Dear Gerry – I Think I Need A Raise

September 20, 2010 -

John Heald

This morning my journey by elevator from deck 3 to deck 9 (yes I am lazy sod for not taking the stairs) was memorable for two reasons. First of all because it is the first ever time I have been asked to have my photo taken in an elevator and second of all because the man who put his arm round me and told me he loved the shows was I think French.

I deduced this not because he said “Oh la la, I love la shows” or because he tried to touch my bottom or because he ran out of the showroom screaming I surrender when we shot off some pyrotechnics. Nope, I thought he was French because he and the cabin shower had not been introduced.

OK, he wasn’t French and I know I am supposed to be polite all the time and certainly I didn’t look at him as his equally smelly mate took the photo and tell him he stank…..but here…….on the blog thingy………..I can………….because he truly did.

Bodily hygiene has always been a thing with me. I don’t much go in for personal grooming, posh and trendy haircuts and fashionable clothes. But not making people retch when they get close to me ……..well that is important. I am a big chap and when I sweat it doesn’t smell of Old Spice. I have always been conscious of my bodily hygiene ever since I can remember and that’s thanks to my Deputy Headmaster (High School Principal) Mr. Hounsell.

He was quite the character and when he would give you a bollocking he would say “I will not repeat myself…..I will not repeat myself.”  The irony of the fact that he had just repeated himself was lost on him and none of us lads would dare bring this up as he was armed with a bamboo cane that had a rather nasty rubber tip on it. My bottom and his cane were great friends.

Anyway, one day Mr. Hounsell was taking an assembly (not sure what my American/Canadian friends call that) where all that grade (year) are together in the school hall. He went on stage and explained that since we were going through puberty, our bodies were changing, and we were all sweating more than we used to. Then he reminded us we were in the middle of a heat wave (there was no air conditioning, of course ) and that some pupils didn’t seem to be using enough soap or deodorant – and that without wanting to name names, a few of us stank like a skunk in a sewer.

OK, he didn’t say ” like a skunk in a sewer” but he did say “make sure you all wash and shower ……..I will not repeat myself…………I will not repeat myself.”

Anyway, back to school assembly. Naturally, I was convinced Mr. Hounsell was talking about me – smelly, stinky me. For weeks afterward, I sprayed on so much deodorant each morning, my armpits had lumps of subzero hardened goo under them.

But then one day, inexplicably, I forgot. I was halfway through an algebra class when I remembered that I hadn’t sprayed that morning. The realization made me panic. The panic made me sweat.

Did I smell? I had to know. Taking pains to make my movements appear entirely casual, I surreptitiously slid two fingers into my right armpit, wiggled them around, nonchalantly brought them back to my nose and sniffed hard.

I almost gagged……I smelt like Dwyane Wade and LeBron James’s jockstraps after they had been dipped in a bucket of liquefied yak poo.

In desperation, I pulled a tube of mints from my pocket, popped two out and wedged one into each armpit. I reckoned they’d make the sweat smell slightly “minty” – or perhaps even menthol. All I had to do was walk around with my arms clamped to my sides for the rest of the day (so the mints didn’t drop out), and I’d be fine.

It didn’t work. Clamping my arms down made me sweat even more. Worse still, the mints melted and became fused to my underarm hairs.

I pulled the mints out, eyes watering. They slipped through my fingers and shattered against the floor. Everyone stared, my perspiration levels rose again, and I wanted to die right there and then in the middle of algebra class.

I sat there, burning with shame, and smelling like the people I met in the elevator this morning. It reminded me that I had vowed never to repeat the tale to anybody, especially via the pages of a blog read by thousands of people.

Mind you, I also vowed that one day I’d have rumpy pumpy with Marsha from the Brady Bunch ………….. and that turned out to be bollocks as well.

Time for today’s questions….let’s crack on.

Gary Balanoff Asked:
Hi, John,

We would like to donate school supplies to the kids in Cozumel when we visit on the Legend at the end of September for our anniversary. We are always impressed by how wonderful the people are, but how much they need, and would like to at least help in some small way. My wife, the better half of “Cruisin Lovebirds” will be contacting Wee Jimmy, but anything you might suggest to help us set up a collection of supplies that we could donate along with a couple of crew members (no, we won’t be donating crew members, just having them help carry the supplies!) would be a great way to show our appreciation to the folks in Cozumel. Thanks for any and all support and keep up the great work. This will be Carnival cruise #11.

John Says:
Gary Balanoff

You are so kind to think about doing this and I will help you in any way I can. The children of Cozumel will be thrilled and I know the orphanage there through the work we have done for them before so we have a connection should you decide to do something. What I will need is a list of what it is you will wish to disembark so that I can have the ship clear if through Mexican customs who can be somewhat……..ummmm……..difficult let’s say. Please let me know when this is going to happen by sending me another post which if time sensitive should be marked as such at the header. Thank you for thinking of the kids and thank you for your loyalty to Carnival. I will help you anyway I can.

Best wishes to you both

KathiNJ Asked:

Please reply, our family of 15 is sailing 10/31/10 on the Pride. Will there be Halloween activities for the kiddies that day? We have 5 kids sailing with us as we celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary during this cruise. We are in cabin 4203.Thanks

John Says:
Hello KathiNJ

In case you missed in on last Thursday’s blog which was called For Your Eyes Only I posted the Halloween list which showed that yes indeed there will be Halloween events including trick or treating for the kids. I am sure you are going to have a wonderful time together and may I wish you a very happy anniversary and another 50 happy years together.

Best wishes

Violet Martin Asked:
John Please Reply:

I’ve been reading your blog thingy since we got off the beautiful Dream ship in January. You are quite entertaining! My husband and I are going on our 6th Carnival cruise September 28th on Miracle stateroom 5187. It is a smaller ship than what we are use to but it is sailing out of our home state of NY! I wrote to you a few months back and you mentioned I should send you a notice a month before we sail. We will be celebrating our anniversary; anything you could do to make this sailing extra special would be greatly appreciated!

John Says:
Dear Violet:

Thanks for writing again. I have a feeling that you will love the Carnival Miracle as much as you loved your Carnival Dream…maybe more. The Spirit class ships are for many their favourites. I will gladly send you a little something and wish you a brilliant cruise and a very happy anniversary.

Best wishes

Chad A. Christiansen Asked:
Dear John,

I really enjoy your blog first of all, I work in the service industry and your blog makes me laugh with most of the experiences you talk about! Anyways I promise I’m not here to ask you for a favor like most, begging for a better table lol…

My girlfriend of 4 years and I are on the splendor Oct 31st, and I plan on asking for her hand in marriage on the cruise! My questions to you are, 1. Will you be working on the splendor then? Just so I could say I actually was on your boat ha , and My 2nd question is since we bought a budget room only 2269, can I still buy her a Cloud 9 spa treatment ? I figure once I ask her on the boat the first night then maybe mud bath or massage the next day at sea 🙂

Thanks for the fun reading John, and hope to meet u or see you on the boat! P.s. I promise not to yell your name across any room like I know you or ask you to dance either ha ha ha

John Says:
Hello Chad. A Christiansen

Yes sir, I will be the CD when you sail and how brilliant that you intend to propose. The spa is open to everyone and may I suggest that for $70 you can give her a special day. That’s $40 for a day pass to the wellness rooms and Thalassotherapy pool and then $30 for a night at the Steakhouse (plus $30 for you) but I promise that this would be a special day………leading up to the big question. If you need my help with the proposal itself and want to do it more in a more public manner…..then just leave me a note when you get onboard at the guest services desk and I will do what I can to help. I look forward to seeing you soon then and if you have any more questions please let me know. Enjoy your last ever cruise…….as a single man and remember the word engaged has the word “gag” in the middle of it.

Best wishes

Launa D Asked:

I wrote to back in July to ask for help with a table for my husband who you may remember lost his right leg in Afghanistan while serving with the US Army and that he was getting used to life on crutches and in a wheelchair. I had asked for a table for two with room for the chair which you arranged. This made our cruise along with the gifts you sent. The crew of the Liberty was outstanding and so friendly and our Cabin Stewart Merilynn was so wonderful so please thank her and tell her bosses how great she was.

Thank you John for being you and to those jerks on that cruise site who keep telling you to stop I say tell that to my husband’s face.

We are now looking at a cruise on the Freedom for February
Loretta and Kyle

John Says:
Hello Launa and Kyle

The only people who should be saying thank you are me and those bloggers who may wish to join me in saying thanks to your husband for his sacrifice and his service. I am often glad to have been able to help people but very rarely have I been so honoured to have done so as I am now. I hope you had a brilliant time and I will of course make sure Merilynn and her supervisors get to see your words of praise. Please let me know when you are ready to sail again and I will be here to help.

Best wishes to you both from us all.

Kitty Kat Asked:
John – reply

I read your blog today were you spoke about smuggling booze onto the ships and that you said Carnival was cracking down. I am here to tell you that your security sucks because I just got off a Fascination cruise and smuggled by two liters of vodka on and more Cruise Critic friends are doing the same. See this then

You won’t beat us and Carnival’s bar prices were lower we wouldn’t do it would we.

John Says:
Hello Kitty Kat

I am not sure what I can say to this post except to say that …….actually you know what……….this time……..I can’t be sodding bothered. Congratulations on a successful smuggling operation. You da man…….or should I say………you da Kitty Kat. I will though send this link to our head of security in Miami so he can read about how others are trying to smuggle liquor on board ……. I am sure your other Cruise Critic mates will be very grateful. I hope you had a wonderful cruise.

Best wishes

John Asked:

I am sorry to hear this week’s cruise was a little more difficult. I was on the cruise this week and our family had an amazing time (as always). This was our 4th Carnival cruise and we all (wife and 3 kids) raved about cruising so much that my sister and her husband finally broke down after lots of begging from their kids and their family joined us for the cruise. My brother-in-law and 3 of his kids have celiac and thus can’t eat glutton. Angela in the Black Pearl restaurant was AWESOME and really provided them with some great service and meal selections. Their one complaint was late night options as my nephew would be “starving” late and have to sit and watch my kids scarf down pizza and calzones. A glutton free pizza option could be amazing for the growing group of glutton-free people.

Anyway, I have read your blog for a while and was thrilled to have you as a CD. My wife and kids already think I am a fanatic to read your blog and other cruise websites, so I didn’t mention my excitement at finally getting to have you as a CD. Let me tell you….THEY ALL LOVED YOU!!! Everyone agreed you were our favorite CD ever (Jorge was CD on our first cruise 4 years ago and no one had ever come close to him before). My wife even commented after the comedian shows that none of the comedians were even close to being as funny as you were!

I was hoping to run into you on the ship so that I could tell you in person how wonderful the cruise was and how much our entire extended family loved being entertained by you, but, alas I never did see you.

My wife loved the picture of your daughter that you showed during one of the morning shows.

Sorry for being so longwinded….Here are my requests:

1) Please don’t let the few complainers ruin your day. Some people just can’t be pleased.

2) Get Heidi and Kye on the boat with you soon so that you don’t burn out and quit (future cruisers need you!)

3) Get Carnival to find comedians that are funnier than you (not sure this is possible…)

4) Pass on the request to the beards about a glutton-free dough option for the Pizza.

Thanks for a great vacation!

John Says:
Hello John

Thanks so much for those kind words. Do you know, I have just realized that while we have many options for those with dietary needs for breakfast, lunch and dinner, you are right when you say that the 24 hour pizzeria has nothing that is gluten free. Let me look into this straight away and see what can be done. I have to admit also that some of the comedians who performed that week you sailed were not as good as we had hoped. The Punchliner was in its infancy and the talent agent we use in California sent us some entertainers that did not meet my expectations or yours so they will not be returning. Since then we have improved for sure and I can safely say now that the Punchliner is a great success. I am sorry that it was not totally so the week of your cruise. I will get back to you about the gluten free late night options and thank you again for your kindness. I hope it is not too long before we see you and the family again on one of our fun for all ships.

Best wishes to all

Bruce Asked:
Reply John if you wish.

Hmmmm well I can’t play the video and it is 8pm and I’ve got the popcorn out just waiting for that magical thingy to happen. Hmmmm still waiting maybe I’ve done something off today.

Not. I booked another cruise today out of Tampa and the Legend. Me and the wife are so hooked. We already had a Dec cruise booked on the Splendor in Dec. (sorry that we will miss you on that cruise) Anyway my question is I’m trying to find out more on this chef table thing and I can’t seem to find it here. Does the Legend do this? Oh and one more thing can you PLEASE make Carnival spend more time on their cruises in Roatan. That is why I went with this ship and cruise. Maybe not this time but in the future for their future planning. (But if it happens to break down there, now just saying but I’ll know who to thank)

Thanks Bruce the flyer

John Says:
Hello Bruce

Did you get the videos to work? I am afraid I am no help here as I have the technical understanding of such things in the same way French people understand that not everything has to be cooked in sodding garlic…….plus I don’t have a beard. Let us know if you can’t play them and maybe one of the 343 Stephanies can assist you. The Carnival Legend will have The Chef’s Table by the time you cruise. It is a fantastic experience and I promise if you go it will be one of the highlights of your cruise. If you decide you want to, please let me know here on the blog thingy and I will make a reservation for you. Roatan is a very popular port and certainly our new facility at Mahogany Bay has made it even more so. Obviously our time in each port is subject to many things including making sure we leave enough time to get to the next port of call but I have heard this request from many so obviously it should be something we should look at. So Bruce, let me know about The Chef’s Table and if there is anything else you need.

Best wishes

Kat Wright Asked:
Hi John (Would love a reply!)

I am writing to tell you how much i enjoy your blog thingy! I love your sense of humour and ability to look at the lighter side of life.

A day on a cruise beats a day at work anytime so if people want to worry about deck chairs, coat hangers and noisy children that fine by me, I will be at the bar!

My husband and I were on the Splendor May 16th (my 27th birthday present to myself!) and it was the most fantastic time of my life.

The staff was wonderful and many individuals went above and beyond to ensure we will be back! Stephanie (Assistant C.D), Amy (ship nurse) and Junior (head waiter) being just a few.

Also, Hi to Michael an awesome Splendor dancer and fellow Aussie who we met on a horse riding excursion in Mazatlan.

Unfortunately airfares from Aus are a killer so it will be a little while before I see the Splendor again but we will get there, in the meantime I will just have to live vicariously through your blog!

Thank you!

John Says:
Hello Kat Wright

Thanks so much for saying how much you love the blog thingy down under in Australia. I am sorry I missed you when you sailed on the Carnival Splendor but am very glad that you had so much fun. I realize that you have a long way to come from Australia to experience a Carnival fun for all cruise but hopefully one day you will see the famous Carnival smokestack entering Sydney harbour…..wouldn’t that be something special. I will make sure all those you mentioned get to see your comments and hope that one day I can say “g’dday” to you in person.

Best wishes

Tom G Asked:
John, (reply)

Here is my report on my Conquest cruise. This was our second cruise having taken RC first on a cruise of Alaska. This prompted a number of comparisons most of which were not favorable to Carnival. To be fair, we thought the cruise was good – just not great. It could also be that we’re just not Carnival-type people. We like to dress for dinner and we were it seems the only ones. One of the best things Carnival has going for them is their mostly excellent staff. We found them to be friendly, courteous, enthusiastic and helpful at all times. Our room steward, Marianne was excellent and we couldn’t have asked for better service. Our only minor quibble was that the people at customer service seemed clueless about some questions we asked and indeed gave us some incorrect information. We’ll probably be looking at a different cruise line for next time but Carnival is probably not a bad choice for people who like loud, obnoxious and brash Texans and mediocre food.

Still enjoy your blog though

John Says:
Hello Tom G

I am glad you enjoyed the blog but am bitterly disappointed that you did not enjoy some aspects of your cruise. I will pass on the information about the guest services desk as it seems we had an issue there for sure if they are passing on the wrong information. But I was happy to hear that you enjoyed the service of Marianne and I will make sure she gets to read this. I must say that the service levels of our crew is something we are so very proud of and thanks for taking the time to write that. I must also mention that when I was on the Carnival Conquest I had loads of fun with the Texans and they made for some of the best audiences I have ever had. I hope you will reconsider cruising with someone else and if there is anything I can do to make that happen then please let me know.

Best wishes

That’s all for today and thanks so much for allowing me a blog free day last Friday.

It’s not long now until the world’s most photographed lady names the most eagerly anticipated vessel for many many years. Not only will the ship bear the name of her godmother but will also have a permanent memory of her onboard as well. Here’s why.

Fifty plus journalists attended the unveiling of the portrait which is I think quite remarkable and if fifty came to this event………..well imagine the coverage the naming ceremony itself will attract. I am sure that our man in London Peter Shanks will have some amazing stories to tell.

Well let’s have a look back at last week which started with a lady who had vomit on her balcony and wanted us to DNA test everyone to see who had done it. Mostly though it was a good week and certainly weather wise it was nearly perfect. The last sea day was cold and surprisingly the sea was a little rougher than usual so the ship did move more than usual. One thing I didn’t have time to report on was the visit to the ship in Mazatlan of some orphans from the local children’s home. We gave them lunch, prizes and some fun on Lido deck and I think they had the most wonderful of times. Here is a photo we took in the lobby.

As I held Kye and took that photo I couldn’t help but think that the kids I was having the photo with would never know the love that Kye has from her Mum and Dad. I was talking to one of the nuns who told me through a translator that Mexico has a huge amount of orphans and the chances of the children in the picture of being adopted were very, very slim. And that of course is sad, so very sad. You wonder what life has in store for them when they have to leave the orphanage. Anyway, it felt good to give them a day of fun and my thanks to the crew for looking after them and giving their time off to look after them. They enjoyed the slide most I think ……… even the nuns………although they only tried it once because they didn’t want to get into the habit.

But the day was ruined for me personally because I had to speak to someone who honestly ………. must have ice running through her varicose veins.

Guest: Mrs. ———-Ref: 842021164A
Cabin: ——— Added-Changed: 09/16/10 – 09/16/10

Guest came to Lido and came to the front of the desk refusing to wait. She said that her children were having to wait to use the slide because there were lots of children from ashore not guests standing in line. GSA explained that these were from the children’s orphanage in Mazatlan. Guest said they should not be here and that they had paid to cruise and should not have to wait.

Tasked to CD

I spoke to the guest and told her that these children had very little and that…….hold on………you know in this case there is absolutely no point in me wasting your time here because it doesn’t matter what I said because it ended with her still being mad and still stating that she didn’t care about these kids……..her kids had to wait extra time to use the slide and that in her opinion was wrong. The end.

I can honestly say that I let this lady get right under my skin and I walked away having apologized. What I really wanted to do was to poke her in the eye and tell her what I thought of her. I can understand that she paid for the cruise and that her kids should have priority on the slide. But they were using it for 40 minutes……..that’s it and we certainly didn’t stop her children from using it during that time……..they just had to wait a little longer…….that’s all. Oh well …… as I said….overall it was a great week and the guests had the most wonderful time. However …… and I know that like my former teacher Mr. Hounsell I am repeating myself here …….. but bloody hell….sailing out of California provides me with a wealth of blog and Facebook stories. I love it.

I wanted to tell you about a new trial we are doing here on the Carnival Splendor and on your Carnival Dream. It has to do with the slot machines and players who reach 1,500 points because when they do……..they get complimentary drinks. Here is the official advertisement for this.

Now I can tell you that this has been very popular this week and lots of free drink cards have been handed out. And if it continues to prove to be successful, you will see this on your next cruise across the fleet.

Right, let’s see who is sailing with us this voyage SL7091910.

GUESTS  3347

NON US          304 – 41 from Australia, 37 from Mexico


Under 2 Years 33
2-5 Years (Camp Carnival) 82
6-8 Years (Camp Carnival) 55
9-11 Years (Camp Carnival) 51
12-14 Years (Circle “C”) 43
15-17 Years (Club 02) 43
18-20 Years 48

What I haven’t told you so far is that this is going to be an interesting cruise for me because we have 145 people sailing as a group. They are very lovely people and we are happy indeed that they are cruising with Carnival. But on a personal note I already know that I am going to be a wanted man. That’s because the 145 are here for seminars and workshops and all work for a company that causes fat people like me to break out in hives and board up our cabins as though we were being attacked by zombies…..because ladies and gentlemen bloggers…….they all work …….for Herbal Life. These are wonderful people and they all have a great time when they sail …… but I am a moving 280 pound target. Oh joy.

And finally I should explain the title of today’s blog thingy. As you know the bedtime story is one of my signature events and even though I have tried not to perform it and do something different it seems that people still want to see it. Yes I know the three characters are pretty much the same every week and yes like any show there are parts that are the same………because they work. However, the show is different every week. This past cruise I met a lady from Nassau, Bahamas who played the part of Mary…………here’s what happened next.

Now some of you may have seen me in that situation before but I assure you that this was something new. She didn’t just sit on me……she launched herself onto me with such force that it winded me……knocking all the breath out of me. I tried to say something funny as soon as I stood up but I couldn’t get the words out and when I finally did manage to say something I sounded like an asthmatic hamster.

The next morning I woke with a really bad pain in my groin and there is no doubt that this pain that I am still feeling now was due to me being used as a trampoline by half of Nassau. So Mr. Cahill ……if you are reading this…….please take pity on a broken 45 year old CD who puts his life on the line every week and who needs some danger money, body armor…….. and a Latvian lady to take care of my groin strain.

I really am getting to old for this.

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.