One of the toughest parts of being a CD and one of the toughest parts of being an entertainment director for Carnival is trying to find the right balance of live music on our ships. It’s tough for so many reasons.

For example, a country music band may go down a storm on the Carnival Conquest out of Texas but put the same band here on the Carnival Splendor out of California and they will be playing to an empty lounge. There is also the fact that music is changing so much with each generation and of course what some like……….others hate.

This cruise we have a lot of oriental guests who live in California and one of them wrote this comment.

Guest: Mrs. ———-Ref: 842017567A
Cabin: ——— ——–Added-Changed: 08/16/10 – 08/16/10

Guest came to the desk to say that her group wanted more music to dance to. Guest stated that the music was not right for dancing.

Tasked to CD

This was a very interesting comment and before I called her I made sure I had the previous nights schedule at hand. This is what we offered.


10:00am – 1:15pm Splendor Lobby, 3 Fwd

3:00pm – 4:00pm (Tea Time) Gold Pearl, 4 Aft


11:30am – 1:30pm Lido Stage, 9 Fwd

2:00pm – 5:00pm Lido Stage, 9 Fwd


12:00pm – 5:00pm Lido Deck Aft (Adults Area)

2:30pm – 6:00pm Royal Flush, 5 Mid


7:30pm -12:30am Royal Flush, 5 Mid


7:30pm – 12:30am the Cool, 5 Aft


5:00pm – 6:00pm El Morocco. 5 Aft

7:15pm – 10:00pm El Morocco. 5 Aft


5:15pm – 6:00pm Splendor Lobby, 3 Mid

7:45pm – 8:45pm Splendor Lobby, 3 Mid

9:30pm – Late Splendor Lobby, 3 Mid


10:00pm – 10:30pm El Morocco, 5 Aft

10:30pm (Legends Auditions) El Morocco, 5 Aft


11:00pm – Late Red Carpet, 5 Mid

So, we had Latin, romantic, party music including 60’s, 70’s and rock and roll. We also had a whole mixture of pop, etc in the dance club and island music. But when I called the group leader who has 65 people from San Francisco onboard with her she told me all she wanted was ballroom ………strictly ballroom. Obviously I can accommodate her and will ask our 10 piece orchestra to provide this three times for the remainder of the cruise. She was very thankful. The thing though is that for the most part, advertise ballroom dance music these days and it will attract as many people as it would if I advertised three hours of a Peruvian pan pipe band playing Pee Diddy’s greatest hit!

Yep, choosing the right music is not easy and we continue to try and appease everyone with a varied selection. It is also difficult because what us men like……..women don’t. Have you noticed this recently? In days gone by couples loved the same kind of music. Let me explain.

A few years ago before Kye arrived, I took Heidi to see Jethro Tull at the Royal Albert Hall which is an incredible venue in North London. They were playing their greatest hits accompanied by a 40 piece orchestra. As we entered, I noticed that the audience was composed mostly of middle-aged men, but at the time I thought little of this. And oh how Heidi hated it. I watched with alarm her jaw set and her mood darken as Ian Anderson and the band rocked the night. On the way home I got a huge bollocking about how crap the music was and that the lyrics made no sense. I stood my ground and felt that I was holding onto the honour of all men everywhere. And anyway, what’s wrong with lyrics like “Snot running down his nose”?

In the old days both men and women loved the Beatles and Glen Miller and Sinatra and Elvis etc, etc, etc. These days much of modern music is aimed at one particular sex, frequently leaving the other wishing they were wearing industrial strength earplugs. On the men’s side, Guns and Roses spring to mind as a band whose devotees tend to be male, others being Led Zeppelin, Rush Deep Purple and Pink Floyd. On the feminine side, scarcely a man on earth professes to understand the appeal of any boy band while the mention of the name Justin Timberlake makes my hemorrhoids flare up. Some may argue that today’s rap stars are bisexual……I mean that they appeal to both a male and female audience but as this part of the blog is about music……rap doesn’t count.

So anyway, if it’s hard to find music that men and women like imagine what it’s like to find the right balance of music for 3,600 people of every age and ethnic background. So, a question. What do you think is lacking (if anything) in our live music selection……I would love to read your thoughts?

Time for today’s Q and A………….let’s crack on.

Gary Hewitt Asked:
John, Please reply:

A bunch of my friends and I will be sailing on the Carnival Fantasy on 8/21 out of Charleston, SC. This will be our fist cruise from that port and we are excited to see the area as well as enjoy a much shorter drive from our homes in Northern Va.

This will be my 13th cruise and it will be the first for several of the party going. We are all hoping to be able to have dinner together as everyone pretty much does their own thing during the day so this would be a chance for us to share our memories in the evening of our cruise. I would appreciate it if you would please see if you could arrange for all of us to sit together or at least close to one another for our 8:15 dining time?

Here are our cabin numbers: M70, M78, M82, M140, M144, M154 and R147. I know this might be a little more than you are asked to help with usually, but I would very much appreciate it if you could work this out for us.

Also, can you tell me what nights are formal on this cruise for dinner?

I can’t tell you how much I have enjoyed cruising on Carnival all these years and it was a pleasure meeting you on the Dream back in Dec of last year. You truly put the “Fun” in the Fun Ships of Carnival.

Thanks again!!

John Says:
Hello Gary Hewitt

Having just spent two very happy months on the Carnival Fantasy I can tell you that you will love this ship and all the recent upgrades that she has had. The elegant night is on the second day of your cruise and I will ask the maitre d to do his best to honour (spelt correctly) your table request. Have a brilliant time and thanks so much for the kind words. Hope to see you again soon.

Best wishes to all

Ashley Adkins Asked:
Hi John (please reply…I’d love to hear your thoughts)

I left a comment last month but I never actually heard back from you so I just want to make sure you received my comment. Anyways, we cruised on the Legend the second week of June and had an amazing time!! I just want to let you know how WONDERFUL your staff is. We had Wee Jimmy and Sexy Craig as cruise directors (I’m assuming Craig was one…he was at EVERYTHING)…and they were absolutely amazing. We were a group of single girls and they made us feel like a million bucks. Rick Lopez and Brianka (I think…she was new) were wonderful too. They were so kind. Also our wait staff deserve raises lol!! Indra (James as we called him) and Santino were wonderful. We also met Ignatius, who surprised us with ice-cream after he overheard us on the lido deck saying ice-cream sounded good. A guy who went by Dennis was great too! Vladimir and Eduardo in photography were wonderful and talked to us every time they saw us. Phyllis and Brett were some of the dancers who were so nice. My friends didn’t want to go to some of the parties so I would go by myself and the program staff made sure I was not left alone. They always would come up and dance with me or talk to me or whatever. We loved our room steward his name was D’cruz. We had some special requests which are ALWAYS annoying when you’re trying to do a job and he was just super about helping us out and making it wonderful for us. 🙂 🙂 🙂

We have already booked again and I will be cruising with Carnival every year for as long as I can! EVERYONE flirted with us which was EXACTLY what we came for haha! 🙂 🙂 Thank you so much for working so hard to make us have an amazing time. PS Sexy Craig should be a director if he isn’t. He was the sweetest guy in the world! 🙂 🙂 We all loved him!!


John Says:
Hello Ashley

Did you know you have the same last name as my best mate Alan? I read your posting and it put an immediate smile on my face. How fantastic it was to read that the staff on the Carnival Legend gave you and your friends such a brilliant time. Wee Jimmy and Ugly Craig were both my assistants in the past and both are such wonderful characters and it is no surprise to me that they gave you and your friends so many fun memories. I will make sure that everyone you mentioned gets to read your words of praise and thanks so much for taking the time to write them. I am here if you have any questions about your next fun for all experience.

Best wishes

Regina Boaz Asked:
Hi John!

My husband and I will be PLATINUM on the Sept 18, 2010 sailing on the Carnival Dream and yes, we are very excited. We’ll be celebrating our anniversary on this cruise and I would love it if you could possibly send an autographed picture of yourself to my husband. (His name is William, but goes by Billy) I know this might sound like an odd request, but we always pull pranks on each other. We met you and your big balls in Dallas…beach balls John, get your mind outta the gutter! LOL and have read your blog since. LOVE IT!!

John Says:
Hello Regina Roaz

It will be such an honour (spelt correctly) to meet you both while you are here on the Carnival Splendor. Please can you leave me a little note at the guest services desk when you board and write a few words of love about your husband and I will make sure he gets something special. I remember that fun day in Dallas very well especially the people I met, the big ball and the homeless person who asked me to give him a hug…..yes…..he really did. I will see you both soon and get ready for loads of fun Platinum style.

Best wishes to you both

Bill Russell Asked:
John, Please reply

I guess my question got lost. I sent it weeks ago. What is there to do in San Juan at night? I am looking at a cruise that goes there but does not arrive till 5PM.


John Says:
Hello Bill Russell

Sorry Bill, this is the first time I have seen your question so my apologies if I am late answering it. I love San Juan at night (hello Nani) and there is a lot to do. Just walking around the old town is beautiful, especially around the El Moro fort and national park and the Spanish-style cobbled streets full of beautiful buildings and great shopping. All of this is pretty much within walking distance of the ship or we have the city tour which takes in all the sights. New San Juan has the casinos and restaurants and that’s a taxi ride away. It takes about 15 minutes and should cost around $12 or so in a taxi. Now, we also have the stunning bioluminescence tour which takes you into the heart of the rain forest and a chance to go Kayaking on a beautiful lagoon which when the sun goes down is lit by the many thousands of these tiny underwater creatures…….it’s fabulous. So, there are indeed lots to do and if you have a follow up question please let me know.

Best wishes to you and the family

Mary Fairbanks Asked:

When you sail by San Diego (Encinitas) CA have the captain blow the horn. I hope you enjoy your time on the west coast and Mexico. These ports are among my personal favorites. We hoped to join you in August but alas I booked the Emerald Princess for Aug 28. I went into the blog and read all about your time on her with Heidi. I am so excited to go on another Princess cruise. Now the question, do you have any idea when the girls will join you on the Carnival Splendor? We were hoping November so we could book and see you again!

Safe travels my friend

John Says:
Hello Mary Fairbanks

Oh the Emerald Princess. You must try the Sanctuary, the adult’s area on that ship. It is simply stunning and the $10 charge is worth every penny and then some. Sabatini’s is one of my very favourite (spelt correctly) restaurants at sea and please give my very best to the cruise director if you see him/her. Listen out for the ship’s horn and I hope to see you soon.

Thanks for the kind words, best wishes and have a brilliant cruise.

Long Tall Sally Asked:
For John to respond to

Sometimes I stop by your blog in the hope that it will have the truth stories about Carnival. But it’s full of garbage as usual. How come you don’t write about the death of a passenger on the Ecstasy or when a passenger jumps overboard or tell us that Carnival have put bar prices up AGAIN! Isn’t this supposed to be a blog about Carnival and not full of passenger complaints and pathetic childish jokes? Maybe someone else at Carnival should write a proper fact based blog like Royal Caribbean has.

John Says:
Hello Long Tall Sally

I am sorry that you do not enjoy the blog. I do my best to intersperse stories of life and my onboard adventures with what the company is doing to continue to be the world’s most popular cruise line.

Best wishes

Tracy Van Der Voort Asked:
“John please reply”

I will be on the Carnival Splendor with you for the Oct. 31-Nov. 7 sailing. Could you please let me and my group know when the elegant nights are and when the Halloween party will be. I have been told in past years the Halloween dress up is during one of the elegant nights. I would like to know if this is what you will be doing for this cruise so I know how many elegant nights I have to pack for. There is a group of 14 of us (6 cabins) and 3 of us will be celebrating our birthdays so this should be a great party. I can’t wait to meet you in person. Also could you find out if Carnival still does early check in on the Queen Mary? I did this on my Carnival Pride cruise in 2009 and would like to do it again if Carnival is still doing this.

Bye for now John and see you in Oct-Nov.

John Says:
Hello Tracy Van Der Voot

It will be an honour (spelt correctly) to see you here soon. Let’s have a look at your itinerary.

Sun, Oct, 31 Long Beach dep @ 5pm
Mon, Nov, 01 at sea ELEGANT
Tue, Nov, 02 at sea
Wed, Nov, 03 PVR 9am-10pm
Thu, Nov, 04 Mazatlan 9am-6pm
Fri, Nov, 05 Cabo ELEGANT 7am-3pm
Sat, Nov, 06 at sea

this leaves me in something of a quandary. As you can see Halloween is on embarkation day and my decision is whether to have the Halloween party that night or on the next night. But that is elegant night and therefore I think that I will have to have the Welcome Aboard show at 10:30 pm and then a midnight Halloween party. What do you think?

Please make sure you leave me a note at the Guest Services Desk with the birthday girl’s information so I can send them congratulations live on my morning show. I am looking forward to seeing you all soon. Let me know if you need anything else.

Hopefully we can speak Dutch together

Best wishes

Virginia Ham Asked:

Hello Mr. Heald,

Well you have cost me a small fortune and I hope you are happy!!!!

I have cruised on what you refer to as the Something Of The Seas 7 times but after reading your blog I just booked three cabins for the Splendor on October 10th. It will be my wife and me, my parents and my wife’s sister and husband. I expect multiple gifts in the cabin and Megan Fox on my bed. Joking aside John we love your blog and have always been told not to cruise Carnival by others. Reading your blog and the comments of your fans it is obvious already that we should have tried your company years ago. I love your humor and can’t wait to see it live and in person.

Now I have said nice things how do I go about makin sure we are all at the same table at eating time?

Keep up the great work.
Greg, Colleen and Family

John Says:
Hello Virginia Ham (Greg, Colleen and Family)

No pressure there then. Bloody hell I had better be on my game now that you have told the something of the seas to sod off and will be experiencing your first fun for all Carnival cruise.

Seriously though I am truly humbled that you should chose to sail with Carnival and with me and I promise that you will have a brilliant time. Please can you send me the names and stateroom numbers of those sailing and I will ask the maitre d to sit you all together. I am glad you stopped listening to the people who have never cruised with Carnival yet who seem to rejoice in knocking our product and will be joining me here on the Carnival Splendor. Please post again soon with your information and a fruit basket will be waiting. Sorry though, if Megan Fox is available her bottom will be in my cabin first mate.

My best wishes to you all and see you soon

Amy Asked:
Hi John, Please kindly reply.

I wrote to you some time ago regarding help with dinner table assignment, and was told to request again closer to my sail date. Husband, daughter (2yo), both in-laws, and I will be traveling on the Carnival Glory to Canada/new England, 25Sept2010 sailing. I am hoping that you can help us confirm our dinner table so we may sit together. Our room would be 6422 and 6432. Any effort will be much appreciated.

I am enjoying your blog, keep up the good work.

Best regards,

John Says:
Hello Amy

Thanks for writing again and I will send your information to the Maitre D on the Carnival Glory who will do his best to accommodate you.

Have a brilliant time.

Best wishes

That’s all for today and as usual there will be more tomorrow.

So, it was all a bit embarrassing last night. It was elegant night and the captain and I stood at the entrance to the El Morocco (aft lounge) welcoming guests. We heard them before we saw them….. .. as mum and dad had a good old argument. They were obviously really mad at each other and as they shouted both mum and dad had a kid in hand dragging them down Promenade Deck. I am not sure what the argument was about but according to mum “Dad was a selfish sh*t” and according to Dad “Mum was a bi*ch.” As they approached the lounge the captain and I and assorted guests all had the natural reaction to stare at Mr. and Mrs. Shouty and their two young kids.

“Shhhh,” he said, noticing the stares, and for a moment they both went quiet obviously embarrassed. Well, as they approached I did my best to cheer them up but honestly I felt so sorry for the kids. They were aged around 4 and 7 I would say and I told them that if they drew me a picture of the ship that I would give them a special prize made of gold. They both promised that they would and for a moment mum and dad forgot their anger and remembered they were on vacation. However…….something tells me that all is not well there……I truly hope I am wrong ……. for the kid’s sake.

Obviously there is a fascination about arguing in public. Let’s face it; we have all seen it on cruises before. On lido deck warring couples whisper angrily: “Who forgot Brandon’s goggles, you know he won’t go in the pool without his goggles you stupid bastard?” How many times have we seen people argue when they get to the gangway only to discover that they don’t have their Sail & Sign cards and spend the next 10 minutes shouting at each other about it in front of a rather bemused Mr. Patel the security guard?

Fighting in public, I think, is the married version of sending back the wine. Mostly, it’s for show. When I was a wine steward on the Holiday and Celebration most people who tried to send back the wine did it to show off to their partners and if the truth be told they wouldn’t know the difference between a Chateau Lafite Rothschild 87 and a bottle Of Chatuneuf Du Camelpiss 2011.

Anyway, this argument was memorable for two reasons. Firstly because I felt so sorry for the kids and secondly because as they walked away from the captain they started arguing again and the master of the vessel, myself and the guests directly behind them all heard the wife say to the husband “If you shout at me anymore, you’ll wet yourself.”

Talking of elegant night I am surprised at how many people once again are dressed more elegantly casual than formal. And that it appears is the normal way for Californians to dress. They are not scruffy in anyway shape or form but they certainly are not overdressing and there are more open necked shirts and jackets for the men than business suits and ties and the tuxedo is a rare sight indeed. The ladies have simply summery type dresses on. I did a little checking by asking the guests who were elegantly dressed where they were from and the vast majority was not from California…..I find this very interesting indeed. Anyway, everyone is in a great mood and having fun.

I added some extra activities on the first sea day because it is still quite chilly. It isn’t until we get to Tuesday that the weather becomes warm enough for the bikinis and Speedos to come out. So on Monday, our first day at sea, I added some more inside music, activities and events which were all well received. But today the weather is nice and sunny and compared to Monday’s 66 degrees today’s high of 75 will feel just wonderful.

The roof is open, the calypso band is playing and we have pool games and a Paul McCartney concert to show later on the big screen. Tonight we have two movies on the Seaside Theatre. The first is called The Princess and The Frog which I can only presume is about a Princess and umm ………a frog. That’s for the kids and the poor parents who are forced to sit and watch. Then we will have a 10:30 pm showing of a George Clooney movie called Up In The Air which I hear is actually a very good film. I have made a few changes on Lido Deck as well by trying to find the right mix of live music, concerts, games and fun and movies. I will let you know how that goes.

Well it’s 8:20 am and I can see that the weather outside is still not as warm as it was last cruise. The temperature is around 72 degrees and our hopes are that tomorrow in PV will be much hotter. The weather forecast says it will with 88 degrees and humid on the forecast. But….. then again the captain sent me this update this morning.

Sent: Sunday, August 15, 2010 7:47 PM
Subject: Weather

Good evening

we are monitoring the progress of a broad low pressure south of Cabo San Lucas


This apparently is normal for this time of year which is of course the rainy season. It will be beautiful sunshine one moment and then BAM …..the heavens open. However, the word cyclone does make my bottom pucker up………..I will keep you informed as of course the guests here on the ship. But so far the seas are calm and the sun is shining and there has been no rain. Hopefully this cyclone thingy will dissapissatate……….spelt correctly.

Let’s go back to Sunday night and the welcome aboard show and introduce you to some of the characters that I met.

We start with this chap.

This is Hank, from Montana. He is a truck mechanic and lives in a small town called Cook City which he said was near Yellowstone Park. I asked Hank how he met his wife Leanne and he told me that she had brought her car in. It was a beaten up old Ford truck and in Hank’s own words he told me and 1,800 guests “I couldn’t fix the truck so I decided to try and fix her”…….he did ……… they have been married 27 years.

Then there is this young lady called Sissy……….hope I spelt that right

Sissy is from California (what a shocker) and is also on her honeymoon. She and her husband Clark were married on Saturday. I asked her if there would be romance tonight to celebrate and she giggled and looked down at her shoes. I told her it was tradition, that she was on her honeymoon and on a beautiful ship……..romance is natural. She giggled some more. Then I asked her what was wrong and she sheepishly told me and the audience that her mother and father were onboard and worse still……..they were in the cabin next to theirs. Obviously the audience laughed out loud at this and I of course had loads of fun at the bad planning of this.

What were they thinking bringing mum and dad on their honeymoon cruise ………and putting them in the cabin next door? I asked if mum and dad were in the audience and they were. So I had them stand up and asked the dad to come on stage. He did…….he then replaced his daughter in the spoon game…….while I sent his daughter and son in law back to their cabin. Obviously this went down a storm with the audience and I had fun at dad’s expense during the rest of the show by saying things like……….”I wonder what they are doing now.” It was a really fun night.

Time for a quick break. I hope you have been enjoying the videos during the last few days and there will be more later this week. I read on the comments that Big Ed’s favourite was the hand dryer video from the start up from this ship. So for him and for those of you who have never seen it ……here it is

I tried desperately last week not to express my feelings on the blog about how much I missed my family because I know it annoys so many of you…..but I failed.  I am really missing them and hopefully they will be able to fly to California on September 5. Since having her MMR jabs, Kye has had some sleepless nights and some pain but that seems to be over thank goodness. She has some teeth that are giving her new pain to worry about but the Doc has said she is OK to fly. So, I am trying to find a flight for Heidi and Kye because I really need to see them….and see them now.

I am so sorry but there will be no blog tomorrow. The beards and tofu eaters are doing a diagnostic reboot of the ship’s computer system while we are in the P.V. Now, I have no idea what that means except to say that our computers won’t work for 12 hours……bugger. So please forgive them for that. I will be back though on Thursday providing the IT guys remember to turn the system on again. Actually, it’s going to feel strange not having e-mail!

Let’s talk about one of my favourite moans………flying.  To have to board a plane to get anywhere is already about as joyful an experience as stubbing your toe, constipation or waking up with next to a naked Judge Judy.

First of all there is the check in where some moody cow at the check in desk will asked if you packed these bags yourself. No. No, I didn’t. I got my butler to do it for me and then hired Richard Simmons to come over and fold my underpants for me. I don’t understand this question and has anyone…….I mean has anyone ever said “no”………probably not?

Then you have to go through security where someone with the iron on patch will search you which is fine and will then search your 2 year old daughter to make sure she hasn’t got any C4 hidden in her cute little Teletubbies bag. Oh and don’t dare tut or groan because if you do then you will be taken over for a secondary, lectured about 9/11 while listening to the snapping sound of latex being put on a pair of hands that is about to become best friends with your bottom. As all this is happening, a man with a fuse sticking out of his underpants will walk straight through…

Anyway, the ticket is issued and you are on your way to Miami International Airport to catch the Carnival Liberty while your suitcases head to Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport.

On the plane, if you’re lucky enough to have got there, having had your bottle of Evian, lipstick and hemorrhoid cream confiscated because they might be combined to make a bomb things get even worse………… because your flight attendant is Steven Slater.

Steven is the chap who worked for Jet Blue and asked one of his customers to do something and didn’t like the response he got, so he released the emergency chute and buggered off.

He has become an internet phenomenon, a public hero, or at least a hero to other flight stewards …….and trust me when I say that this will mean that many other flight attendants will now believe they can make your life a misery, refuse the simplest of requests and be bloody rude about doing so.

Yes, they have a tough job, but having flown a lot these past few years I can tell you that while some are nice, many think of themselves as air police more than anything else……..a sort of the SWAT team…………..with better hair.

Can you imagine a guest shouting at Ketut the stateroom steward and he reacts by releasing one of the life rafts and sodding of? Of course not, that’s why the hospitality and service in the cruise industry is so superior to that in the airline industry.

But then again I do feel sorry for flight attendants. Imagine if you had absolutely no control over when, or even where, you finished work for the day and that you faced the fury of several hundred angry people who blamed you for events way beyond your control. Having had this happen to me when we miss ports or have engine trouble I begin to understand Mr. Slater’s decision to deploy the slide and with beer in hand………buggering off.

They haven’t released the name of the rude female passenger who smashed the overhead locker door on his head …….but internet rumors are that she is tall….. and that her first name….. is Sally.

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.