For Your Eyes Only

September 16, 2010 -

John Heald

For the last few weeks my eyes have been hurting me and I being a man have been completely ignoring it. It comes and it goes, that feeling like I have been punched in the eyes by a very angry Mike Tyson coupled with the fact that they itch and are as dry as a Saudi Arabian happy hour.

So eventually I decided to do something about it and Googled my symptoms and discovered I either have a brain tumour (spelt correctly) or have a small parasite that has burrowed its way into my eye lid where it is currently having a good chomp. Obviously being diabetic I have to be careful of my eyes. I had them checked last year and had 20/20 vision.

The doctor asked me if I could read the fifth line of the chart “ASVRUKLISPIKI.”  “Read it?” I said……..”I know the guy — he’s a photographer on the Carnival Valor.”

Seriously, I have never had problems with my eyes but for some time now I’ve suspected my eyes are beginning to fail and that some glasses might be a good idea.

Contact lenses?……….How about bollocks. These are not an option because if my eyesight is broken how am I supposed to find them when I drop them on a brightly coloured Joe Farcus carpet? Or after Mary tackles me? I’ve seen too many people on their hands and knees shouting “Nobody move.”

Anyway, I went to the doctor here on the Carnival Splendor and after an exam he told me that I should have my eyes checked as I may need some glasses….eventually. But the problem with my sore eyes now was that I have something called “Computer Eyes” which apparently is caused by me staring at the computer all day and my “blink” ratio goes down so my mince pies (cockney rhyming slang for eyes) go dry, sore and itchy. So the Doc gave me eye drops …… bugger ……….. eye drops. I can’t use eye drops. I hate the thought of having drops in my eyes and given the choice using them or having my scrotum eaten by a pack of wild dogs, my pants would be round my ankles instantly. Heidi has been doing them and even that has me crying like a baby ………. but when she goes I know I will never be able to do it on my own.

I guess it’s no surprise I have this condition. I spend around 6 hours a day writing blogs and Facebooking and then another 3 hours on e-mail etc. Then on stage and at the live morning shows I am constantly staring into the bright lights. But, I also knew that the computer would be to blame………….that bastard.

Thinking about it though I also know that I waste a lot of time on the damn thing. At home when on vacation I might blow a whole hour sitting on the toilet reading the newspaper until my legs go numb, but that’s nothing next to the time I spend on the computer.

Think about it. Outside of the actual work there are the crashes, freezes and the sodding control alternate bloody delete thing. These are the hoops we have to jump through before it does what it is supposed to do. Install this driver. Now update it. Now update it again. Register to login to our website. Then validate your membership. Forgot your password? Click here. Now there. Fill out this form. And this one. And this one. . Remove cable. Insert cable. Gently tease USB port. Yeah, that’s it baby. That’s the way. Oh no, you made a mistake you fat British bent toothed bastard …… I am deleting your inbox.

So Bill gates has so far given me hemorrhoids from sitting down so long and now he has buggered up my eyesight…….although if I am honest some of the blame for my eyes has to go to me ………………….. And my fetish with

Time for today’s Q and A………off we go.

Ashley Palomarez Asked:
Hello John (Please Reply)

I just got home from a 5 day cruise on the Carnival Elation out of Mobile, AL (8/14 – 8/19) and felt that it was important that I send a note to let you know what an asset you have in your Social Host, Nick. Nick is by far the best Social Host I have ever cruised with in 5 cruises. He is better than every single CD I’ve sailed with, and I’ve sailed with some great CDs! The energy that Nick has is contagious. Every activity that he led was top notch – from the Hairy Chest contest, to all of the dance classes, to the best Deck Party I have ever attended. It is obvious that he enjoys his job and making guests happy. He truly made our cruise the best cruise ever! Please tell “the Beards” to promote him to Cruise Director as soon as a spot opens! And please let me know the minute that he is promoted so that I can book a cruise with him as CD.

I’d also like to praise Felipe Couto. He is a great CD – very approachable, very funny, and a lot of fun! WooHoo!

Please pass along my thanks and praise to both of these guys.

Ashley Palomarez

John Says:
Hello Ashley Palomarez

That is so great to read. I don’t know Nick but it looks like I should get to know him. The fact that he made such an impact on your cruise is brilliant to read and I shall make sure that he and his supervisors also get to read this wonderful testimony of praise. Felipe is already known to me and many of the blog readers here. My great friends Carolyn and Linda recently told me how superb he was and I shall make sure the beards also get to see your review of him as well.

Thanks again for taking the time to write

Best wishes

Matthew Green Asked:
John – reply

SunbirdG on Cruise Critic told me to contact you. Need a table for four by window with top class server. Cruise on the Valor September 26th – cabin 2334 and 2342.  Important note: first Carnival cruise.


John Says:
Hello Matthew

I am glad you are taking your first Carnival cruise and I shall ask the maitre d on the Carnival Valor to do his best to help with your request. Have a brilliant time.

Best wishes

Bob Aulgur Asked:
Good Morning John. Please reply to my question when time permits.

My wife and I will be on Carnival Dream on January 1, 2011. I would like to see if I can use the Thermal suite and Thalassotherapy Pool on a daily or cruise only basis. If so, how do I sign up for it and can you estimate cost. Looked at Carnival’s website for this information, but could not find it. Thanks for your attention. This will be our 3rd Carnival cruise and my wife and I are looking forward to getting our 20th wedding anniversary year off to a great start. Thanks for the blog, I have read it for years and I would not change a thing if I were you! Bob Aulgur

John Says:
Hello Bob Aulgur

I just checked the website and you are correct, we don’t have the price listed…..but we should. Anyway, the day pass to the Thalassotherapy Pool….  which by the way I cut and pasted from your posting as I couldn’t be bothered to type it… $40 on a sea day with a slight reduction to $30 on a port day. The thermal suites are extraordinary and if you want some self pampering then this is the place. Please write to me a month before you sail so I can send you a little anniversary gift. Until then I send you both my best wishes


Richard Higuain Asked:
John, Please Reply

I don’t bother reading your blog. But if you can’t beat them join them. I would like a gift sent to my wife for her anniversary as she has had a tough year. Our cabin is TBA at the moment for the November 27th of the Dream. What is it you send to people who make this request? Just curious if CC members get something extra.

John Says:
Hello Richard Higuain

I am glad you decided to join the blog and hopefully making this request will not be the only time you visit. I send everyone who asks me a little something regardless of whether they are a Cruise Critic member or not. I am sorry to hear that it’s been a tough year for your wife and I will hope that the gift I send her will cheer her up. Please though can I ask that you post this again on or around October 20th so I don’t forget.

Best wishes to you both

Robert Asked:
Dear John (please respond)

We are booked on the MAGIC’s TA in Oct 2011. I know you will be aboard. We also did the TAs on the FREEDOM in 2007 and the DREAM in 2009. On both of these cruises we passed the Straits of Gilbrater (sp?) around 9 or 10PM. We could see the lights from Africa but that was all. I know this is crazy but, can Carnival change the schedule so that it can pass thru the Straits during “daylight” hours?

John Says:
Hello Robert

It is absolutely my intention to be on the ship for her trans-Atlantic voyage. It seems as though you are a huge fan of these journeys as I see you have done 2 already. I know that if possible we would pass through the Straits of Gibraltar during daylight hours but as you said, on previous voyages this has not been the case. I will certainly bring this to the beards attention and let them know that it would be a very popular move if this could be arranged. Often there are operational factors involved but I will certainly press home the point. I hope to see you next year and will let you know lots more Carnival Magic news in the weeks and months ahead.

Best wishes

themnms Asked:
John(please reply)

Hello again…after our wonderful cruise on the Miracle in May we have converted the grandparents into cruise lovers. We want to surprise them with another one the end of October and would love to be on a cruise with Ken Byrne as we know they would adore him. Is there a list of the MaitreD’s for each ship such as you have for cruise directors? We would certainly book whichever ship he is on…Also…now I have read that both of you will be on the Magic I am off to figure out a sailing for us. We loved the Dream last Oct so I am sure the Magic with both of you aboard will be beyond perfect!!

Thanks in advance

John Says:
Hello Themnms

Congratulations and many thanks for converting your grandparents into Carnival fans. Ken and I will certainly be on your Carnival Magic and I hope that you will book as well. The Irish Tenor is currently on the Carnival Legend where he will remain until December I believe. I know he will be honoured (spelt correctly) to read this and I hope you have a great time when you sail with him. I will see if I can get a list of the maitre d’s for the blog. We will both hopefully see you next year.

Best wishes to all

Steven B Asked:
Hello John, Please Reply when you have a chance.

My family and I just returned today from a cruise on the Splendor from a wonderful trip to the Mexican Riviera. We had a wonderful time and we are still laughing about Mr.  & Mrs. Little and the many other enjoyable shows.

The ports of call were great and we participated in excursions in all three ports and had a great time on all three of them.

Unfortunately, my 11 year old daughters rather expensive digital camera was stolen on the very first day of the cruise which put a significant damper on the trip for her and I am not sure we will be able to get her back on a cruise anytime soon after that.

My family and I participated in the Maria Cove Sail and Snorkel experience in Cabo San Lucas but by the time we got back we felt an incredible time push to get back on the ship. It would be great if more time could be spent in Cabo San Lucas. I also heard many other passengers making the same comment about Cabo, although I do know we have to set sail to return to Long Beach on time. Has this issue been discussed recently?

John, you are a very funny man and very warm and I just wanted to thank you for helping make our cruise experience so enjoyable and we hope to cruise with you again.

All my Best,

John Says:
Hello Steven B

I am so sorry to hear about your daughter’s camera and I hope that this didn’t ruin the experience too much. If there is one thing I could change here on the Carnival Splendor it would be to spend more time in Cabo. There is no doubt that it is a great stop and the fact that we are there such a short time, coupled with the fact that we have to use tenders to get guests ashore, means that it does indeed feel rushed. I have already sent in my report to the beards at Miami HQ hoping that this can be adjusted. The problem though is that from Cabo it is full speed back to Long Beach to make it on time. Maybe we should look at changing the itinerary around if we can. Anyway, I am so glad you had a great time and please say a big hello to all your family and I hope we see each other again soon.

Best wishes

Cindyx5 Asked:
John, please answer immediately!

My friends and I are all proud Cruise Critic members and take family vacations yearly. Sometimes we travel together because our children are close in age and have a good time together. We decided this year we would book a Carnival cruise our first as we are big RCCL fans. We were so excited about the trip we had a count down on our Facebook accounts.

Day 1 We arrive on the ship to and decided to take a look around. Our first impression was “we thought this ship was updated!” The bathrooms seemed clean but wreaked of mold. We let that go thinking we may be being too picky because we were tired from the trip to get there.

We went to dinner. We heard from our friends that cruise ships had great food and tons of it. Again, nothing impressive but decided that we would reserve judgment until after we gave the vacation a real chance. I can honestly tell you the food did not improve at all. In fact, I’ve had tastier food at a low budget buffet than we had on the ship. One meal we ordered “spinach stuffed” mushrooms. They tasted so bad I thought I would hurl.

The one thing the cruise line doesn’t tell you is that nothing is convenient and they nickel and dime you for everything! My 5 year old son gashed his foot (literally ripped a v shape cut into his heel) on the joke of a water park while we were at their private island. I asked at guest services for a band-aid for his foot. The gentleman behind the counter handed me an envelope that contained two band-aids, ointment and a price tag of $2.19! I was so disgusted at this point that I dropped them and walked away. Really?! You can’t give your patrons a band-aid after they hurt themselves on your junk of equipment?! You spend $3400.00 on a vacation and you really have to charge for band-aids?!

They tell you on the website that non-alcoholic drinks (juice, coffee, tea, lemonade) are free. What they don’t tell you is that you can only get those drinks in the dining room. So, when you’re at the bar getting a soda with your soda card you can’t get a tea, water, or juice. My children don’t drink soda. NOTHING about the ship is convenient. Room service will deliver coffee, tea, milk, etc. but if you have a soda delivered there is a charge regardless if you have a soda card or not. On Royal Caribbean sodas are free !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The shows are low budget amusement park quality with the exception of the comedy. The comedians were funny.

The teen program was nothing but video games. Camp Carnival for my son was just a toy room. My teen did meet other teens but they didn’t spend time in the room – they spent time roaming the ship together.

The highlight of the ship was our housekeeper

Carnival’s private island has beautiful water and that’s it! The “BBQ” is hamburgers and hot dogs.

Be warned, I am a CRUISE CRITIC member I made sure it was posted there for ALL to see.


John Says:
Hello Cindyx5

Well, that does not make for good reading and all I can say is that I am very sorry that you had such a miserable time. Obviously this kind of review is extremely rare and certainly when people look at the value for money they receive from a Carnival cruise the reviews are glowing. I will look into the band aid question and forward along to the appropriate folks here at Carnival. I would like to point out that coffee, tea; juice and lemonade were available to you 24 hours a day on the Lido deck as well as the dining room. All I can do is say how sorry I am that you had such a bad experience and I will send your thoughts to our guest services department in Miami.

Best wishes

MaryAnn Asked:
John, (Please Reply)

I hope your wife doesn’t mind that every weekday I spend breakfast with you! Your blog is my work morning break & I try not to laugh out loud so I don’t have to explain to my co-workers. Thank you for a great start to my day.

I do have a question for you & I am hoping you can answer it for me. My husband & I will be on the Carnival Dream for Halloween (my favorite holiday) and I’m hoping that you would be able to provide me with the dinner/activity schedule for that week. I have made (thanks to you) reservations for the Chef’s Table & I’m hoping that it is not going to conflict with the Halloween costume party. I am disappointed that Butch is not scheduled for that week (I so enjoyed having him as CD on the Liberty last year), but hopefully he is getting a break that week.

Keep up the good work and please keep writing your stories, I need those morning smiles.

Thank you

John Says:
Hello MaryAnn

I checked with my wife and she is fine with us having breakfast together. Please can I have eggs Benedict tomorrow. I will be talking about Halloween in a moment and provide the dates that each ship will be holding full Halloween activities. These will include parades, decorations and lots of trick and treating. I know your CD Big Sexy will have some great plans for the 31st. This I don’t think will interfere with your Chef’s Table experience that you will find to be so memorable. You will really enjoy him as CD by the way but I can understand why you are disappointed that Butch won’t be there. He is fantastic. Have a brilliant cruise and see you at breakfast.


Sandy Asked:
Hello John please reply

We are going on a back to back cruise on the Carnival Glory in January and I have a question. I know when we embark on the ship we are allowed to bring one bottle of wine per person. I understand if we purchase any wine at any of the ports the ship keeps it till the cruise is over. My question is if we do purchase any wine at a port during our first week will they give it back to us at the end of the first week or would we have to wait till the very end of the second week? Also just wanted to say I have no problem hearing about your family in fact I think it is very nice. I think this is your blog and you should be able to say whatever you want. Thanks. Sandy

John Says:
Hello Sandy

Thanks so much for the kind words. I do realize that me talking about my family upsets some people who feel there is no place for it here on the blog thingy so it is nice to know that some do enjoy it. Anyway, the current regulations are that any liquor outside the one bottle of wine you are able to bring on the ship will be confiscated to the end of the cruise and returned to you on the last evening. Now, as for back to back, this is a new one to me and I have to say that I honestly don’t know but will check and let you know. Please let me know if you have any other questions.

Best wishes

That’s all for today.

OK as mentioned here are the dates that the various ships will host the Frightfully Fun Halloween celebrations. Oh, when I say dates I mean voyages but obviously the 31st will be the main event but as you will see all the ships are making sure we celebrate this the week or the cruises before. Bloody hell……that was a crap explanation………just have a look at the dates and you will see what I mean.

Frightfully Fun Date Schedule

As you can see I have included the kid counts and the day of the actual events. These are great events and Tim Cabral in the office has worked hard again to make them a huge success as they have been in previous years. I am already thinking what to go as……maybe I will go as a fat, bent toothed cruise director….or maybe go naked…..with a woman on my back… and if anyone asks I will say I am turtle………..and if anyone asks why I have a woman on my back…..I will say…… that’s Michelle……….get it …… Meshell ……. turtle ….. shell ……. never mind.

This afternoon I have a conference call with the beards of Miami. During this I will bring up the loyalty gift for Platinum members and the hopeful return of the steak sandwich……I will let you know what happens.

The last few days have been very busy with plans slowly coming together for Bloggers Cruise 4. I will tell you more of my ideas for that very, very soon. I have also been looking at your Carnival Magic.

By the way…..have you had a good look at page? If you have can you tell us what you think? We have had great reviews on this but the beards would like to know what you would like to see there. One thing I am working on at the moment is the shore excursions and have been speaking to the office about what we will offer. I know many of you are anxious to book these and I will soon be taking you through them port by port.

Bookings for the ship I am told are going very well and while I don’t often turn this blog thingy into a sales page I do want as many of you to come and experience Europe with Carnival. I have had the honour (spelt correctly) of doing this for three seasons already and I can tell you that there is nothing like it. Plus as you will have seen on the ship herself is a destination……so I guess I have to ask……….have you booked yet?

This cruise, we have had the nicest weather we have ever had since I have been here on the Carnival Splendor. Even in PV yesterday the rain stayed away and the sky was blue and the temperature peaked at 93 degrees. However, two things happened yesterday that impacted the guests. One was our fault and one was not. What was our fault? Well, when I say ours……I mean mine. Last night we had our Carnival Legends auditions and I had the previous week moved them outside onto the deck. There we film each contestant onto the Seaside Theatre Big Screen and it was a huge success. There must have been 400 plus watching and it was a great atmosphere.

So last night it was same again. This time it was also a great success except for one thing. You see I have never given the karaoke host specific instructions on what I wanted and she has been going by what my predecessor had instructed her to do. And that was that she had to be gender specific. This means that if someone had to play Madonna they had to be female, Elvis had to be male, Aretha Franklin female, and Elton John……well……you get the picture. Now I had not taken the time to go through this with her which is bad management on my part. So this morning I woke up to find this:

Guest: Mr. ———-Ref: 842031717A
Cabin: ———Booking#: Added-Changed: 09/1510 – 09/15/10


Mr.______ came to the desk wanting to speak to John. GSA said it was late (12:15am) and she would contact him in the morning. Guest was very upset and refused to leave the desk. Guest tried to go into the Legend show as Brittney Spears was told it was for girls only but that he is a professional singer. Guest left still shouting. Tasked to CD

It’s nobody’s fault but mine this. I have never had a problem with cross performers although it doesn’t happen this often. I have tried to contact the guest but I guess he is ashore in Mazatlan. Now here’s the thing. I spoke to the staff about this and they all disagree with me. They think the guests should be gender specific. So I thought I would ask you your opinion. You are the CD ………. what would you do in the future? Please let me know your opinion.

The second thing that happened was Mexico’s independence. The celebrations for that are today and yet yesterday in PV three hours after we arrived I was told that the downtown area would be closed to all traffic from 2 pm. Brilliant…….absolutely brilliant. Well by then most of the guests were already ashore and finding out that there would be a 15 minute walk from where the taxis dropped you off and from where they would return you to the ship. Why didn’t our agents tell us or the government or Pedro the guy who sells tacos on the pier? As you can imagine we had some guests quite upset about the fact that I didn’t tell them and my reply of “Well nobody told us” just didn’t cut it. Anyway, we had a total of 11 comments which although that’s 11 out of 3,400 it is still 11 too many. Still…………at least El Walmarto was open.

Oh yes and while I am talking about Mexico I have to mention the Folkloric show last night. As you know this is performed by a troop of 20 strong and being Mexican Independence Day the leader of the cast asked if they could finish the show with the Mexican National Anthem. I didn’t see a problem with this and so when the show came to an end they told the 800 plus audience that this is what they were going to do. As soon as they started singing at least 20 – 30% of the audience stood and put their hand on their heart. I say this because once again I am learning that each week just how strong the Mexican influence is here onboard and I’m adjusting the activities and events accordingly.

Today in Mazatlan we have some very special visitors.

Here are the names and ages of those visiting:

Danielito           4 yrs.

Jesús Andrés    4 yrs.

Edith                5 yrs

Judith               5 yrs.

Erick                5

Panchito           5

Nicole              5

Lina                  5

Luz María         5

Alba Rosa         6

Carmen             6

Luis E.             7

Jesús Alberto    7

Carmen V         7

Dulce                7

Gloria               7

Aída                7

Nayeli               7

Angel               7

Teresita S.        14

Lucas               15

Claudio             15

Jesús               15

Teresita O.        15

Lupita              15

Claudia             15

Daniel               15

Mother Teresa

Mother Ofelia

The orphans from the local children’s home will be arriving at 11 am and staying for lunch and a blast down the water slide. I will then be taking them to the arcade and Camp Carnival where Fun Ship Freddy will on hand to give them all a gift. I will post photos of this next week and the wonderful crew here is determined to show them all a brilliant time.

It’s favor time. I am going to ask that you allow me to take Friday off. My time with the girls is going so quickly and so I thought we would go to the beach in Cabo tomorrow for a splash in the sea. I hope this is OK and I will be back on Monday of course. Oh, I will be posting updates on my Facebook thingy throughout the day. Thanks in advance for letting me do this. By the way I will post regular updates on my Facebook thingy on Friday, Saturday and Sunday and see you back here for a week of blog thingies on Monday.

My diet is still going OK but the weight isn’t coming off as quick as I would like. I read that apparently one of the best ways to diet is to ignore the whole concept of dieting and instead simply eat slowly and always leave a bit on your plate. I tried that but it’s not as easy as it sounds. Still, I’ve got an idea that might help. This came from me looking at my box of cigars last night which has a huge sign across the box telling me that SMOKING KILLS! Yes it does and so does eating yet there are no warnings. So I think I have come up with a huge money making idea …….. Plates with disgusting photos printed on them.

They’re just normal plates, but the more food you shove down your throat, the more of the image you reveal. Some of the photos would put you off by being disgusting – great big close-ups of festering boils on arses……Judge Judy naked……or Paris, that sort of thing. And of course a photo of me lying naked on a table surrounded by fried chicken and burritos with an apple in my mouth ………..well that will certainly spoil the appetite.

I was working late last night. The girls were asleep and at 12:30am I was still at the computer which now has a Post It note on it that says “blink you bastard”… eyes still feel heavy and despite me crying like a baby when Heidi puts the drops in my eyes……they seem to be a little better.

But I was behind…..way behind last night and my email box was overflowing…. Anyway, I was writing something for the page and while blinking every 20 seconds I wrote, typed and watched TNT Nitro which was playing Peter Jacksons King Crap ….. sorry …… I mean King Kong. Honestly, what a total load of bollocks this movie is. Have you seen it? Well, if you haven’t and you get the desire to, do yourself a favor and chop your head off with a scythe ………….it’s far more enjoyable.

We all know the story so why didn’t the great director change it up a bit. Why didn’t he write a scene in which the giant ape Kong unfurls his thingy over a forest fire to extinguish the flames? Then King Kong turns around and passes a stool the size of a tug boat right on top of Marshall J. Gruskin’s truck burying him alive in ape poo. So now that King Kong has overcome his constipation Kong plucks the Norwegian Epic out of the ocean and swallows it for no reason while tossing a naked Megan Fox around from paw to paw like a hacky sack.

Now that’s a movie.

See you on Monday

Your friend

Hi, I’m John, and this is my blog. So please don’t mistake my opinions — or those of my dear friends, fans or commenters — for those of Carnival Cruise Line or Carnival Corporation. My apologies in advance for anything I may say that upsets you, but this disclaimer covers Carnival and puts the blame directly on me………….. bugger.