Thank you in advance.

PS, You can come too. We will have a blast.

John Says:
Hello Big Ed

Tell you what. Do the naked calendar with me and I will make sure you get the best seats in the arena. Thanks for all you have done for the blog and we will be talking much more about BC4 very soon. 

Best wishes to you and Pat

Andrea Budd Asked:
Dear John please reply

I hope you might remember me, Andrea Budd we met on the Carnival Dream this year Jan 30th 2010 me Robert and Bobby and I was the lady that gave you the keychain and earrings that I made for your wife I am from Nova Scotia. Just wanted to tell you that our ppv is wonderful he has helped in every step of the way and maybe he will get something special his name is Marc Gutierrez, he is always there to help us we are going on another cruise on Carnival Dream January 29th 2011 and bringing our son Bobby that you met and his girlfriend and our daughter Crystal my hubby Robert you met him and his mom and sister and our niece. We are so exited we are going on the Carnival freedom and staying on empress deck is that a good deck and is there lots to do on that ship that we might like I don’t think it is as big as the dream but hope it is a good size or is there anything that we might like on the ship and is there any tours we would like to do well we are very excited…… :=)

Say hi to Heidi and Kye

Your Friend
Andrea Budd from Nova Scotia

John Says:
Hello Andrea Budd from Nova Scotia.

Every time I write the words “Nova Scotia” I am reminded of the superb times I spent sailing into Halifax and St. John on the Carnival Triumph and Carnival Victory. The Nova Scotia key ring and the blue spinning globe set within is a favourite of mine and a favourite of Kye’s. She likes to hold it and spin the globe so many thanks once again for your kind generosity. Thanks for taking the time to write about Marc and I will be certain to make sure he sees your words of praise. Deck 7 on the Conquest class ships is superb and you will be just two decks away from the Lido and two from Promenade……perfect. I hope you have booked the Steakhouse so that you and the family can enjoy a special meal together and if you send me the actual date you are sailing I can look at your itinerary and recommend what night to eat there as well as what excursions you may enjoy. Can you also send me your cabin number as well so I can return some of the kindness you showed me and my family.

Best wishes to you all and please write soon

SJK Asked:


There is a very important thread on Cruise Citric that you have to take immediate notice of. It shows that most of the Cruise Critic members think you should not offer table bookings and free prizes. The people have spoken and showed their anger and I hope you realize this.


John Says:
Hello SJK

Thanks for sharing this and not to offend “the people” but I will continue when asked to do my best to help them…………….. And you.

Best wishes

Will Johnson Asked:
John (Please reply)

It’s the early hours of Saturday morning in sunny England and I have a hangover- what has that got to do with Carnival you ask. Well it is Carnivals fault- well not entirely; the England football (not soccer) team must take some blame for being a bunch of overpaid lazy prima donnas. The only good thing that happened in the World Cup was the French went home economy and early.

Anyway the hangover. Well last year we sailed on the Carnival Freedom on the Eastern- our first cruise and it was brilliant. We booked again and are off on the Carnival Dream Mar 2011. We were stunned that there were so few Brits so we spread the word back in the UK and our friends Grizz and Jules have taken our advice and sail on the Carnival Miracle next weekend (18 July) from NYC. This will be their first cruise and first holiday together without children. We were quite surprised the wrong impression UK cruisers have of Carnival.

This is great but because we recommended this and have been before we have to check all the documentation, plans, packing lists etc as we are experts because we’ve been before. This is stressful so to combat stress we soften the pain with wine. Now over the last months I have personally check their paperwork, plans, etc 8 times. The final check was last night when after a few bottles of vino I pronounced everything was in order and they were good to go.

So just before leaving at 1am Grizz says thanks and we’ll send you a postcard- but oh by the way it’s Jules’ birthday on 19 July (the first formal (sorry elegant) night how do I arrange something special. Now it’s a special birthday for Jules- discretion prevents me specifying her age but suffice to say the days of Club 18-30 have gone. Grizz will be returning this afternoon, when I should be getting some sun in the garden, so I can show him how to book flowers, etc from Bon Voyage. I know its short notice but is it possible you could notify the Maitre”d and get Grizz out of the pooh. They are in Cabin 5210 and at Late Sitting and its Julie Adams.

Sorry a question- Grizz is ex-British Army and plans to wear his medals on his DJ at the Formal(sorry Elegant) night. He has read on an Army Blog thingy that it is protocol to ask the Captain’s permission- is this true? On the Carnival Freedom last year we saw many veterans proudly displaying their medals and I cannot believe they had all asked the Captain’s permission.

Great Blog.

Kindest Regards
PS Buy the dress

John Says:
Hello Will Johnson

Oh bugger and double bugger and a huge dollop of bollocks as well because I am too late ………. they have sailed and I am too late in my reply because I am a lazy sod and am around three weeks behind. Please accept my apologies and also my thanks for spreading the word in the UK about the fun for all ships of Carnival. Did your friends have fun? I hope so and please if you have the time let me know. By the way, it is not necessary for any guest to ask the captain’s permission before wearing medals. They should so and we will be proud to acknowledge them and their service.

As for our sorry excuse of a football team………well………all I can say is that we should have done what the French did and fly the over paid under talented sods home in economy and on Ryanair. I would love to have seen Wayne Rooney have to pay 1 pound to take a pee.

Thanks again for writing, it always makes me very proud to know that my fellow Brits have discovered and fallen in love with the Carnival product. Please let me know 6 weeks before you sail again by dropping a quick post here on the blog thingy with your cabin umber.

Best wishes

Sabrina Sollberger Asked:

Hi, John! I emailed you a few months back before we traveled on the Splendor (March 14-21). We were traveling with our 3 year old son who happens to be autistic. We had a speedy check in (actually, our info was at VIP, but I didn’t know so we went to special needs), little boy threw a fit the entire way until we got in our room. We always book adjoining ocean view staterooms as we are a family of 6. He climbed up in the window and sat there absolutely mesmerized. He loved it! “Mommy! Look at the water! It’s the ocean! Ship in the ocean!” Goose sent us a photo of the ship signed by you and him, called our stateroom welcoming Aidan, and had a 24k plastic ship on a stick delivered (we actually have this on display in our living room LOL). It was really great and we cannot thank you enough.

We did have some concerns with Camp Carnival. I addressed these both with Carnival and with Mike from He was quite shocked and forwarded my concerns to Carnival as well. He received a canned response from Carnival so suggested that I write to them. I did and received a canned response as well. This is disappointing as we are loyal Carnival customers. We are a family of 6, husband is in the military (I had to resign from the Army 2 years ago after 10 years of service due to our ever growing family) and we are on a budget. Carnival gives us a fabulous vacation experience without leaving us in debt. The kids LOVE Carnival and Camp Carnival. I am happy to forward the information to you if you would like. We had never been treated this way by Camp Carnival and actually ended up canceling our next booking on the Splendor (Jan 16, 2011).

We do have the Triumph booked on Sept 11, 2010. If there is any way to have priority boarding for Aidan again, that would be most helpful. I appreciate all that you did for us last time and do not want to come across as though I am trying to take advantage of your kindness. That is not at all the case. Aidan is a holy terror in line and the entire time boarding (this will be his 4th cruise). It is better for everybody – fellow passengers included – to get his little butt on board ASAP LOL

I sincerely hope that the treatment we receive from Camp Carnival is up to par with every other time we have sailed. What happened to us and what was said to us by Camp staff on the Splendor is rather disturbing. The more I think about it, the more upset I get. Again, of you would like details them please email me. I can copy what I wrote to Carnival as well as another comment that I only told Mike about. I didn’t think it was necessary to bring it up to Carnival, but it really should be taught to not say that thing to a parent (a family was “cursed” by having three children with autism). I understand the language barrier and it likely was not intended to come out that way, but the next parent may not.

Thanks for all your help! Hope you have a great weekend 🙂
Sabrina Sollberger

John Says:
Hello Sabrina Sollberger

Thanks so much for letting me know about your concerns. I would love to know more about your thoughts as it relates to Camp Carnival here on the Carnival Splendor.  Having more detail will definitely allow the right people to see how we can improve. Traveling with autistic children is I imagine a challenge and we certainly pride ourselves in being able to make those challenges more manageable during your hard earned vacation. I have heard many success stories about how our Camp Carnival staff have helped by looking after children who may need special attention but we admit that this is a constant learning curve and we will need to keep learning and that we will keep improving. So, please let me know what happened and I will send your comments to the right people.

I will certainly ask our team to help you with check in and will therefore send your information to them. I am glad your son had such a great time and you received the trophy and I promise we will do all we can to make this next cruise your best ever.

Please write soon with more details.

Best wishes

Maria & Juan Santana Asked:

You have been wondering about something that will make you shed some pounds…. Here it is!

We have some bad news that will make you lose weight…. Because of the Miami Heat’s new fantastic trio, you will never get a salary increase ever again… in fact, your salary will be probably cut in half! Mickey Arison needs your cooperation and sacrifice in order to pay the multi-million $’s salaries to Wade, Bosh & James…. There you go! Was that the bad/sad news you needed to hear in order to make you stop eating?

O.K.! We are just kidding! But we certainly hope that it doesn’t turn out the other way around….We hope Carnival doesn’t raise the cruise prices for the very same reason! Then the joke will be on us!

We are very happy to know that your vacation with Heidi & Kye has been wonderful….and we certainly hope that you didn’t teach Kye any of your bugger/fart jokes, or any of your irreverent comments! We feel sorry for poor Heidi! She sure has a huge job ahead of her trying to keep Kye ears “nice & clean” …Children are like sponges, they absorb everything…. Good luck to Heidi on her huge task!

John, we are not sure how many weeks behind you are at the present time in responding to the bloggers’ comments, but as we mentioned before, we sent you some comments at the end of May that were never answered. Also, there were a couple of comments afterwards that were not answered either. We are starting to think that they got lost in cyber space…. maybe your Stephanies can give us an idea of where in the world the comments went….. In the meantime, we patiently wait…..

Again, we loved your description/photos of the new Holland American ship and we are certainly very pleased that you and the girls had the opportunity of spending some time together onboard this magnificent ship.

Warmest regards and kissed to Kye.
The Santanas of Miami Beach

John Says:
Hello Juan and Marie Santana

On the day the Miami Heat signed Earth, Wind and Fire I knew that any chance of me getting the $1 million bonus, the Aston Martin DBS and a year’s free subscription to Latvian’s In Suspenders Weekly were gone forever. Seriously though, as Miami residents you must be very excited. I have replied to your previous comments I am sure but if I have by chance missed them please re post and I will make sure I reply. I am glad you enjoyed my Holland America blog, their new ship is superb.

My best wishes to you both

Beth Asked:
Dear John (Please reply when you can)

I just booked our platinum cruise on Carnival’s Spirit. My husband and I have made so many wonderful memories on all of our cruises with Carnival. I am so very excited about the 15 day Hawaii r/t from San Diego in April of 2012! (I booked this as a surprise for him for our anniversary and will have to try and keep it quiet for an awfully long time!)

This will be the longest cruise we have gone on although we did do a B2B on 2 different ships last year. My question is, is there a different menu for each night on the longer cruises or does the menu repeat after some time (not that it would be a bad thing if it did, since all the food is fabulous!) Also wondered if the entertainment changed nightly on the longer cruises?

Hope you are having the most wonderful time with your family! (Even if you have to grin and bear the shopping sprees)

My very best to you and yours and thank you for being here for us with your wit, your invaluable information and your wonderful heart that opens up to share stories of your family.

John Says:
Hello Beth

Many congratulations on booking your 10th cruise on the Carnival Spirit where, upon boarding you will receive that shiny Platinum card. And what a brilliant surprise for your husband.

The longer cruises do feature different menus and there will be a different production show and or a different entertainer every night. You will also have the Superstar Live and Punchliner comedy club as well so get ready for a fantastic 15 days. As the cruise gets nearer please let me know if you have any questions or if you need my help.

Best wishes

Sheryl Asked:

Hi there,

I am looking into booking a cruise on the Carnival Magic with a group from Cruise Critic. I am very interested in the cove balconies….must have something to do with my horoscope sign being Cancer, a water sign! My question is will there be any handicapped accessible cove balcony cabins? I use a mobility scooter and would need a modified cabin.

Thanks for all that you do!

John Says:
Hello Sheryl

It would be great to be able to welcome a group from Cruise Critic on their Carnival Magic European adventure. The cove balcony cabins were a massive hit on your Carnival Dream and the views of the Mediterranean Sea and the ports of call will be first class from them. Your question is a good one and as I have to admit that I don’t know the answer. I will check with some people and get back to you by the end of the blog or tomorrow at the latest.

Best wishes to you and all my friends on Cruise Critic.

Dominic H. Asked:
reply please

Do you think ccl would consider changing the itinerary for the Splendor after rcl Mariner of the sea leaves Los Angeles next yr..? It cruises a reverse itinerary. Meaning The Splendor would stay in Cabo till 6:00pm instead of 3:00 pm, but leave P.V. @ 7:00pm. Their are a lot of people that would like the extra time in CSL.


John Says:
Hello Dom

I know that RCI are abandoning California and as you will have heard we have announced a new Los Angeles-based program for the Carnival Spirit and of course the Carnival Paradise and the Carnival Splendor remain here on the West Coast year-round.  I have never been to these ports and this week will be my first experience of them. I do know that so many people love Cabo and P.V and that our stay in P.V. to 10 pm is massively popular. Unfortunately our stay in Cabo is short because we have to sail at full speed back to Long Beach. So your suggestion makes sense and maybe we could indeed do something like that. I will send your proposal to our SVP Terry who is the brains behind all of our brilliant itineraries.

Thanks for taking the time to write.

Best wishes

Tracy Baumgarten Asked:
please reply

I’m not sure how far behind u are on answering back? But we sail sep 2 is the chefs table on the liberty? And I was gonna ask if we can have a booth again the dining room in the back of the ship… do u need my cabin number?
How are u john and the girls?

John Says:
Hello Tracy Baumgarten

Thanks for writing and I will send your request to the Maitre D on the Carnival Liberty. The Chef’s Table is up and running and if you would like a reservation please let me know.

The family are all doling well and I hope you have a great cruise

Best wishes

That’s all for today and of course I will be back with more tomorrow. Time for a break and while I go give the ships plumber something to think about I will leave you with a terrific slide show of the Queen Elizabeth……that’s the new Queen Elizabeth which is getting closer to October launch date. This slide show was put together by a great friend of the blog Susan Young who some of you may remember was one of the journalists who sailed with us on Bloggers Cruise number 1. She was part of a press group that visited the ship in Italy and her slide show highlights just how special this ship with the most prestigious name of any ship in the world is going to be. Here is the link thingy.

Peter Shanks who as you know is the President of Cunard has invited me to the naming ceremony of this royal vessel. The problem is do I go? Do I take a week off work and spend 22 hours in the air there and back? I really want to go but……I am a Carnival CD first and foremost ………………mmmmm………tough one that.

Oh hold on………I just got an answer for Sheryl on her question of there being a wheelchair/scooter accessible cove balcony cabin on her Carnival Dream. The simple answer Sheryl is no but there are lots of other options for guests who require wheelchair-accessible cabins. To help you decide which stateroom is right for you on a Dream class ship, here is a complete listing of what is available.

Access cabins Info Dream

I hope you and many others found that useful Sheryl.

I remember my first impression of the Carnival Splendor and that first impression was that it was pink……..very pink. In fact, there were one or two at Carnival who were concerned that the design was too outrageous and that the travel press would not be impressed. But others even higher up the Carnival tree stroked their beards and their goatees and said “calm down, don’t worry ………it’s a Fun Ship after all.” And they were right. Because the ship was met with much applause and many wrote that the Carnival Splendor and her Joe Farcus designed interior was an escape from the normal………..I always told guests that it was an escape………..from beige.

It was therefore, interesting for me to stand in the lobby during embarkation on Sunday and watch the first reaction of the Californians. Now, someone once described that living in California is living in a big bowl of granola………..lots of fruits, nuts and flakes. Now, I don’t know if that’s true or not but the first reactions of the guests as they walk onto the ship and into the atrium was one of amazement. The ship is a fun ship as a wise man reminded me today and the people of California are it seems a lot of fun so this it seems is perfect match.

One other thing I noticed last night was how late the guests stayed out. Compared to the ships I have been on recently where the public lounges start to wind down around 12:30am, here on the Carnival Splendor guests had every lounge still packed when I headed for bed at 1 am. Yep ……. I went to bed at 1 am because I wanted to get a feel for what was happening and with that in mind I should talk about smoking.

So here on the Carnival Splendor the piano bar is non-smoking. This has been so for the past few months and I have to admit I was concerned that attendance would suffer. The piano bars have long been the bastion of our guests who enjoy a Marlboro or two and I was curious to see if the piano bar still had the atmosphere that they are famous for. The simple answer is yes…….it does. Last night was elegant night and at 11 pm the lounge was full with every seat taken. The entertainer here is a young kid from the Philippines called Russell Blues……..something tells me that’s not his real name.

Anyway, Mr. Blues was really doing a great job and had everyone singing a long and the fact that the bar waiters were very busy showed that even though it was non-smoking now, the piano bar was still the place to be. Also, it is important to note that having spoken to Russell, he is very happy that the room is non-smoking as singing night after night surrounded by smokers was he said “not nice.” Now, this is as far as I know the only ship that has the piano bar as non-smoking as the experiments for now have finished. I may be wrong and I will certainly check with my fellow CD’s but it was fascinating to see that the atmosphere remained unchanged. Obviously this has a lot to do with Mr. Blues being a great entertainer but never the less…….it is certainly food for thought.

The cigar bar is thank goodness still a place where you can smoke a cigar and where I did smoke one last night. I sat alone and enjoyed the live music there and watched the guests do what guests do. I wasn’t alone for long tough because I was “spotted” by the Gregson family who are blog readers and for whom I had arranged a table for 6 in the dining room. They thought they may find me in the cigar bar and I was treated to lots of hugs and photos much to the bemusement of the bar staff and other guests.

Anyway, we sat and chatted and Mr. Gregson who is from Bakersville……..or was it Bakerstown ……..anyway it was Bakers something or other……….told me that as a cigar smoker himself how wonderful it was to be able to smoke indoors. He went on to tell me about California’s strict smoking regulations and how even his local golf club has banned smoking on the golf course which to me seems very extreme. Anyway, it was great to meet them and listen to their love of Carnival and the blog ……..but most of all…………… was nice not to be sitting on my own.

The ship is running very well and as always when I do these handover things I am anxious to get started. I have decided to try something next week which is based on some of the suggestions I have read here on the blog thingy. It may be a bit controversial but I think it is worth a try. I will tell you about that tomorrow.

Obviously when I start as CD the blog will contain the guest count, kid count and all the usual stuff as well as the more unusual comments.

Before I continue I have to say this. Computers are like women. You never know if you will be successful in turning them on…….and this computer is making me scream because of the sodding cursor jumping around the page like a kangaroo on acid. I asked the IT guys here but they can’t seem to fix it. I know this happened last year and someone on the blog told me what to do to fix it………..if that magician is reading this………….help………………….please.

I have to say I am puzzled as to why people would bother voting if they should ask me for help here on the blog and I am gobsmacked that some are so upset that I do. Without wanting to sound self promoting I think that the extra service I offer is something that I am proud to do and in today’s world it is at times seriously lacking. Let me give you an example.

Before I left the UK last week I had to help my Mum and Dad out. They have been having problems with their internet service so I changed them over to British Telecom and set up an account in my name. My parents are slowly enveloping themselves in the World Wide Web thingy and having e-mail and being able to use it to speak to their children and relatives this way has become very important to them. Anyway, I set this up and just a few days after doing so they couldn’t get any e-mails at all.

So I called… and called… and called and called again. At times it felt like being in a hellish loop as a robotic electronic voice told me that I had six minutes to wait, and that my call was really important to it……………important my arse.

After twenty minutes I was told that I had two minutes to wait and that my call was still, apparently, really important to it. Ten minutes later, I was cut off and left in a state of total rage.

I called three more times during the same day and pretty much exactly the same thing happened. On top of the obvious frustration involved, I had the extra pleasure of paying for the privilege of listening to this total bollocks that passes for customer service.

Anyway, if there had been a human on the end of the phone or someone at British Telecom who wrote a blog and who after me sending them a “Please reply” message to could have helped me then I would have been very happy indeed.

That’s why I really have no bloody clue why me helping others has some so mad at me and that they take the time to write to tell me so. Sadly, it never works like this and in today’s world people always want to let you know exactly how offended they are. I know it shouldn’t get to me but I am embarrassed to say that today……it has. And that’s why I have to say that if my helping people upsets them ……well……..they can just bugger off.

But I can’t say that can I. Nope…..that would be unprofessional……so instead I would like all the people who are upset to please send me their names and address so I can send them a gift in way of an apology. Everyone who does so will receive a John Heald naked calendar. It will be a gift that they will all truly deserve.

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.