Minus Three

September 27, 2010 -

John Heald

As some of you may know I have been sending regular updates and encouraging hearty and fun banter on my Facebook thingy. Well on Thursday Facebook’s main computer woke up thinking it was a cauliflower and that meant I couldn’t post much at all. At first I thought it was my computer that was at fault and so I shouted at it and gave it a beating with the toilet brush. I then heard that it was the Facebook computer that was causing the problem so I apologized and sent it a fruit basket.

But then on Friday I couldn’t get on the thing again……..and this time it was my computer’s fault ……..that’s the last time I ever send it a fruit basket …..The ungrateful bastard.

I will explain what happened in a moment but my continuing battle against machines has caused me to think what it must have been like to live way back when before …….well……..anything was invented. Imagine if I had wanted to wash my underpants which back then would have been made out of a scratchy piece of sack cloth. This would have meant that I would have to walk to and from my crap shack carrying a pail of water back from the village well. And that’s before you’ve tackled the laundering process itself, which consists of hours scrubbing my soiled garments against a washboard and wringing it out. By the time I would have finished ……it’s dinner time…….so after a quick rat on toast it’s time for bed.

Yes, life was simpler back then and stress was a word that wouldn’t be invented for hundreds of years to come, despite the threat of dying of the plague. But in many ways living back then would have provide a better quality of life than today.

Yes……….computers have helped us on the one hand, but introduced an equal amount of stress with the other.

These days we all do everything online, from booking your next Carnival cruise, locating a Latvian who is prepared to show you her everything for a small price to writing on a message board how much you hate big fat bent-toothed cigar-smoking Brit cruise directors. Tasks that would have taken years to do can now be accomplished in the swift movement of a mouse thingy.

Or would be, if you could remember your password. But you can’t remember your password. You can’t remember it ­because you chose it so very long, long ago……maybe the day before. In the intervening period you’ve had to dream up another seven passwords for another seven websites…..which is why I couldn’t get on my Facebook thingy because I had been told to change my password on my laptop computer….I did…and I couldn’t remember the sodding thing.

In this age of rampant identity theft, where it’s just a matter of time before someone works out a way to steal the way you look and use it to have rumpy pumpy with your wife and empty the bank account, we’re told only a total idiot would use the same password for ­everything……….well I wish I was an idiot and then I wouldn’t have been locked out of my computer. Passwords are for spies. “Ahhh Mr Gallagher, the sun shines brightly on the arse of a pigeon in Red Square.” “Yes Yuri, your wife has breasts the size of the Kremlin and I want to use them as a trampoline” …………..those were passwords.

So anyway, my laptop had demanded that I get her a new password…………yes…………..my laptop is definitely female. Having ­demanded a brand new password from you for the 79th time this month, My Royal Highness proceeds to bollock my efforts……..just like a woman who isn’t satisfied with the gift you bought her or your ability in the bedroom. Less than six letters? No numbers? Access denied. Bollocks. OK. There are rules. So start again. And this time: no recognizable words.

No punctuation marks. Pass the qualifying round and it gets bloody worse.

She started grading my efforts. I couldn’t think what to write.

Kye’s name……too obvious……..fat bastard……..too depressing…………my thingy………too short.

But as I went along getting my passwords rejected I found myself wanting Miss Dell to love me and to tell me I was a good guy. I wanted her to give me a solid gold plastic trophy for creating the best password in the world……ever.

So I tried bold made-up words like Meganfoxesbottominavatofcustard$&$#1……….and then I got a “Very Strong”……….her highest accolade………she loved me.

Happy and contented I tried my new password for the first time, typing it into the control alternate bastard delete lock thingy. With a soft click…….she granted me access.

But today I couldn’t remember what my password was. It was simply too complex……… and so I had to call someone with a beard. My password is now Iloveyoukye1…….it may be weak…..but I will never forget it.

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

Katiel53 Asked:
John, (Please reply)

I think both Sam and Helen Parker were very rude in their requests of you. I guess both feel that they are so important that you should just jump up and take care of them immediately.

Sam, there is no reason for you to post as nastily as you did. You only make yourself look foolish.


The fact that John helps people by doing their reservations should please you, but instead you complain. Your post makes you sound like an ingrate. If you felt you HAD to post that it took longer than you expected to get a reply, you could have posted that info in a much nicer manner. Shame on you!

John Says:
Hello Katiel53

Just wanted to say thank you for your support. I have realized that I need to grow skin as thick as an elephant’s bottom since starting this blog thingy. I truly appreciate you taking the time to write and as always I am here at your service.

Best wishes

Aubrey Asked:

Hello John,

I just sailed with you and the amazing Carnival crew from August 15th to the 22nd on board the Splendor. My family and I had an absolutely incredible experience.

I wish I could have stayed on board for a couple more days, 7 were simply not enough, but since that wasn’t possible I was hoping you could help keep some of the Carnival magic alive for us by doing a few small little Q & As with some of the crew members who were so incredibly kind and helpful to my family and I.

They were:

Carlos -Our Jamaican waiter from the Black Pearl Restaurant

Mario- The Croatian Pool and Deck Supervisor

Olga- The Russian Karaoke Queen

These three people made our cruise experience exceptionally greater and we honestly miss them a lot. Our family is still talking about the jokes and good times these 3 created for us. Truthfully, these 3 as well as the rest of the Carnival team really made the Splendor feel like home and as soon as we disembarked I felt homesick for ship and more importantly its crew.

So we would really appreciate it if you could do an interview with them, it honestly doesn’t need to be lengthy, Q&A like the one you did with Amy the Cruise Nurse and Jack the Assistant CD is absolutely great. And if you could, maybe add a little picture of the 3. We just want something to remember them by 🙂

Thank you so much for this and an incredible cruise experience!!!

Hope to see you & your team again,

John Says:
Hello Aubrey

What a wonderful review and I am so glad that you had so much fun here on the Carnival Splendor and your words of praise for Carlos, Mario and Olga are a joy to read. I will certainly make sure that I highlight them soon here on the blog thingy and that they get to read how much you enjoyed their service. I hope it is not long before we see you again. Until then I send my best wishes to you and the family.


Brian C Asked:
Hi John, Please Reply

First, just want to say I love the blog and all of your humor.

My wife and I will be sailing on the Sensation, November 21, 2010. We were able to talk her parents and her sister and brother-in-law to go on board as well, for their first cruise. YAY!

My sister and brother-in-law are cruising for the first time and are celebrating their 5th wedding anniversary, any chance we could have something waiting for them? They are in cabin U164 and their names are Brittney and Bill.

Also, there are 7 of us in total. Is there any way to get a table for just the 7 of us? We really do not want to worry about other passengers; one of our party has some anxiety issues. Do I need to wait until we get on board to speak with the Maitre D or could you pass along our info to him.

Cabins U164, U154, and U152.

Thank you so much for your time!

John Says:
Hello Brian C

I think it’s so great when families cruise together and thanks for introducing your sister and brother in law to the world of Carnival. I will be happy to do as you requested so please can I ask you to resend this on October 15 so I don’t forget. I am sure the maitre d will do his best to assist so I look forward to getting the reminder then.

Best wishes to you all

Joe (blog thingy junky) Asked:
John Please reply

I’m a John Heald blog thingy junkie, but I have finally reached the point that I can’t just sit here in my corner and quietly listen to the critics complain about how you run your blog. I don’t mind that you have been called a duck and a pancake, I even held my back when you were blamed for the BP oil spill, however complaining about you granting requests for your bloggers is going too far! This is the John Heald Blog Thingy and you can do whatever pleases you and the critics can go take a hike. Carnival provides a number of different forums http://www.carnival.com/funville/ to address other issues and your blog should address what you want. Sorry for running on, but I felt it needed to be said.

On a much happier note (for me anyway) we a sailing on the Dream Oct. 2 (#14) and know we will have a great time. We are trying one of the new cove cabins, we have had every other outside cabin the Carnival offers and have never been disappointed. I understand that Josh Waitzman will be our CD and after reading his bio on your blog thingy I can’t wait. On a previous post a stated that I didn’t have any special needs, but you asked that I give you our cabin number so here it is 2298.

Thanks for all that you do.
Joe (the blog thingy junky) Barker

John Says:
Hello Joe (blog thingy junky)

Thanks mate for those kind words. I know there are some who despise my blog and what I do but that their choice and as long as I don’t let them get to me……which I think I did a little bit in the past……then all will be well. I enjoy helping people if I can and of course I enjoy sharing my life stories with you all. It is great to know that the majority of people who read the blog have fun with it which has always been my number one priority. Yep, it’s supposed to be fun and hopefully the negative trend that seems to have been omnipresent here these past few weeks will disapissatate (spelt correctly) and the fun can continue.

You will love the cove balcony cabin and I always joke that guests should take a fishing pole with them as the balconies are that close to the water. Have a fantastic time and look out for one of Carnival’s very, very best CDs…….Butch. Please send him my best regards and ask him to do his “Barcelona Walk” for you.

Have a brilliant cruise.

Best wishes

Jen van Leeuwen Asked:
Hello John, (Please reply)

Thank you for your response to my questions on August 27th.

I have forwarded you my Chef Table Reservations for my husband and myself. Thanks!

We also look forward to being contacted by the Special Needs department so that our friends Strawberry Allergy can be documented on her booking. We REALLY appreciate this!!

The only other outstanding issue are the shore excursions in Ixtapa. There are still only 2 available to be booked for our sailing but on the main shore excursion page all but three are stating “inventory pending”. So this seems to be an issue not just for our sailing but for all excursions in Ixtapa.

Can you please have someone look into this? We have been given numerous reasons, from possible change of port, supplier issues in Ixtapa to lack of staff to program these excursions by Carnival Customer Service Department. No one seems to know the reason why.

Any insight would be greatly appreciated.

Here is the link to the carnival site that shows this issue.


Thanks again for all you do,
Jen from Canada

John Says:
Hello Jen van Leeuwen

Thanks for writing again and I just checked the link and the allotments for all the excursions are there now so hopefully as I am three weeks behind in answering questions, you will have seen this and been able to book the excursion you wanted. If though you have had any problems ore need my help deciding what to do please let me know.

You should also have had your confirmation back for The Chef’s Table and that is something I know that you will truly love. My apologies that we were a bit slow in sorting out the shore excursions and once again please let me know if I can help further.

Best wishes

reply ok

John mar big shot.

stop saying you have had 7 million readers on this blog site. You haven’t and it’s BS that you say you have. You have had 7million views but not separate hits from 7 million individuals you moron.

John Says:

I don’t think I have ever said that I have 7 million different readers but always called it 7 million hits or slaps but then again…….I know about as much about websites as you do about manners.

Best wishes

Will Johnson Asked:
Hello Stephanie: Please Reply

I am trying to book The Steakhouse on Carnival Dream sailing 5th March 2011 but the web site will only accept booking 2008, 2009 or 2010. Do you know when 2011 will be added?


John Says:
Hello Will Johnson

Please don’t worry as I hear the ships should start accepting reservations for 2011 in earlier December. If you have any difficulties please let me know and I will make sure you get the reservation you need.

Best wishes

Amanda Asked:
Dear John, (Please reply)

We just returned home from a wonderful week in Alaska on the Carnival Spirit! The staff & crew were fantastic. I’m already counting the days until next year’s vacation on the Miracle.

My question is regarding the category 6J (formerly 6E) Family Staterooms with the floor to ceiling windows. I understand they have been removed from all ships except the Liberty. We stayed in one on a previous cruise and it was my ALL TIME favorite cabin. (I just did not feel comfortable in a balcony cabin with 2 small children and only 1 adult. I can’t even shower without worrying!) I wonder why Carnival has removed them all? And is there any plan to get rid of them on the Liberty? That would have been an awesome cabin to have in Alaska! I’m hoping I can snag one of these cabins one last time before they are gone forever.

Keep up the good writing and your girls are beautiful!

John Says:
Hello Amanda

Every time I read a review about the Carnival Spirit and her crew it glows with praise about the Alaska experience and the crew of the ship. Do you know, as I sit here, in my underpants I don’t know the answer to this and I will need to ask someone? I didn’t know we had removed them so please allow me 48 hours to check into this and I will get back to you. Once again I am so glad to hear you had a brilliant cruise and thanks for the kind words.

Best wishes

Jack Whittaker Asked:
(Please Reply)

I am going on the Freedom in December for the Xmas sailing and wanted to know if I can tell my kids that Santa will be there or not. Do you serve turkey as tradition for dinners in Tennessee or is it a normal menu. We are all very excited. My wife and me have a new tradition before bedtime and let me just say it involves you being in bed with us. We love your blog.

Thanks so much
Jack and Sue and Cassidy and Tyler

John Says:
Hello Jack Whittaker

Please tell your kids that I spoke to one of Santa’s little helpers, a tiny little thing called Ralph Valente. He told me that yes, Santa will be making a stop on the Carnival Freedom and he will have a gift for all the good boys and girls. We do indeed serve carved turkey and all the trimmings on Christmas Day and I hope you all have the most wonderful family Christmas cruise.

Best wishes to you all

MrPete Asked:
John…Please respond.

I just was reading that some ships no longer have the 11:30 buffet in the Lido restaurant.

Is this true? Is it false? Is it only certain ships?

Are you really taking my midnight dinner away from me having to resort to pizza, calzones, and Caesar salad?

John Says:
Hello MrPete

It is good to hear from you and I know that others have told me that you are a prolific writer over on Cruise Critic which I commend you for.  The old style buffet has gone had has been replaced by what we call the midnight snack which offers different kinds of grille items, etc. Also don’t forget we serve the fantastic Jamaican Patties in the casinos from midnight to 1 am, as well as 24-hour pizza and room service. But with today’s eating habits lavish late night meals have gone and I will be honest with you……I miss them……..and I know a lot of our guests do to.

Best wishes

Lisa F Asked:

Carnival has a problem with its ice tea because I just sailed on the Miracle and it was not drinkable and made me gag. I want you to see that your passengers are writing on cruise critic about how they agree and what they do to make sure it is something they can enjoy. I suggest you pass this on immediately to the people who decide the recipe for this. http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1276253&page=2


John Says:
Hello Lisa

I know that you only sent me this question a few days ago but please note I have moved this question to the front of the queue because I don’t want to spend the next few weeks answering the same question. It seems the ice tea thing is a big subject on CC and therefore I will certainly bring this to the attention of those in charge and then see what they have to say. So please Lisa let it be known over there that I am aware of the questions about the ice tea and that I promise to look into it for you all.

Best wishes

And that’s all for today.

On Saturday I had to act as a referee between in the red corner A Breast Feeding Mum On Lido Deck and in the Blue Corner a Lady Who Told Her to Face The Corner While She Was Doing It. Yep, apparently on Friday during Lido lunch a lady was breastfeeding her son when the lady on the next table over told her that “She was trying to eat” and told her to face away from the table.

Both had a good old cat fight……one wrote me a letter (the one who didn’t have her breast on display) and one went to the guest services desk to complain. Both demanded an apology and the lady who didn’t have a baby clamped to her boob is angry also because she feels we should enforce a policy that precludes breastfeeding in public. Now, obviously there was no way I was putting these ladies in the same room together, not without serious back up from Delta Force or a SWAT team so I dealt with each one separately.

It had been a trying day because I had already been screamed at by a man whose wife had been stung by a jelly fish in Cabo and just as I was expected to have removed all the spiders in PV a few weeks ago, apparently I am now Jacques Sodding Cousteau and expected to harvest all the jelly fish in the ocean. I felt very sorry for the lady in question because I am sure a jelly fish sting must……well…..sting but hardly my fault is it. I will say it once again…….there are some very interesting people in California!

Anyway, back to the boobie story. By the way, the breast feeder was from California and the non- breastfeeder was as well………not sure why I am telling you this but it seems like I should. Now, I had previous to my meeting with the complainant asked my Facebook friends what they thought and I think it was a pretty unanimous result…….breast feeding is OK……although some did mention that they felt the breast must be covered as much as possible.

So before I met with the upset guest I asked the breast feeding lady if she had been covered ……. I was very embarrassed by doing this and explained that it wasn’t my business if she was or wasn’t ……I just wanted to have my facts straight before I spoke to her. She told me she was wearing a breastfeeding top, so that only a bit of bosom was visible as she nursed her baby, Nevertheless, she said, “The lady demanded that I face the wall.”

I remember of course when Heidi was breast feeding Kye and she always used a shawl thingy to cover her then ample breast…….oh how I miss those ample breasts. Although she spent a year breastfeeding in restaurants on land and on her Carnival Dream I am quite prepared to accept that it’s a strange thing to do in public. I can imagine that it is strange for most ladies as well. Most would never dream of going topless on the beach, yet suddenly they are getting their breasts out next to a Mongolian Wok.

Anyway, armed with the evidence of what happened I made ready to meet the upset anti-breast feeding guest. I was sort of understanding that breastfeeding can get people’s backs up because it puts everyone else in the awkward position of pretending not to look. But in the end none of this mattered because I had been an idiot and in my defense, the breastfeeding lady forgot to mention something very important as well.

Because when I met the lady (taking one of the female guest service associates with me) I knew straight away that nothing I was going to say would appease this lady because her objections were religious based. She is a devout Muslim and therefore I could understand why she was so upset. And so we listened and explained that we had no rules against this and I even asked her if she didn’t see this all the time on land in California. She told me that most restaurants would never allow this. Anyway, I apologized again and really there was little else I could do but sit there, listen and be sympathetic. Now, just before people start posting on cruise boards that Carnival is banning breast feeding and taking polls to decide if we should or not or if power strips should be allowed to be attached to breasts…….we aren’t and we most probably never ever will.

Over all it was a great week and despite the bad weather at the start and the fog that we had on Saturday the weather was amazing in all 3 ports of call.

So that was the week that was and let’s see who is sailing this week on voyage SL7092610

GUESTS                                 3387

NON US                                  403                  188 Canadians – 71 Mexico

PAST GUESTS                       1401

Under 2 Years 26
2-5 Years (Camp Carnival) 88
6-8 Years (Camp Carnival) 61
9-11 Years (Camp Carnival) 92
12-14 Years (Circle “C”) 93
15-17 Years (Club 02) 81
18-20 Years 64

We have a 124 strong church group from Anaheim, California this cruise. They have prayer meetings called “knee drills” every morning at 7 am. Then we have a group of hearing impaired guests who are being looked after by 3 interpreters who will be signing at all the shows and events. As always I have the utmost respect for the amazing work they do.

And the best news of all is that there will be nobody telling me I am a fat bastard and the only way for me to keep on living would be to drink some tea. I cannot believe how forward a few of these ladies were and not just to me but to other crew as well. Surprisingly I didn’t hear of any comments from guests, maybe they left them alone.

Oh yes, and here is a first for me….we have a group of 55 spoon collectors…… yep….. spoons. I can’t think of anything amusing to write about spoons so I will just say …….. wow ……. spoons.

I met so many great guests last week including Linda and Bob who brought Kye a gift and me root beer and many others who said that they had cruised here on the Carnival Splendor many times and how much they had enjoyed me as their CD. I say that not to self congratulate myself but to say that I was right to come out here as the product is excellent and despite the many “characters” I have met I am certainly making lots of new friends.

Obviously the common complaint is that the guests want to go to new destinations from California but they are as you know limited to Mexican ports. However, the ship did the Victoria route during the sneezing pig scare and I wonder if any of the blog readers did this run and if so what they thought about it. I am wondering if we should maybe offer a few of those a year if they were popular. Each week I get people asking me for new places as I said so before I speak to the beards I thought I would ask you your opinion on this…….did any of you do this run?

Well yesterday was a busy day and I will tell you about what happened during our boat drill/safety briefing in a moment. First of all though just as I was getting ready for the Welcome Aboard Show I heard the phone ring. Normally I don’t answer the phone while I am in the shower because Ketut doesn’t like it when I drip water over the carpet and second of all the phone is in the bedroom part of my cabin and sits on the dressing table behind which is wall mirror. It is therefore very difficult to have a conversation with someone while you are looking at yourself naked and realizing that indeed………all men are not created equal.

Yet when the phone rang this time something told me this was a call I should answer despite being naked because 30 minutes before that I had heard a page for “Sierra Team” which is the call for the stretcher team. I had not heard anyone make a “bright star” page which is the call for the entire medical team to rush to a location so I hoped I was wrong…..I wasn’t. It was the captain asking me to come to the bridge immediately. Well…..it wasn’t going to be immediately because I was naked and had soap cascading down my elephant man bits. If I had gone to the bridge immediately there would have been more than one medical emergency.

So I rinsed off quickly making sure I washed under my “awning” and then threw some clothes on and ran up to the bridge……..well…….ran in the sense of I waited for the elevator. So it is now 10:05 pm and the show was due to start at 10:30 pm. The captain confirmed that we needed to get someone off the ship as soon as possible because they needed immediate and urgent medical help. Now the captain, myself and one of the ship’s doctor’s were speaking to Coast Guard San Diego about what they wanted to do. Were they going to send a cutter or a helicopter? At 10:25pm that decision had not been made and I had to go host the show.

So, I had one of the entertainment staff, Robin, come to the bridge with the specific instructions. He was to wait until the decision on how we were going to get this poor chap off the ship and write it down and hand me the note during the Welcome Aboard Show on stage. Now experience taught me that if it was a boat that was coming, it would take at least an hour and a half or maybe more considering how far we were from San Diego but if it was a helicopter rescue………well that would be immediate.

The reason of course I needed to know was because I had to let the guests know, even though it was quite late. These days seeing a big helicopter hovering over the ship with no explanation could be quite worrying. Anyway, I started the show at normal pace and then at 10:45pm Robin stood by the steps of the stage holding the note. While still telling some silly joke I grabbed the paper and saw that it simply said “Helicopter, 11:15pm – 11:30pm.”

Now before I continue, some of you may be thinking that surely nobody would leave the show to see a sick person being hoisted up to a helicopter. Well……. ummmm……. yes ………. absolutely yes. In today’s reality YouTube world we live in ………..that is an absolute definite.

That said, I knew we had to get the timing right with this announcement.  I didn’t want to tell the guests straight away, as it would create a distraction for those guests who may want to stay for the Welcome Aboard Show.

So, I made the decision to proceed with the show but speed things up a bit, putting a 40-minute show into just a half hour. Now that doesn’t sound like a lot of difference but in stage time it is a long, long period of time. Well, the characters I had on stage were superb and very funny and I will show you some video footage later this week. But then it was time to tell the guests and after 45 minutes of laughter and fun………that’s not an easy segue.

I then went and used the PA system and repeated the announcement in the guest areas and corridors. Ten minutes later the helicopter arrived and performed the extraordinary maneuver of hovering over a ship that is still making 22 knots. It is easy to forget the amazing work that the men and women of USCG do each and every day and it is good that I have a chance here to honour them. This is how the operation went.

11:30PM                                 HELICOPTER ARRIVES

11:35PM                                 PARAMEDIC LOWERED TO DECK 11 MIDSHIP –                                                        DISCUSSES PATIENT SYMPTOMS WITH SHIP’S MEDICAL                                              STAFF

11:45PM                                 BASKET LOWERED FROM THE HELICOPTER TO THE                                              DECK

11:50PM                                 SHIP’S NURSE HOISTED IN THE BASKET TO THE                                                       HELICOPTER Note: due to the seriousness of the patient’s                                               condition USCG had asked for a nurse to travel with them

11:55pm                                  PATIENT HOISTED IN THE BASKET INTO THE                                                             HELICOPTER

MIDNIGHT                            PARAMEDIC RETRIVED AND THE HELICOPTER HEADED                                             OFF TO SAN DIEGO

A brilliant job done by all and today we are awaiting news on the patient’s condition. I will let the guests know and you as well of course as soon as I know.

Now, this chap wasn’t the only person to be disembarked because earlier we had disembarked a man and his girlfriend. Why………well because during the life boat drill one of the entertainment staff asked a very loud and obnoxious 55 year old man to please stop talking loudly because other guests were trying to listen to the information on how to save their lives. His response ……… he punched the entertainment staff member full on with force in the stomach. Security was called immediately and 30 minutes later as we sailed away …….he stood on the pier with his girlfriend and his suitcases and watched his vacation sail away without him. Personally …….. I hope his girlfriend kicks him full on and with force……right in the bollocks for ruining her vacation as well.

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.