Bridge Over Troubled Water

September 1, 2010 -

John Heald

During the last week or so I have been getting more used to this thing called Facebook. I have been trying to pass on daily updates as to what is happening here onboard and I have to say it seems to be working. Don’t get me wrong. I much prefer blogging because you are only allowed 400 letters and if you go over you get a bollocking from the Facebook police.

As well as being a great tool for staying in contact with you and others who love Carnival I have to admit also that I have succumbed to doing something I always said I would never do……and that’s look for people I used to know…….and once you start it is impossible to stop. I have been looking them up on Facebook just to see what they look like know. Then I went looking for girls that I used to want to have rumpy pumpy with at school. And that is a mistake because that gorgeous sexy girl whose beautiful breasts I carried around in my head all these years now has breasts as saggy as mine.

Things have changed a lot then it seems and it is amazing how often during my shows when I ask couples how they met they tell me that it was on those single dating website thingies. I often thank God that I am out of the dating game although….I am still bizarrely not because I get asked for advice all the time by the staff about relationships. Maybe they think of me as a male version of Dr. Ruth or Dr. Phil or maybe they just think “Well he’s old, he probably knows something about life.” Personally I wouldn’t trust myself to tell someone how to use a toothbrush but still they come.

Yesterday, a dancer wanted to know if one of the officers was a) flirting with her or b) not flirting with her, and c) how she should proceed, bearing in mind she didn’t know the answers to a) or b) yet. Normally, what with shows and paperwork and looking up women who hated me on Facebook and blogging I don’t have the time to be bothered with stuff like this. However in this case I found time because it gave me a chance to talk about Italian men.

So I said, “Duhhh – he’s an Italian man! Of course he was flirting, it’s the law.”

“Maybe he’s just being friendly,” she replied…

I simply said “bollocks” which due to the fact that the dancer in question is British she totally understood.

The conversation continued.

“Look, Italian men love all women and love rumpy pumpy nearly as much as they love Alfa Romeos and their Mama. An Italian man would have rumpy pumpy with a hamburger if no one was looking. It’s what they live for. There’s literally nothing else going on in their minds. He’s a love machine in a blue Paul Shark sweater… Hello. Hello? Hello?”

Now obviously I was joking because our Italian officers are fine upstanding men and the best sailors in the world…….but they have won the lottery of life……they are Italian men…….the lucky bastards.

Anyway, I told her to take it easy and to take her time and see if he truly liked her or if he was just interested in some rumpy pumpy. She listened to my advice and then completely ignored it ………. Later that night she was getting a close up view of his stern thruster.

Time for today’s questions …… we go.

Tim (9/11 patch guy) Asked:
John, (Please reply with good news.)

We are due to be on the Carnival Glory September 2, 2010, just 3 weeks away. I wrote to you about Carnival possibly having a better choice of non-alcohol beer than Buckler. I really hope the bearded ones and tofu eaters are listening. I hope you get this before we leave. In case you want to know, we are in Cabin # 7388. Hope to see you sometime in the future…………and smoke a good cigar together.

Smooth sailing,

John Says:
Hello Tim

I am so glad that you are sailing again after your sudden illness prevented our sailing on your Carnival Dream. We do indeed have Buckler onboard so I hope you get to enjoy a bottle or two. Have a wonderful cruise and I will be sending you a little something to say thank you for the 9/11 patch you gave me.

Best wishes

Dennis Moore Asked:
Hi John, (reply if you wish)

I wrote to you a few months back to let you know that your blog thingy convinced my wife and I to skip our annual trip to Las Vegas in favor of a Carnival Cruise. We have already taken our first back in May and loved it. We are now anticipating our next one on the Carnival Inspiration on September 20. My wife and I will be traveling with 12 great friends who we invited to share our vacation. Everyone is excited and ready for a great time.

I am writing to you today because you asked me to drop you a note a month or so before our cruise. As I mentioned we will be on the Carnival Inspiration September 20 and staying in cabin R203.

Thanks again for all that you do. Keeping up with the blog thingy must be tremendously time consuming. I am sure with all of your Carnival responsibilities it would be much easier for you if you didn’t have the blog. But I am sure you know you have a tremendously loyal following that would be lost without your daily musings. And just like the world is a better place with and Megan Fox’s bottom, the world is a better place with people like you. Thanks for all of the Carnival news, the amusing and often times hilarious observations, the help you provide many, and yes, even the updates on Heidi and Kye. Those of us who love the blog feel as though we know you and the girls. We love to hear about them and certainly understand that you miss them when you are away. Please never feel like you have to stop sharing them or your feelings.

Thanks again for all that you do John!
Dennis Moore

John Says:
Hello Dennis Moore.

I can’t help but smile typing your name. Here is why just in case you don’t know already.

Sorry about that, I am a huge Monty Python fan and that’s one of my favourite songs and sketches. OK, let’s talk about your cruise. I know you will love the Carnival Inspiration especially now she has had all her upgrades and please let me know all about your cruise when you get home.

Thanks so much for all the kind words

Best wishes

Harley Phil Asked:
John please reply please

You should see how mad you have made some of us here on cruise Critic by saying Carnival is not doing the hamburgers anymore. There are lots who feel as I do that the burger is the best food on the ship. Please reconsider. We had you as CD last year on the Valor and you were so much fun. It’s such a shame that people like Mr. Pete and others never have a good word to say about Cruise Directors on cruise Critic. We have enjoyed all our cruise directors and look forward to meeting Butch on the Dream in October.

John Says:
Hello Harley Phil

I hope you read the 3 million apologies I wrote yesterday to everyone who thought that because the classic hamburger was not as popular as other dishes served at lunchtime on the Lido deck that we would be discontinuing them. We are not and once again I apologize to you and all the Cruise Critic members who I may have mislead. You will love Butch for sure. He is a great CD and I know he will become your favourite as he has for so many others. I have heard the name Mr. Pete on the blog before. I do not know this gentlemen and if you have see him on CC please would you tell him I am very sorry for whatever it is I have done to make him not like me so much.

Have a brilliant time on your Carnival Dream.

Best wishes

Grace Lambert Asked:
John, (please reply)

I am considering booking two cabins for the Magic’s first cruise n August but need you to please confirm that you are going to be the cruise director. We have always wanted to sail Europe and with you so maybe we can do the 2 together.

Thank you

John Says:
Hello Grace Lambert

I am very humbled by this and yes I will be the CD for the month of August on your Carnival Magic. I hope you do book and please let me know when you have. You will love the ship and you will love Europe. Hope to see you next year.

Best wishes

MattInSoCal Asked:
Dear John – Please reply should you wish.

I believe you mentioned that the Chef’s table is coming to all ships in the fleet. Have you any clue when it will be available on the Carnival Spirit? We have two upcoming cruises on her, one in September (the last Alaska voyage of the season) and the second for New Year’s Eve, our fourth annual Carnival NYE cruise and our first as Platinum cruisers.

I don’t need you to make a dinner booking for us or anything of the sort; we definitely DON’T want a table for two as we love recounting our day’s activities with our many table mates who are our new friends; and we don’t want any trophies or anything else that we didn’t “earn.” What we do want and already know that we will get is the awesome value and grand time that comes with sailing on a Carnival Fun Ship!

I can understand Penn State Helen’s point of view and won’t be one of those who are giving her a hard time about it. Many of us understand and more to the point APPRECIATE that you are torn between two things that you love very much; being a man of the sea and being a family man. You are doing a job that you know will provide for your family, and even if you chose to take a job in England there would still be substantial time that you would be away from your family. Thank you for sharing your life with us.

On a final note, I hope you are enjoying our unseasonably cool Southern California Summer. It is usually about 20 degrees Fahrenheit warmer this time of year. I wish we could have joined you on the Carnival Splendor while you are here but with two cruises coming up and my fiancée (I proposed at the steak house on the Carnival Spirit this past New Year’s Eve!) not having enough leave from work to cover all the days, we just couldn’t.

Matt Mendenhall

Not related to Julie Mendenhall (jrmende63) or the guy the glacier in Alaska is named after, but we will definitely visit the latter next month.

John Says:
Hello Matt Mendenhall.

I understand from the beards that The Chef’s Table will be fleetwide by December so yes indeed it will be on the Carnival Spirit before you cruise in the New Year. I am sorry though that it won’t be ready next month for your Alaskan adventure. Thanks mate for those kind words because they really do mean so much. It is not easy being away from the people I love unconditionally and I do have many good days and a few bad ones where the missing them truly hurts. But this is the life I have chosen and at 45 I am far too old to become a male pole dancer or anything else. I know you will have a fantastic time on the Carnival Spirit and please allow me to make a reservation at The Chef’s Table then you are ready to book.

Thanks again for the great posting and have a brilliant cruise.

Best wishes

Vivienne Asked:
Dear John, Please reply.

I there any chance that the Beards, in the Miami Office, would consider reinstating the “Guaranteed Share” programme? I used to use it extensively and really miss it.

Thank you, and stay the way you are.

John Says:
Hello Vivienne

I take it that this is where you pay for a cabin and share it with someone whom you do not know. I am slightly embarrassed to say that I didn’t know we were not doing this anymore. I will certainly find out if it is something that we will bring back or not. Thanks for writing and thank you also for those very kind words.

Best wishes

Kevin Asked:
Dear John, Please Reply.

I experienced my first Carnival Cruise this past March on the Miracle and at age 13 I am hooked. I’m still trying to talk my parents into a cruise next spring break on the Destiny. I loved listening to the show bands and jazz bands and as an aspiring professional trumpet player and I hope to work for Carnival as a trumpet player in the future. I particularly enjoyed the Ticket to Ride show. The musicians were absolutely phenomenal! Now for my question. Is it possible to get a copy of the trumpet sheet music to Ticket to Ride or any of the other shows? I love reading your blog thingy every day. Dad is always wondering what Mom and I are laughing about.


John Says:
Hello Kevin

How fantastic that at age 13 you are already hooked on the fun that you had on the Carnival Miracle. I hope your Mum and Dad listen to you and that they book you a spring break family cruise on the Carnival Destiny. I am guessing you play the trumpet. Well, that’s great. When I was your age I played the trombone and wish that I had kept on playing. But I discovered girls and then discovered girls didn’t like me so you keep playing. Unfortunately I asked the people in charge of the music if we could send you the music to Ticket to Ride but it has what is called a copyright which means we are not allowed to give copies to anyone. I am very sorry. If you do cruise again I promise I will send you something though. Please keep reading the blog and say hello to all your family for me.

I hope to hear from you soon

Best wishes

Wendell Pendell Asked:
John– Please Reply

How many Platinum’s are on your cruise? Just wondering. My guess is: 50. How many Milestones? My guess is: 5.


John Says:
Hello Wendell Pendell

What a great name by the way. You know I should start posting this information each week so thanks for the reminder. This cruise of August 29th we have 21 Platinum and no Milestone guests. I see a lot of blue cards which means we are attracting lots of first time cruisers which of course is great.

Please let me know if you have any other questions.

Best wishes

Jake Geffre Asked:
John (Please Reply):

Thank you for everything you do for others. It is evident from reading the bloggy over the past few years that you are so very passionate about your job. We all get discouraged and have our bad days and wonder why we are doing what we are doing, but I hope that when you have those days, you are able to see past it and remember the joy that you bring others. You are often faced with guests struggling through hard times (family deaths, job loss, etc), but the fact that you are able to help the families laugh and enjoy a few days away from their grief really means something and I hope you never forget that.

Back in October 2009 I had written you asking your advice on booking a Caribbean cruise and you asked me to write you when we are close to sailing. Here we are less than a month away getting ready to leave! We are sailing on the Carnival Dream on September 4th. I know you ready thousands of comments so you don’t remember them all, but I am celebrating my college graduation and my friends are celebrating paying off their mortgage. We are excited to board the Carnival Dream and can’t wait to go on a much needed vacation! I can’t wait to try out the Cove Balcony as well. Being that close to the water will be an amazing experience I am sure.

Any chance you can arrange a little something for our cabin? My goal for the cruise (outside of the obvious having fun and relaxing) is to win a ship on a stick! Maybe you can convince Butch to share his bounty of golden ships and pass one on my way? If you aren’t too busy, can you tell me what nights are formal nights as well as what night you would recommend the Steakhouse? I want to treat my friends to a fabulous dinner to thank them for all they have done for me over the years.

Thank you for all you do and keep on blogging!

Jake Geffre
Cabin # 2309

John Says:
Hello Jake Geffre

I remember your post very well, especially the bit about paying off the mortgage! Your CD on your Carnival Dream will be Butch and I am therefore positive that you will have so much fun. The ship is superb and of course you can expect to find a little welcome gift from me. Here is your itinerary and I have marked the elegant nights and two nights I think would be perfect for you to eat in the Steakhouse.

I hope this helps and thank you so much for the kind encouraging words

Have a great cruise

Best wishes

Jericho Asked:
Reply John Please

I was wondering which position onboard your ships pays the most. I would expect it to be the captain but can you give me the top five best paying jobs please and how much their salary is and are you paid more than other cruise directors because you are their senior boss.


John Says:
Hello Jericho

While I try to answer every question that comes across the blog …………this one I am sorry to say I cannot. I will say that on a ship the command structure is as follows:


Chief Engineer

Hotel Director

Staff Captain/Staff Chief Engineer

Sorry I can’t discuss money. I am sure you understand.

Best wishes

That’s all for today and I will be back with more tomorrow.

Hurricane Earl is continuing to cause concerns and therefore the Carnival Miracle has a deviated itinerary this week. Here it is.

Due to the forecasted path of Hurricane Earl, Carnival Miracle has altered her current voyage which sailed from New York on Aug. 27, 2010. Carnival Miracle has cancelled today’s call in to Nassau and is proceeding to her homeport of New York arriving a day earlier on Friday, Sept. 3, 2010, docking at 10:00 AM. (Please see below revised itinerary)



Hurricane season is a very stressful time for our marine operations department as they closely monitor the path of the storms and work with the ship’s captains to provide the best and of course the safest environment for the ship and her guests and crew. Let’s hope that Earl blows himself out soon.

It’s now 8:15pm and I am sitting here in my underpants ready to apologize that today’s blog is going to be a bit shorter than usual. I have a very busy day here in P.V. where the sun is shining. I will explain more about my busy day in a moment but for now let’s stick to the weather because they had some serious rain here at the beginning of the week. Yesterday we received this news from our agent in P.V.

The north-bound bridge over the Ameca River collapsed last night at 2:30 A.M. Nayarit’s Governor Ney Gonzalez confirmed via Facebook that the bridge collapsed due to intense currents. Reports state that no traffic is moving in either direction.

At approximately 2:30 A.M. on August 31, the north-bound (old) Ameca bridge that             connects Puerto Vallarta and Riviera Nayarit collapsed. Minutes later, local authorities      decided to stop circulation on both bridges. At the scene are military personnel, civil           protection, the fire department, municipal police, the Red Cross, and the Marines.

Authorities are at the scene searching for missing persons. Two people were rescued,          three cars are reported fallen, and one family is still missing. Civil Protection reports that it was the tensors that failed. Eyewitnesses say that no one can cross the bridge, not even by foot. Civil protection personnel at the scene commented that the south-bound bridge is currently closed to vehicles and pedestrians and that this is expected to last several hours, and possibly all day. People traveling north from Puerto Vallarta or south from Riviera Nayarit should postpone their trip or take a water taxi. Water taxis are available at the Nuevo Vallarta Marina, Paradise Marina, and Riviera Nayarit Marina at La Cru.

Now this is the main route that takes the guests to the new town and therefore it was obvious that some of our excursions could not run and we had to cancel them much to the disappointment of the guests. However, there has been some good news later from our agent.

We have been advised that the one of the two bridges is broken, this will only affect the tours that are going out of PV. This incident should not affect guest going downtown, beach etc.

The river water is very high due to heavy rain and at the moment they are still waiting to check the integrity of the one bridge that is still standing to see if it can be used as two     ways.

So at least people can get to the beaches and downtown for shopping. Let’s hope that they find the missing family although at the time of writing the latest news is that they are still yet to be accounted for.

Let’s talk about something positive and you can’t get any more positive than giving to children who have very little in their lives. In about an hour I will be helping load 40 mattresses onto a truck which will then be driven to an orphanage. Now hold on……..I should point out that I of course will not be doing any “loading” but will be standing by the truck watching others do this while I nibble on a breakfast burrito. Anyway, this is all possible thanks to the fantastic help of PA 007 whose idea it was to contact the FCCA who in turn got rid of all the red tape bollocks that was stopping us doing this and future endeavors to help the little ones. I will be meeting with the orphanage people tomorrow and will be arranging for them to come on board and have lunch and swim in the pool and use the water slide. I am sure that the guests won’t mind 30 underprivileged kids enjoying a few hours of fun onboard while they are ashore. I will of course be taking photos of the mattresses etc and when the kids have their visit here.

Once that is done I will be off to El Walmarto again to look after one particular child……. mine. Last week I got the diapers and wipes and nipple pads and and and…..but forgot something else ….. toys ………..bugger. Heidi has told me that she has no room in her Samsonite for toys and so that’s me off to El Walmarto to find building blocks, crayons and pads and anything that isn’t anything to do with purple dinosaurs. Then, once that mission is over I have to come back onboard and I have a conference call with some beards in Miami and then I have to sadly tell a staff member that her services are no longer required……and that is something that anyone who has had to fire someone will know……is about a pleasant experience as getting seasick and lock jaw at the same time

So, it’s a long day for me so I need to go and get ready. This is the best audience we have had so far and my marriage show yesterday was attended by 1,000 people plus and even if I do say so myself……it was very funny. Tomorrow I will be showing you a video of a couple I had on stage who have been married for 68 years……they were priceless. But so as not to sell you short today here are three videos for you to enjoy. The first is the coin ceremony of your Carnival Magic filmed by Peter the Hair and produced by Stephanie Leavitt. Then you will see two videos from the welcome aboard show this week and on one you will witness a feeble joke from me about a watch.

Hope you enjoyed those videos. As I said I have a great one to show you from yesterday’s marriage show…….although as funny as it was…..there was this little surprise waiting for me.

Time for the comment of the day.

Guest: Miss ______ Ref: 836005629A
Cabin: ____ Booking#: ________ Added-Changed: 09/01/10 – 09/01/10


Mrs____ came to the desk asking to speak to John the Cruise Director. Guest said that she had taken part in the Marriage Show and because she was a professional actress that she has to have the show taken from out the televisions because we have not her permission to show this.

tasked to CD

Yep, that is an absolutely 100% true comment. I didn’t believe my eyes at first though and so I called the guest and yep……….she wants it off the TV and if I didn’t then she would be calling her agent and I would be and I quote “in some serious sh&t.”

I explained that she and her new husband had volunteered for this and that she had seemed to be having fun with it. She admitted that it had been fun but she was an actress and if I wanted to show her on TV…….she would expect to be paid. I apologized, told her we would edit her and her husband out of the show immediately, apologized, wished her a wonderful homey moon cruise, put the phone down and said………ohh for f***s sake !

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.