August 4, 2010 -

John Heald

“Your toothbrush may be killing you”…… screamed the pop up thingy on my computer this morning as I turned on the BBC News website. Obviously this was met by me shouting “what a load of bollocks” at Mr. Dell but curiosity got the better of me and so I read the commercial.

And according to this online advert it turns out we are so cavalier about tooth hygiene that it’s not uncommon to find all manner of nasties on a toothbrush and it got me thinking. We use the same brush for months…..and in my case probably years, letting it fester in the bathroom gathering bacteria in its moist bristles and then we shove it in our mouths.

A survey by the British Dental Health Foundation found that half of the population doesn’t know how to brush their teeth properly and most never clean their tongue, deeming such a practice “gross.” Forty percent never floss, preferring to pick their teeth with needles, cardboard and car keys. Indeed, this morning I used a packet of Splenda to excavate a lump of bagel.

But, actually, why would anyone bother with basic oral healthcare these days when we can buy instant, perfect teeth over the counter as one might purchase a hemorrhoid cream. Because that is what this online advert was advertising………snap-on teeth……..very appropriate considering I am surrounded by Californian perfectly white angelic teeth here on the Carnival Splendor.

Yep, snap on, celebrity smiles can be yours…….bloody hell………..only in America. The website offered me a set of false teeth which fits snugly over my yellow, bent, un-flossed real ones.

First, you pick a star with nice choppers – say George Clooney or Megan Fox. An impression is then taken of your real teeth and sent with photos to a laboratory in California ……… obviously ………..where a thin plastic overlay fashioned on the chosen celebrity’s molars is made to slide over them. You simply remove it at the end of the day, and leave them by your bedside next to the Twinkie and half eaten bucket of KFC.

It costs $1,150 for one set of teeth – upper or lower – or $2,700 for both. Yet isn’t there something fundamentally wrong with this approach? Shouldn’t we be fixing the reason why our real teeth don’t look so great rather than just masking the evidence like a Band Aid over a boil?

None of us needs much excuse avoiding dentists. I’m borderline obsessive about them ever since my dentist dropped the little mirror thing down the back of my throat while I was “opening wide.” I choked and my Mum was desperately trying to help me breathe. I was seven at the time and ever since then I have had a morbid fear of the men and women with the white coats and the drill. Given a choice of a visit to the dentist or being asked to eat deep fried camel scrotum in a peacock urine sauce………..pass the knife and fork.

And surely there’s a risk with the take these snap-on teeth off?

Imagine a chap, who has fallen for your dazzling smile, getting you home to discover that underneath your choppers are crooked and yellow. You couldn’t blame him for running screaming into the night. Who wants to discover that while they think they have been playing tonsil hockey with Megan Fox……they have really been kissing Amy Winehouse.

Time for some smiling Q and A……… we trot.

James Chien Asked:

Thank you in advance for taking the time to read my message. I wanted to know if you had any insights on starting a business on HMC? What the policies are? Whom to speak to? Financing, etc. I am a Professional Chef by trade, however an entrepreneurial business man of hospitality and current trends. Please advise. Likewise for the neighboring islands….Nassau, Turks/Caicos.

I anxiously await your response.

John Says:
Hello James Chien

I will be happy to pass on your details to a friend of mine who manages the beautiful island of Half Moon Cay for Carnival Corporation & plc. I wish you much success in the future.

Best wishes

Ade’ U. Asked:
John-Please Reply.

I just wanted to extend a huge THANK YOU!!!!!

I just returned from the July 3rd Eastern Caribbean sailing of my Carnival Dream and had an amazing time. I had asked you to please request a large dining room table for me in the main dining room if you could and my request was met! I had a table for 11 and 8 of the most wonderful table mates a girl could ask for.

Again, John, thank you so much. You do so much for us as Carnival cruisers and you do it all so graciously out of the kindness of your big heart. I just want you to know that you are appreciated and loved by us all!

John Says:
Hello Ade’U

Thanks so much for taking the time to say thank you. Under the current climate of some not liking me helping with things such as this it is rejuvenating to receive a thank you. I am so glad you had such a brilliant time on your Carnival Dream and we hope to see you soon on another fun for all cruise vacation.

Best wishes

Andrea Budd Asked:
Dear John, please reply,

I would like to take this moment to truly thank you for all you do for all of us from the bottom of my heart and it is always wonderful to spend my morning reading your blog with my cup of tea.

We can’t wait to go on our cruise with the carnival freedom January 29th 2011,

I wish you were going to be our cruise director it was so fun on the carnival dream we loved you and also the waiters and cabin stewards bobby and I also have the waiters that did so much for us, from the dream on our Facebook I have tried to get you but will still try and find you

I say again from the highest roof top thank you John for everything you are “Carnival Super John”.

We love you. Thank you again

Andrea and Robert and Bobby Budd
Nova Scotia, Canada

John Says:
Hello Andrea Budd

Wow, this is fantastic and another dose of much needed medicine for me. Thank you so much for those wonderfully kind words. Please let me know if you need anything before your next cruise and I hope that you continue to enjoy the blog thingy.

Best wishes to you all

Amy Asked:
Please reply

I will be on the Pride on the second cruise after dry dock. I am glad that they are going to work on the engine – those kind of problems cannot be ignored. But what else will be done while she is in dry dock? (I have never been on a Carnival ship, so I won’t notice that the walls are now painted eggshell instead of cream.)

Thanks for your time in answering this question. Hopefully it is not a repeated question that everyone else already knows the answer to…

Hope all is well with you & your family.

John Says:
Hello Amy

Thank you for your understanding about the Carnival Pride and her dry dock. The ship will indeed have some routine maintenance carried out and while the ship has no guests on board for an extended period of time, it will provide additional time for deep cleaning of the ship as well as carpet cleaning, replacement of loose tiles and lighting fixtures and other work that needs to be done. While there are no planned changes to any of the guest areas you will definitely see the ship re-painted, shining like new and ready to give you the best cruise vacation ever. If you have any other questions please let me know. Thanks for the kind words and I send my best wishes to you and the family.


Linda Hernacki Asked:
John-Please reply:

I just thought I would share with you that a lot of bloggers going on the Bloggers Cruise 4 in February are upset about the fact that Carnival is charging upwards of $100 per person more for the bloggers cruise, than what the fare is if you are not signed up under the bloggers fare code. In fact some are not going because of this, some have cancelled their cruises, and others just aren’t booking. I realize that Carnival is giving gifts in the room, but the bloggers who are going (myself included) have been LOYAL to Carnival, and some of us are Platinum already, and feel it is uncalled for to be charged extra. I am curious as to what Carnival says about this practice. Please reply ASAP! Before more of us bloggers cancel our cruises. Thanks! Linda & Mike

John Says:
Hello Linda

Please bear with me on this as I will be talking about this in a moment. My best to you both and hope to see you soon.


Sallie Asked:
Dear John, Please reply.

More, more, MORE! I can hardly wait to hear and read and see more about my Carnival Magic. Mike and I will be doing our 1st European cruise on her and I am so excited.

Will the Magic have the Chef’s Table when she begins sailing or will we have to wait for this wonderful experience?

Thanks for your time and reply.

Hugs to you, Heidi and Kye.
Princess Sallie of Big Ed’s Evil Krewe

John Says:
Hello Sallie

And I cannot wait to tell you more, more, MORE about your Carnival Magic and I promise to do so in the very near future.  I will also be taking bookings early next year here on the blog thingy. Carnival Magic promises to be very special with lots of new and exciting things for me to tell you all about…………..and I hope to do that soon.

Best wishes and see you next year.

Mark Asked:
John/Stephanie – Please Reply

At one time on the blog there was a way to down load the Carnival ship horn as a ringtone. I cannot find it – forgive me. Please advise if this is still on the site somewhere. Preparing to leave on our third cruise. Can’t wait!

Thank you.

John Says:
Hello Mark

Yes, we did have an audio file which one of the bloggers, the fabulous Lance made for us. Stephanie ……………do you still have this audio file? If so can you put it here for Mark?

Ship Horn

Hope you have (had) fun on your next cruise.

Best wishes

Mark from Alberta Asked:
John Please Reply

John for our 4th cruise we have decided to a 14 day cruise starting on February 14th on the Grand Princess.

Having three cruises on the Fun ships, I am finding that as much as Princess is highly regarded amongst cruisers and Carnival Corporation, there are at least two very important aspects that Princess could do to make a positive impact in their product. I am sure though that these recommendations may be already under some type of preparations.

As evidenced here, Princess needs very badly a Brand Ambassador like you Mr. Heald. Gavin McLeod (Captain Stubbing of Love Boat fame) is kind of a celebrity icon of Princess…but he is nowhere to be seen except one part of the company web page under “Department of Romance”. Without a Brand Ambassador, Princess is a faceless company. Anyone researching and checking out Carnival soon learns about you, Mr. Cahill, Heidi, Kye, and the Stephanies! Customers and repeat customers have a home and they become to depart their hard earned $$ to Carnival because of the value, but also because it is indeed home!

The other important addition required is a blog for the company or Brand Ambassador to make that connection with new and loyal customers. Cunard, HAL, Costa, Yachts of Seabourn all have blogs!

Mr. Buckelew, CEO and President does have a vision and I was quite happy to receive an email from him upon confirmation of my booking! I know that everyone receives this email generated automatically, but now I know and who is the CEO and President of Princess is and what he looks like!

I am happy to try another Carnival Corporation product, but honestly I am feeling a bit not convinced about the wisdom of my choice. There is a lot of discussions on Cruise Critic about what is and what isn’t on Princess and I miss having the voice of the company being in on the discussion…how else does any business or service improve?….well I have done it here…please can you pass this to Princess along with your Ambassadorial support 😉

My regards to you, Heidi and Kye!

John Says:
Hello Mark from Alberta

First of all let me start with the most important thing and that is for you not to worry about your choice of cruise because I have no fear or trepidation in telling you that you will have a brilliant time on the Grand Princess. I have cruised on this class of ship and I can tell you that the food, the service and the layout of the ship are fabulous. You must try the Sanctuary which is the adult’s only deck and a meal Sabatini’s is an absolute must.

However, I have to admit that I am surprised that Princess has no blog while all the other Carnival sister companies do. I am sure they have their reasons for this and I have in the past offered to help get one started. I know they have some great characters amongst their CD’s and shoreside personnel and I will certainly make sure that someone at Princess gets to read your thoughts. Princess is a brilliant cruise line with many loyal followers who I am sure would appreciate having someone to tell them what’s happening and to be a brand ambassador for them. I hope they start a blog soon. Until then I remain at your service.

Have a great time on the Grand Princess

Best wishes

Joe Asked:
John please reply

John. Will Ken Byrne be on the Magic transatlantic? If so how does one make sure of getting seated in his dining area?

Thanks for your time in providing this blog us.

John Says:
Hello Joe

I am currently pleading with Ken to come to his Carnival Magic. He keeps telling me he is too old which of course is total bollocks. I hope to let you all know soon if he will or will not be joining me and if so you we can talk about help with table reservations in his dining room etc.

Hope to see you in Europe.

Best wishes
John be warmio

Grooveycruiser Asked:
Reply please

The Cruise Critic boards are all saying that there will be charges for ice tea and that the bath robes are being taken away from the cabins except suites. Are these rumors true and if they are expect a riot!

Thanks for the fun blog

John Says:
Hello Grooveycruiser

Put away the placards and the baseball bats because there will be no need to riot as these rumors are not true. The end. Best wishes and I am glad you are enjoying the blog.


And now that I have quelled a riot here endeth today’s Q&A. I will be back tomorrow with 10 more.

Please allow me a few minutes to talk to those who will be joining me for Bloggers Cruise number 4. As you will see from Linda Hernacki’s posting there is some consternation from some bloggers about the fact that they appear to be paying an extra charge for the gifts and free drinks etc. So, I just wanted to make it clear that we have never charged extra and are not charging extra now. The price has always been the same. Guests booking with the fare code do not qualify for a past guest rate or Early Saver rate because the system only allows for one fare code per booking.

You see, it’s hard to determine the amount of gifts to order, rooms to reserve, shore excursions to book, etc. unless we know how many are coming.  So I have written to revenue management and asked them to see if they will change the fare code to allow us to use the past guest fare code instead as the vast majority of people who will be joining us will have sailed before. If not, we will have to hold a roll call which makes for much more work for me and the 344 Stephanies. So, please know that we are absolutely not charging you any extra for what we provide you on the cruise and hopefully I can let you know what the news about this is as soon as possible.

Back here on the Carnival Splendor things are going well. Goose is doing a great job and the guests all seem to really like him. I have been looking closely at the guests though and there is certainly a big difference between these guests and the ones I have experienced who sail out of Texas, Charleston and even Port Canaveral. Let me try and explain. First of all let’s go back to elegant night which was a bit different. Now before I explain how let me mention that there is a wonderful family atmosphere on the ship this week with Mum and Dad and the kids and a lot of grandparents and their grandkids as well. Anyway, on elegant night I noticed that many of the guests were dressed more casually than I have seen on other ships. They weren’t wearing jeans …….. no…….they were more …..ummm…….laid back……..yep……..laid back……that’s a good way of explaining it. Many of the middle aged guests were wearing open neck shirts with a jacket and definitely no tie while the ladies had a simple but cool looking dress on. There were no jeans ……….. no shorts……….but the guests were certainly more ……….. well ……….. cool……….. they were I guess Californian.

They are also a bit more laid back at the shows. I am not saying they are a bad audience ……. no …….not at all. But they have been a bit more reserved in their applause. Instead of screaming and applauding wildly, I noticed they were more……well……..once again……cool and laid back ……… and instead of wild applause they seemed happy to sit in the show room in their polo shirts saying to each other “that was cool dude.'” It will be interesting for me to see this from the stage next week when I start my shows.

Now I mentioned yesterday that I intended to try something here and let me therefore run this past you. I am going to make the aft pool area on Deck 9 a more adult part of the ship. What I mean is that the pool is going to be for adults only. You see, here on the Carnival Splendor there is no dome on the aft section as there is on the Destiny- and Conquest-class ships. This allows for a much more open feel to the ship and we have a slightly larger pool here as well. Now the kids have the main pool and the slide pool and the fantastic splash park. So, there are plenty of areas for the kids to enjoy. This means I am going to ask the crew to enforce an adults only pool and whirlpool at the back of the ship.

Also missing there is some atmosphere and I think therefore I am going to add some live music from our guitar/vocalists in the afternoons and make sure the pre-recorded music is appropriate. Lots of happy stuff…….no whales humping music for sure. Now, I am going to try this without mentioning it to the beards back in the office as I have learned that sometimes it is easier to ask for forgiveness rather than permission and as everyone is so busy back at Miami HQ I want to tell them I have tried this and it works. If it doesn’t work and I get a basket full of complaints from mums and dads then I will change back to what we were doing before and not tell the office I ever tried it.

I know we have the fantastic Serenity here that we need an adults only pool on sea days specifically. However, I may be wrong so please, post away and let me know your thoughts on this because as always they are massively valuable.

Today we are in Puerto Vallarta and this will be my first time here. I will be heading out for a walk later as I am sure once I get into being a cruise director again my time on dry land will be bugger all. What I do know about this Mexican paradise is that Puerto Vallarta is beautiful. It’s on the coast, surrounded by the Sierra Madre, and became famous in the 1960s when The Night of the Iguana was filmed there. During the filming, Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor had rumpy pumpy.

It seems we have a fantastic shore excursion program here and I thought I would share with you the top three excursions that the guests here this cruise are taking.

These are the most popular

Tour Duration: 5 Hours

Enjoy a spectacular journey to a spiritual land that time forgot as you step back to a time of pagan mysticism and legend. You’ll cruise across the Banderas Bay to the beautiful hideaway beach haven of Las Caletas. Soothing music mingles with the song of the jungle as you follow a torch lit path that leads you past live portrayals of forgotten rituals and customs.  Secluded beachside tables bathed in candlelight and the aroma of grilled steak, fish and chicken in the air entice you. After dinner, you’ll move to the outdoor amphitheater for stories of an ancient civilization revealed through music and dance.  Watch as one of Mexico’s contemporary dance troupes take you on a magical journey. Complete your evening by dancing under the stars on your cruise back to the ship. NOTE: Minimum age is 6 years. There is some uphill walking and the paths may be sandy and uneven.

Tour Duration: 6.5 Hours

Board a double deck catamaran at the pier for your one hour journey to Las Caletas. Enjoy a full day at this paradise hideaway while snorkeling with this lovable rascal. Play and interact with this friendly and energetic animal in a completely natural environment. Accompany a marine mammal expert during the snorkeling program close to the beach. Have the opportunity to receive a kiss, hug and even a photo with your flippery friend. Note: Interaction in the water with the sea lion is 30 minutes. Minimum age is 5 years; swimming ability is required. Lunch and snorkel equipment are included. Pregnant women and guests with heart conditions are not permitted on this excursion.

Tour Duration: 6 Hours

Begin with a panga boat ride from the pier. Take an off road adventure to the heart of the tropical forest. Hike through the forest, learn a variety of wilderness techniques, ride mules and splash through streams. Then, rappel through waterfalls into natural river pools, and soar 200 feet above the ground over the jungle foliage on a 1,000-foot zip line. Note: Minimum age is 12 years; maximum weight is 250 lbs. Participants must be actively fit and wear hiking shoes or closed-toe walking shoes. Terrain will be rocky and you will get wet. A towel, mosquito repellant, and a change of clothes are recommended. Pregnant women and guests with back/neck injuries, walking difficulties or heart conditions are not permitted on this excursion. Bottled water and snacks are included. Lockers to store personal belongings are available at the base camp.  Videos and photos of your experience may be purchased at the base camp.

Tour Duration: 5 Hours

Salsa-making has never been so much fun!  Enjoy a hands-on cooking experience with stunning views from a beachfront resort, where you will learn to make six classic Salsas and Guacamole, an authentic Margarita, and a frozen Strawberry Margarita.  You’ll try your culinary creations with tasty cheese quesadillas, chicken taquitos and corn chips.  Quench your thirst with an assortment of drinks, including all-you-can-drink Margaritas, Jamaica Tea (Hibiscus Herbal Tea), and bottled water.  Once you have mastered your cooking skills, a dance instructor will have you moving and swinging to the rhythms of Salsa music!  After your dance lessons, you will have the rest of the afternoon to lounge by the pool, stroll on the beach or simply shop till you drop; the resort is located in the heart of the Golden Zone Shopping District.  Note:  Minimum age to consume alcoholic beverages is 21 years.  Transportation provided to and from the ship.

Now while many guests will be on these excursions we have two guests who are doing something very special. They are getting married and they are Melinda and Jeff Riera who I met last night and whom read the blog avidly. Please join me in wishing them a happy day. He told me he was a bit nervous as 30 family members are sailing with them .

I am not surprised is nervous……..I know I was. There were the vows, in which it is acceptable for Heidi, but ridiculous for me, to burst into tears. There is the speech in which I had to say how much I loved Heidi in front of 200 people without looking embarrassed or girly. And right at the very end of the night, I was expected to consummate the marriage, in as romantic a way as possible, without at any point falling asleep or murmuring the name of my previous girlfriend.

I guess we should all feel sorry then for that Marc Mezvinsky chap who recently married Chelsea Clinton. He had to do all this in front of half the world’s leaders……and Oprah Winfrey. I wonder if the rich really are different to me and you or was this still a normal wedding. Did one of the bridesmaid start weeping, did the best man pass out in a flowerbed and did one of Chelsea’s great aunts threatens to punch someone in the mouth because she didn’t like the seating plan.

According to my sources at the White House the following conversation was heard between Mother and Daughter.

Hilary Clinton – Have you and Mark had rumpy pumpy?

Chelsea – Not according to Dad

And I wonder if Bill gave his new son in law……….a celebratory cigar?

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.