Let's Face It

August 19, 2010 -

John Heald

Guest: Mr. ———-Ref: 842029280A
Cabin: ____ Booking#: ________ Added-Changed: 08/15/10 – 08/15/10

Guest came to desk asking to speak to hotel director or cruise director. Mr______stated that there were too many children on the ship and carnival should have told him when he booked and did not. Guest was shouting so GSA took him away from desk. Mr_______ stated that he had cruised on Royal Caribbean last year at the same time and there were very few children at that time on the Monarch ship of Royal Caribbean. Guest is asking for compensation and wants an immediate meeting with John.

As you may know, I have always loved it when people say “on RCI” or “on NCL,” in much the same way that I have always loved Judge Judy, rap music, flying, hemorrhoids, call centers, dancing, chick flicks, Eye Phones, environmentalists, beauty products for men, broccoli, Simon Cowell, Ryan Air, beards, climbing walls, global warming scientists and of course….. the French.

Why oh why does this guest have to say that he cruised on the Something of the Seas in August and that there we “very few children” onboard ……..because as we all know ……….that’s bollocks.

Sorry, but I read this comment just after I woke up and started writing today’s blog and it really made me mad. I mean, does he expect us to say “Oh sorry there are 1,100 kids onboard here in the summer. As you said there were none on your last cruise, here’s $500 and a fruit basket.”

Of course there were children on RCI’s ship in August as there were on NCL, Princess, Celebrity, Holland America et al.

Is it a surprise to anyone that in the summer and during Christmas and spring break that there are going to be families taking cruise vacations? Surely not. And while I have to say, for the most part, the kids this week have been brilliantly behaved which is thanks to the Camp Carnival, Circle C and Club O2 staff and mostly thanks to good parenting. I know that there are often comments on the blog and more on the cruise boards from people who don’t like cruising during the times when we have high counts of children and I understand that. However, what I don’t like are the anti-children chaps who think that children are the spawn of the devil and have no right to be on a cruise ship.

Sorry…….I’m ranting here…….bugger me that comment really got my back up and I found myself swearing out loud.

Maybe that’s because last night I was working late at the computer…..in my underpants…… and while doing so I was watching Hell’s Kitchen and the very sweary Scottish Chef was in full flow. Now in the UK his swear words would be broadcast but in America they are beeped out ……. I never knew that until last night.

How come he is allowed to swear on television in the first place? They don’t swear on chat shows or on American Idol.

They don’t let Simon Cowell say, ‘Your not even good enough to sing on a f***ing cruise ship’.

And having to sit through 200 auditions listening to young people who sound like a hyena being tasered is much more reason to swear than an overcooked pork chop.

Anyway, I calmed down and called the guest. When the hotel director and I met with him, the guest truly felt that he should receive compensation because there were 1,100 children onboard. And he was just as adamant that when he sail last year on the Buggerallkids of the Seas, that there were 100 or less children on the ship. He said that he and his wife do not like children and that Carnival should have told them so many would be onboard. I asked him if there were specific problems he had encountered. His answer was that “there are kids everywhere always getting underfoot and always making noise.” I then mentioned the adults only deck, and the quiet areas on deck 3 forward but he would have none of it. I think it was pretty obvious……… he just doesn’t like kids. The end.

Anyway, he isn’t getting any money back and even though I really tried to win him around, he left assuring me that he will be “writing to the president about this.” I am pretty certain he means Gerry Cahill and not President Obama but regardless……… I don’t think there’ anything we can do. We are proud to be a family cruise line and while I sympathize with him that he feels uncomfortable around children his comments are in no way worthy of monetary compensation. Yep he hates kids…….. even though he was one……and even though he went to school with them.

Time for today’s Q and A………….off we go.

Leon Biesiadecki Asked:

Dear John, I’ve seen on your blog that you have arranged special requests for dining and was hoping you could please help me with one. We’re sailing on the Carnival Glory out of New York on Sept 6th, this will be our 17th cruise with Carnival and we’ll be celebrating our 31st anniversary. In all the years we’ve been sailing, we’ve never had a table to ourselves. It would be nice if you could arrange for us to have a table for two. We’re confirmed for early dining, our cabin number is 8236. Thank you, we do appreciate any assistance you can give us on this.

Leon & Sharon

John Says:
Hello Leon and Sharon

Thank you for your loyalty to Carnival Cruise Lines and I will certainly ask the Maitre D on the Carnival Glory to help with your dining request. I hope you both have a very happy anniversary cruise.

Best wishes

Amy Davis Asked:

Help! My husband won the hairy chest contest on the Carnival Triumph on the July 15th-19th, 2010 cruise. We bought the video, but it wasn’t on there as they promised….How can I get a copy of the footage? I am so proud of my hairy guy!!!

John Says:
Hello Amy Davis

I am so sorry to hear about this. That is very strange because usually the hairy chest contest is one of the prime parts of the video. I will send your comments to the office and see if there is anything we can do. Please let me know if you need any more help and give my best to Chewbacca.

Best wishes

Susan V Asked:
John, Please Reply!

John, I am not one that likes to ask someone to do something special for someone they don’t even know, but I have a very nice young man that works at with me at Publix Super Markets as a Front Service clerk (bagboy). Mathew came to us almost 2 years ago for a job. Mathew has Asperger’s Syndrome and tried to work for Publix in the past but couldn’t make it though

The orientation the first time. After some adjustments in his medication, he was hired at our store and myself being the Administrative Coordinator (personnel director/trainer), I did all of his training which took a lot more time than other new associates. Mathew has blossomed into one of the favorite front service clerks we have. Mathew is always on time, always getting customer compliments and is loved by everyone he meets! He has the mentality of a 8 year old. On his 21st birthday last year, several associates asked him where he wanted to go for his birthday and being Mathew, he said “I would really like to go to the circus.” The mind of a child!

Mathew will be taking his 1st EVER cruise and his mother (with my encouragement and information) booked a cruise for them on the Carnival Fascination leaving Jacksonville on August 30th. He is so excited and it is all he talks about now. I directed his Mother to read everything she can on the ship and filled her in on what to expect as far as extra expenses so she can plan for it.

John, I would really appreciate if you could contact Trevor Block, the Cruise Director on the Fascination and see if he will do something special for Mathew. It would mean the world to him to receive anything. He is such a wonderful young man and even with the disability, does a fantastic job for us at Publix. He is one that we can count on to be there when he is scheduled and loves his job. He may never do anything else but bag groceries, but that’s ok, because he loves what he does and makes it always a pleasure to work there.


John Says:
Hello Susan V

There are some readers of this blog and of cruise boards who hate the fact that I help people and if there ever was an answer as to why………it’s this.

It will be an honour.

Best wishes

Linda A. Asked:

Hi John,

As always, I enjoy reading your blog and also hearing about your sweet Kye! My family and I are sailing on Nov. 20th on the Carnival Dream for the second time. We are wondering if there is a behind the fun tour that we can sign up for??? You may have covered this with someone else previously, but I missed it. If so, could you please repeat so that I might sign us up if there is a tour? Also, is there a place to sign up for the special chef’s table???

Thanks for all you do both on and off the cruises!

Your fan,

John Says:
Hello Linda A

I am very glad you like the blog so much and thanks for the kind words. The Behind the Fun tour continues to be a huge hit across the fleet and it will be on offer when you cruise your Carnival Dream. Unfortunately I can’t reserve places here on the blog thingy but if you go directly to the shore excursion desk when you embark the ship I am sure that you will have no problem securing a spot to see the bridge, the engine control room and so much more.  Now as for The Chef’s Table I can indeed reserve you a spot via the blog and in a few minutes I will be explaining how. Please let me know if there is anything else I can do for you.

Best wishes

Michele Nolin Love Asked:
Hi John (Please Reply)

I wrote to you a while back requesting your assistance on private dining for my husband and I on the Carnival Legend September 5th sailing and you asked that I write back on August 1st.

I want to thank you so much in advance and sincerely appreciate your willingness to help so many people. Many people don’t agree with this type of request, but I feel that if someone gets joy out of helping others, then there is no harm in asking.

My husband, Brad & I love Carnival so much and this cruise will be our Platinum cruise so it means even more to us.

Thank you again for all you do. It really shows how much you love your job.

Michele Nolin Love

John Says:
Hello Michele Nolin Love

You are right, many people hate the fact that I try my best to help people. In fact I told one of the 344 Stephanies not to post a comment they had sent me to review from a Cruise Critic member Parrothead, who was really mad about this and said some really nasty things about the people who do ask. Normally I post these but honestly I am fed up with having to defend myself and so I am not going to anymore. This subject is closed. I will ask Mr. Ken the Maitre D to do his best to accommodate your request and many congratulations on your Platinum cruise. Enjoy all the benefits and have a great time.

Best wishes

Stanley Woods Asked:
John please reply

I have been reading your fantastic blog for some months now but I have yet to post a comment…. until now. I wanted to make you aware that people are openly discussing how to smuggle booze onto your ships. I have seen this on cruise critic and cruise opinion sites and I wondered if Carnival was aware. It is these simpletons that force cruise lines to put their drink prices up and up. So my question is does carnival read the cruise critic sites and what is being done to stop them smuggling booze onboard.

Stanley woods
Tampa, Florida

John Says:
Hello Stanley Woods.

I haven’t read the cruise sites and I am a bit confused. Are you saying that readers discuss the ways they smuggle alcohol onboard and if so share their methods with others? If that is the case then that would strike me as a bit……ummmm……strange. That’s because yes, Carnival does have people who read Cruise Critic everyday because the majority of people who write there are loyal Carnival fans and their opinion is very important. However, it seems silly to me that people would feel the need to admit on a public site that they have successfully brought alcohol onto the ships. Anyway, we have a strict policy about this as does most of the industry. I will pass this along to the appropriate people at the top here at Carnival. While I can sort of understand that people will still try…….I am baffled that they would tell Carnival how. Thanks for the kind words and I hope you continue to enjoy the blog.

Best wishes

Zack Feinberg Asked:
Please please reply

John: I am very interested in becoming a dancer on your ships. Can you tell me how I do this? Your blog is very funny

Thanks so much

John Says:
Hello Zack Feinberg

Thanks for writing to me and I would like you to have a look at our entertainment website at www.carnivalentertainment.com. This is a site dedicated to all things entertainment here at Carnival and includes the requirements needed to be a dancer and when and where the next auditions will be held. I hope you are successful and that I will see you soon performing in one of our brilliant shows.

Best wishes

Dutchman Asked:
John, Please reply

How true is the rumor that another Carnival ship is to port at Baltimore??

John Says:
Hello Dutchman

I love rumors. Well I can honestly say I don’t know but…….let me check. I do know that the Carnival Pride has been a massive success for us there in Baltimore. We love having Baltimore as a home port but I haven’t heard anything one way or the other about a second ship. Nevertheless, I will check with our Super Spy PA007 to see what I can find out.

Best wishes

Tony Bearcroft Asked:
Mr. Heald, reply wanted

My best friend is on the ship your cruise directing on August 15th. Can you send him a gift because he has had a tough year of divorce and illness? His name is Mike Shepherd and he is cabin 7356.

Please confirm you will do this.

John Says:
Hello Tony Bearcroft

I have delivered a gift for your best friend and have wished him a great cruise on your behalf.

Best wishes

Brendan Lawrence Asked:
Dear John: please reply please please please!!!!

I absolutely live you and your blog! I have only been following for a day or two now but am already so in to it! But anyway I suppose I should continue with the question although I am so tired I probably have bags the size of plumbs under my eyes!

I was always wondering about the laser shows and other pool parties that you guys have on deck. I am going on the Carnival Dream in May 2011, and I was wondering how the whole on-deck pool and movie thingies work. And just what to do if u want to see them. Do you have to pay?

Sincerely, (your best blogger!)

John Says:
Hello Brendan Lawrence

That’s great to hear and I will do my best to keep you ready this little blog thingy of ours. The laser shows on your Carnival Dream are brilliant. There are three of them including a welcome aboard one, a Latin themed one and my favourite, a laser show to the music of Rush and Pink Floyd. There are 2 deck parties featuring live music and fun and a brand new one featuring the dancers who perform a rock and roll show on lido deck. Between now and the time you cruise I am sure you will have lots more questions which I will be honoured (spelt correctly) to answer for you. And finally…….the great news is there no extra charge for the parties, water park, movies and the fun. Until then please keep enjoying the blog.

Best wishes

That’s all for today.

Right, lots of things to talk about today and let’s start with a big hello to Host Mach and all my friends on Cruise Critic. Mach asked if I would clarify how to reserve a place at The Chef’s Table and as always I thank him for keeping me in the loop as many of his readers have been asking for clarification on this. So, here is another reminder.  What I need you to do is to post a comment in the usual way here on the blog thingy and mark it as follows;


Then simply fill in the blanks.







That’s it. The less information, the better for me so as I scan the requests I can see the ship that it needs to go to. Once I send in your request you will receive a reply and confirmation from either the steakhouse hostess or the maitre d. That’s all you have to do to enjoy this brilliant activity that continues to have everyone raving at just how superb this experience is. Please let me know if you would like me to reserve you a place………….at the Chef’s Table.

Talking of Host Mach, he and his “Crazies Group” are having a big reunion and Mach asked me if I would call him and say hello to the many loyal fans who will be there for this event. Of course I will be glad to do this and it will be an honour to say hello to so many loyal Carnival fans.

Sometimes I find myself defending comments from some quite angry Cruise Critic members. But they are a minority and I know that many of this superb site’s readers are wonderful people who love cruising and whose opinion, for the most part are loyal Carnival fans. Thanks Mach for your continuing support.

It’s been a bit of a difficult week I am afraid and while the majority of guests have had a great time we have faced some challenges. Here are a few things that have happened in the last few days.

1. Last night we had a power problem with one elevator. This meant that elevator number was stuck between floors with 6 unfortunate people inside.

This is what one guest had to say.

Guest: Mrs. ———–Ref: 842020926A
Cabin:————Changed: 08/17/10 – 08/17/10

Gst at the desk reported that they had stuck in the elevator the day before between 9:30PM to 9:45PM. As per Gst the person who picked up the phone was very unhelpful and did not handle the situation quickly enough.

I am sure being trapped in an elevator is quite worrying and when a guest uses the emergency button it goes straight through to a crew member who will instruct the technical department to fix it immediately. We are looking at what the crew member said when he/she answered the call but I am sure some of the guests concerns were brought about by being trapped in an elevator for 15 minutes. We are looking after the six guests that this happened to and we are very sorry that this happened.

2. We also had a young lad stung by a jellyfish in P.V and a big group of Mexican-American guests continue to voice their comments quite aggressively that the shows and announcements are not made in Spanish.

3. We have a guest onboard who has been very upset because we do not have a wheelchair lift into the pool. We have offered other assistance which he has refused but he is really mad at us that we do not offer this facility. I have sent his comments to the Miami office because we have a special team who are looking at ways we can improve our facilities for those who have physical challenges. I have done my best to help this guest but he is so very upset and I feel very sorry that we are unable for the moment to offer him what he expects.

4. I have two guests who complained about me and my announcement about the fact that we were going to close the roof in P.V. because of heavy rain. I made this at 5:45pm and only in the public areas, not in the guest cabins. I did this so the ship would know that the movies, concerts and live music and deck party scheduled there would still go on. As I have said before…. the roof is a godsend, especially here during the rainy season. Yet these guests were spitting venom. I mean they were really shouting over the phone at the guest services lady because my announcement had woken them up. I have sent them a letter of apology and a fruit basket but I already know having called to apologize this morning that this couple think I am a total bastard and a terrible cruise director.

5. Well as I mentioned we had torrential rain last night and I mean torrential rain. This resulted in some guests getting pretty wet as they returned from excursions and from their time downtown etc.

I guess I am telling you all this because sometimes when I post the more abnormal comments I add some poor attempt at humour after them. However, it is important to recognize that we get comments that are justified and sometimes things happen that we have no control over yet quite understandably (as in the case of the elevator breaking down) our guests get upset. Such is life aboard ship and we continue to make sure that if gusts do have a legitimate concern that we take care of them as quickly as possible. It is better to try and resolve a problem onboard then have a guest walk of f the gangway still upset.

Let’s move on

Here are two videos that once again show the great characters that travel each and every week on every Carnival ship.

And here you have 2 men who fought for their country in Korea and Vietnam and have each been married for 60 years. I paid for them all to go to the steakhouse last night and around dessert time went to visit them. It appears that having so much in common that they have become true friends ………..and that makes me very happy indeed.

Now, a site that is becoming more and more important to Carnival is……. Facebook. In today’s technologically advanced world, no one can dispute that face to face conversation is being shoved to the sidelines. For thousands of years, it has been what we humans do. It is what separated us from farm yard animals. Now, much of conversation at work and between mates is done on blogs, twitters and of course…….Facebook…….the king of the virtual world. I have a Facebook page with 3,600 friends on it and I just don’t understand this because I am a fat, bent toothed 45-year-old. Meanwhile, a great friend of mine has 3 friends on his page. Three! And he is (some say) handsome, debonair and has the tanned smoldering looks of a movie star…….. yet he only has 3 friends.

I haven’t given my page much time recently which of course I have to do. So I just had a look at now there are 340 photos of me. I thought that this was a bit strange because I don’t have 319 photos of me, neither do any of my family and I am sure Carnival doesn’t either and besides ……. I haven’t glued ANY photos to my Facebook page ………so how the heck did they get there?

I asked one of the 344 Stephanies who told me that once I accepted someone as a “friend” they can glue photos of me on my page. And so there are photos of me that are current and some that are from many years ago. Because the people who have glued them there have done so in the mistaken belief that the rest of the world will somehow be interested in what I did when I was 22. I am sure they would rather look at Megan Fox’s bottom than me in bar waiter uniform.

But there is no doubt that Facebook is how people communicate these days and Carnival’s Facebook page has many, many thousands of friends and is a brilliant tool for us to get the message out about just why Carnival has the most affordable and most fun cruise vacations in the world. Please pop on over there now and have a read and amongst other fun stuff you will find a superb article written by my friend and now CD of your Carnival Dream, Butch Begovitch. Here is the link thingy


It is an extraordinary thing that Carnival has 264,000 friends……..and now we have something new on Facebook. We are the first cruise line to have a “Cruise Finder” tool on Facebook which helps you find the right cruise for you. That doesn’t explain it very well probably because I have never eaten Tofu in my life……but I know someone who has………and here’s the Senior Manager of Facebook and Tofu…………..Stephanie Leavitt.

Hello John and Hello Bloggers

The cruise finder application is just like the find-a-cruise section of carnival.com. But now Facebook users can search for cruises without even leaving the site.  All they have to do is select specific parameters – Destination they want to sail to; departure port; date and duration. The application then provides them with sailings matching their requirements. Users can then share the results with all (or some) of their facebook friends and start planning their next vacation.  You can view the application by visiting the Carnival fan page- www.facebook.com/carnival and clicking on the “Cruise Finder” tab.

Have fun on our Facebook page (while you’re there send a friend a virtual cruise gift found on our Carnival tab)

Stephanie “Tofu” Leavitt

I have to admit that I have scanned my Facebook page and found some fascinating people on there, including a past carnival CD called Alan Shapiro who I never knew, one of my favourite retired captains, Captain Gavino and an old girlfriend who said she remembers my poor display under the covers.

So if you want to be my friend, send me a request on my Facebook page please drop me a request thingy and I will ummmm……..friend you. Maybe I will lend a few of my friends to my mate that has only 3………..poor old Billy No mates.


Oh, as well as all the great comments from carnival guests, old friends and disgruntled unsatisfied girls who have had their lives forever changed by seeing me naked……..I found this message on my Facebook page.

Lefevre Pelletier & Associés
Suite 1805, 18/F, Gloucester Tower,The Landmark
11 Pedder Street, Central
Hong Kong

Good day John,

I am Shang Lee a solicitor at law practicing in HongKong.

I have a proposition to bring to your attention if you would be interested. This is about late Gerald Heald. I have been given final notice to present his relative to come for his assets or else it will be forfeited. I have done thorough search in order to identify any of his relatives, but all efforts have been abortive.

kindly contact me via my private email for detailed information and better confidentiality: shanglee.esq@gmail.com

Shang Lee Esq.

Here is my reply

Hello Mr Shang Lee Esq

How wonderful of you to write. The only relative in my family called Gerald was a hamster that I had when I was seven. Unfortunately Gerald died in 1979 when I accidentally dropped him into my Mum’s blender.

I hope the weather is nice in Nigeria.

Best wishes

Gerald Heald my arse.

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.