Not Everyone Is a Comedian

August 6, 2010 -

John Heald

As the fleet gets bigger and bigger we have to hire more entertainers and last night we had a new comedian make his Carnival debut here on the Carnival Splendor. And I am sorry to say I think it will be his last. Obviously I can’t tell you his name but at his late night show he had a torrid time. He came onto the stage, picked up the microphone and delivered what we had to assume was his best line. You always deliver your best line first. That way, you have the audience on your side from the get go………that’s what I have been told by people like Carnival’s 351st best comedian Al Ernst anyway.

Well he delivered his best line and was greeted with absolute silence. It was a reasonably funny line but three hundred people did not think there was anything funny about it at all and as one ……….. decided not to make a sound. If someone had heckled, then he’d at least have had a well rehearsed put down to fire off. A heckle could have saved him. But none came. You could have heard a pin drop; well, you could have were it not for the deafening sound of the poor comedian dying from the inside out. And he never recovered which means I am sorry to say his Carnival career was a short one. That’s a shame.

As I mentioned, a heckle could have saved him and I thought I might give you some of my favourite heckles and responses that I have heard over the years on a Carnival stage. I have rarely had to use a putdown line as I am not a comedian and these usually happen at the late night shows. I do have two in my pocket though should I ever have to use them. Here they are:

“When they put teeth in your mouth, they spoiled a perfectly good arse”

“And if anyone ever shouts out about me being fat I shall say………..I’m only fat because every time I have rumpy pumpy with your wife she gives me a cookie.”

OK, I will never say that but it’s there………..just in case I am pushed to the limit.

There are clever heckler put downs and my favourite belongs to Al Ernst who says this when someone shouts something out:

“That sounded funny when you thought it in your head, didn’t it? Thank you but I don’t need your help – I’m pretty good at this. But if I get stuck later, I know where you’re at”

And before you start heckling me to get on with today’s Q and A…………….here it is.

Diane Scheliga Asked:
Hi John

Let me re-send my note. Our wonderful TA has worked with the group planning people and found us 3 tables by the windows in the Golden Pearl Dining room, so we are set on our early seating dining. I can almost taste it now.

My parent’s 50th Anniversary party is actually on their anniversary. Our party is on August 13th in the Cool Lounge, so that is set too. So I won’t need the 344 Stephanie’s or the magic 8 ball thingy. If you can stop by and say “Hi” that would be fun!

So we sail in just a few short weeks (8-8-10 Splendor). Can’t wait to see you again. Sorry that you have to get on a plane again so soon. We will be a fun group, so pack your bags and we will too.

Diane S. #6363

John Says:
Hello Diane Scheliga

It will not be long until you are here and you will love this ship and her brilliant crew. Please can I ask that you drop me a note at the Guest Services Desk when you board detailing your Mum and Dad’s 50th anniversary and add some words of love? I will read this out at the Morning Show and send them a little something. I look forward to meeting you all.

Best wishes

Paula Asked:
STEPHANIE please as per John

My daughter’s name is Hannah Lester

Freedom Aug 28th

Room 8248

I know this surprise will make her cruise

Thank you so much

John Says:
Hello Paula

Thanks for the kind words. I am sure as the days get closer to your first cruise that the excitement is growing. While we don’t have weekly backstage tours outside of the Behind the Fun tour I will ask the dance captain to have a chat with your daughter and let her have a quick look behind the curtain and backstage. Can you send me her name and cabin number please via another blog posting and mark it for STEPHANIE and she will send it to me. Maybe one day she will be one of our brilliant Carnival dancers.

Best wishes to you all

Oceans7 Asked:John – please reply

Having just cruised on the Triumph I wanted to know why there was no ethnic entertainment. The cast were all white and there were no African American dancers or comedians yet there were lots of us as passengers. We had a good time but felt let down by this


John Says:
Hello Oceans7 (Sylvia)

I am so glad that you had a good time on the Carnival Triumph. I am sorry though that you felt disappointed that the entertainment was not diverse enough. We audition all over the world for our dancers and singers and we hire based on their ability. I can tell you that we have lots of ethnic groups represented across the fleet including many African American and Afro-Caribbean entertainers. Once again, I am very happy that you enjoyed your cruise and thank you for taking the time to write.

Best wishes

Grandma Amy Asked:
Hi, John (Please reply),

Having cruised on Celebrity, RCI, Princess and HAL, I had the extreme pleasure of cruising on the Carnival Ecstasy last February with my daughter. I’ve been converted to Carnivalism completely! We had so much fun, Steve Cassell was terrific, the staff was uniformly cheerful and helpful and I must say the Mongolian Grill, Pizzeria, and 24-hour ice cream all far exceeded anything I’ve experienced on other lines.

My dilemma is this: My dear husband had not wanted to consider Carnival for our next cruise, thinking (as I did before, I confess!) that the Carnival ships are for a younger “party” crowd. Not that we don’t like to have a good time as well, but we are slowing down a bit in that regard. However, I have persuaded him and we are now booked on the Carnival Conquest on November 7th, the week of our 8th anniversary (and are being joined by my 30-yr-old son). I would very much like to make this a very special week, and plan on reserving a table at the Steakhouse for our anniversary date on the 10th, and will be signing up for the Behind the Fun Tour as soon as we board. I’m hoping to convince him that Carnival really does give us the most “bang for the buck”. Do you have any other suggestions on how to make this cruise even more special? I would be greatly honored (spelled correctly) with any of your thoughts. My goal is to have him agree to book on the Carnival Magic soon after she arrives in Texas–is there any chance at all that we would be enjoying you as CD at that time? I’ve not been able to find a definitive answer here.

And finally: I adore your “blog thingy”, and thank you so much for sharing not only your cruise experiences but your life with all of us. My best to Heidi and Kye, as I feel like I know you all already!

John Says:
Hello Grandma Amy

Thank you for trying Carnival and realising that it really gives every demographic a wonderfully fun vacation. I will certainly pass on your words of praise to the ship and Steve Cassel will be thrilled to read this. He is a brilliant CD and a great friend.

I just completed two very months on the Carnival Conquest and I have to say that it was one of my most favourite times. You will love the ship and her crew. Please make sure you take your husband to the shows and enjoy a movie on the seaside theatre big screen. You will find a huge variety of activities and I know he will have the best of times.

Please send me his name and cabin number a month before you sail so that I can send him a little something to say welcome aboard. It sounds like he is a very special man and that you love him so very much. I am so glad you have discovered the world of Carnival and this blog. Thanks so much for the kind words for Heidi and Kye.

Best wishes to you both

Peter H Asked:
Reply to this needed please

Simple question. Why is Carnival charging for ice tea on lido deck now when it’s free on every other line? You must know things like this will lose you many customers

John Says:
Hello Peter H

I am not sure where you got this information from but it is not correct. Carnival continues to serve complimentary ice tea on lido deck. Please check with me if you have any other concerns and I will be happy to answer them for you.

Best wishes

Brad Swenson Asked:

Hello Mr. John,

My wife and I are booked on our next Carnival Cruise (Glory Feb 27) because we wanted to experience a Bloggers Cruise. Actually after your blog yesterday about cruising with your parents while you still have a chance, my wife extended that offer to her parents and they are booked on the Bloggers Cruise as well with the Bloggers fare code (Hopefully that is fine as her parents are not blog readers like us). I hope that you get some commission from our booking, as you and your blog are the sole reason for our booking. It amazes me how compassionate and caring you are to all that you encounter. It will be an honor to shake your hand and maybe get a photo together!

We are getting really excited for the Blogger’s Cruise! We have never cruised with you (our loss) so hopefully you will do some skits you have done in the past. Are you going to be doing the Bedtime Story? We have heard lots about it on the Blog and would love to experience it live! Are we going to have Bloggers only excursions or should we be planning our own excursions? I hope that your lovely family will be able to join us for these 7 nights, as they are very much a foundation of your Blog!

Also, really enjoy the Dear Jamie letters, tell her to send more and please request her presence for BC4! Enjoy those incident reports, too! Maybe you could add a countdown clock to BC4 on your blog.

Looking forward to BC4 and meeting you!

John Says:
Hello Brad

That is superb. Not only are you sailing on BC4 but you are bringing the parents with you. I will be the CD for this voyage which means that I will be hosting the Bedtime Story as well. We will be having lots of bloggers only events and of course a private excursion on at least one of the islands that we visit. I promise you much more detailed information on all of this soon. Once again thanks so much for booking this cruise and inviting your parents in law to come along. I will do my best to make sure it is a very special cruise.

Best wishes to you all

Brett Brantley Asked:

Hi John, love the blog! My family will be on our 5th Carnival Cruise next week aboard the Triumph. Looking forward to it as we have never been out of NOLA. Also have read a lot of positive remarks about CD Kevin. Can’t wait! Question: Is there any way you could help us to get a table at the back of the ship looking over the ocean? If not, all is well. Maybe someday we will be on a ship with you. That would be awesome. We leave next Saturday, July 24th. Thanks, Brett

John Says:
Hello Brett Brantley

I am glad you are enjoying the blog thingy and yet I have to apologize that I didn’t get to answer your question until after your cruise. I hope you are reading this now so that you can see how sorry I am. I am three weeks or so behind in answering questions and I hope that you enjoyed Kevin (Noonan) as your CD and that you had a brilliant time. Please let me know if you can and once again sorry for the late reply

Best wishes

Carlos Asked:
John Please reply

I will be with you on the Splendor on September 5th and want to propose to my partner in a special way. He is a wonderful man and has been through a lot and I want the proposal to be something that he will never forget. Your blog is really good and I read today that you helped with a proposal for another couple so I hope you can help me as well.

John Says:
Hello Carlos

I would be honoured (spelt correctly) to help. Please leave me a note at the guest services desk when you board the ship and I will call you to see what you would like to do. Obviously I will keep it a secret from your partner. I look forward to meeting you both and to helping make your cruise a very special one

Best wishes

JAS1178 Asked:

I have my full review posted on Cruise Critic:

…but I wanted to report back about our vacation aboard MY Carnival Dream.

She is absolutely magnificent! She really is a pretty ship! Walking into the atrium for the first time was breath taking!

Carnival got so many things on this ship right – I can’t even list them all – but a few:

  • Wrap around Lanai (AWESOME)
  • Smoking Policy in the Casino
  • Piano Bar setup
  • Oceans Plaza Area
  • Serenity (Best One Yet!)
  • Waterworks (BEST ONE YET!)
  • SHOWS – (Dancing in the Streets – WOW!)
  • Deluxe Ocean view Staterooms – w/ JR TUB!!!!
  • Fun Photo Finder (Again – Such Potential)
  • Food Options:
    • Pasta Bar – BRILLIANT!
    • Tandoori – WOW!
    • Burrito Bar – Nice!
    • Lanai BBQ
    • Wraps & Salad Bar in Ocean Plaza
    • Tapas in Ocean Plaza
    • In addition to all the usual options!

If anyone is wondering if they should cruise aboard MY Carnival Dream – YES YES 1000x’s YES! (Read my full review – it has pictures!)

John – A Big Thank You to you for all those blog entries about this ship – we lived on those counting down the days to our cruise.

I would like to also include one suggestion perhaps you could pass on: Have they considered using the Pasta Bar during breakfast hours as an Omelet Bar? Use the same paper slip / table sign setup and remove those rather long lines at the Colette stations.

In the areas where improvement was possible:

1. Fun Hub was not promoted – and out of over 6000 guest & crew – less than 85 signed up the week we sailed (and probably 10 of those were staff) It also seemed neglected (A Poll of the day was headlined – but never used) / Activities were not current for our sailing. Such Potential here…but needs to be used to its potential.

2. Fun Photo Finder – Awesome idea – glad carnival is listening…but the onboard folks don’t like it and quite honestly wish it would go away. They only problem during our week was it wasn’t automatically linking our photos to our card (even though the photographer scanned it). The claim was they were trying to do this facial recognition… Don’t overly complicate it…Just have us scan our sail & sign card before a photo, and when we walk up to the kiosk do it again …and presto! Loved the way it allowed you to browse for missing photos- but was a bit slow. Realize this is still in the testing stage, but hope the onboard folks who don’t like/understand it don’t kill it – as we consumers definitely do!

3. The Dining Room Lunch Menu was very disappointing (yes there were a lot of other options – but nothing beats the service of the wait staff!) The brunch menu you posted months ago was fantastic – so many options! It has since been cut way back (no starters – no side salad or soup – only entrees). If I may suggest – if the brunch menu was not fiscally feasible – go back to the traditional rotating lunch menus…the current one doesn’t offer any draw to return for more than one meal. *Side Note: Love that the dining room is open at EMBARKATION!!!!!

4. Ship Pins – of the last 3 cruises we’ve been on – none of the stores have had them in stock. This soon won’t be a worry – as I am finally approaching Platinum!

To anyone reading these – I just elaborated on these since I know John has the ability to pass along comments to the right ears. These are all very MINOR things. We had a fabulous vacation – and looking forward to the next one!

John Says:
Hello Jas1178

This is a brilliant review. It shows that your Carnival Dream gave you a fantastic vacation and highlights so many of the superb features she has. It also highlights some of the areas where we can improve and I especially like your idea of using the pasta bar as an omelet station in the morning. That is a simple way to help take the lines down and I can’t think why we cannot do this and honestly…..I am a little embarrassed that those with beards and myself haven’t thought of it before. Maybe I am missing something but off the top of my head I can’t see why this shouldn’t be considered.  I will have to check into your brunch menu question and get back to you.

I am aware that the shops have been having stock problems with the pins and that is not good enough. It is the same here on the Carnival Splendor, I checked and they have sold out. I am on the case! Thanks again for this great review and I will pass on your comments and praise to everyone onboard and those at Carnival HQ.

You will soon have your Platinum card and I hope to sail with you one day soon.

Best wishes

Geri & Jack Asked:
Hello John, Please reply

First of all, Butch is one of our very favourite CDs. He has a fantastic personality and sense of humour.

Secondly, I keep meaning to ask you, John, if the C Magic will be doing a CTN like her other ships before her whenever they arrive in the U.S.A. We have done them all and love the CTN and the next B2B usually tied in with the CTN. Perhaps there is no time for a CTN? What do you think, do you think the CTN will happen?

Cheers to your beautiful family,
Geri & Jack

John Says:
Hello Gerri and Jack

I have said many times here on the blog thingy that Butch is one of our very best CDs and I am glad that you agree. I have not seen any plans for a cruise to nowhere for your Carnival Magic but then again I have not checked properly. Let me ask and see what is happening with this. I know they are very popular. One thing for sure is that we intend to make the ship’s arrival into Galveston a very special moment!

I hope I will see you there

Best wishes to you both

That’s all for today and many thanks for all the great dialogue you have shared with each other this week.

I hate to be the bearer of sad news but I have to report the so very sad passing of one of our Senior Assistant Maitre D’s Alex Kazakov. He was on vacation when his family told us he had died. I know he was a favourite of many here on the blog and that he made a permanent impression on so many of our guests. Our deepest sympathies, thoughts and prayers are with his family.

Well the next time I write to you I will be the cruise director of the Carnival Splendor. I am looking forward to working with the team here and to entertaining the Californian audience. I have to say that the people I have spoken to are mostly from California with the exception of my friends from the blog who are here Rus and Nina Franklin who are from Arizona. And as I have walked around this cruise, mostly unnoticed, I have seen something which really struck me ………….. everyone…….and I mean everyone……young and old………….are all drinking Red Bull.

I asked the bar manager and he confirmed that my suspicions were correct. He has recently transferred from the Carnival Glory and told me that the Californian crowd drink three times the number of Red Bull then the guests on the same class of ship out of Florida. And that to me is amazing. Is this a Californian thing then? Do energy drinks really work? Or are they just a load of Red Bull Bollocks? I have never actually had one because it is I imagine full of sugar. But it is interesting how one demographic of guest will drink more of one thing than another. By the way, the bar manager did confirm that the most popular beer here and on the Carnival Glory is Bud Light.

One of the new activities I am going to be starting here is a chat show based event. I am going to find three of the most interesting guests onboard who have a story to tell and interview them live on my morning show. I hope the guests find this interesting.

I must admit that if a genie popped out of a bottle of Diet Coke and gave me three wishes, as well as world peace and an Aston Martin………I would ask for my own chat show on TV. This has always been a dream of mine and let’s face it, at age 45, with a face like a bag of wrenches and a stomach that has its own airbag…….the chances of me having one are the same as anyone saying “Judge Judy….. Mmmmm……….tasty.”  I couldn’t believe it when I read that out of the billions of people living on God’s green earth, the people at CNN chose Piers Morgan to replace his holiness Larry King.

But that’s how the world of the chat show is these days. They seem to be hosted by men who tend to be all about them and not the guest. I guess they have to be able to compensate for the dull guests and be able to spar with the good ones. In a much diluted way……a good cruise director has to do the same when he or she gets a guest on stage for some audience participation. Anyway, I will let you know how my chat show goes… will be the closet I ever get to having my own.

By the way, did you see that photo I posted of me and Goose yesterday? I just looked at it on the blog and what is that smile I am doing. I look like I am in agony. I look like I am trying to sh*t out a cactus. God……..I am ugly………and Goose is not…………the bastard.

Look at our members of Parliament, senators and governors, etc. They are bunch of people who go to bed at 10, only drink diet Dr Pepper, never try to look up their secretary’s skirts and have to resign if they even think about looking at some Latvian women on the Internet… in short, we’re going to be governed by bores and failures. Why is this good idea? No one says of their friends, “I chose them because they are all so kind to animals and they do good works.” We like people who like to laugh, to have fun, to break the rules once in a while

Trouble is, it’s hard to find people like that anymore . . . you see, times are changing and we have to change with them.

I promised myself that I wouldn’t touch the subject of smoking for a while here on the blog thingy. I did so a few weeks ago and of course it provoked lots and lots of heated debate. But I have to break my promise and tell you what happened around 4 pm yesterday afternoon. I went to the cigar bar to do some e mailing while enjoying something that has been rolled on the bronzed soft thigh of a voluptuous Cuban lady.

As soon as I lit my Monte Cristo Edmundo I got a look of pure hatred and utter amazement from guests as though I was sitting there naked…… reading a copy of Latvian Bottoms Weekly. And after muttering words like “disgraceful” and “disgusting” they left. Now, this is a smoking bar. It’s the only one on this ship as we don’t have smoking in the dance club or the piano bar. Yet, my cigar smoking had caused 4 guests who were seated some 30 feet away from me felt forced to leave. I can tell you that I didn’t really enjoy my cigar after that.

Can you imagine if Winston Churchill was in power today? A cigar smoker and a big, big drinker. He wouldn’t last a week in today’s public world of politics.

It’s the same for all of us. You can be bollocked by your neighbors for putting your refuse in the wrong-colored trash can, you can have your car vandalized if it has four-wheel drive, or yelling at your kid if he has super glued his sister’s face to the TV and painted the family dog blue.

As a cruise director, sit up straight, watch what joke I say in case I offend anyone of any age, any sex, any religion, any creed, any color, any nationality, any height, any weight, of any …… well ……..thing. It’s hard.

And so we come back full circle to smoking and like it or not……..while I am here in California and as the ship’s cruise director………I won’t be smoking many cigars.

OK, time to go. I wanted to leave you with a photo…………it’s a special photo to me …………. which is why I wanted to share it with you. Thanks for your support and continuing readership of the blog thingy and I will write to you from the cruise director’s chair on Monday.


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.