President Thomas

September 29, 2010 -

John Heald

I met two guests this morning as I got my coffee. They were very sad because they were having to leave the ship today in Puerto Vallarta because there had been a death in the family………………..their dog had died. Now, I obviously sympathised with them and wished them well but as I was saying this I couldn’t help but think that they must have really loved that dog to give up their vacation. They now had to fly from PV to Los Angeles and then catch a flight to Arizona. Again, I feel sorry for them, truly I do but I am not sure I understand. They told me the dog was old and had died in his sleep which is very sad……..but the dog is dead and there is nothing they can do about it. It has no grieving relatives and well……… I said………I guess I just don’t understand.

Heidi and I don’t have any pets even though I know she has always wanted one. Yet people keep telling us to get one because it will be “good for Kye.” Bollocks will it be good for Kye because she won’t care if the thing shits in my shoe. In fact she will probably find it extremely funny.

There is another reason I don’t want a dog and this reason has been proved by the poor guests who have decided to leave their cruise today. And that’s the fact that pets in general……….die too soon. They’ve got short life spans. We had a dog when I was a kid. His name was Ringo because my Mum loved the Rolling Beatles or whatever they were called. She loved that dog. But eventually the dog died, and I don’t know if I want to go through that again because my Mum and my sister Suedrip were very sad… fact I was as well.

Since then every time I stroke someone else’s dog, all I can think is, “Yes, it’s lovely, but it’ll die.” Every time I envisage myself owning a pet, my mind immediately floods with worry. What if it got run over? Or it choked on something? What if I tripped and fell into a blender? I just couldn’t bear it.

Yes, I know humans die too but you can’t go through life without becoming at least vaguely attached to at least one or two humans in some form or another. The pain they’ll cause is unavoidable. But pets…….well it’s something that you can avoid if you choose to.

I know, pet-loving bloggers I know……I know you disagree with me. The joy your pets give while alive far outweighs the grief of their passing. That’s all very well but I don’t want to come home and find my dog dead on the kitchen floor.

The is an answer to this though and I have told Heidi if she insists on getting a pet then we should by something like a cobra or a lion. That way, rather than worrying about its death, I’d be worrying about my own. It would turn into a nail-biting contest in which only one of us would make it out of our house alive.

Then there is the joke my old mate and Carnival’s 378th best Comedian tells. While in the guise of his alter ego Emmitt Lee Tuttweiler Junior he says that he runs a combination business in Georgia…………he is a Vet and a Taxidermist. His motto……….Georgia Vet and Taxidermist…..our motto……….either way you get your dog back.

Anyway, the question here is would you cancel your cruise due to the death of a pet?

By the way, our dog Ringo was fed on Ex Lax……….because he was a Shitzu.

Lets crack on with some Q and A — here we go.

James and Bobbi Asked:
Please reply:


I love you too, my daughter reads your blog everyday and she loves you too. My husband, maybe not so much, since I treated you as a rock star on our Carnival Dream cruise, no, I am kidding, he loves you because I love you!!

How long will you be on the Magic once it arrives in Galveston, will book accordingly so that my daughter can also meet you? We are looking at the December 4th cruise with Host Randy.

John, my daughter and I both work at financial institutions, all you have to do is call the number on the back of your card and let them know how long you will be out of the country…easy peasy.

Many hugs,

John Says:
Hello James and Bobbi

There is nothing better than starting off a Q and A and reading that someone loves me. I will be on your Carnival Magic from Galveston for the first two cruises and will leave for vacation in early to mid December. I don’t have the dates just yet and I will confirm those as soon as I can. I do hope you can come and sail so I can say “I love you too”……..even to your husband.

Best wishes to you all

Marina M. Asked:
Hi John, (Please Reply)

I have been on the Carnival Splendor twice (and on many cruises). Unfortunately I did not know last year when I booked this year’s cruise for May that you would be on the Splendor this year. I hope to cruise with you some day. This is my first time writing to you. My question is, is there anyway you can post full clips of the marriage show you do? Love the fact that you post little clips but it always leaves me cracking up and wanting to see more.

Happy to hear you will once again be with your family soon.

Best wishes,
Marina M.

John Says:
Hello Marina M

Thanks you for writing in to our blog thingy for the first time, it’s good to hear from you. I am glad you have been enjoying the clips of the marriage show and I wish there was a way to post the whole thing. There may be of course and I will talk to the beards to see if they can help. It actually takes about an hour or more to send the video clips as they are now to the 344 Stephanies to post on the blog so I can’t imagine how long it would take to post an entire hours worth of my silly musings. Anyway, I will certainly ask and I hope until then you will enjoy the little clips of which there are two more of coming up shortly.

Thanks again for the kind words and best wishes to you and your family


Ryan Asked:

We are looking into a cruise on the Carnival Pride out of Baltimore next summer. (you may remember me asking about Alaska cruises before but we decided that flying to Seattle is too expensive. Argh, maybe summer 2012…)

Anyway, my question is:

Can you tell me about how long after leaving Baltimore that the ship passes under the Chesapeake Bay Bridge, as well as how long until it crosses over the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel? (note that they are 2 different structures, 1 is in Maryland and the other is Virginia) I’ve crossed both several times, especially the VA one… maybe 30 times or more.

And I’ve always been curious about something as well. Why (on all ships) when any staff member makes an announcement regarding something coming up, they say “starting in 30 minutes TIME” . Why not just say “30 minutes”? It’s just something I’ve always wondered…

And lastly, I think your blog has grown so popular that you have your own set of trolls (look up on urban dictionary.) You ought to look up how to deal with them effectively 🙂

Ok that’s enough.

John Says:
Hello Ryan

Thanks for writing back. I am very much aware now of the word Troll as it was explained to me recently by a Cruise Critic member and I will certainly keep a look out from them here on our blog thingy. I guess like anything else people copy what they hear. My guess is that at some stage a CD would use the PA system and say 30 minutes time and then another heard him or her do that………….and so it began. I agree it is not necessary to say as minutes only represent a factor of time so if you say 30 minutes ………there is no reason to add the word time. I have never sailed out of Baltimore so I will forward this question to the CD on the Carnival Pride and hope to have an answer to you in 24 hours time……………bugger……………I mean 24 hours

Best wishes

P.S. In fact, here is news straight from the bridge of the Carnival Pride

Please note these are the estimated time all depend when the ship set sail

  • William P Lane Memorial Bridge around 19:00 (07:00pm)
  • Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel between 02:00am and 02:30am

Jeri Green Asked:
Please reply if you have time.

John, We were on the TransAtlantic crossing on the Carnival Liberty and fortunately did not get the virus. As you reminded everyone, we did wash our hands very often and used the hand sanitizers. It was a fantastic cruise and the crew did a marvelour job! Workers from different departments pitched in to help the servers on Lido as the passengers were not allowed to touch the food, etc. When we reached Ft. Lauderdale the TV crews were there filming anyone in a wheelchair (which had no bearing on the virus) and all complainers. Our daugher picked us up for the trip across the state to Punta Gorda and was asked by a reporter what she had heard from us about the cruise. When she told them we had had a great time they had no more question for her, and we were ignored!

Isn’t it a shame that only bad news makes it out to the public? Looking forward to our cruise over Thanksgiving (and my birthday,)

Jeri and Larry

John Says:
Hello Jerri and Larry

Yes indeed, that cruise will always be remembered for the awful virus that spread quickly to 5oo guests and crew, It was a terrible experience for those who got it which is why I never have any fear or worry about promoting the constant washing of hands with warm water and soap during each cruise because I have seen and smelt what happens……..when people don’t.

I am glad you have good memories of your time there and I hope it’s not too long before we see each other once again.

best wishes to you both and to your daughter

Susan Asked:

My husband and I are booked on Carnival Magic’s first 12 day Mediterranean Cruise (5/10 – 5/22). Will you be our CD, or will we have the pleasure of someone else? I have always wanted to experience a cruise with you leading the fun times, and hope that it will be you!

Do you happen to know when the beards in Miami will be releasing the excursions that Carnival will be offering? We usually book our excursions privately, but since Europe – and the Mediterranean — are a new experience, I am thinking about doing half of our excursions privately, and half with the ship.

I read on the Carnival Magic website that there will be two new concept on boards – the Red Frog Pub and the Cucina de Captaino. Will there be an extra tack-on fee for food there, and if so, how much will the add-on fee be? The reason for me asking is because we will be celebrating our 47th birthdays (mine will be two weeks before we sail, and my husband’s will be while we are in Croatia), as well as our 7 1/2 anniversary. We usually celebrate at The Steakhouse, but would consider The Cucina or The Pub, depending on their menus.

Thanks for answering these questions!

John Says:
Hello Susan

I will indeed be the Cruise Director on your Carnival Magic‘s first Grand Mediterranean cruise and it will be wonderful to share this experience with you. I am working with my friends from the Shore Excursion department so that I can promote the excursions here on the blog thingy and let you all know when they are ready to purchase on line. I know they are working hard to put a brilliant package together for all the ports of call we will sail to. The Cucina de Capitano will have a cover charge for the evening. I don’t think we have announced this yet but rumors are it will be $15 for which you will eat a mammoth amount of food prepared family style just as Mama used to make. As for the RedFrog, well I haven’t heard for sure but I am guessing that the finger snacks will be served on a complimentary basis but I will confirm this as soon as I can. I think the Steakhouse will still be the perfect place for you to celebrate but I can imagine the Cucina de Capitano will be a huge hit as well. So the best answer I can give you is………..try both.

I look forward to seeing you both soon and I will keep you updated regarding the excursions.

Best wishes

Bill Simmons Asked:
John, Please reply.

You mentioned in your bloggy thingy today about the Carnival Magic in Europe, are you going to be CD on the Magic? That would be great since it will be in my home port of Galveston Texas . Keep up the great work, I enjoy the blog every day and the updates on the Magic as well.

Bill Simmons

John Says:
Hello Bill Simmons

Yes I will be the CD on your Carnival Magic for her European season as well as the first few cruises out of Galveston. I hope that during the time I am there that we will get to sail together. Thanks for the kind words.

Hope to see you soon

Best wishes

HTG from SAT Asked:
I have been waiting for over a week for an answer to my question. Guess carnival’s service levels are as bad as people say. Am booked on Legend and want to know if the ship has a sports bar for colege football games.

John Says:
Hello HGT from SAT

Sorry it has taken so long to answer but I generally run three weeks behind on answering questions so my apologies for the late answer. Yes, there is a sports bar on the Carnival Legend and we will show all the major sporting events including college and NFL football as well as the NBA and on Wednesdays we have naked Latvian volleyball.

Have a great cruise

Best wishes

Fern Asked:
Hello, John, please reply when you have time 🙂 .

We’re looking at the Carnival Magic TA cruise in October of 2011. Will you still be the CD then? I think maybe we cruised with you (a long, long time ago!) and we’d like to cruise with you again.

Love the blog and your FB posts.

Hugs to you, Heidi and Kye,

John Says:
Hello Fern

I am glad you are enjoying the blog thingy and my Facebook thingy thingies and yes, I will indeed be the CD on your Carnival Magic‘s Transatlantic voyage. I hope you will book it and that we will see each other then.

Best wishes to all your family

BabsieR Asked:

You know there is a very useful little tool on cruise critic. It is an “ignore” option for certain posters. I use it all the time to hide postings from certain CC members. I actually use it for several posters who have

been mentioned here, Mr. Pete included. However, I do not understand why people post messages to you

reporting the hurtful negative posts on CC about you.

You have a lot of patience because frankly as soon as I started reading something that like I would hit delete.

IMHO it is your blog to post and write as you wish. Most people enjoy reading ALL of the content and if they do not they are free to make the choice of not reading and posting. Please continue this highly amusing blog and know that it is enjoyed by many.

Hopefully, some day I will get to cruise with you as CD.

John Says:
Hello BabsieR

That tool sounds very useful indeed. I know I am my own worse enemy because I should use that delete button more but I seem to feel that I have to defend not only myself but the many wonderful people who read this blog thingy of ours. I am glad you are enjoying my tales of the sea and long may you do so.

Best wishes and thanks for the very kind words

Jennifer Effler Asked:
John – Please reply

Love the bloggy thingy as well as your new Facebook page. What wonderful updates! I enjoy reading them daily. My husband and I are going on Cruise #9 with Carnival in a few short weeks and are bringing his family along (daughter, brothers, sister, niece, mother, ect…) for their first cruise. Wondering if I could ask if we could all be seated together in the back of the dining room? We are going to be on the Carnival Fascination on Oct 11 from Jacksonville. There are 11 of us total, but we would like the table/tables to be just us. Our confirmation numbers are: ______, ______, ______, ______, ______. We’d really like my mother-in-law to get to experience watching the sun go down over the water while we eat a wonderful meal as we have done time and time again. Thanks again for all of you do and most of us here do appreciate everything!!


John Says:
Hello Jennifer

My Facespacebook page seems to have become very popular which has surprised the heck out of me as I just write a few sentences a day…………and suddenly I have 4400 friends. Anyway, I am very glad you enjoy the updates and I will certainly be happy to ask the Maitre D to assist you with your dining request. Have a brilliant time.

Best wishes to all

That’s all for today however I do want to reply to a comment I read on yesterday’s blog…… it is.

Phil Bushell, on September 28, 2010 at 2:48 am Asked:

Sorry John, I don’t understand what’s wrong with people watching an airlift?

How is it disrespectful to the casualty?

If watching those skilful pilots perform a spectacular transfer inspires just one kid to grow up and do the same then I am all for it.

It is ridiculous to think that anyone fascinated by the spectacle of a ship to helicopter medivac doesn’t have thoughts for the poor soul needing them

John Says:
Hello Phil

I am sorry if I mislead you on this subject. I know that from years of experience that people are going to watch a helicopter rescue although personally its not something I would do. However, what I was commenting on was the fact that despite my announcements not to, people continued to take flash photography which the Commander of the USCG helicopter had asked on the VHF radio not to happen because it made an already difficult maneuver even more so. That was the disrespectful part I was referring to.

Thanks for taking the time to write and if you have a follow-up please let me know.

Best wishes

Let’s take a break and it’s time for some video and we start with the part of the show where I actually ran back stage during the welcome aboard show to find out from a staff member what time we were doing the helicopter transfer Phil was referring to just now. While I was back stage I left ab guest in charge……anyway…here’s what happened next.

And here is this weeks man who is being romantic with his little dance – we tried putting him on his knee to do his speech ……….which as you will see here………..was a mistake

Well, it’s a big day tomorrow because Cunard will take delivery of their new flag ship Queen Elizabeth. Reports are that she looks astonishing and as well as many modern amenities she has lots of historic reminders of the ship that last carried that most famous of ship names. One such piece is a sterling silver model of the old Queen Elizabeth 2…… it is.

The naming ceremony is next week and our man in London and Cunard’s President Mr. Peter Shanks will be there of course and will give us a royal report of the ceremony and a tour of the ship. Yesterday, Peter posted a brilliantly written blog about a man who has given 45 years of his life to the sea as a Cunard Captain and his story is one that every sea loving person must read. Here is the link thingy.

Peter is currently in the shipyard with Queen Elizabeth and that means he has a great view of your Carnival Magic. Here is how she looks as of this morning.

Thanks Peter for that great story, the wonderful photo of our Carnival Magic and many congratulations for tomorrow…….the day you get the keys to your new ship.

Oh, I just realised I haven’t introduced you to the new captain of the Carnival Splendor. Here he is………Captain Claudio Cupisti.

The Captain and I have been friends for many years and we delivered the Carnival Legend together. It is great to work with him again.

Last night I visited the guests who were dining at the Chef’s Table. They were thrilled by the galley tour and seeing it in full operation was nearly as impressive as the meal itself. But the 12 guests who were there had all made friends and all were raving about the food. I had joined them just as they had been served the very same chocolate melting cake the Chef had prepared in front of them during their time in the galley. This though was only part of the desert because the Chef had managed to put together a rainbow of colourful luxuries that made me wish once again that I hadn’t been as stupid to allow myself to get diabetes. Yep, the Chef’s Table has become an instant hit across the fleet and remember if you want me to help you reserve a spot, please let me know here on the blog thingy.

So yesterday at the first past guest party I drew an invitation out of the bucket to see who would win the meal for 2 at the Steakhouse. I picked a man called Thomas…that’s his first name……..Thomas. He came on stage and even before I had said anything I could here some of the audience snicker and say exactly what was going through my mind. He stood next to me……..and the brilliant Musical Director Jimmy Boore started playing some very appropriate music……………he and the band played………..Hail To The Chief………….because I kid you not, Thomas was the spitting image of your President. And so when the band stopped I simply said (just in case some were wondering why the band were playing that music and why some of the audience were laughing)……….please welcome on his first ever Carnival Cruise……..President Barack Obama. And you know what………at least 80% of the audience booed………not just a bit………they booed with great gusto and with great feeling and passion.

I felt so sorry for Thomas because it felt like they were booing him and so very quickly I said “Ok, forget Mr. President, please welcome to the stage Thomas.” This time they applauded and cheered.

My goodness, I had no idea that Mr. Obama was so unpopular. The last time I had looked he was being hailed as the messiah and certainly by the reaction I got from the 50-0 strong audience …….he’s not any more. So I gave Thomas the prize and asked him if he gets the “you look like POTUS ” thing a lot. Yes he said I do and went on to tell the audience that a few weeks ago someone threw an egg at him while he was delivering the mail…….yep…he’s a mailman. The audience was very sympathetic with him as was I.

After the party I asked Mr Google to tell me about President Obama’s popularity and I guess I have had my head in the sand because bugger me………he’s about as popular as a turd in a swimming pool. Now, I don’t want to open a political floodgate here on the blog and I certainly am not in a position to criticize him or his polices but if a chap who looks like you is being booed and covered in egg……….then something’s not right.

Maybe Mr Obama needs to be seen bursting into tears on live TV and then people will feel sorry for him and will then feel sorry for poor Thomas. Pay a visit to Oprah or The View or better still Jerry Springer for an  upbeat chat about how this whole government thing’s been working out for you, then suddenly go quiet and well up. Wait till Jerry puts a hand on your shoulder before letting rip – but when you let rip, really LET RIP. Wail. Howl. Punch the cushions. Quake with sobs and wipe your snotty nose on Jerry’s tie. Say you’re sorry for all the mistakes and beg for a chance to put it all right.

Make stuff up if necessary.

Pretend you had a terrible childhood and were forced to live in a shoe box under a bridge or before you entered politics you were a climbing wall attendant…….or something like that. Weep 18 litres right there on the sofa if you have to.

Or tell a joke! A bad one! The one about the Nun and the Elephant. Do anything! Please ……………just do something to help poor Thomas out. Because the public still has a few pity cells left. There must be some who will believe everything isn’t entirely your fault………..and if it allows a chap called Thomas not go about his day not having to worry about being hit by a low flying egg or being booed on his cruise vacation…………..then Mr Obama……….this is something you have to do…………..for Thomas’ sake.


Your friend

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