In The Morning, In The Evening, They Were The Fun

September 9, 2010 -

John Heald

What’s your first act on walking into your cabin or a hotel room? Me……well after I’ve checked if the TV has any Latvian rumpy pumpy movies on it and inspected the bed sheets for “shrubbery,” I switch on the air conditioning to full.

I love air conditioning because I am a big guy and big guys sweat like a polar bear in a sauna. But Heidi has other thoughts about this entirely because to her…..air conditioning is hell. I have heard this speech so many times over the years. “If I want a sore throat and runny nose I will go stand in the rain,” she will moan.

We even argue about this in the car. I have to have some air on, especially when I am driving a long distance but this means Heidi has to sit with a vicious jet of cold air drilling into her face. After any long car journey when we have had the air on I know that the next morning Heidi will wake up and tell me she has glands the size of soccer balls.

To Heidi “summer” means having to wear only two fleeces instead of the usual six. I wanted air conditioning put in our house but to Heidi having air conditioning in Britain is a preposterous as a bald man buying a hair straightener.

On the ship here we have the air conditioning battle where I turn it up and as soon as I am gone she will turn it up. I like a temperature that means I have nipples like hat pegs while Heidi prefers it Amazon hot. This battle has raged for many years and I have always won. That’s because where as Heidi can add more layers when she is cold my promise to remove all my clothing and walk around the cabin naked has meant that I am the winner supreme in air con wars. That is until now. Because Heidi has a new weapon. Her name is Kye. According to my wife we need to turn the air conditioning down because apparently a rapid movement of air may damage my daughter’s growth. And so I sit here in my underpants in desert like conditions, sweating like Paris Hilton in a spelling bee.

Time for today’s questions…………off we trot.

Waiting4acruise Asked:
John, Please reply.

John I hope your girls will be cruising with you real soon. I hope they will have great flight attendants.

We are having our first Platinum cruise on September 26 on the Conquest with Host Mach and the Crazies. I can’t wait to see Host Mach again as he has been great to us and everyone else on Cruise Critic.

Here is my question. Two years ago Carnival removed the red fruit punch from the Lido deck. You gave the official reason is that it left stains. Everyone from Cruise Critic knows the real reason is that it was used as a mixer for the smuggled booze. When is Carnival going get a replacement? To be honest with you the Lido deck tea is horrible and the lemonade is too strong. This is coming from someone that will drink almost anything. You stated on your blog when the fruit was taken away from us the Beards would be getting a replacement. It should not take 2 years to do this.

John Says:
Hello Waiting4cruise

The girls arrived safely and thanks for thinking of them. I know Host Mach and his Cruise Critic crazies are looking forward to their reunion cruise in 2 weeks time and I am looking forward to hearing all about your adventures. Well, to answer your question I can honestly say that I never heard anything about the fruit punch being used as a mixer for “smuggled booze.” I can promise you that the reason it was stopped was because of the stains it left. I wasn’t aware that the Lido ice tea is too strong and please have a taste of it on the Carnival Conquest and let me know please. Have a wonderful time with the group and my best wishes to everyone who is going.


Jeanette Asked:
Please reply/or help

First of all, your looking good, have you lost weight?

Ok, back to my request. My friend and I will be on the Liberty sailing on September 18th and my original plan was to say we wanted to be in Alex’s dining room, but those plans were dashed when you posted his passing on the Aug 6th blog; needless to say, I was disappointed as it has taken two years to get back so I can play some mind games and to ask for something specific–nothing naughty. Oh well, we never know when we are going to check out for good, but sadly, he was way too young and good looking–isn’t it funny how the hot, young ones go early.

I have a request for the dining room and I’d appreciate it if you passed it along for me. Oh, and this will by 10th cruise, I B Platinum now! I would like to have a table in the midship dining room and I have never had a table in the middle area (did you catch that hint?). I have always had tables on the upper level or a table next to the window. Please see if you can swing a table in the middle area, I would greatly appreciate it. I also want to know if anything special can be done to celebrate Debbie’s belated 50th birthday (which was in July). It’s my 41st birthday at embarkation (or shall I say 14th?), but Debbie’s 50th is a big number and it would be nice if she was surprised with a happy belated birthday song….

Please see what you can do, I know we will have fun, even if my dining room time isn’t going to be as fun as it could have been if Alex was there. We will have a great time as the Liberty is my favourite ship and two of the ports are, in my mind, the best that Carnival can offer–Half Moon Cay and Grand Turk.

Thanks John and I hope that Heidi and Kye enjoy the ship and Mexico!!!!! If you have a chance, go to the little town of San Jose del Cabo (on the Cabo by Land and Sea tour) it is truly a wonderful little town and everyone was so friendly!!!! They have a really nice town square and the old mission church is quite nice to!

Thanks John

John Says:
Hello Jeanette

Yes it was so sad that Alex passed away so young and we continue to think of his family and friends who will all miss him so much. Congratulations on getting your Platinum status and I know you will enjoy all the benefits that go with it. The hint was received loud and clear and I will ask the maitre d to assist you with your hint. I will also be asking the CD Kyle to send a birthday wish to your friend Debbie. Have a great time together and thanks so much for the kind words.


Stefani Asked:

I have posted this a few times and it keeps saying “awaiting moderation”… etc.… so I am posting it again, just in case you haven’t gotten it.

I want to start this off with thanking you for all you do and I really appreciate it. The last time I asked for something I got my treasured ship on a stick and my signed copy (of you and Heidi) of the Carnival Splendor. It is displayed in our house very nicely. THANK YOU SO MUCH.

I have a favour (spelled correctly) to ask. I have cross referenced my cousins booking and our booking so that we can sit together, but I want to make sure it works out well. This is their first Carnival cruise and they are bringing their two older kids. The 6 of us would love to sit at a table with just us. I don’t think I have a preference on where we sit, but we would like a table for 6. We are sailing on the September 18th cruise of the Carnival Dream. We are so so so excited about it. I had posted my booking numbers in past posts, but maybe that is why it isn’t being approved.

By the way, I am overly excited to try out our cove balcony. We have heard that the cabin we are in has issues with noise from the kitchen upstairs, but I think we will survive. My hubbie would love to try fishing from the cove balcony HA HA HA

I am slowly working on my clients (I am a TA) and other travel agents in my office to try Carnival. We will convert the world one customer at a time.

Thank you again for all you do. You are amazing at this job and your blog is wonderful.
Stefani (the right way to spell it)

John Says:
Hello Stefani (the right way to spell it)

My apologies if you have been worried about the time it has taken for me to reply but here I am with the news that I have sent your request to the maitre d and that I am sure he will do his best to help you with your dining request. The cove balconies have been a huge success on your Carnival Dream as they will be on your Carnival Magic, as well. I asked the ship about your cabin 2375 and while it is indeed below the galley there have been very few comments about noise from there so I doubt you have too much to be concerned about. Thanks to you for the hard work and support you give Carnival as a travel agent and without people like you we would not be the world’s most popular cruise line. I hope you all have a brilliant time.

Best wishes

Nat 22 Asked:
John please reply

There is so much talk on Cruise critic about the funny dances in the dining rooms with lots saying they don’t want them and don’t like them. I don’t either and find them uncomfortable to watch as it is demeaning. My question is are they forced to do them and would they be fired if they refused.

John Says:
Hello Nat 22

I know I wrote about this yesterday because someone else from Cruise Critic sent me the link to the poll which showed that the majority wanted us to keep the dances and dining room entertainment as they found it to be loads of fun. Please don’t worry about the staff. They all love doing the parades and the dances and while some put more into than others they all enjoy the freedom of expression. And it doesn’t hurt their tips either!  I have no idea what would happen if someone refused as so far in our long history, to the best of my knowledge… never has. Thanks for taking the time to write.

Best wishes

Irene Garner Asked:
Dear John, please reply

I have just booked the Bloggers cruise for myself, and I am so excited. My grandson Mackenzie (The Wave) won’t be able to join me on this one as he’s attending full time school. Although I am travelling solo I hope to meet and make friends with many of the other bloggers on the cruise.

Are you able to tell me what kind of events there will be for this group and whether I need to change my dining time, which has been booked for the Early Dining time?

Looking forward to seeing you again…..
Irene Garner (Hooked on Cruising)

John Says:
Hello Irene Garner

I am so happy to hear that you have booked BC4. I have every intention of making this the best one yet and I will be concentrating on this cruise a lot during the coming weeks and will let everyone know what we will be up to. As you are traveling alone have you considered becoming part of the official Cruise Critic group or Big Ed’s Evil Krewe……..just a thought. The dining situation is that everyone will book what they need, either early, late of Your Time Dining. We tried it once where everyone had the same sitting but it got far too complicated so know we just leave it up to you. Joining one of the groups I mentioned may not be a bad idea so that we can seat you with other bloggers. Please let me know if you need my help with that. It will be great to see you on the Carnival Glory next year.

Best wishes

Matthew Sanders Asked:
Please respond.

John me and the wife are both diabetic and have to take insulin. We wanted to know about needles as this is our first cruise and you seem to know everything plus I read you are one to. Is there a place where we can keep our insulin and where do we put our needles? One other thing is that Claire and I both weigh 350 plus pounds. We don’t want a booth and have to be embarrassed to fit in there so please help us with a table with wised chairs.

We both like your blog

John Says:
Hello Matthew

Thank you so much for writing to me as I am glad to be able to have the chance to help you. Let’s start with the needles. I will need your state room number, ship you’re sailing on and the date and I will make sure a “sharps container” is left in your cabin. This will be emptied carefully by your stateroom steward. I am a type 2 diabetic which means I take a pill not insulin so I may be wrong here but the refrigerators in the cabins are I think cold enough to store your medicine. If not, please let the guest services desk know and they will make sure that it is stored for you. Please don’t worry about the booth as when you send me your cruise information I will make sure I ask the maitre d to get you a table rather than a booth. I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Best wishes to you both

Portside Patrick Asked:
John, Please Reply,

We always cruise in the second week of September because it’s both our anniversary and both our birthdays. Our anniversary is on September 11th and yes year we will be on the Liberty for our 7th cruise. The problem these past years is Carnival still making mention of the obvious and putting a sad mood around the ship. Last year the Stars and Stripes flag was hung in the lobby and the cruise director made a big announcement about it and this put a terrible sad mood on the boat. People forget that others have happy memories of that date and while it was a terrible tragedy people also come away from home to forget things like this and not have it forced at them by some jerk on the speaker system. Can you tell me if this is all going to be happening again this year on the Liberty?


John Says:
Hello Portside Patrick

I can sense through the way you wrote your posting just how upset you are and for that I apologize. It is important that we never forget what happened that day but I also understand that many others have birthdays and anniversaries on September 11 as well. This year they will be a mention in the Fun Times of our remembrance and prayers and the flag will indeed be flown. However, all other activities and events will be as planned so please don’t worry. Tell you what, why not send me your full name and cabin number as soon as you read this (mark your reply time sensitive please) so that I can ask the CD on the Carnival Liberty to send you a little anniversary something.  Best wishes and have a brilliant cruise.


Wendy Asked:
Dear John, Reply if you wish! Otherwise I will make my own decisions.

Well it’s been awhile since I have written. It has gotten harder for me to read your blog; I take care of my grandchildren (3 & 18mo.) during the week. So I have to read when I have the time. And sometimes I am so behind I don’t get to respond.

Now to the point! About two weeks ago, my daughter told me I was getting a week and a half off. My husband and I looked at each other and said we are out of here. Our last cruise was Nov. on the Carnival Valor. Our next planned cruise is May 2011. I reminded him you were cruising out of LA. That settled that! This morning we booked YOU! Yes YOU. We cruised with you in Europe in 06 and I have been following your blog since.

So now to the important question…… What do you want, need???? I know about sugar free jelly beans but I think we could do better. Sugar free ice-cream would melt before I got on board. Cigars? I know nothing about. I have some ideas but if you want or need something let me know. We will be on the Sept. 12th cruise.

See you on board.

John Says:
Hello Wendy

That is quite amazing news and very humbling at the same time. All I want you to do is to leave your worries and cares on the pier in Long Beach and relax and have fun. If however a few Swiss Miss sugar free deserts were to fall into your bag…..well you would make a fat guy really happy. Please leave me a note at the guest services desk when you get onboard. Until then please know how grateful I am that you have chosen to spend your hard earned time with me and the rest of the Carnival Splendor crew.

See you soon

Best wishes to all

Geri & Jack Asked:

We are sailing with you in Sept 12 aboard the beautiful C Splendor and have a special request. Would you please be able to do the Bedtime Story as we have never seen it?

It’s our 52nd Anniversary Cruise and my (Geri) birthday and this would be such a treat.

Can’t wait to see you as we met briefly on the Dream out of the NYC B2B cruise.

See you then!

Best regards to you and your beautiful family.

Geri & Jack

John Says:
Hello Geri and Jack

I promise indeed to do the Bedtime Story and I hope that this and everything else that happens on your anniversary cruise will make it your most special yet. Many congratulations on achieving Platinum status and I would like you to please leave me a note when you board at the Guest Services Desk so I can send you an anniversary something.

See you soon

Best wishes

That’s all for today. Thank you all for the great comments and the words of support in yesterday’s blog. I read them all and I wanted to thank you for the support and Host Mach, please don’t worry, I know the majority of Cruise Critic readers are wonderful people and that it is the absolute minority that are the ones who tend to be the most vocal. Anyway, thanks again to everyone who reads this little blog thingy of ours.

OK, time for the news and let’s start with The Chef’s Table. Judging by how many reservations I have been asked to make these past few weeks it seems that this is an instant hit. I also have read the feedback from those who have taken it and it is all positive with many saying it was the highlight of their cruise. Well the latest news is that we continue to place this across the fleet and here are the latest starting dates for the ships that do not have this fantastic culinary event.

Carnival Fantasy…9/29/10

Carnival Destiny…10/08/10

Carnival Triumph…10/16/10

Carnival Victory…10/24/10

Carnival Elation…11/06/10

Carnival Splendor opens next week and so I am happy to be able to start taking reservations via the blog thingy for these new additions as well as those already up and running. Host Mach — may I ask you mention this on Cruise Critic, as well. The tables sell out fast once the guests get to hear about it so I am happy to be able to take pre reservations exclusively for my blog readers and friends on Cruise Critic. Please let me know if I can make one for you.

Well, back here on the Carnival Splendor things are going mostly well. It rained on and off all yesterday in P.V. and without wishing to repeat myself as much as an elephant that has eaten a trough of baked beans……thank goodness for that retractable roof. I got myself in trouble again though because of the rain. You see, I checked how many guests were onboard at 2 pm and it showed 852 were still here. Now we already had a full afternoon of planned activities but I thought that as it was raining the guest may enjoy a movie in the main lounge on the big screen. I already had a Billy Joel concert playing on the Seaside Theatre Big Screen and so I chose to play Sherlock Holmes in the main show lounge.

This is the new hip and trendy version starring Iron Man and Jude Law. I made the announcement that we would start the movie at 2:30 pm and within 20 minutes of doing so the guest services supervisor called me………and it wasn’t to tell me that she thought I was sexy and could she have a photo of me lying on a table, naked, with an apple in my mouth and a rose sticking up from my bottom. Nope……she called to tell me that a lady had called stating that this movie was not acceptable and that she wanted it changed. I was a bit shocked by this because this is a movie we have had onboard for a few weeks now and I have never had any complaints about this before. It was only when the GSS told me the name and cabin number of the complainant that I understood…….it was the group leader from the Jehovah’s Witness guests ……….I should have realised…….it should have been elementary my dear cruise director.

So, with a feeling of pending doom I called her cabin for the third time this cruise and listened to her comments. I asked her what movie she would like to see and that I could arrange to put this on one of the TV channels as an extra movie. I read out the list skipping over some mature titles. In the end she asked for a movie called Amilia and I arranged to have that played for her. I feel genuinely sorry for this lady as she must feel so uncomfortable in this environment…..but I guess I still have to wonder what on earth made her decide to book a cruise considering her strict values?

Back before I was a CD everyone who was a born entertainer. They were jugglers or singers, magicians or comedians, violin players or bastards. Then along came this British guy who was a bar waiter and who had the talent and show business experience of a chair leg. One of the guys I used to stand back and watch as a bar waiter was a master ventriloquist called Bob Hamill. He was one of the old school breed of CD’s who spent every minute out in guest areas or on stage. Now this was of course before e-mail and schedules and blogs and before the men and women in high visibility jackets came along and increased everyone’s work load 100%.

Back then safety was making sure you moved the bed away from the wall so you didn’t bang your head when you were having rumpy pumpy. High visibility meant standing at the bar letting the single females buy you drinks all night before taking her for a walk under the stars and then back to your cabin to show them your Fun Ship Freddy!

These were the days of the Carnivale, Mardi Gras and the Festivale and the days when the kings of the stage were people like Dave Armor, Malcolm Kennedy, Paul Frankie, Bill Panoff, Bob Hamill and Gary Hunter. Well a few days ago Bob Hamill made this video which is a best of tribute to those and many others who laid the foundations on which the lavish Carnival entertainment we have today was built on. So have a look at this and for those of you who have been with us for some time, see if these clips bring back any memories…..oh and have a look for me with the most ridiculous haircut ………….in the world.

My goodness me, that was like a trip down memory lane. It is so important that those of us who are still at Carnival never forget these men and women because they were the founders of fun.

Please join me in thanking them all.

Well we have said thank you to the entertainers and cruise directors of the past so it only seems appropriate to say thank you to chap we rarely mention on this little blog thingy ….Mr. Micky Arison. As chairman and CEO of Carnival Corporation & plc his responsibilities are massive and complicated driven by the demands of 24-hour media and the up and down world of short-term investors. It seems it has never been tougher at the top and it’s probably impossible for me to even try and describe what the pressures of his job bring. We onboard often sit around and moan about how many problems are caused by out of touch executives, but I am sure just as many are caused by the inability of us employees to understand how hard it is being in charge.

So this man has mountains of pressure to carry around with him and I can tell you how he releases that pressure. If it was me I would visit a Latvian lap dancing club but Mr. Arison has another way…..a much simpler way. He sails on the ships. He walks amongst you and I and see’s the joy and excitement they bring to thousands and thousands of people.

That’s because deep down, just like me and just like you he is someone who simply loves cruise ships and loves seeing the smiles of people like you when they walk up the gangway and into the start of a brilliant cruise vacation.

Today Mr. Arison visited the shipyard in Italy where both your Carnival Magic and Queen Elizabeth are being built. I was going to describe how he must feel seeing these two together. These two ships that are a part of the ever-growing legacy the Arison family will leave on the industry we all love. But I as I sat here……in my underpants……..the words wouldn’t come. Then I looked at the photographs again and realized I didn’t need to write anything because his smile…..says it all.

So thank you entertainers of days gone past, thank you Mr. Arison. The past has been incredible …….. the future is guaranteed to be more so.

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.